Friday, October 14, 2011

The Offseason is here... and almost over!

In the five days since Rev 3 Anderson ended, A few folks noticed the change in my twitter updates with a sudden focus on food instead of training. This was a result of 3 factors:

1. I haven't done a damn thing since the race in terms of exercise.
2. I've been doing more of the cooking duties working from home and with Rach working a lot more hours
3. From about an hour after Anderson ended, I've been STARVING. I mean like continually hungry!

I took some additional time to think about what I want to work on during the off-season, with a focus on areas where I can just improve my overall health, and where I can get faster for races. Being that I can improve in almost every area of the races, I wanted to focus on the portions that I think will do "double duty" in terms of improving my health and my speed.

After some careful thought on the matter, I reaffirmed some earlier ideas and came up with a couple other areas of focus, whittling the winter focus down to 4 things:

1. Weight loss. As has really been the overarching reason why I got into triathlon in the first place, this is goal #1 over the winter. While I've mostly plateaued over the past 2 years, I've also kept off the 56 pounds I lost in 2007-08, which is something I'm really proud of. My new employers offers discounted Weight Watchers membership which I can take advantage of in just a couple weeks. Between that and making this my heavy focus this winter, I'm going to hit the weight goals I set in the post a few weeks ago. The goals and progress against them will be prominently displayed on the blog starting on Sunday.

2. Running. Every time I've put emphasis on running I've made progress, but I've always given that progress back because I didn't stick with it. Because running is such a challenge for me, and I don't enjoy it, running is the first workout I've been willing was happy to drop when time crunches came up. But the more I've thought about it, the more I realize how closely this is tied to both my overall health improvement and reducing my race time. Just by getting my run time down to what the average healthy person can do (6 MPH) would drop my 10k time by 30 minutes. It's just plain stupid that haven't made this a big focus in my training considering it's both my biggest weakness and the easiest way for me to make major racing gains.

3. Swimming. It hit me after this last race that I've been thinking about my swim all wrong. Here I've been thinking that because I've gotten to the point that I can get through the water without feeling gassed in the middle that I had been in a good place. I hadn't really thought about how much energy I was exerting on the swim until Anderson, when halfway up the steep hill coming out of the park I had to stop. I knew it was a bit steep, but it wasn't that steep. In the end, I was only 10 minutes off my goal time for the bike over 25 miles, but I need to get my swimming to the point where any swim distance up through Ironman feels comfortable. Maybe 2.4 miles won't ever feel "easy" but it can and should feel like I'm not going all out just to make it under the time limit. Having nearly unfettered access to a pool that isn't constantly busy will be a big part of that this winter.

4. Bike climbing. The flattest triathlon I've ever done was Club Nationals in South Carolina. It was pancake flat. I averaged almost 20 MPH, which is at least 4 MPH higher than I've averaged in any other race. Other than that, no race I've ever done is truly flat, and the majority of the time I've lost on the bike is from climbing. Living in Boston, to find hills, I had to basically bike out of town or do repeats on a couple of highway overpasses. Where we are in NC, there isn't a local ride yet longer than 3 miles that I can find that doesn't have at least rollers. I've created some segments in Strava for the local climbs that should help a lot with tracking this progress.

So now that I've talked about what training will be like this "winter" (seriously, what I'm hearing about winter here isn't winter to me. It'll be like spring training all winter long), what are the races that will keep me motivated in doing all that training? I'm still working on the 2012 schedule, but here's what I know about the rest of 2011:

Oct 30th - Monster Dash 5k, Raleigh, NC
Nov 5th - Shipwreck Sprinternational Triathlon (1k swim, 30k bike, 8k run), Holden Beach, NC
Nov 24th - Smoke the Turkey 5k, Toledo, OH
December 3rd - Reindeer Romp 5k, Cary, NC

It's enough of a fall season with easy targets to train towards that it should give me plenty of motivation. Now I've got one last day of off-season, and I get to spend it at the ultimate off-season spot: The North Carolina State Fair. They fry things there that most people don't even know you can eat.

PS. The best news is that I've lost weight during the week, another 2 whole pounds! Don't tell my brain though, it'll think I can eat like this all the time.


  1. Our running has been anything but consistent! It really is the key,though. I noticed that you have the same 6 MPH goal that I have... but you already have races scheduled. I think you're going to reach that goal before I do, fer sure.
    Ummm... race ya? I'll see if I can find a 5K around RI or MA to do around the 1st of December and we can compare notes.

  2. 10 MPH really is the watermark I think we somehow naturally gravitate towards. I can do over 5 MPH for short stretches and not be sprinting, and I think averaging 12 min/mi is the intermediate goal for me. Whats funny is I've done it in the past but always let it slip away because I was so focused on the 10 min/mi goal and progress wasnt coming fast enough for my liking.