I’m in the off season right now, and in addition to
trying not to sign up for all of the 2013 races I am starting to think about what races I’d like to focus on next year. I’m toying around with making a half-ironman triathlon be my main goal race. I want to do a thorough review of my training & progress this year in order to be able to help plan for as successful of a year next year. This will likely end up being two posts as I try to gather all of my thoughts!
How did my training go? Well, I think the first thing I can say is that I’ve had a somewhat haphazard training strategy. At the beginning of the year I’d said I would focus on triathlon in 2012, but I allowed myself to sign up for the Chicago Marathon. I had 2-3 months of training overlap on those two key goals. I started with the CTC Newbie Sprint training plan that culminated with the Pleasant Prairie race, made up the rest of my training until the Chicago Triathlon, and followed loosely the Chicago Endurance Sports marathon training plan (which I consistently paced long runs for their group).
My multisport heavy months were June & July. Swimming & cycling were the most intense during those months, although still never got more than 2 workouts/week in these sports. I know that for running my best time is to go in the morning, particularly as I have a tendency to linger at work later than really necessary. I think it would be helpful to leverage that knowledge for swimming, and perhaps to plan on more group cycling activities. I really enjoyed the my group workout activities: CES runs, rides with Peter in the burbs, and a VQ or spin workouts. Limiters: Planning
I didn’t exactly maintain a consistent swim workout this year. I’ve been riding my swim strength so far, and could count my open water swims on one hand. I did a numbre of pool swims as Mike & I both got a pool membership to practice. It was good for the two of us to go together, although I struggled with not having a structure for my pool workouts – I’d just make up sets on the fly. Swim Limiter: Frequency
Ah, cycling. This was a hard year for me in cycling. It started out strong; I bought my first road bike early in the year, and did two Taste of VQ sessions to do early season indoor workouts on the bike. They helped to get me into regular cycling workouts.
But when it came to cycling out on the open road, I really struggled in May to get comfortable with this. I think it was the combination of being on my new bike, an increase in my cycling strength, and clip-in shoes. I ended up regaining my confidence on the bike by doing a few rides with just regular sneakers, and then clipped in for my first sprint triathlon of the year.
I definitely need to continue to work on my cycling skills related to taking my hands off the handlebars, for adjustments, nutrition & hydration. I ended up buying a Speedfil to address my hydration limitations from this issue, but I’d like to work toward being able to receive & pick up bottles from my bike. And maybe take a gu while cycling.
I did not cycle as consistently as I would have liked for the May to August triathlon season. I struggled with how to cycle outside safely in the city. I tried some at-home trainer workouts and struggled, and otherwise found that I needed to plan well to get out cycling either on the lakefront trail or out in the burbs.
I am also considering potentially getting clip-on aero bars for my bike, esp if I’m going to go longer next year. I noticed that when I try to get low on my bike, I’m more naturally moving toward the center position for aero rather than into my drops. Bike Limiters: Frequency, Equipment
Running is definitely where I’ve put the most time & energy into over the past few years. That makes it a bit harder to assess. Areas to assess are: Durability, frequency, fitness or speed. I consider myself pretty durable – this year I didn’t encounter any run-limiting injuries. (FTR I have seen a hip-naggle after my longer runs that goes away after a day or two. Stretched it out w/ a tennis ball under my hip in superman position.) I’d say that my two areas for further work would be frequency and speed. I can get into frequency when I want, but it’s definitely the first thing to have gone as I’ve transitioned into the off season. Run Limiters: Speed, Frequency.
Testing & Progress
In reviewing this, I’ve realized I don’t have too much for a consistent measurement. I do know that my power threshold test at VQ numbers have increased over the course of this year, although there were dips due to stress (e.g. the time I took the test a week before my wedding! Not a good score). I’ve improved running wise in all distances I’ve run this year, but I haven’t run any single distance consistently or with “race mode” in mind. I think I’ll need to come up with some reasonable measurements to measure progress for 2013!