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2014 Goals

I can laugh about it, at least...

I can laugh about it, at least…

image from *clean* funny pics

Today I’m working from home – for the 3rd day this week – with a head cold.   I like to joke about the ‘Man Cold‘, but in truth I try hard to keep being a functioning adult as much as I can (though my wife may have some comments to make on that front).  I’m working from home to keep the germs out of the office, and so I can make myself hot beverages more readily, but I’m still working!  Life doesn’t stop because of a head cold…

… except for training.  When my head feels like it’s in a vice, and all breathing is through my mouth, I have zero interest in getting on a treadmill.  Does that make me a lazy triathlete?  Maybe.  Do I care?  Right now, not really.  I’ll get back to training as soon as I can breathe again!

What I can do in the interim is finally start to put some thought towards my 2014 goals.  Better late than never, right?

TTF

2014 is going to be divided in two halves for me.  My “A” race this year is the Toronto Triathlon Festival (Olympic Distance) on Sunday July 13th.  So my year is going to be focused on getting ready for this race, and then staying healthy and fit through the back half of the year.

The Front Half

The Toronto Triathlon Festival, from today, is 17.5 weeks away.  In previous years, my goal has been to simply ‘finish’ races, and hopefully to PB (though nearly each race was a first at the respective race distance, this was almost always a guarantee).  This year, I want some specific goals to shoot for:

  • I want to finish sub 3:05:00.  That’s about a 10% improvement over my Olympic Distance PB of 3:24:44
  • I want to run the 10k leg of the race in sub 1:05:00 off the bike.  My PB straight 10k time is 1:02:41, so I can do this.  But I struggled running off the bike last year, with the run in my Olympic race taking 1:18:19.  If I can shave 13 minutes off my run, I’m well on my way to a sub 3:05:00 time.

How will I get there?  In these next 17+ weeks, I want to:

weight-loss-scale Drop 15lbs.  My current weight is 234lbs.  By race day, I want my race weight to be under 220lbs.  That’s less than 1lb/week to lose.  I can do this.  Through consistent training, and a better focus on eating healthy, whole, and natural foods, this should be manageable.  Why? Because I’ll be able to run and bike a hell of a lot faster with 15lbs less fat weighing me down.  Plus, last year my wetsuit was a tight fit, and I sure as hell am not buying a new one!

WaterlooMarathon Race a half marathon.  My run is by far the weak leg of my race.  Last year I did a spring half marathon and training for it helped me focus my training volume on the run, which I think helped my running comfort and endurance.  So I’m going to try that again this year.  I’m looking at the Waterloo Half Marathon on Sunday April 27th.  That’s 6.5 weeks away – enough time that I can stretch out my long runs to get ready.  I’m not setting a finishing time goal for this – though a PB would be nice (and anything faster than 2:38:00 would be sufficient, so the odds are good).  I’m running this because I want to focus on running a volume of miles over the first segment of my training, and having a race on the calendar will help keep me motivated.  Plus, race day is fun!  Also, my wife wants to run too, and any opportunity to run a race with her is always worth it!

Subaru Race a test race.  I’m planning to race the Subaru Triathlon Guelph Lake I (Olympic Distance) race on Saturday June 21st.  That’s 3 weeks prior to my ‘A’ race, and 14.5 weeks from today.  This should give me good feedback before my ‘A’ race.  Plus, the Subaru Triathlon Series is a series I’ve been meaning to try for a few years now, and having grown up in Guelph this is going to feel real comfortable.

I’ve spent some time this week – while stuffed up and not training – realigning my training plan towards these goals.  I’ve split the next 17+ weeks into three phases:

The Build Phase – Really this is just keep on doing what I’ve been doing all winter: Base training.  This phase is all about volume.  I’m sticking primarily to the training plan I have been using, but making some modifications based on what I’ve learned so far this winter works for me: i) Fridays are now rest days.  It is sacred!  ii) Monday mornings are now off mornings.  Not every day needs to be a 2-a-day, and the less times I have to fight my alarm the better!  iii) Monday and Wednesday afternoons are going to be easy bricks.  The goal is still about volume, not about hard training.  But I need to account for the new days off somewhere.

The Build Phase will last for the first 6+ weeks until the Waterloo Half Marathon, then we get into…

The Intensity Phase – The next 8 weeks are my intensity phase.  Here, the volume drops back a bit, and we replace it with more bricks, speed work, and intervals.  Workouts are more intense, but not as long.  The emphasis on running in the first phase (leading up to the half marathon) starts to balance out with time biking and swimming.  Monday mornings and Fridays are no longer sacred, but replaced with easy recovery swim and ride.

The Intensity Phase will last for 7 weeks, plus a taper week leading up to the Guelph Lake Olympic Triathlon, then we get into…

The Third Phase (I really need a catchy name for this one.  Thoughts?) – 3 weeks between the Guelph Lake Olympic Triathlon and my ‘A’ Race, the Toronto Triathlon Festival.  3 weeks to focus on anything that I wasn’t happy with, make any adjustments to expectations, and get focused and ready for my ‘A’ race.

The Back Half

I don’t have a definite plan for the second half of 2014 as of yet.  While I’d like to get another race in at some point, for the fun of racing as much as anything, I’m still being flexible about it.  My wife and I are tentatively planning a 2 week vacation in August.  I would bring my running shoes, but not my bike or my wetsuit.  So I’m still weighing the pros and cons of an early September race (possibly the Wasaga Beach Triathlon) or maybe even an early August destination race (possibly the Rev3 Morgantown).  If I don’t race though, I need to look for another mechanism to help me keep focus on training and healthy eating.  I’m coming to realize how easily I slip into old bad habits when I don’t have a race on the horizon.

Now I just need for this head cold to go away.  It’s time to get back to work – there’s a lot to do over the next 17 weeks!!

Summer is coming!

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  1. March 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Breathing is pretty important……

    Don’t let your focus drift during your ‘third phase’, 3 weeks seems a touch long. It happened to me last year and I struggled on the run in my last race. This year I am going with a 7 day taper which hopefully will help me run a sub 1:50 half marathon at Ironman 70.3 Calgary.

    It does sound though that you have a great plan with some great goals. Good luck man.

    • March 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      I agree – I don’t want to view it as 3 weeks of taper. In fact I normally only do about 3 days of taper. I mostly plan to use that 3rd phase as a chance to do a bit of extra training on any aspects of my previous race I wasn’t happy with. If the bike didn’t go well, I’ll focus some extra sessions on the bike, etc.

      Good luck with 70.3 Calgary! That’s a race I’d love to do someday!

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