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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

What’s Next?

July 7, 2015 2 comments

Never give up on your dreams

It’s been over two weeks now since I raced Toronto Triathlon Festival.  A very lazy 2 weeks.  Which isn’t to say I’ve done nothing: I’ve gotten out and ran (lightly) a few times, but it really has been lazy.  And I don’t like that.  It impacts my mood, my sleep, my appetite.  One of the big reasons I race is to motivate myself to train, and one of the big reasons I train is to keep my life (and my health) balanced the way I want it.

Post TTF I’ve really been waffling on where to go next.  There are lots of options, ranging from racing shorter distances, longer distances (or calling it “done” for the summer).  All of these options have pros and cons.  It seems though, without deciding on a direction I’m having trouble writing a training plan.  Without a training plan I’m having trouble kicking my ass out the door to train.  And the less I get out the door, the less I feel like getting out the door.  Lazy begets lazy, and I’m caught in that spin cycle!

On one hand, I want to race long.  I’m really tempted to try to stretch myself out and see if I can tackle the 70.3 distance.  It would be with a goal to finish and an expectation of bringing up the rear in the race (though truthfully, this is what I do in most races anyway).  It would mean a lot of work – a lot of time and commitment to training this summer.  A commitment I was ready to make, until I raced TTF – or more aptly, until I ran in TTF.  The swim and the bike went well enough, but as soon as I set out to run I felt over my head.  I had to talk myself through the first kilometer of the run and barely ran/walked 10k.  How the hell would I have done 21.1k?!?

I remember sitting under a tree with my wife right after I crossed the finish line, a sweaty, tired, and hungry pile of hot mess, and telling her that racing long was off the table for 2015.  She helped me see it from a great perspective: there were many amazing age group racers in their 40s, 50s, 60s (and even older!) kicking ass in this race.  I have a lot of years left ahead of me in racing if I want them, and there’s no reason I need to rush to try the next distance.  I walked away from that happy to back off, enjoy more of my summer on the patio, and stress less about training.  I signed up to race the Wasaga Beach Sprint Triathlon at the end of August.  I wrote myself an 8 week training plan leading up to a Sprint distance race.  I’m looking forward to it, as it’ll then be 5 years from my first ever triathlon, which happened to be this same race 5 years ago.  How awesome is that?!?

Except it doesn’t feel awesome.  Don’t get me wrong – it will be really cool to go back to where it all started 5 years later (and should make for a great “then and now” blog post in about 8 weeks), but it’s not scratching the itch.  There’s still a voice in the back of my head that wants to try a 70.3 race.  I know how bad it felt trying to run the Olympic distance race two weeks ago, and how easy it would be to decide I’m not ready to race longer.  And maybe I’m not.  But it doesn’t sit right with me to make this decision without giving it a shot.

So I’ve chosen a race, the Barrelman, which runs on September 20th.  I’ve written an 11 week training plan and circled a key date on it: Thursday August 6th.  4 weeks away.  That’s the date when the registration price next increases.  Until then I give what I’ve got to this plan, stretch out my distance, and reassess after 4 weeks to see if I’m on track or not.  If I’m not, it’s no loss.  I’ve got lots of time left in this sport.  But at least I’ll make the decision based on trying, not based on it seeming too hard.

Epilogue: Last night, all excited and energized with my new training plan, I went to my cycling group.  My first training session of the new plan called for a group ride, followed by a 4km brick run.  Usually the Monday night route is 43kms long, but the group decided to take an extra turn and lengthen to 50km.  Perfect!  And this group is stronger than me, often dropping me to the chase pack in the first half of the ride.  But this time I kept up with the main pack for at least 80% of the ride.  I rode long, and strong, and I felt great.  Then I got off the bike and tried to run.  What a wobbly shit show that was!  I only managed to run 2.2km (walking at least half of it).  I’ve got a lot of work to do over the next 11 weeks…

It’s been a while

October 2, 2014 3 comments

looking back

I haven’t posted here since the end of July, huh?  Sadly, that sounds about right.  Life’s taken me a lot of great places these past two months, but sadly, few of them have involved any form of training (or exercise in general, to be honest).  I think the break has been really good for me, mentally.  It’s allowed me to focus on building other facets of my life – I had a wonderful 2 week vacation out east with my wife (4 provinces, 4 states, 3 breweries visited, and 1 wrecked tent – a great road trip), and started an amazing new job.  But it’s also really reminded me how much I miss training.  I miss having the goal of a race to work towards.  The motivation.  The challenge.  The reason to get my ass out of bed at 5:00am each morning (which I’ve been terrible about doing lately)!  For all the adventure in my life these past few weeks, that’s the stability I’m missing.

I’ve decided I need to sign up for another race (because, well, that’s what I do).  I really wanted to get in on the Scotiabank Toronto Half Marathon in a few weeks, but I’ve recently decided – given that I haven’t done a run longer than 10k in nearly 18 months – that it’s probably too short a timeline to train up for a Half Marathon so soon.  Although just barely 😉  And with the winter coming up fast and furious, there are few races in the next few months that are jumping off the page at me.  Which means I’m looking at something a bit further in the distance – and if I’m doing that… I might as well aim big

I’d say this is somewhere between confirmed committment (largely because registration hasn’t opened yet) and a seriously percolating idea.  But really, why not?  I could use a good kick-in-the-ass to get myself back in the gym!

kickintheass

Glad to be back to blogging.  Looking forward to getting back into training.  Happy to have a goal to work towards again!  Happy to have the stability back in my life!

~DO’G

Month in Review

June 30, 2014 1 comment

badtri

Looking Back, June 2014:

MIR 1406 2

MIR 1406

(“Sport” is a combination of softball, volleyball, or any other team sport I may get myself talked into.  Not “training” per se, but part of the general contribution to how tired I feel in any given week/month)

I was hoping for a bit of momentum after a strong end to May, but that didn’t turn out as such.  There were a few rainy days (and many days threatening to be raining) that altered my training plans – and a race on June 21st led to a bit of a taper the week before (and a bit of recovery/laziness the week after).  But, if I’m being honest, it was a bit of a let down month.

I find posting the images above (and thus, looking at them) to be really helpful.  What good is data if you’re not reviewing it and learning from it, amiright?  One thing jumps out at me above all else in the pictures above – there was zero time spent on strength training in June.  Zero.  Whoops.  I certainly need to fix that in July.

On the positive side though, I stepped on a scale this weekend for the first time in a long time: 228.6lbs.  That’s the first time I’ve been < 230lbs since… highschool?  maybe?  possibly very early highschool, even!  That’s a pretty damn awesome feeling!!

YabbaDabbaDo

Looking Forward:

July is a bit of an odd duck.  My “A” race of the year is two weeks away, on Sunday July 13th.  And I’m debating adding in a Try-a-tri at the end of July that wasn’t in my original race calendar, but a bunch of highschool buddies are trying it out, and if I’m gonna drive down to cheer them on, I might as well suit up as well, right?  For all my Sprint and Olympic distance races, I’ve never actually tried a Try-a-tri.  I don’t take it lightly at all – it’s a whole different beast: a max effort sprint rather than an endurance effort race.  I think it could be fun to give it a shot!

My month then really breaks down into 4 distinct weeks, with very different goals:

  • Week 1 (this week): I’ve got some work to do!  I want to get 1-2 strength sessions in, and particularly work my lower back, traps, and glutes.  If Guelph Lake taught me anything a few weeks ago, it’s that I’m a lot weaker there than I should be.  Continue cycling to work, a long ride and long run this weekend, and a few shorter runs/rides this week would be good.  And it would be nice to get in the pool once or twice too.  Shit – that’s a really busy week…
  • Week 2: Taper week leading up to TTF.  1-2 mid week runs/rides, and a pool session or two.  Start to back it off by Wednesday or Thursday.  Better to be a bit under trained and rested than well trained and exhausted going into a race, IMO.
  • Week 3: Waddle week.  If Guelph Lake taught me anything else, it’s that I’m going to hurt for a few days after the race.  Lots of stretching, walking, and active recovery.  Hopefully by mid-late week I’ll be ready for some light running
  • Week 4: Shit, it’s race week again already, huh?  I may not get as much of a taper in leading up to my try-a-tri (and hoping I don’t need as much of a taper).  Try to squeeze a few speed work sessions in, especially early in the week.  But really, this 2nd race is for fun – I’ll do what I can, and won’t worry about what I can’t.

5 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I’ve noticed that my training, and my blogging, tend to follow similar patters.  When I blog 1-2 times per week, I train regularly.  When I’m absent online, my training often suffers.  It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing: I don’t know which drives the other.  When I blog, I think about training.  When I think about training, I am more inspired to get out and do it.  When I get out and train, I have more experiences to blog about.  I don’t know if this means anything or not… funny coincidence, perhaps…
  2. I’m starting to question some of the goals I set out for myself for my “A” race, now only 2 weeks away, when I wrote them back in March.  I’m still learning how to set reasonable expectations for myself as far as racing and training are concerned.  I think this may warrant a full post on it’s own (which, hey, maybe the prospect of another post will help me get through this training week!)
  3. Sports Geek: The CFL season kicked off this past Thursday.  I think I should be a lot more excited, but I’m not.  The funny thing about sports in summer – I just want to get outside, go sit on a beach, or a patio, or ride my bike.  I don’t want to follow yet another sports league starting up right now!  The CFL is a great league, with a great product, but the timing of their season is all wrong.  I’ll start to care in September, when the season is half over, and I can figure out which bandwagon to jump onto.  I just can’t bring myself to be interested in it at this time of year.
  4. Beer Geek: Got to try a growler of Pale Ale this weekend from Royal City Brewing, who’ve been open in Guelph ON for less than a month now.  My first impression – it was a pale ale from a new brewery that was still getting settled.  But the more I had over the weekend, the more I really enjoyed it.  Really happy to see another new local craft brewery getting off the ground.  Exciting times right now!
  5. I think having a stat holiday on a Tuesday is weird.  I’m all for celebrating Canada Day on July 1st each year – birthdays should be celebrated on their proper day – but the stat holiday (the day off work) should be flexed to a Friday or a Monday.  It’s odd being at work on a Monday, knowing tomorrow is a day off.  Oh well, happy pre-Canada Day everyone!

CanadianFlag

Does a Try-a-Tri need a taper period before the race?  What do you think?

2014 Goals

March 13, 2014 2 comments
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!

Words for 2014

January 1, 2014 2 comments

HappyNewYear

Last year I started a new tradition, which I really liked and intend to continue.  Inspired by my mother-in-law, instead of making resolutions (which may or may not be kept, sometimes through circumstances outside one’s own control), I choose three words to give me direction throughout the year.

In 2013 I chose 3 words: Control, Courage, and Calm.  And I think they worked well for me.  2013 was a year of growth, albeit calm and controlled growth.  It was moving to a new job with my same employer.  It was moving through 3 cities to support my wife’s career.  It was several amazing vacations with my wife, and with our family.  It was diving head first into my first full racing season – moving from 1 race per year to 11 in 2013 – without injury, and in doing so entrenching my love for triathlon racing.

So what words do I choose for 2014?  2014 is going to be all about pushing the envelope a bit.  2014 is going to be all about decisive transformation, gambling on myself, and taking life by the reins.  2014 is going to be about doing more with less.  And these will be my guiding words:

Consistency – 2014 is going to be about challenging myself to consistency in my pursuits.  I fully believe 2014 has amazing things in store for me if I can focus on executing the plans that I draft.  In training terms, in 2013 I did a great job of following my plans – in spurts.  I had excellent months, and I had months where I lost focus.  How much stronger could I be if only I executed more fully the plans I laid out.  2014 is going to be about finding out!

Power – 2014 is going to be about finding inner power.  Anyone can work harder and build strength.  I want power.  The power to be stronger when I’m most tired.  The power to be patient when I’m most stressed.  The power to persevere when I’m most taxed.  The power to run a little bit faster in the final kilometer of every race.

Fun – Life is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?  There’s so much stress in the world.  So much seriousness, so much time in our lives spent doing things we must and forgetting to have fun.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a professional at work.  And I train hard in the gym.  And there are chores and errands that must be done around the house, and limited budget to play with.  But there’s always room to add a little fun.  I will remember to do the things I love, and to love the things I do.  I love my wife – my friends, and my family.  I have a job that I enjoy.  And I love racing.  I love racing!  In 2014 I’m going to focus on bringing a little more lightness and fun to everything I do – even the things I do because I “must” deserve a little fun!

Happy New Year to all my friends and family and fellow bloggers and triathletes.  May 2014 bring you Peace, Love, and a Personal Best!

What are your words for 2014?

I dream of 30…

November 22, 2013 3 comments

treadmill

Today I hit a milestone.  I ran my first sub 30:00 5k in 29:43… on the treadmill.

I know that treadmill running isn’t the same as outdoor running.  It’s pretty widely credited to be easier than outdoor running (and much less interesting).  I get that.  Still – damn that felt good.  Running sub 30:00 has been a goal of mine for a LONG time.  I feel like (with no real evidence to support this) it’s a significant milestone in the 5k distance.  I’ve done it – not outdoors, and not in a timed race, but I’ve done it.  Which means I can do it again!

15 days to go until the Santa Pur-suit.  Not really knowing what impact running in a Santa Suit has to one’s time, I think that’s my goal: to run it sub 30:00.  That would be a great end to a great 2013 season!

Happy Friday Everybody!!

Training Race Preview: Toronto Island Lake Swim

August 17, 2013 Leave a comment

TorontoIslandLakeSwim

Tomorrow morning I’m tackling the Toronto Island lake Swim, 1.5k swim race.  It’s the first of two training races I’m tackling this month in preparation for the Lakeside Olympic Triathlon in September.

I’m looking forward to this one.  I’m feeling very relaxed about it.  The plan is to use it as a training race, and that’s what I’m going to do.

What’s a training race to me?  Well… I’m still going to race hard.  I still want to do the best I can and get the fastest time I can.  There’s no intention of half-assing this one.  But I’m looking to learn from this race.  The whole idea of a training race is to go in with a purpose – something specific you want to test or assess and take away feedback in preparation for your ‘A’ race.

For me, this is my first time doing the 1,500m distance in open water with other swimmers around me.  And I expect – based on how they market this race – that this won’t be your typical triathlon swim start field (where half the racers are looking to survive the swim and get to the bike or run, where they excel).  There will likely be a lot of good swimmers here.

Good.  Bring ’em on!  My goal in this race is to swim with the pack for the full 1,500m.

I’ve done a lot more open water swim training this summer than in any previous summer, but it’s all solo swimming – out in the open water, away from lane markers or time clocks or coaches or other swimmers… anything at all to use as a pace coach.  I find it so easily to mentally drift.

I’ve swam 1,500m many times before, but never in a race.  Never with race nerves or adrenaline.  I’ve never pushed to keep up with other swimmers over this long a distance.

So that’s my goal for tomorrow: irrespective of finish time, to keep up with the pack and stay strong through the full 1,500m.

Have you ever done a “training race”?  How did you approach it?

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