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Week/Month In Review

June 2, 2014 2 comments

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

I’m killing two birds with one stone here, looking back on the past week, and on the Month of May all in one post.  Efficiency!

May 2014:

MIR 1405

(“Sport” is a combination of softball and beach 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)

Last week (May 26th 2014 – June 1st 2014):

WIR 140601

(I did 25 minutes of hill repeats last week.  I didn’t bother to measure how long the hill section was that I did, but I did 6x run up/walk down the garbage toboggan hill at McLennan Park.  So that was that)

Not my best week/month, but certainly not my worst.  I feel like winter is finally behind us, and I’m so much more inclined to get out and train.  And to get outside and train!  Cycling has certainly ramped up over the past two week, due in part to commute cycling.  The swimming and strength numbers look kinda ugly (particularly last week, where they were non existent).  But holy shit – nearly 400km of cycling in May!!  And almost half of that last week alone!! Damn!!!

Looking Forward:

ride alarm

My ability to get my ass out of bed and train in the morning before work is really what’s going to make or break my training season (and possibly make or break me in the process).  I hate waking up in the morning.  I feel like a fail as a triathlete because I’m not jumping out of bed at 5:15 every morning, pounding a protein shake and a coffee and putting in 100km before going to work.  Isn’t that the stereotype?  I seriously love sleeping in!  But the work doesn’t get done if I don’t get my ass up!  It’s true.  Trying to do everything at lunch or after work – life gets in the way.

This morning I got out of bed and did 1,500m in the pool.  An easy swim, but the real victory is in the routine!  Tomorrow morning I’m getting up again and swimming 2,500m.  And Wednesday I’m getting up and hitting the weights.  Every.  Day.  That’s the goal for this week.  Every.  Day.

5 Things I Think I Think:

bike commute

  1. I think I’m really enjoying my bike commute to/from work.  The commuter bike kicks the shit out of my quads (that thing is so old, and heavy, and stiff), but it’s so much nicer riding home from work through the park than being stuck in traffic.
  2. I think I continue to be amazed by the differences between my commuter bike and my road bike.  I’ve been alternating between the two riding to/from softball, depending on if I want to ride in traffic, or on the park paths.  The trip by road is a hair longer, but takes me 2/3rds the time.  And my body is almost more comfortable now in the aggressive road bike position than on a very casual hybrid bike.
  3. Sports Geek: That Blue Jays 9 game winning streak was amazing!  But it wouldn’t last forever, and I’m kinda glad it did end.  A baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.  Just keep winning series’ boys.  Can’t wait to see how they stack up against Detroit this week.  Go Jays!!
  4. Beer Geek: Had a lovely Hop House Belgian style Pale Ale by Ommegang Brewery this weekend.  That was quite the treat!  I’ve really come to love Belgian style beers lately, but haven’t had many with a strong hop component without losing the typical qualities of a Belgian ale.  This one was very well done.  Ommegang can pretty much do no wrong in my books at this point!
  5. I think I love the way swim training exhausts me in a completely different way than run training or bike training.  Swimming is so peaceful and so killer at the same time.  Love it!

Do you prefer to train/work out in the morning?  Or in the evening?

(Last) Week In Review

March 25, 2014 3 comments

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140323

Prior to last week, I found myself in an unexpected 2.5 week break from training.  This week I’m simply glad to be back at it.  I’ve had a few victories this week – I’m 3lbs closer to my race weight goal (though that could be in part due to the less-than-accurate-lately scale I’m using at the YMCA…), and I managed my first long run longer than 10km in almost a year.

Hopefully now that I’m back into a training routine, I can also get back into a blog writing routine.  As goes one, so goes the other, oddly enough…

Looking Forward:

This week is so important to my training – this week is my chance to prove that I’m back into a training routine, and build off of last week’s results.  My goal is to replicate last week’s volume, while stretching out my long run an extra 2km (per my training plan), and introducing some strength training back into my routine.

5 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I think I’m nervous about the Half Marathon I’m planning (but haven’t signed up for yet) at the end of April.  I have run a Half before (and have also run a 30km race before).  But prior to this week I had let myself cap my long runs at 10km.  I think training to run longer than 10km is a psychological barrier as much as a physical barrier.  It’s about convincing yourself that you can keep going.  I think I really enjoy breaking that barrier.  But I also think I have a lot of work to do to be ready for a Half in 5 short weeks
  2. I think the 35 minute run I went for yesterday was my best run of the year!  The sun was shining, the sidewalks were dry.  And I ran pretty darn fast, by my standards.  It was nice to run outside – off the treadmill – where I didn’t have to watch for ice under foot at each step.
  3. I think it would be nice if pools were open for lane swimming at more times that gave me more options in my training plan – particularly options that didn’t require me to wake up at 5:00am.  The alternative is to swim after 9:30pm.  Yuck!  That’s bedtime (I know!  I’m old!)  Everything in between is booked for swimming lessons, etc.  I understand the need to offer family programming at family friendly hours, but the selfish side of me would love to not have to choose between swim training and sleeping in!  Can’t I have both?
  4. Sports Nerdness: I think I’m really excited about the Blue Jays season this year, even though all the media analysts are predicting doom and gloom.  Sure, a lot of things will have to break right for this team to do well, but the point of being a sports fan is to be unrealistically optimistic about your team, especially before the season starts!  We’ve got it this year boys!  Let’s Go Blue Jays!!
  5. I think the wine bottle buried in the snow in our backyard is finally starting to peak through.  Spring will come.  The snow will melt.  I will get to ride outside soon enough…
bottle top 140323

See the tiny spot in the center of the picture? That’s the mouth of a wine bottle, standing upright, buried in the snow. It’s starting to emerge! Spring is Coming!!

Is it still winter outside where you live?  Or is it spring there yet?

Month In Review (or “why my Give-A-Shit is broken, and that’s ok”)

February 28, 2014 7 comments

badtri

Hmm… over 2 weeks since my last post, huh?  As goes my training, so goes my posting, apparently…

Looking at it purely through the lens of “Triathlon Training”, my February has been shit a bit inconsistent.  I’ve made it to a few training sessions, but have easily missed just as many.  Excuses?  You betcha!  I got loads of ’em:

Excuses

  • It’s cold, and dark, and miserable outside
  • Work is busy.  Not drowning-in-overtime busy, but full-intense-days busy such that all I want to do when I get home is collapse on the couch.  But I can’t, because…
  • This volunteering gig I’ve signed up for is taking a lot of time and energy.  It’s like a second part-time job on top of my day job.  It’s an amazing experience (in fact, probably worthy of it’s own blog post… which I should do…), but it eats into my time

Yep – excuses.  The result of which being that my February sucked as far as training months go!  m’ohwell.

Should I be more upset about it?  Maybe.  But my Give-A-Shit is kinda broken right now.  And that’s okay.  I’m really trying to put it in perspective.  What should I be upset about?  About missing a bunch of sessions from a training plan that I took from a website, that isn’t personalized to me whatsoever, and that is almost 100% more intense than the plan I followed last year?  All while I’m working a different job than last year, living in a different city, and dealing with a distinctly colder and snowier winter?

Maybe I should be upset about that.  But I’m not gonna be.

So what lens should I look at it from?  Instead of comparing myself to a random training plan online (or to an ideal I picked up somewhere that all age group triathletes need to be training 7-10 hours per week, regardless of background, goals, or race distances planned), let’s try comparing myself to… myself:

Here’s my training volume so far in 2014 (left), compared to so far in 2013 (right):

MIR 1402to1302

The overall volume this year is a bit lower, though not embarrassingly lower.  Last year at this time I was training for my first half marathon in late February, and a 30km running race in late March.  This year I don’t have running-specific races on the horizon (or any specific races on the horizon), so my training is much more balanced and less urgent.  My bike effort is much improved.  My swim and strength efforts are marginally improved.  My run effort was holding it’s own in January – has slid a little in February, admittedly, but hasn’t fallen off completely.  There’s a base there.  I can still build on that!

(Shout out to one of my favorite blogs: A Promise to Dad, for the inspiration to contrast 2014 YTD vs 2013 YTD.  What a great way to look at my training, rather than solely comparing it to an arbitrary training plan!  Thanks 🙂 )

What other lenses can I look at it through?

  • I’m ~10lbs lighter than I was this time last year
  • My waste size is 4″ smaller than it was last year
  • I’m running at a 6:15/km pace reliably, where last year I was between 7:00/km and 7:30/km

None of those measures are by themselves earth shattering changes over the course of a year.  But progress is progress, and every time I get down on myself that I missed a single training session, I need to remember that over the course of a year I’m trending in the right direction.  It’s all about long term gains, not short term pains!

KeepGoing

image from theBERRY

Happy End-of-February Everybody!  Spring is just around the corner!!!

Week In Review

February 9, 2014 5 comments

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140209

I’m just going to take a mulligan on this past week.  Moving on…

Looking Forward:

In a year where consistency is one of my themes, this past week was a big stumble.  It happens – looking forward, not looking back.  This week is about proving to myself that last week was a blip, and that I can get right back on the saddle and be consistent again.

5 Things I Think I Think:

SimpsonsCanada

  1. I think I’m watching figure skating a lot more than I expected I would.
  2. I think I’m enjoying watching figure skating a lot more than I expected I would.
  3. I think, since I’ve started doing triathlons, I’ve developed a better appreciation for the sport of biathlon.  It’s all about heart rate management.  I was watching them in awe yesterday – how high their heart rate must get while cross country skiing, and then being able to slow it down enough to steady a rifle.  I wish I could manage my heart rate like that!
  4. I think my favorite sport though is still the skeleton.  It reminds me of tobogganing on crazy carpets as a kid.  But faster!  That looks like so much fun!
  5. I think I’ve spent way too much time awake this weekend between the hours of 1:00am and 6:00am, watching Olympics live when I should be sleeping instead.  This better not continue once the work week starts, or I’m going to be in trouble.

If you were to take up a winter Olympics sport, what would you choose?

Week In Review

February 2, 2014 1 comment

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140202

I love recovery week.  I slept in a few mornings, I went to the gym a few one morning.  It was nice to listen to my body instead of my training plan – push when I felt it, and rest when I didn’t.  The lion’s share of the work this week came from a brick yesterday – 60 minute bike ride followed by a 50 minute run (all indoors – it snowed 20cm yesterday thank you very much).  It was great to do a brick like that – the first I’ve done since the summer.  As my wife told me after: I’m going to be in much better shape this triathlon season than I ever have been before!

January’s now in the books.  I’m really happy with how this month went.  Without a doubt, the most consistent training month I’ve ever had!

MIR 1401

MIR 1401 weekly

Looking Forward:

I’ve decided this year to follow a modified version of a 1/2 Iron training plan I found on trinewbies.com – modified, for the most part, because I’m not training for a 1/2 Iron, but rather primarily Olympic distance races (with a Sprint or two likely to also happen this summer).  In short, where the training plan calls for 20 miles of biking, for example, I’m doing 20kms.  It’s an easy way to keep the structure of the plan, while dialing back to roughly 60% of the volume.

I’m also making a few other adjustments – incorporating some bike and run workouts from One Hour Workouts, a wonderful little training guide my Mother in Law gave me at Christmas; moving a few sessions around to better fit my personal schedule.

Throughout January I repeated week one 4 times over, focusing on consistency and getting used to the every day (and often twice a day) schedule.  Now that it’s February, it’s time to start progressing through the plan.  Ironically enough (and I didn’t realize this until just now), the plan is for 18 weeks leading up to the race day, and this coming week is 19 weeks out from the Toronto Triathlon Festival, which is my A race this year.  How convenient is that?!?

Edit: Turns out I’m 19 weeks out from the Muskoka 5150 that I hope to race in June, but haven’t yet signed up for.  Not from the Toronto Triathlon Festival, which is another 3 weeks after that.  In case that’s important…

So… Week 1 this week, for keeps this time!

56 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I think I’d forgotten how much I love swimming.  I’m a half decent swimmer and cyclist, but a lousy runner.  So I spend a lot of my training effort running.  In fact, in 2013 I almost didn’t swim train at all (a total of 25.3km swam in all of 2013 – including races).  But the more I swim now, the more I remember how much I enjoy swimming.  I’m looking forward to it being a bigger part of my 2014 training.
  2. I think I need to remember that riding a bike machine is different from being on a stair master.  I try to remember to spin full circles, but when I lose focus for a few minutes I fall back into mashing the downward stroke like we were taught to ride bikes as kids.  It’s amazing how my power goes up, while my perceived effort goes down when I remember to spin full circles.  A very simple thing, but one I need to keep working on.
  3. I think Wiarton Willie predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  I think Wiarton Willie’s historical success rate is close to 37% (which is lousy for what is essentially a coin flip).  I think I don’t really believe in this crap anyway.  I think this is one of the lousiest, coldest, snowiest winters in a long time and I’m so ready for it to be done!
  4. I think there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes of organizing a race.  It takes a lot of volunteers, and a lot of planning.  I’ve done volunteer coordination before, but never for a race event.  I think I’m learning a lot, and my brain is kinda pooped.
  5. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  Go Seahawks!!  Though I think my cat wishes the Saints were in it…OlwynSaints
  6. I think this is my 200th post on this blog.  I think that should mean something, but I’m really not sure what.  Thanks to everyone who’s read so many of my random ramblings, and for all the comments and conversations!

That’s my week in a nutshell.  How was your week?

Week In Review

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140126

This week was my Grind Week (a term I’ve just come up with over the course of this week) – the week immediately preceding a planned recovery week, where you’re at the furthest point from your last recovery week: you’re mentally and physically tired, and trying to push yourself to get through the week without taking it easy, knowing next week you’ll get some reprieve.

I think I did well.  I added a pair of 2-a-day workouts – my first of 2014 – and managed to keep pushing hard throughout the week.  My focus is still on base work and drills as opposed to speed work.  The speed will come (I keep telling myself)… just stick to the plan…

Looking Forward:

Next week is a planned recovery week.  And I’ve earned it.  In fact, I think this is the first ever recovery week I’ve ever planned into a training session where I truly feel I’ve earned a recovery week (and where I haven’t just slacked off during previous training weeks).  My goal is not to reduce the frequency of training this week – I’m in a good place as far as my morning routine, and don’t want to change that – but to reduce the intensity of sessions.  I’m not really sure what that’ll look like in practice yet.  Anyone have any suggestions of how they handle recovery weeks?

5 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I think taking Friday off work as a “Me Day” was a brilliant decision.  Clearing my schedule at work was a bit tricky, but well worth it.  I find self care days extra important during the shorter colder winter days.
  2. I think I’m tired of this cold weather.  Our house is very drafty, and the heat doesn’t hold up well when the temperature outside drops below -10°C (which seems to be always this winter).  I’m tired of being cold.  It’s starting to really wear on my mood.  I think I’m ready for summer now!
  3. I think that 2-a-day training sessions aren’t as hard as I remember them being.  Going back to the gym after work isn’t so bad.  Getting up in the morning is still the worst part.  It seems that I’m always exhausted and struggle to get out of bed for my morning session, irrespective of if I do an additional evening session or not.
  4. I think we’re entering the dark month for a sports fan like myself.  Football is over, and baseball doesn’t start up for a few more months.  Yeah, there’s hockey and basketball going on – apparently – and I may pay attention from time to time.  But we’re a good 6-8 weeks away from anything exciting happening.  I gotta find something else to pay attention to in the meantime.
  5. I think the best decision I made this week was to spend a pair of evenings sampling craft beers with my wife and some amazing friends of ours.  Even if it did mean two straight nights of a bazillion calories.  I know there’s a huge nutrition component to training (which I’m terrible at – mostly because I tend to abandon healthy eating on weekends), but there’s a balance between training hard and maintaining a life outside of training.  People talk about work/life balance.  The added dimension of work/life/training balance makes it even trickier.  I think for me it’s still a work in progress.

That’s my week in a nutshell.  How was your week?

Week In Review

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back

WIR 140119

Nice to finally get a bit of everything into the same week.  Though I was a bit skeptic posting some of these numbers – they feel really slow.  I’m starting to add in focused drill work – particularly in the swim, and to a lesser extent on the bike – to work on my technique.  Funny thing is, when you start swimming drills like tombstone kick drills, you don’t go very fast.  I guess I just have to get over myself and remember that no one else really cares how fast I go in training.  You don’t care, do you? (do you?!?)

Looking Forward

Right now I’m not thinking much further ahead than this afternoon, and trying not to take a nap (to make sure I sleep nice and well tonight).  I’ve had crap for sleep all weekend, and it’s really been wearing on me.  This week I want to make sure I sleep well and am rested for each of my sessions.

Thoughts From This Week That I Think I Think

  1. I had a lovely long run yesterday.  My running app wasn’t working properly, so I had no GPS indication of distance or pace, and therefore no data indication of when to speed up, slow down, or take a walk break (or stop taking a walk break).  So I just ran.  It was really nice to run by feel and perceived effort alone.  In the end, I took less walk breaks than I normally would, but also ran a bit slower than I normally would.  And I didn’t go as far as I would have liked for a “long run”.  But it was a very enjoyable session.  A great winter run!
    140118 A Perfect Running Day
  2. The pool is much busier on weekday mornings than is the gym.  The swimmers there are very friendly and chatty.  A nice social crowd.  I need to keep reminding myself I’m there to get some work done.
  3. The bike saddles at the gym still suck, but they suck distinctly less when you’re focusing on paying attention to a drill and the gym TVs have the Raptors vs Lakers game on than when you’re just spinning an easy 60 minutes and the TV is playing crap.  Then you have nothing else to think about other than how much your ass hurts!

Thoughts From This Week That Have Nothing To Do With Triathlon

  1. Denver vs. New England.  Seattle vs. San Francisco.  I think I’m both cheering for, and expecting a Denver vs Seattle Superbowl?  I think?  Or maybe I’m just hoping for a good Superbowl party.  Anyone out there have a particular strong interest?
  2. After having an unintentionally beer-free week last week, this week I got to enjoy a lovely bottle of Fin du Monde.  In fact, I even had a second!  Lucky me!!!
  3. My wife and I, having finished watching the 3rd season of Sherlock, are now re-watching the first 2 seasons on Netflicks.  Really great show.  Too bad there’s only 3 episodes per season (although at 90 minutes long they’re almost mini-movies…)
  4. I love tacos.  I love tacos!!  Friends of ours made tacos for a dinner party this weekend!  I don’t think there’s any better surprise than surprise tacos!  #The #Best  What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure-food?

That’s my week in a nutshell.  How was your week?

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