After Racine, I let myself dial back my training and overall focus on triathlon. I had already dialed things back a fair bit after Texas, but I wanted to get myself in a situation where I was mentally and physically 100% ready to attack the block of training leading into Ironman Arizona. I did not significantly change the structure of my training, but I stopped longer rides and runs for a few weeks to let me recharge. Inadvertently, I let that apply to the good habit I had formed of posting things on my blog.
After Racine, I did both USAT nationals races, and finished 9th (in my age group) in the Olympic, and 2nd (again AG) in the sprint. I was the third finisher in the sprint, but “2nd” got a penalty which moved me up. I was very happy with my performances in both races. It was the fastest I’ve gone on that course in the Olympic, and I was quite happy with how I felt during the Sprint. I also did the last Milwaukee Aquathon of the year and had a great run, which was awesome seeing as the first two I did had really subpar runs.
I am now about half way through the block of training for IMAZ (mesocycle) and am very happy with where things have been. I am doing a few things differently in this block than I have done in the past – the primary thing I have that for the first half of the training block I have executed all of my long runs as double runs. I started with them dividing the desired run volume evenly into two, and then I gradually built the total duration. As a general trend, I focused the first of the runs on including a progressive amount of Half Iron paced work, with the second run being more focused around Ironman paced work. The amount of running I am able to get in on those days, and the high quality of them has been both exciting and enjoyable.
For the second half of the training block, I’m going to do the long runs as one run. I’m doing this primarily for the mental aspect of it, even though I’m betting they will not be quite as high quality, nor will I recover from them as quickly. I’m not going to worry too much about it, as I’ve done the single long run “thing” for years – and I wanted to do the double run thing as an experiment and a way to help drive up to some high run mileage. If it pans out with good results, perhaps next time I’ll go a bit more all-in with it.
On the bike, the first half of the training block was focused on riding my long rides as hard time trial type efforts where I aimed for the highest possible average. A couple of them went really well, one got cut short because I exploded, etc. With the weekday bikes (two) focused on hard VO2max type efforts, though the Tuesday ride really suffered two of those weeks, I suspect due to me stacking my double run day on Friday, and the long bike on Saturday because of Sunday scheduling conflicts.
Swimming was hit or miss during these last five weeks – some days were really good – i.e. I did 14×100 @ 1:15 SCY without issue one Wednesday, other days were not nearly as great.
Those inconsistencies in performance lead me to believe that I am on the border of overreaching and need to closely monitor things. On the other hand, the last five or six days have show signs that I am creeping into “the magic happens here” phase. This is definitely not a scientific term or phenomenon, but something I have observed about my training and performance over the years, which I first recall experiencing my senior year in college. This “phenomenon” is more or less a feeling of making it happen. Put a workout in front of me, and I execute it. Again, and again, and again. I can feel myself getting stronger. Every. Single. Day. I’m not sure if this is “triggered” by a mental state, a certain chronic training load, etc. I also don’t know what triggers the flight of this state, but the few times I’ve been here I’ve cherished it and many much gnashing of teeth has occurred over the years on how can I get back here.
Through these ~5 and a half weeks of training, I’ve logged 250 miles running, 44 hours of cycling, and ~60,000 meters of swimming. The swimming has been a bit light due to the need to drop one swim most weeks for scheduling. The second half of this block will probably be about the same, plus some extra for the taper.
This coming weekend, I’m doing a sprint triathlon that I’m planning to leverage as a stand-in for power and pace testing and will server as a solid check point versus previous seasons at a similar point in training. After that the next race will be Ironman Arizona.
With Ironman CDA getting moved to August, Arizona will likely be my only shot at a Kona slot for 2016. Which surprisingly doesn’t freak me out. I’m actually really excited about the opportunity to race after a summer of increasingly solid performances since Ironman Texas. I’m excited to go head to head with the field in both my AG and the rest of the race.
I think that on a good day, I can put together a performance that puts me in a position to net a top 15 OA finish and the overall amateur win – but most important about this race is that it’s a chance to make up for those 2 lousy seconds in 2011. No matter what – the race will be just another day of training, just do the simple, known work, and force nothing.