Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 End of the Year

2009 In Review

I spent most of the year following my own advice, but I did add in the bike tips of Zach Ruble, an IM pro who many might know from slowtwitch as BigZach. After Ironman Wisconsin in 2008, I knew I needed to work towards achieving a deep bike base again but wanted a stronger high-end (threshold). Zach recommended some early season biking at Zone 4 then mid-season a weekly dose of Zone 3 work (3x30 min/2x45min /1x90min). As for IM prep, he recommended German-styled 5hr/3hr bike rides. It proved beneficial. I'll be doing it again for next year. This year I was inclined to add a run after them ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. I'll be dropping that down to 15 minutes. The key, as I see it, is getting the bike section to be a high quality workout. Saving something for the run afterwards is likely counter-productive.

As expected, I coasted on my swimming ability. As long as I could get to the pool 3 times per week I was happy. I spent most of it swimming 200-500's with a weekly set of 100's(Base 1)/200's(Base 2)/300's(Base 3) at IM race pace (1:17/100yd).

Running was not much different. I made sure to get in 3-5 runs per week with one long run that progressively got longer. My longest run was 2.75 hr and I ran 5 times over 2 hours this year. Most of the run work was done in upper zone 1/lower Zone 2 (135-140 bpm). The pace usually was 7:30-8:00.

The highs were that I won a lot of races this year. My early triathlon dreams still lingered with me this year: to win J-Hawk Early Bird and Camp Whitcomb Mason. I managed to win both.

1st J-Hawk Early Bird Triathlon
1st Camp Whitcomb Mason Triathlon
1st South Milwaukee Tinman Triathlon
1st Stevens Point YMCA Lactic Edge Triathlon
1st LaCrosse YMCA Got Energy Triathlon

2nd Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon
3rd Tri-ing for Children Olympic Triathlon

56th IM Louisville

The lows were getting hit by a car, not finishing Triple T because of another bike crash, and competing at a different Ironman venue that I thought would suit my strengths (swim, bike) but found otherwise.

What I learned this year:
I was physically sharper then ever before. Most of the improvements are from simply training another year. This was my fourth year, third serious year of training. The minor changes in my yearly training program did address some my specific performance limiters. The changes in bike workouts, the 2 week versus 3 week taper, and doing lots of early season long bike rides proved beneficial when looking at race results.

To improve I need to make one big change. I recognize that competitive swimming from age 8 to 22 got me to the front end for triathlon's swim portion. As for the bike, that required 3 dedicated years of high volume and some intensity. And now, it's time to work on my running. I'm making two changes in my run training. First, I'll run in the middle to upper end of Zone 2 (6:50-7:45). Too often, I floated on the lower end (7:30-7:55 pace). It was fairly apparent when running with Scott Bowe or Chris Wichert that when running alone I was going too easy. To keep things on target, I'll start using the Polar foot pod. The other more important and more dangerous component is increasing run volume. I ran 30-35 miles/wk this year with the highest being around 40. I knew this day was coming. Every HIM or IM runner faster than me that I've met has at some time in their career put in some really high running volume. To that end, I'll attempt to put in 4-6 months of "runner" like volume. The goal is 60 miles/week January through April. I'll spend November and December slowly increasing the volume so that I don't acquire an injury in the processs. In summary, I want to be running 6x/wk during the season with a lot of race pace running.

Next, I need a mental adjustment. Work was a toll this year and took up a lot of "space" in my head. With the change in practice location and changes in fee-structures with insurance companies I had more stress this year. I need to refocus that area of my life. I am working on some ideas to make an adjustment. Although I successfully compartmentalized the mental drain at shorter races, when it came to IM I had a number of ugly thoughts slipping through related to work.

The goals include figuring out how to race hard without a side-stitch, have my run splits be more in line with stand alone run times, and having a breakthrough race at either a HIM or IM. To accomplish this I expect to race more. The tentative game plan is 10 short-course triathlon races, 2 HIM's, and 1 IM. The general training theme for the year is work on my speed for 3-4 months, then build my endurance on top of that. In Spring I'll start my usual training mode but decrease the weekly long bike to keep it under 4 hrs and keep the long run at 1.75 hr. This should allow me to add in a weekly track workout and race frequently. Late in the season I will spend 8-10 weeks doing the long stuff required for an IM and reintroduce the 100 mile rides and 2+ hr runs.

1 comment:

Chris Wichert said...

Hey Matt,

I'd be careful spending too much time running in Zone 2. I think zone 2 is okay when your transitioning to faster zone 3 running.

Zone 2 is a little too hard to be a recovery effort but too easy to gain a lot of physiological change. I think you can make a lot of improvements with high a frequency running program even if duration is low. Once you can handle the frequency, throw in some tempo/zone 3 efforts.

I've found that doing track drills and strides 1x/week can really help with efficiency,leg turnover and leg speed. I usually feel ready to handle more intense running workouts after including a few weeks of drills and strideouts.

Congrats on a nice season, we'll have to do some indoor workouts at crankdaddys over the winter.