Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Groundhog Day

It rarely lasts long – if it does, the texture of it changes over time.   You have to work hard to keep it.  Get too obsessed over it and you’re likely to get hurt.

Of course I’m talking about fitness.   

Today was a beginning of sorts – it was the first time I’ve run in over a month.  On September 9th, I’m signed up to run six times as long as I did today, after I bike 112 miles, after I swim 2.4 miles along with 2,000 other people in a choppy lake.  In other words, I’ve got a long way to go to be successful.

On Sunday I made another first step by attending a swim clinic.  They recorded our swim stroke both above and below the water.  From below it was obvious that I was straight arming it too much – which makes my shoulders do all the work.  Bringing my arms in feels like I’m doggy paddling – but apparently it’s more efficient.  From above water they could see that my left pinky was entering the water first instead of my thumb – which raises the possibility of going off course in the open water.

Today isn’t the first time that I’ve taken the initial step towards a distant goal, but it’s the first time with a full Ironman.  I don’t know much, but I know that’s a different beast than anything I’ve done before.  
Last Week
Monday: Day off
Tuesday: 1 hour swim
Wednesday: 1 hour bike
Thursday: 1 hour bike
Friday: 1 hour bike
Saturday: 1.5 hours bike
Sunday: 1 hour swim
Total: 6.5 hours

This Week
Monday: 1 hour bike
Tuesday: 1 hour swim
Wednesday: 30 min run
Thursday: 1 hour bike
Friday: 1 hour bike
Saturday: 1 hour swim & 30 min run
Sunday: 2 hour bike
Total: 8 hours


RM said...

You WOULD go pinky first, you're such a tea drinker!

Here's some unsolicited advice, take it as you see fit: You need to do MORE!

I realize it's "only" February, but before you know it, it will be May. From a swimming perspective, you're not doing enough. We have to work on our weaknesses, right? And as runners, swimming is our weakness. It is the lynchpin of our entire Ironman race. It's not even about how FAST you swim, it's about how little energy you can expend while swimming.

Take Alyssa as a good example: 1:24 first IM swim at Louisville, on no swimming. 1:12 a year later at Wisconsin, with maybe 2 or 3 swims. I think a 1:12 is a really good time. But since she wasn't swimming much, it inevitably left her more tired for the bike/run. Then last year she started swimming a LOT. 1:05 not once, but twice, and on the second one, she was able to crush the bike and, more importantly, the run.

Since you don't have a swimming background, it will literally put you into the most massive hole of all time for you to ramp up your yardage, but you HAVE to do it. You can get away without riding or running as much right now (I think your hamstring has been acting up still). Alyssa has had "swim camp" since January 2nd, and it's been HARD. 55 miles in the pool in January, and this month will be even more. It's beyond tiring, but her runs and rides are taking a bit of a back seat.

I believe it would be a good idea for you to swim EVERY SINGLE DAY that you can right now. Take one day out of the pool each week, but if you can get in 6 days a week, do it. Alyssa is swimming 6 days/8 times per week (2x a day 2 of those days). And then a few of those times she'll run for 45-60min right out of the pool.

You can ask her more about her training, but if it works for her, who was a notoriously single-sport athlete until last year, it would be worth a look. You will have the warm months to be able to get in your long rides and runs, but it all starts with the swim.

For me, it doesn't matter as much since I'm already so sexy at swimming. Also I'm no longer doing IMs so I don't need to swim anymore.

Ben said...

I've been following Alyssa's swim camp - it sounds miserable. But, you make a good point. The main reason that I'm not pushing it too hard at this point is that I don't want to burn out too early. I have quite a few 18-20 hour weeks planned between April and August - but maybe I should bump my swimming up to 3 or 4 days a week. I'll do 3 next week and maybe 4 the next week if 3 feels ok.