Thursday, April 25, 2013

Training Camp

Pretty much every college cross-country program in the country has their own version of a training camp.  At Loyola we drove north - into south-central Wisconsin.  We stayed at a boy scout camp not too far from the Ice Age trail.  Our lodgings consisted of a large building that had a kitchen - where we took turns making meals and which had plenty of space for us to lay down our sore bodies in our sleeping bags at night.  Training camp was about volume of running over quality.  It was also when our coach sniffed out who had been working out over the summer.  It was a time to bond with teammates and it was also a time to be reminded that the extremely long competitive season of a college distance runner lay before us.

Although this is technically the third week of training for my upcoming season - Wednesday-Sunday has the feel to me of training camp.  During this period I'll be working out 16.5 hours over 5 days - which is a lot more than my body has been doing since about August of last year.  A week from Sunday is also my first "race" of the year.  I'm running the Lincoln Half Marathon on the 5th of May.  It's actually a pretty large race - there are about 10,000 runners.  I'm not going to be running all out - it's still early in the season.  The plan is to bike the 50+ miles to Lincoln on Saturday - stay over night - and run the race on Sunday.  I'd like to start out easy - but push myself just enough to break 1:20.

With cross country that the first month of racing is really about getting prepared for October and November.  And for me - May is really about getting ready for June, July, and August.  My first "real" race will be Kansas 70.3 on the second Sunday in June.  Craig Alexander (multiple World champion) will be there - along with several other top pro's.  I did fine there last year - but I'm excited because I think I can shave off ~15 minutes from my time - most of it from the swim.

Monday: 3 hour bike 30 min run
Tuesday: 1 hour swim
Wednesday: 1.5 hour run
Thursday: Day Off
Friday: 1 hour swim 2 hour bike 30 min run
Saturday: 45 min swim
Sunday: 2 hour bike 45 min run
Total: 7 hour bike 2 hour 45 min swim 3 hour 15 min run 13 hours

Monday: 1 hour swim
Tuesday: 2 hour 30 min bike 45 min run
Wednesday: 1 hour swim
Thursday: 1 hour run
Friday:  Day off
Saturday: 1 hour swim 3.5 hour bike 30 min run
Sunday: 1 hour swim 2 hour run
Total: 14.25 hours 6 hour bike 4 hour swim 4 hour 15 min run

Planned 4/22-4/28
Monday: 1 hour swim
Tuesday: 1 hour run
Wednesday: 1 hour swim 3 hour bike 30 min run
Thursday: 1 hour swim 1 hour 15 min run
Friday: 1 hour swim 4 hour bike
Saturday: 2 hour run
Sunday: 2 hour bike 45 min run
Total: 9 hour bike 4 hour swim 5.5 hour run 18.5 hours

Monday, April 15, 2013


UPDATE: I wrote the following this morning before the tragic events in Boston. Thankfully it sounds like all my friends there are ok. My heart goes out to all of those who were hurt. It's awful to think this could happen at a place that is so special to so many of us. I can't imagine what someone could think they could accomplish by doing something like this.

Many times the start of something has more to do with the calendar than how things look or feel.  It's like when your alarm clock goes off.  You feel like sleeping for at least another hour - but time doesn't care how you feel.  Last week was the beginning because it's 22 weeks from when I hope to be competing in Las Vegas.  I don't feel much more ready to start than I did 5 or 10 weeks ago - but the calendar tells me the time to rest has come to an end - it's time to start building and growing.

The weather certainly isn't nudging me in the right direction.  In fact, there are snow flurries out my window as I type this post.  As I looked at the weather forecast for this week it looks like I'll probably have to ride on the trainer at least once.  Regardless of what it's doing outside - I know that early September will still come just as fast - as will the first week of June - when I'll try to qualify for Las Vegas on the rolling hills just outside of Lawrence, Kansas.

The last 10 weeks or so have been about doing just enough so that I'm ready for this beginning - but, not so much that I peak too early (7-10 hours per week).  I feel heavy.  The governments of Israel and Palestine are closer to coming together than the buttons of any pants I bought last summer.

But I know that this sluggishness and heavyness won't last forever.  The pounds will slide off as the sun starts to shine more brightly.  Soon I'll be searching for shade instead of wishing I had put on an extra layer.  Soon I'll be eating round the clock so that I have enough calories so I don't bonk on my next long ride.

I'm in the middle of another beginning as well.  At the end of February I started my first real job in healthcare.  The day after I found out that I got into PA school I also found out I get a job as a nurse aide/tech at a nursing home.  I think it's great preperation for PA school and beyond - but it certainly isn't going to do my training any favors.  It's physically demanding work - and it doesn't help that the work day starts at 6:00am - meaning my alarm clock beeps at 4:45am.  I've learned that the worst thing I can do is lay on the couch when I get home - I need to just get out and do my workout - otherwise it's very easy to rationalize a day off.

Although I may sound ambivalent about the start of my season - I am excited for two main reasons.  I have a much better bike for this year.  I've already found that I'm going faster than at the same time last year.  The second is that my swimming continues to improve.  I expect to take off at least 10 minutes my swim time at Kansas.

The alarm is blaring - time to wake up!