Yes, I get the hint! Jim wants me to figure this thing out. This year. He doesn't want to be a broken record: "you just haven't figured out how to train and race Ironman yet." He doesn't want to hear anymore complaining about not knowing whether I've run enough, biked enough, swam enough, done the correct speed work, tested my nutrition adequately, or properly tapered. Actually, it's not that he wants me to stop complaining - he just wants to help me get it right. (It took eight years of marathoning to get THAT right). After every triathlon, we discuss "what went wrong?" In 2009, it was mostly that I just didn't have anything on the run. In Coeur d'Alene, I didn't expect the unexpected (i.e., didn't dress for the cold).
Unlike marathoning, I don't want to wait many years to "figure it out," so this year I'm leaving nothing up to chance. Ironman prep starts Monday with 30 weeks to Ironman Lake Placid. In the next few weeks, I plan to make decisions on equipment, a training schedule for all 30 weeks, thorough research of proper nutrition for training and racing, and a racing schedule.
It's time to get serious. To start, I've identified several key things that will go into my training plan:
- The emphasis will be on bike fitness. This translates to: no more lollygagging on the bike! Cycling is my limiter and after reading my new texts, I have learned it's not my run in need of help, it's actually my cycling fitness. Superior strength and endurance on the bike is the key to a strong run.
- Add strength training to the equation. Time to bite the bullet - no more avoiding the weight room. Weight training builds strength - strength that has huge payoffs on the bike (there's that cycling thing again). It is highly recommended for females, veterans, novices and cycling-limited athletes.
- Get more sleep. Ironman training is tiring enough, no need to push myself into the wee hours to read, watch TV or spend more time with my husband and the cat. If I stop working late, there are more than enough hours in the day. And TV is boring anyway... new rule: I will watch TV only if I'm on the treadmill or bike trainer or strength training.
- Train smart. In the past, I have often been a victim of overtraining. This year I will learn what "easy" means, I will learn how to rest, and my workouts will focus on building efficiency, endurance and durability.
- Learn to relax. I will teach myself how to sleep before my races by eliminating anxiety.
I hope to blog regularly about the lessons I learn from my new training schedule. But I'm going to start with discussions about whether or not I need new equipment. To start, I've decided to get a new bike saddle - something that may make me happier in working harder at cycling fitness this year. I will be going to Bike Authority in Broadview Heights to be fitted on their "butt-o-meter" (their name for a device that measures distance between sit bones). Stay tuned for the details of how that goes.