Thursday, June 20, 2013

Training Update - Oktoberfest Triathlon

I haven't posted here recently, mostly because I've either written some blog entries for my running team, Team All Ears or for my other running group, Nerd Herd Running. Also with all the training that has been going on I haven't had a chance to take a trip up Sanitas.  I do still owe a certain Mr. Mike Kelly 3 laps up at some point. The issue is that it's basically a 3 hour run for me, and I am not sure I'm really trained for that right now. ;)

So what has been going on?  Well I decided to train for my first triathlon this fall (more on that later). Other than that after the Princess 1/2 in Feb. I had a trail 1/2 in Fruita (becoming one of my favorite races). Then I trained for and raced the Bolder Boulder last month.

Also since last winter we have been continuing our track workouts on Thursday night focusing on speedwork. For the most part it's been made up of myself, Jeff, Michael, Rebecca, Andrea and Kate.  Bryan C. has been joining us off and on when he's been able.  Michael was leading the workouts but with him also coaching his Ironman Triathlon group he was getting a bit burned out.  He asked me to take over leading the workouts when I could.  I have to admit, it's been so much fun. He sometimes helps me come up with the specific workouts but I usually am the one leading them during the actual workout. It's a bit intimidating since I'm one of the slowest runners in the group but I feel like I'm growing in my knowledge of how to train runners. I still wouldn't put me in the coaching category but I'd like to get there someday.

I think the big thing that has been going on with me is that I'm training for my first triathlon in September. It's a sprint tri called the Oktoberfest Triathlon.  I think I've probably mentioned that before. Coming into this training cycle I had pretty much no swim fitness and very little bike experience.  In fact, back in February I went swimming with my friend Michael.  I told him I was pretty worried about my swimming.  What he just recently told me is that when he saw me swim, he was pretty worried for me as well. :)  I hooked up with a local swim coach (also my old trail running coach) and got some lessons.  While my swimming isn't perfect (far from it honestly) it is getting better. At this point I'm going to keep swimming 2-3 times a week. I'm going to try and get in at least 2 open water swims ahead of time as well.  Once that happens and I get closer to the race I'll evaluate whether I think I can actually do it or not.

As for cycling I just borrowed a bike for Melanie C.  Soooo much better than my old mountain bike. I've gone out three times on it so far and I'm trying to get an idea of what kind of bike fitness do I have and how hard can I push.  I wore my HR monitor and did a bit of comparison between running and cycling. So far what I can tell is my legs need some work. :)  I tried to push myself a bit more than an easy ride and my HR was pretty low. I'd call it maybe zone 2 effort (marathon). This next ride my goal is to try and do some sort of zone sampler to get an idea of how to push hard on a bike.

Thank you so so much Mel and Bryan!

One of the best things about triathlon training is because I have to train for three events, I don't do a whole lot on a single event. Right now I am getting in 6 workouts a week, 2 bike, 2 swim and 2 run.  If I have time for an extra workout, I'm adding a swim.  If I have time for two extra workouts, the plan is to add a third bike workout. While I'm a bit worried about my run fitness going downhill I'm feeling a lot more rested when I do run. The goal is continue to do Thursday track for speedwork and then get a long run in to keep my base high enough for the Double Dumbo Dare in September. I have a few key run workouts that I'll mix in as I get closer to the Double Dumbo Dare, but the majority of my training emphasis right now is on the triathlon.

I just wanted to touch on a few other things that have been on my mind.

Gear - Triathlons are expensive. I guess just like starting out with any other sports there is an investment. While I knew this going into the race it still surprises me a bit. Sure, for running I have all my gear except for elastic laces (so I don't have to tie my shoes in transition). Swimming, I needed actual swim shorts (jammers here), a membership to a pool, new swimming goggles (tinted as I found out that clear ones just don't work in an outside pool) and the cost to rent a wetsuit. Biking it where it starts to get expensive. This isn't all mandatory but the things I've either invested in or are considering investing are, bike computer (to calculate my cadence), bike shoes (still up the air), bike shorts, bike jersey, flat fix kit. I borrowed a bike so luckily I didn't have to pay for that.

Training time - It's higher than training for a straight running race (at least for me) but it's easier. Switching to different disciplines keeps each workout feeling more fresh and I don't feel as fatigued every day. With summer heat here I've been getting up earlier to get in my workouts in the morning before work. I've noticed that while I can bike and swim first thing in the morning, I still struggle with running that early.

Mental Effort of a Triathlon - I think there is quite a bit of mental effort in doing a triathlon that isn't part of a running race. You need to be a bit of a planner.  How do I setup my transition?  What is my strategy if I get a flat? There is just so much more than can go wrong. To me I like the challenge but I could see it not being for everyone.

That is most of what has been on my mind lately.  I'll try and give another update on my triathlon progress as I get closer to the race.