Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Year to Look Forward To: 2012 ATP

I've spent the past couple months training and putting together the Annual Training plan for 2012.  I've battled <40 weather at Skyline and out to Great Falls on the bike with some great people from DC Tri, I've attended race planning and Ironman forums and have had the opporunity to pick brains and ask all the questions I've come up with about Ironman.   I've developed a plan and committed myself to be willing and open to changing it.

Last year I began going through The Triathlete's Training Bible by Joel Friel over Christmas and loosely based this past season off of the training tactics in The Training Bible.  As my friends like to remind me "life happened" (Ride of Silence) this year and my training plan for Augusta 70.3 didn't go exactly as planned.  I truly enjoyed the experience competing in a 70.3 (and had a decent result) event and learned tons to help guide me and prepare me for the upcoming 2012 season.

Do you write out a training plan or just do what you can throughout the season?

As I prepared my 2012 Annual Training Plan I re-read The Training Bible and also read Joel Friel's book Going the Distance.  I went through my Excel spreadsheet of all my workouts since September 2010 and used that information to estimate annual training hours.  I plotted out training hours week-by-week leading up until August 26, 2012 making sure to include base periods, recovery periods, build periods, and of course peak periods.  My training plan builds to 29.5 hours during my biggest week.  This is a lot - but to achieve something you've never had you must be willing to do something you've never done.

I've set lofty goals for 2012 and beyond, I'm committing myself to live like a champion, train like a champion, recover like a champion, and eat like a champion.  Within the middle of the plan lies graduation in May, another move (most likely back to DC), and the beginning of a great and promising career as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.  I am confident that these life events will help me manage my time, motivate me to complete my workouts as planned, and rest when my body needs it.

The plan "officially" begins January 2nd leading to a 1/2 Ironman distance race in May followed by recovery and the build to Louisville :).  I've been watching the 2011 Ford Ironman Championships all too much and loving every second of it.  Below is the beginning of my 2012 race schedule.

2012 Race Schedule
March 18, 2012 - Publix Atlanta 1/2 Marathon
April 14, 2012 - Belews Lake International Triathlon
May 12, 2012 - Kinetic Half
June 17, 2012 - Washington DC Triathlon (Olympic Distance)
August 18, 2012 - Age Group National Championships (Undecided)
August 26, 2012 - Ironman Louisville

What is 2012 shaping up to look like for you?

I am looking to add a 1/2 Ironman possibly at the end of September, 1 or 2 more Olympic Distance events, or possibly another Ironman ;)

Summit of Wilson Mountain in Sedona, AZ (7122 ft.)
I've enjoyed some wonderful leisure time over the holidays including a trip to Sedona, AZ to reset the mind and body.  It was exactly what was needed after 2 stressful weeks of schools, finals, and packing/moving all my "stuff" into storage.  I am now enjoying quality time in Michigan with my family and friends and enjoying some winter training.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Recognize Your Success

Skyline Drive Bike-n-Hike
November was a month of fun races and light training - or it was intended to be.  A 40-mile Skyline ride, 3 races, and a brick workout later and may not have been "light" but it was lighter than I had been used to coming off of half-ironman and marathon training.  Despite the light training, I felt tired and slow the first couple of weeks - understandably so, looking back at what I had just put my body through.  November became a mental training month for me - pushing through when a workout wasn't going as well as I had planned, modifying workouts and training plans, setting goals and making plans for next year, slowing down and focusing on technique, and learning to recognize each day's success.

Elite Women Start 
No matter how poorly you may perceive a workout to have gone (or be going), there is something successful that comes from it.  You may not always see your interval times creep down as you'd hoped for, you may not always feel stronger tomorrow than you did today, but you can always find a success in a completed workout.  It may be pushing yourself to get out the door during a long day when normally you would have stayed in, not losing your head if your intervals are slower than last weeks, learning and perfecting technique or a new skill, developing a new pacing strategy, hitting a new distance, or hitting new marks during intervals.  I challenge you to not only log your training but always log your biggest success from that day.  I have recently started to include my daily success in my log and it is great to see that no workout is a waste and I am always able to achieve something.

What training success did you achieve this week?

In the past I have easily fallen into the trap of having to be better tomorrow than I was today.  Such a trap is not horrible to fall into but it takes a toll on your body.  I was training in a way that from day to day I pushed my times to be faster or my body to go farther.  I have since learned that there are ways to be better tomorrow without having to train on the brink of disaster all the time.  Keeping a consistent pace, practicing form, and learning new skills have all been avenues I have used to focus my lighter training days and achieve something rather than better splits.

November Race Reports
DC Tri Turkey Trotters
DC Tri Turkey Trot 5k (11/6/11) Hains Point - 23:10 - This was a small race, put on by the club with an entry fee of 2 canned goods.  Perfect for the student loan budget :)  This race was 1 week after my marathon and the morning after a day of too much fun.  Saturday was spent riding and hiking out at Skyline Drive with some DC Tri folks and then heading back to the District to celebrate my roommates birthday.  I got a nice warm-up in pre-race by riding my bike out to Hains Point.  My race strategy was simply go out hard and hold on.  I was shooting for a time in the range of 22:05 (my 5k PR), but considering the circumstances not a bad result.

Nearly Naked Mile Crew
Nearly Naked Mile (11/12/11) - Reston Town Center - 6:40 - I do mile repeats every week.  I hit under 6:40, I thought with the crowd and fellow runners I would be able to hit 6:20ish in this race.  I raced in the Elite women's division (under 7:00/mile), but my time does not reflect an elite runner by any means.  My legs did not want to run fast at all - they were asking for marathon pace - not cool!  The race was 2ish loops including a nice tedious uphill on the back side of the loop.  The environment was fun and some great friends were out at the race as well.  I actually won my AG and scored $20 gift certificate to Potomac River Running.  Not a bad day in Reston.

Rocket City - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot (11/24/11) - Huntsville, AL - 22:55 - Again, I was aiming to crack my 5k PR.  This was my first run of the year in air cold enough to burn the lungs.  My lungs and legs do not like working in the cold.  No wonder I loved south Georgia so much.  The course was a simple out-back design with a nice downhill going into the finish line.  I was surprised to only take 15 seconds off the previous 5k time, my effort felt harder than that.  Cracking my 5k PR is looking like it may make the list of things to do early next season.  My brother and lady friend also ran and we had great fans - my mom, aunt, and uncle!  It was totally different than the monstrous Detroit Turkey Trot that we had been regulars at for the previous few years.  It was a good way to earn some turkey and sweet potatoes.

Did you do any Turkey Trots or Holiday runs this year?