Archive for April, 2009

REST

It’s kind of weird to have a scheduled complete REST day.  I am not usually very good about schedule rest days, because they always seem to be dictated by everything else in my life.  It’s kind of a treat to not have to worry about going to the gym or taking the time to plan a run or bike ride.  Today, I am just packing and mentally going over my plan for this weekend.  I am SO excited for Saturday.  And I’ve started to get a few butterflies thinking about the race!

I’ve also been thinking about next week, after the race.  I haven’t planned out the rest of the season to the Oly yet.  I had preliminary schedule, but I think I’m going to scrap that and start from scratch.  It’s so unknown, it’s kind of crazy!  For the past few months everything I’ve done has been geared toward this race and after it’s over I don’t have anything till September.  Of course with the lofty goals I’ve set for myself (HIM next year, what?), I’m sure it won’t take me long before I have the next year of training planned out.

Sorry if this was a really scatterbrained post, my brain has left me tonight.

1 more day.

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Hump Day

I decided to forego the bike ride I had planned for today.  After weight training Monday and today, my legs were a bit more sore than I would have liked to go into the ride.  Also, it was raining and dark, so I wasn’t going to be able to ride outside and I had no desire to stay at the gym for another hour.  At this point, I wouldn’t gain any fitness from the bike ride anyways.  I’m probably better off taking the rest from cycling and recovering from the weight lifting.

Workout today:

Core (repeat twice and do with 8lbs medicine ball):

Sit-ups

Russian twists

V-ups

Main (2 sets of each):

Shoulder shrugs

Bicep curls

Seated row

Hamstring curls

Bench dips

Wall sit + rotator cuff

Push-ups

Knee-ups

Straight-arm pull down

Shoulder Press

Legs:

Squat + Reverse lunge (5 sets)

Pump Lunges (2 sets)

Jump Lunges (1 set)

That’s it for today.  I’m spending the evening relaxing and doing laundry. Oh, and I noticed that my countdown is a little off- I think originally I was counting each day, but since I post at night it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  So, including today there were 3 days left.

But really, there’s only 2 more days.

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I must be crazy

After my workout (which I’ll get to in a bit) I stopped by the running store and Trader Joe’s.  I decided to break the rule of “not introducing anything new during race week”, and I bought elastic shoelaces.  I haven’t definitely decided to use them yet, I’ll try them out tomorrow to see how they feel.  I don’t really want to have to worry about tying my shoes on Saturday, so if things go smoothly, I’m probably going to go for it.  My other exciting purchase of the day was Luna bars from Trader Joe’s.  They sell them for only $.99 per bar!  And they let you buy them by the box at that price.  I haven’t found anywhere else where they are less than $1.25 per bar.  I bought a box of S’mores (my favorite) and a box of Chocolate Peppermint Stick.  Yay for good deals!

For training tonight, I made up my own swim workout because I forgot to generate a workout on swimplan before I left for the pool.  I decided to do a 2000 yard workout instead of swimming for the set time of 60 minutes.  I tried to really focus on making sure my breathing was even and I didn’t get out of breath at any time.  My biggest problem with breathing is that I turn my head too far out of the water, so I lose a little time with every breath.  Since I breath every third stroke, this adds up.  I’ve gotten a lot better this season, but it’s something I need to continue to improve.  I also wanted to do some sighting drills to prepare for the race and to test out my plan to sight every 6 strokes.  What I came up with was this:

Warm-up:

200yd Freestyle

Main Set:

2 x 200yd Freestyle with fins (0:15 RI)

2 x 200yd Freestyle with pull buoy (0:15 RI)

8 x 50yd (2 x (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breastroke, Freestyle)) (0:15 RI)

4 x 100yd (2 x Sighting every 6th stroke) (0:15 RI)

Cool Down:

200yd Freestyle SLOW

You can probably tell that I LOVE swimming other strokes.  In high school, I swam butterfly and the 500m freestyle.  Part of the reason I first decided to compete in triathlon was that I missed swimming competitively, but I didn’t really know how to get back into it.  Now, I’m obsessed with triathlon and I’ve gotten this crazy idea in my head.

I want to do a half-Ironman. Next year.

Crazy, right?  I haven’t even gotten through the Sprint this weekend or the Oly this fall and I’m already thinking about the next big thing.  I won’t have to make a decision for awhile, but the idea is planted in my brain.  The distances are 1.2 mile (1.9 km) Swim, 56 mile (90 km) Bike, and 13.1  mile (21 km) Run.  I know I can do the swim distance, and I would choose one in the fall of 2010, which I think would give me plenty of time to double my current bike and run endurance.  Hmm..sounds feasible.  It would be a huge step and I’d really have to work hard to get to it, but I think I can do it.  I want to do it.

Eek!  It makes me all jittery to think about it!

Oh, and there’s 4 more days till the Sprint!

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Race Plan

Before I get into my race plan, my workout today was the usual full body weight training including tons of squats (jump squats and knee-up squats), followed by a 30 minute walk on the treadmill on a 5-8% incline (varied throughout the time).  I was supposed to run today, but my legs felt a little weak after lifting.  I think it was partly due to my brick yesterday.  Anyways, I thought it best to take it easy and walk instead of stressing them more right before a race.  Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, on to my race plan.  It’s probably more detailed than necessary for a Sprint race, but I want to get into the habit of planning out my week prior to races.  I think it’ll be helpful with my confidence and mental status in the week of the race.

Tuesday

I will do a light swimming workout, doing about 60 minutes of short sets.  I will focus on breathing and practice sighting on the end of the pool.  My goal with this workout is simply to get into the water and build confidence, there is no need to push myself.  I will make sure that I have two pairs of goggles that are properly adjusted during this swim.

Wednesday

After work, I will go to weight training and go light on legs.  I should be able to do a normal arm workout as I will recover in plenty of time for Saturday.  After weight training, I will go for a one hour bike ride but stay in Zones 1/2 and include a few accelerations in Zone 4/5a.  My focus will be continued confidence with clipping in and out of the pedals.

Thursday

I am taking the day completely off from exercise.  I will use the time I would normal spend working out relaxing and preparing mentally for my race.  Thursday night I will pack all my race gear and things for the rest of the weekend.  I will put my bike on my car if it is not raining.

Race Packing List:

  • 2 pairs goggles
  • extra swim cap
  • bathing suit
  • wetsuit
  • heart rate monitor/watch
  • water bottles
  • sports drink
  • energy bar
  • helmet
  • cycling shoes
  • tire pump
  • bike
  • cycling shorts, and gloves (probably won’t wear, but bringing in case)
  • socks
  • running shoes
  • jersey
  • shorts
  • sunglasses
  • anything else?

Friday

I will leave work early (around 3PM) to drive down to the race site.  If I make it in time, I will check-in and pick up my packet.  If I don’t, I’ll just do it on Saturday morning, there will be plenty of time.  After arriving, I will take a quick 15 minute run and a short 30 minute bike ride, which is also what I will do to warm-up on Saturday morning.  I plan to be asleep by 10:00PM.

Saturday

I will wake-up at 6:00 AM and eat my usual breakfast of a bowl of oatmeal and a banana.  Then I will take a quick shower (Side note-I know it’s weird to shower before a race, but it helps me focus and prepare mentally for the day) and get ready.  I will wear my bathing suit as my bottom layer.  There is supposed to be a high of 74°F, which should be perfect.  I’ll bring some extra layers in case it gets cold or is raining (40% chance) though.  At 7:00 AM I’ll head over to the race site and pick up my packet that I probably missed out on getting on Friday night and find out what wave I am in.  I’ll set up my transition area and eat a nutrition bar and sip water throughout the morning.  I’ll rack my bike and attach my race number to my bike, helmet, and shirt, then head over for body marking.  At 8:00 AM, I’ll do a warm-up of 15 minutes running and 30 minutes biking.  I’m not sure I’ll get in the whole warm-up, but I’m going to try.  I do not plan to swim in the morning unless the water temperature is above 70, which I do not expect.  At 8:45 AM is a mandatory race meeting, so I’m probably going to have some downtime between my warm-up and race start.

When my wave starts, I will line up near the front, but towards the outside.  Once I am in the water, if I am able to make some gains on the leaders, I’ll move toward the inside and sight on the buoys every sixth stroke.  I plan to go out strong and keep an even pace through the whole swim.  I expect to stay toward the front of my wave for the swim and exit the water early.  As soon as I am on dry land, I will undo the velcro and zipper on my wetsuit and pull off the top half.  Then I will remove my cap and goggles on the way to my transition area.  Once in transition, I’ll take the bottom half off and put on shorts and my shirt with my race number pinned on.  Then I’ll put on my shoes (no socks), helmet and sunglasses.  Finally, I’ll take my bike off the rack and run to the mount line.

The bike begins with a short up-hill stretch, so I must make sure to clip-in as soon as possible for maximum efficiency.  After the initial climb, the bike portion levels out for a mile or two, so I will pace myself in anticipation of the climbing later on.  Throughout the bike, I will sip on a sports drink and if I need more food, I’ll eat a nutrition bar.  For the last 2 miles of the cycling course, I will increase my cadence to 90+ rpm to prepare for the run.  I will also try to keep my heartrate low for this last bike portion, and slow my respiration so I am not out of breath starting the run.  When I reach the dismount line, I’ll run my bike to my transition area, rack it and remove my helmet.  Then I will change my shoes and put on socks and running shoes.  I’ll run out of the transition area, and settle into a 10 minute mile pace.  After the first half of the run, I will pick up the pace to 9:30 by increasing my cadence.  At each of the aid stations I’ll drink water.  When the finish line is in sight, I’ll pick up the pace with as much strength as I have left to finish strong!

I’m going to try and stick to my plan as much as possible for these next days and into race day.  I’m hoping for a stellar performance on Saturday and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

5 more days.

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BRICK

It was way too hot today for April!  It got up above 90°F and was sunny all day, so I waited till almost 7 before doing my brick.  I set up my shoes for running so I could “transition” on the front porch.  I rode about 14.2 miles in 1:01, but I think I went out too hard on the first half because I really had to work to keep up the pace on the second leg.  I felt a lot more comfortable riding today than I have before.  I’m really getting the hang of the cycling shoes and clipping out.  Clipping in is lagging a little bit, but I’m sure I’ll have it mastered soon.  I’m definitely more efficient with the clipless pedals, even if sometimes I still forget that I should pull up and push.  I think my heart rate was too high when I got off the bike, so I’m going to need to remember to spin a bit more and try and get it down during the race.  My transition was quick – definitely under 2 minutes, but all I did was take my helmet, gloves and shoes off and put on socks and running shoes.

I had a hard time starting out on the run, it was uphill and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.  My legs were okay though, which is good.  I didn’t have too much of the “jelly-legs” sensation.  Once I got into a rhythm I picked up the pace a bit and ran for 3.1 miles.  The whole workout was about 1:40.  Most importantly, after this workout I still feel quite confident about my performance next weekend.  I know that I can run the whole distance on tired legs, which is one thing that I was a little worried about.  I am ready!  I just keep repeating that to myself over and over.  I am ready.  I’m working on putting together my final race plan for the rest of the week and race day preparation, so look out for that tomorrow.

6 days left.

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Resting

My parents, Curtis and I went and tasted food for the wedding today, so we spent about 4 hours driving back and forth (the wedding is 2 hours away from home).  We tasted a lot of food, now we just have to make our final decisions on our menu.  Eeek, the wedding is only 7 weeks away!  🙂  Anyways, I had a brick planned for today, but I’ve decided to take it easy and do it tomorrow.  After I looked at my training plan for this week I realized I had biking planned for tomorrow anyways, so I just figured I’d do the longer ride (1:30) tomorrow followed by a 3 mile run.  I’m going to need to do it either early tomorrow morning or after it cools off in the evening because it’s supposed to be HOT tomorrow- the forecast says 91°F (44°C).

I’m straying away from my normal “exercise-focused” post today to talk about my nutrition.  I think I’m stuck in a rut with my nutrition.  I usually eat about 2400 calories a day, which I think is about right for me but I’m not really sure whether my diet is properly proportioned between protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  I’m not trying to lose weight, just be healthy and stay fit.  My typical day consists of several small meals (more like snacks) during the day and then a slightly larger dinner.  I’ve tried to put together a typical day of eating for me.

7:00 AM 8oz 100% Cranberry Juice, no sugar added

8:00 AM Green tea, 1-2 hard boiled eggs

10:00 AM Rolled oats with 2 tbs flax meal and sometimes a mashed banana

12:00 Noon Salad for lunch (spinach, romaine, mixed greens, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled chicken, red pepper strips, black olives, feta, dried cranberries, and lite olive oil vinaigrette)

2:00 PM Part skim string cheese

3:30 PM Luna Bar

7:30 PM Dinner – usually some type of lean protein, vegetable, and a whole grain carb
Lately, I’ve also been adding smoothies (fruit, juice, and Greek yogurt) after my workout and before dinner or for breakfast instead of the eggs.  I don’t really plan out my meals for the day, though.  It’s nearly always a haphazard collection of whatever I happen to have at the time.  I feel like I might not be doing very well as far as maintaining a ratio of different food types, but I’m not really sure what I should be doing.  Does anyone have any good resources for nutrition? There was a section in The Woman Triathlete on nutrition that I need to re-read and see if it’s helpful.  Maybe I should devote some time to tracking what I eat as far as macronutrients go.  I’ve used The Daily Plate application for my iPhone to track calories, but it doesn’t do a great job of tracking other values.  I’d love to hear some suggestions if you’ve got them!

By the way, I’ve got only 7 days left before my next tri!

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I still got it

YEAH!  I had an awesome swim workout today.  I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been unimpressed with the workouts in the training plan.  Earlier this season, I had been using http://www.swimplan.com to generate swim workouts for me.  It’s really great because it’s free and you can customize the plan based on what strokes you want to swim and what equipment you have.  I chose to do an old workout that I generated back in February because it had a 1500 yard set.  I also wore my wetsuit again today, and got even more funny looks than last time!  I felt awesome in the water- fast, smooth, and strong.  I’m only giving some of the credit to the extra buoyancy from my wetsuit. 🙂  The full workout was 3200 yards in under 60 minutes…

Warm-up

8 x 50 yard Freestyle swim, 0:15 Rest Interval (RI)

4 x 50 yard Choice (50yd one-arm Butterfly, 50yd Backstroke, 50yd Breastroke, 50yd Freestyle), 0:15 RI

Build-up (Repeat 6 times)

1 x 50 yard Single Arm Freestyle (6 x left, 6 x right, 6 full stroke), 0:10 RI

1 x 50 yard Streamline Kick, 0:10 RI

Core

1 x 1500 yard Freestyle swim, target time 28:30, 0:60 RI

6 x 50 yard Any stroke (50yd one-arm Butterfly, 50yd Backstroke, 50yd Breastroke, 50yd Freestyle,  50yd one-arm Butterfly, 50yd Backstroke), 0:10 RI

Cool Down

4 x 50 yard Easy Any stroke (50yd Breastroke, 3 x 50yd Freestyle), 0:15 RI

I decided to time myself on the 1500yd so that I would have an idea of what to expect for next weekend.  I checked the split for my first 750yd and it was 11:11:16, wow!  That’s a little faster than 1:30 per 100yds.  My second 750yds was even faster- 10:27:66, which is 1:24 per 100yds.  My total time (if you’re keeping track) was 21:28:82 for the 1500yds.  The thing of it is, I knew from the moment I started my workout that I was going to have a killer day.  I don’t know what it was, but today was my day for swimming.  Next Saturday, I’m going to own the swim.

8 more days.

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Short Run

I went for a run today with the dog and she had to stop about 7 times, and we got stopped at about every light.  So, it wasn’t a constant run, but it’s probably a good thing that I took it easy today.  My legs are really sore- both my hamstrings and my calves.  We did about 3.5 miles in 45 minutes, the last 5 was walking.  Nothing too exciting.  I promise I’ll write a better post tomorrow.

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Yet another WINDY April day

And now for my regularly scheduled post…

I left work fairly early today, around 4:15 and decided to rush home and go for a bike ride outside before weight training.  I was supposed to ride for a full hour, but only got in about 40 minutes.  Overall the ride was decent, it was pretty windy (15mph average with gusts up to 28 mph) on the return trip, but the ride out had a nice tail wind to give me a little extra speed.  Oh!  I almost forgot, this was my first time riding on the trail with my cycling shoes and pedals!  I was extra-cautious because there are a number of places where the trail crosses roads and I didn’t want to get stuck and fall.  I’m still getting used to balancing when I’m trying to unclip and stop at the same time, so for now I’ve been unclipping VERY early.  The only time I had any real trouble was on the way back home, I got stuck at an intersection and unclipped both feet so that I could reach the crosswalk button.  The “WALK” symbol lit almost immediately and I was going to cross, but I couldn’t get my feet clipped back in!  I ended up hopping off my bike and walking across instead of risking falling in the middle of the road.  Luckily the traffic will be extremely light or non-existant during the tri, so no need to worry about stopping during the race.  As long as I make it through the transitions, I’ll be ok.  Otherwise, riding clipless today was awesome!  I am really making an effort to keep my pedal strokes as smooth as possible to be efficient and “pull up” as well as pushing.  I can tell a big difference on how quickly my climbs went today.  I think once I get a bit more comfortable and some more practice I’m going to see some pretty good gains.  Now, I just wish I had a trainer so I could do some drills!  Adding it to my tri-gear wish list!  (I may have to add a whole page dedicated to my “wants”).

After my ride, I headed over to the gym for my weight training.  I was a little late, so I missed a core set of V-ups.  I’ll have to make it up by doing some more ab work tomorrow.  The rest of the workout was:

Core (2 sets):

While doing a side plank, lower and raise your hips throughout the set.

Leg circles

Main sets (2 sets of each):

Inclined sit-ups with a twist

Reverse row with a bungee

Dead lift + upright row

Rotator cuffs while standing on the bosu ball

Bench dips

Shoulder press

Row with bungee

One-armed row

Arnold press

Wide-grip pull-down

Legs (1 set after 2 of Main)

3 sets of jump lunges

1 set of pump lunges

2 sets of bench lunges

3 sets reverse lunges (half on right leg, half on left leg)

That’s all for today.  Tomorrow’s going to be a running outside day (hopefully).  The weather should be nice and mostly sunny with a high of 63° F.  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous! And hot – mid 80s.  I’m looking forward to my brick on Saturday.

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Bonus Post : Goal Setting

With only a week and a half before my sprint tri, I figured it was about time to sit down and figure out some goals for the race.  (This probably should have been the first step in  my training, but better late than never!)  As we’ve probably all heard before, goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  For my first triathlon in 2006, my goal was simply to finish on my own two feet.  Now, as my fitness has improved tremendously, I am ready to be quite a bit more ambitious in my goal setting.

Goal 1: Beat my 2006 time of 2:07:40

This goal is clearly specific; a vague goal would have been something like “do a triathlon some time”.  It’s measurable- either I finish faster than 2:07:40 or I don’t.  I’m certain that it is attainable, I’m more fit than I ever have been and I have no doubt that I can beat this time.  Along the same lines, it’s a realistic goal and definitely not outside of my ability.  Even though I didn’t record it, per se.  This has been my goal since I signed up to race the sprint again, so I think my whole training this season has really been working toward this, making it timely.

Goal 2: Finish in under 1:40

I’ve done some (not so) complex math to determine my times in each event and then figure out the goal.  So my sub-goals are to complete the swim in under 15 minutes, which would be a 2 minute improvement over my last effort.  I’m not so sure about meeting this goal as I don’t think my swimming speed has really improved all that much, but I’m hoping the new wetsuit will help a bit.  For the bike, I’m hoping to average about 15.5 mph even with the climbing.  This will give me a bike split of 48 minutes, but I’m actually hoping to do a bit better than that.  Unfortunately, I forgot to record the time for the course when we biked it over Easter weekend, so while I think this is attainable and realistic, it’s possible I’m a little off.  I’m aiming to do the run in 30 minutes.  If I keep my legs moving, I’m positive I can do this.  Last time, I walked a fair amount of the running leg, but I will run the whole thing this time.  I know I can.  Finally, I’m aiming to keep my transitions under 3 minutes.  I haven’t practiced them much, so I don’t really have a time to use for comparison.  I switched my swim day to Friday,  so I can practice my swim to bike transition at the pool.  People are probably going to think I’m crazy as I change from my wetsuit to cycling gear as fast as possible at pool edge.  Maybe I am a little crazy!

Goal 3: Place in the top 30% of women

I decided not to aim for an age group placement in this race after looking at some of the times for the past few years.  It looks like my age group has consistently placed high and fast in overall rankings, and I want this goal to be attainable.  Maybe next year I’ll aim for a podium finish in my race age.  Of course, I age up next year so it’s a whole new can of worms.

I think these are pretty good goals at this point in the season.  Let’s see how I do.  What are your race goals?

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