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Sunday, September 28, 2008

2009 Planning - Periodization

I'm following Joe Friel's book "The Triathlete's Training Bible" to set up my training for 2009, and have come up with a big-picture look at my 2009 season.

These are his steps, and my planning decisions from them.

Step 1: Determine Season Goals

I have one goal: Finish Ironman Canada

I'm sure I'll find some other smaller goals before then, but everything I do this year will have that goal in mind.

Step 2: Establish Training Objectives

My limiters to meeting the goal of finishing Ironman are endurance and finding the time to train.

So my training objectives come down to being able to get those long runs, bikes and swims into my weekly schedule.

Step 3: Set Annual Training Hours

I haven't thought this part out fully, I will get more in depth here when I start laying out my weeks.

Step 4: Prioritize Races

The goal here is to assign a priority to the races you're planning - A, B, or C.

Peterborough 1/2 Iron (July)
Muskoka long-course (June) (switched)

Around the Bay 30K run (March)
Paris to Ancaster 60K Mountain Bike (April)
Ironman Canada (August)

Sporting Life 10K or 1/2 marathon (May)
Sprint Triathlon in late May or early June
Sprint or Olylmpic Triathlon in late July / Early August

Step 5: Divide Year into Periods

Each week of the year falls into one of 6 periods that lead up to a race... so this is my plan based on the races I've identified as my "A" races. The date is the Monday of the week.

(Note - I updated these in this post in December... so ignore the below)
  • Transition - 8 weeks - Oct 20 - Dec 8
  • Preparation - 6 weeks - Dec 15 - Jan 19
  • Base (1, 2, 3) - 12 weeks - Jan 26 - Apr 13
  • Build (1,2) - 8 weeks - Apr 20 - June 8
  • Peak - 2 weeks - June 15 - June 22
  • Race - 1 week - June 29 (Peterborough 1/2 Iron)
  • Transition - 1 week - July 6
  • Base (3) - 4 weeks - July 13 - July 27
  • Peak - 2 weeks - Aug 10 - Aug 17
  • Race - 1 week - Aug 24 (Ironman Canada)
  • Transition - August 31 - ???
This ends up being a 36-week plan (from first Preparation phase to final Race)

Step 6: Assign Weekly Hours

I haven't done this yet... no rush, I have a few months before the structured training starts.

Comments and Feedback is appreciated!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Training While Sick

I've been sick for the last few days, which has caused a bit of grief in my training schedule.

My original long run (LSD) plan:

Week 7: 29K run (last weekend)
Week 8: 32K run
Week 9: 20K run (taper start)
Week 10: 13-15K run
Week 11: Toronto Marathon, 42.2K

I missed the 29K - I was just feeling too lousy, so I backed off to a quick 10k instead, and followed it up with a 15K Monday.

Question 1: Do I try to make up the missed long run? Or skip it?

Answer: Skip it. Based on all that I've read and the advice of those more experienced than myself, making up missed runs is a bad idea. I'm not at 100% yet after being sick, and that would give me a short 5 day recovery before the scheduled 32K run.

Question 2: Now that I've skipped the 29K, do I do next week's 32K as planned?

Answer: No.

My longest run before this was 26K... going straight to 32K is a big jump, violates the "10% rule" and then some. So I've decided to knock that down to a 30K. The extra 2K isn't really worth any risk of injury. I would have liked to have got to 32K, but it's not going to make or break my marathon. And I have a solid endurance base from all the cycling this summer, including the 5+ hour effort for the century ride, so I'm far more concerned in just getting those running muscles clicking.

Revised schedule:
Week 7: 10K + 15K while sick, resting
Week 8: 30K run
Week 9: 24K run (taper start)
Week 10: 13-15K run
Week 11: Toronto Marathon, 42.2K

Lessons Learned from Being Sick

This was just a cold - sniffles and a raspy sounding cough. My lungs weren't completely clear, but it didn't impact my breathing too badly. The biggest symptom was lethargy, I felt bagged all day.

I was able to run, but I could feel my energy was much lower than usual. I kept the runs short but tried to maintain the intensity, and skipped my long run.

If it weren't such a key time in my marathon training, I would have probably backed off even further and skipped some of those runs... I don't think it pays to push it, better to recover as quickly as possible by resting to be fresh for the next training sessions.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ride Report: Tour de Greenbelt (Rouge Park)

The Event

The Tour de Greenbelt. This is a series of recreational rides in the Toronto area. We did the Rouge Park ride, a 25K ride starting and finishing at the Toronto Zoo.

Great work, Kacey!

My 4-year-old daughter Kacey and I did this ride together, she was on the trail-behind bike (it has its own set of pedals, but latches to my bike seatpost).

She rode like a champ! Kept us moving really fast.

The ride

This was more of a "tour" than anything. The cyclists involved were largely environmentalist types and city riders, not many roadies. When there are 4 rest stops on a 25K route, you should really expect that I guess!

It's my off-season now, so I didn't have any goals here, other than to have fun with my daughter.

Mission: Accomplished! She had fun. We stopped for apples, ice cream, and just had a leisurely time.

The organization was a bit shaky... the rest stops were just being set up as we got there sometimes, and there was confusion where to go for things like the "free ice cream". Also getting back to the Zoo, it wasn't clear where we should go for the post-race lunch... we ended up just skipping it.

Oh, and I found it somewhat ironic that the environmentalists who put this on served BOTTLED WATER! And we got the usual bag full of flyers. Not really consistent with the conservation theme... doesn't really bother me any, but always fun to point out the inconsistencies of others. ;)

Dalton McGuinty

The Ontario premier was there to kick it off. I guess he gets his due, since he really was the architect of the Green Belt. It's a great idea - set aside a large swath of land surrounding Toronto to remain undeveloped. He didn't speak for too long, just enough to get his soundbites in, so that was fine.

The Verdict

If you're looking to tour the Greenbelt's points of interests at a leisurely pace, then this is a good way to do it. But if you're looking to pound the pavement in a roadie-style group ride, skip this one.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Toronto Marathon - The Progress

Original Plan

Week 1: 16K run
Week 2: Sprint Triathlon (features a 7K run)
Week 3: 20K run
Week 4: 23K run
Week 5: 160K bike (Ride for Karen)
Week 6: 26K run
Week 7: 29K run
Week 8: 32K run
Week 9: 20K run (taper start)
Week 10: 13-15K run
Week 11: Toronto Marathon, 42.2K

I'm currently at week 7, and I've stuck to the plan exactly! Everything is feeling pretty good. As I said in my previous post, my stability muscles are getting fatigued earlier than the rest on my long runs, but it's OK. The walk breaks (10 and 1's) seem to help a lot.

This weekend will be a 29K run, which will take me around 3 hours to complete.

Marathon Pacing

Now I don't mind finishing behind Lance... he's Lance... but no way am I finishing behind Puff Daddy. It's bad enough I likely won't beat Will Ferrel!

2:46 - Lance Armstrong (does he count? He's a "real" athlete! )
3:04 - Dana Carvey
3:44 - George W. Bush
3:46 - Gordon Ramsey
3:56 - Will Ferrel
4:14 - Sean (Diddy) Combs
4:29 - Oprah
4:58 - Al Gore
5:29 - Katie Holmes
6:04 - David Lee Roth

I've gone back and forth with what my target time should be.

Based on the McMillian Running Calculator, using either my 1/4 or 1/2 marathon result, I should be able to run sub-4:00:00. Of course the calculator assumes you're as well trained for the full as you were for the 1/4 or 1/2, which I won't be...

The pace to run sub-4:00:00 is about 5:40/km.

Plug the 4:00:00 into the pace band tool that accounts for walk breaks and I get 5:27/km as the target pace for those kilometers that don't include a walk.

I ran 5:24/km average in my 1/2 marathon in February without walk breaks, so I'm familiar with the pace. It seemed pretty tough at the time, but I'm much better prepared and trained now, not to mention 10 pounds lighter.

So that's the plan. Sub-4:00:00, or bust. I'll listen to my body, I know it pretty well now, if it's telling me the pace is too fast I'll back off to a Plan B finishing time.

Look out, Diddy...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2009 Planning

I'm winding down the 2008 season with the Toronto Marathon in October, but with a goal as ambitious as Ironman for 2009 I will have to plan my next season sooner than normal.

Training Starts...

... January 1, 2009. This gives me around 2 months of rest/relaxation between the Toronto Marathon and the training grind for Ironman.

Training Plans

I'm still deciding which training plan to use, but I think I'll generally go with this 36-week training plan. It seems to match much of the common wisdom for the "novice" Ironman, ie. to build up over a longer period of time (36 weeks).

I'll also leverage the knowledge I've pulled in from other sources, mainly the book "Going Long" by Joe Friel. There is also a 20-week training plan aimed at beginners that I'm going to take into account.

36 weeks before August 2009 puts the start date for Ironman training somewhere in mid-December... I'll probably push that out until the start of January and shorten it to a 34 week plan, depending on how life goes around Christmas!

I'm going to merge all this into a formal detailed training plan over the next month or two.


This is a rough plan of what races I'd like to do.

The only "A" race is Ironman Canada, the rest are for experience, for fun, and for motivation.

March - Around the Bay 30K
April - Paris to Ancaster (Mountain Bike Race)
May - Sporting Life 10K or a 1/2 marathon
Late May - Sprint Triathlon
Mid-June - Muskoka (long course - Swim 2km, Bike 55km,Run 15km)
Early July - Peterborough 1/2 Iron
Late July/Early August - Sprint Triathlon
August 30, 2009 - Ironman Canada

Winter Training

My weakness is the swim, so over the winter that's my focus. I'm taking swim classes again, and will be spending a lot of time in the pool.

I'm hoping for a mild winter so I can get some outdoor bike miles in. Either way, I'll be making good use of my trainer. And I'll run through the winter again - I got through last year's record snowfall, I'll get through it again this year.

And Beyond...

I don't want to think too far ahead, but based on training plans and such the main goal is bike bike bike! That's basically what I've always done, so this should be just another season for me, only with more miles.

Can't wait!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Longest Run Ever

Ran my longest run ever, a 26K on Saturday.

Grocery Store Stop

I stopped at a grocery store along the way to buy some Gatorade. There were too ladies in front of me who were going so ridiculously slow... I was already 10K in, so I was sweaty and eager to get back out there.

So in line, I popped open the Gatorade and drank a bit. Then I figured hey, it's open, might as well refill my water bottle right here rather than wait. At this point, I notice the lady behind me staring at me, looking a bit moritified... I finish off the little bit that was left, put the cap back on the empty bottle, and put it back on the conveyor belt.

The cashier takes the empty bottle, scans it, then pauses... I think she was going to ask if I needed a bag, but realized that was a silly question. Instead she asks "do you need this?" and I say "no, you can throw it out"... I give her money and leave empty handed.


The Run

The rest of the run went fine, although I had some pain here and there pretty much start to finish. Nothing that got any worse, so I was able to finish the run.

It's clear that the muscles I use for cycling - quads and hamstrings - are fine, and my conditioning was fine. But the stability muscles on the inside and outside are behind... especially around my hip. They were the muscles that fatigued first. Not much I can do at this point, other than get in my miles and stretch them, but going forward it's something I will focus more on.

Next week: 29K, followed by 32K, then I back off for a few weeks until the 42.2K Toronto Marathon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ironman Canada 2009 - Here I come!

They released a few extra spots for Ironman Canada 2009 today...

I talked to my wife, got approval, and 10 minutes ago, I signed up.

I still can't believe I just did that... :)

I know I can bike 180k. I'm confident I can get through the marathon. And I know I can get the swimming there in time, I have almost a year to improve my technique and get the distance going.

It's going to be a wild journey over the next year, I can't wait.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ride Report: Ride for Karen (Century Ride)

The Event

Today I did the Ride for Karen, a 160K bike north of the GTA.

This is one of the best organized races/rides/events out there, they do a really awesome job. Sign-up is a breeze, they have well stocked rest stops, lots of support vehicles.

One of the cool things is the crowd... roadies, touring guys, and triathletes, they're all there to put in their 160k. I was a stealth triathlete... took off my aero bars. :) But if anyone asked I fess'ed up.

Rain rain, go away

The rain started about 2 blocks from the start... and didn't end until almost exactly when I finished. I don't mind biking in the rain, I was prepared, but over the course of 6 hours it starts to get on your nerves a little!

There are basically two options in dealing with rain:
1) Get wet or
2) Try not to get wet, then get wet anyway

I went with option 1, as did most of the others who lined up. A few people had rain jackets, but most didn't.

  • Cycling jersey
  • Cycling shorts
  • Cycling shoes
  • Arm warmers (no lining, just lycra to cover arms)
  • Leg warmers (again, no lining, just lycra to cover legs)
  • Thin socks that don't absorb much water
  • Cycling gloves
The arm and leg coverings are the only deviation from my usual cycling attire. If you're wet, the wind makes you cold, so protecting yourself from the wind is the big key. And not wearing anything that absorbs water.

The Ride

They start people by target average speed - 35km/h, 30km/h, or 25km/h.

I started in the middle of the 30km/h pack, but after the first steep hill I found myself near the front. Drafting in a bit peloton like that is really nice... sometimes you're not even pedaling, you just get sucked along by the pack.

I had this elaborate plan for how I was going to eat in the first 1/3, but it didn't happen... it's hard to eat when you're in a pack and only a foot or less away from the bike in front of you! I managed to get down a bottle of Gatorade and a bit of gel, but not much else. So much for 300 calories an hour... but I did scarf down a lot of food at the rest stops, so that kept my energy up anyway.

The highlight of my day was this one group I ended up riding with through the 20K or so flat section through Holland Marsh. This big German guy was pulling, I was right behind him, and I could barely keep up... we were absolutely flying. Our group started with about a dozen very capable riders, I looked back about 20 minutes later and there were only 4 of us! Felt great to be able to hang on where others couldn't.

I spent the last 1/3 of the ride mostly on my own. I was with a group at one point, but they weren't going fast enough, and didn't work together very well anyway. Two of us went off the front, nobody else had the legs to keep up, and then the guy I went with faded as well... so I just kept spinning and left them behind.

The Result

My final average speed was 30km/h on the nose - that had been my target, although I'd expected to do a lot less time solo than I ended up doing! Last year I was around 28km/h in the same ride. So I'm delighted!

I had energy and felt strong almost the entire ride, and finished feeling really good. I'm surprised this was the case, I didn't feel like I'd fueled as much as I could have.... but I guess stuffing myself at rest stops was enough juice to keep things moving.

The Bike

There's this saying, "it's not the bike, it's the engine". I ride an entry-level road bike, Trek 1200, aluminum with entry-level components (Tiagra/105). I spent most of my day riding with guys on some really sweet full carbon bikes, zipp wheels, the works... I left a few Cervelo Soloists in the dust. On the other side, there were guys hanging in there with old-school steel frames.

I'm sure I could have found a little more pace with a sweeter ride... but how much more? I'm not sure. It did make me realize that I can do well with this bike. Someday I'll upgrade, but it's not the priority I was making it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Century Ride Fueling

Here's a great article on fueling for long rides.

You can get carried away finding the "perfect" combination of food for your ride, but the guiding principle is to consume:
  • around 300 calories of carbs every hour (at least for a 180+ pound dude like me!)
  • enough fluids so you're not dehydrated
  • enough electrolytes (salt + potassium especially) that you don't cramp up
My foods of choice:

Cliff Bar = 230 calories, plus lots of other stuff
Gatorade Bottle = 100 calories
eLoad Bottle = 100 calories (+ more electrolytes than Gatorade)
Gel = 100 calories
Banana = 100 calories (potassium!)

The Ride for Karen has two rest stops with food, 55K and 115k. This will be around 2 & 4 hour mark in the 30km/h group that I was in last year. Basically breaks the ride into 3rds.

On the bike in the first 1/3 I'll have 2 bottles of Gatorade, 1 Gel, a Cliff Bar and a banana, which is around 600 calories. If it's hot I'll swap a Gatorade for eLoad, and will carry a couple eLoad packets for later.

From there on I'll play it by ear, fueling with whatever they have at the rest stops. It's mostly real food, which is a lot better than bars or gels... but I'll keep my gel flask full so I'm ready to top up if I find I'm low.

It sounds easy, but it can go bad in a hurry... the stomach gets awfully sick of sports drinks and gels in pretty short order, and your digestive system gets less bloodflow as your body decides your muscles need it more. It's really important to eat early and graze throughout, rather than pigging out only at rest stops.

And at the finish? A HUGE PIG-OUT!!! I'll eat anything they don't nail down...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Soreness: Two Days, 123K

The plan:

Saturday: 100K ride
Sunday: Easy swim
Monday: 23K LSD

The reality:

Saturday: 100K bike
Sunday: Easy swim... then 23K LSD

7 hours of training in 2 days??? Am I nuts?

The bike was fine, easy as pie. 100K has become fairly routine. A little over 4 hours.

The swim was fine (other than the wanker walking backwards in my lane that ran into me!).

The run... ohhh, the run.

It's funny how at the start of the run, it's hard to slow down to 6:00/km, but by the end it took everything I have to maintain 6:00/km. It just smoked me, the last 5K were tough. I had the food - started with Gatorade, refilled half-way, and had 5 gels on the route - but I was tapped. At the end of the run I was down 3-4 pounds from when I started... it was hot, I sweat way too much.

Two kinds of sore

I woke up Monday morning and everything hurt. My feet were a little sore, but my quads were on fire. In fact the entire day I've been sore.

Now there are really two kinds of sore.

Type 1: Oh crap what did I pull/mangle/tear/abuse
Type 2: Ow... my muscles...

Type 1 sucks. It has you questioning whether you'll be able to do your next race or training session... something might really be wrong, and worst of all, it could be something that requires rest. And who the hell wants to rest???

Type 2 rocks. It's a good sore. It's the kind of sore that reminds you you're alive. It's muscles feeling the pain of being pushed... the kind of sore that makes you better at what you do, and gets you closer to your goals.

This is all type 2. It's muscle pain, and I know it'll be better in a couple days. It feels great and painful at the same time... very satisfying.

Next up - 160K Ride for Karen, and hopefully more type 2 soreness! :) And in 2 weeks I graduate to a 26K LSD, which will be my longest ever run (beating a 24K from February). Can't wait!