Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Triathlon and Aging

I think all athletes like to feel like they have taken such great care of themselves that they are the exception to the aging process. True that being physically active can make you feel very young and fit but age catches up to everyone and trying to hold on to my athleticism while getting older is a tough thing to do. I think all my hard training in my 30s is really starting to catch up to me and now I physically can't do the training I used to just a couple years ago. I've stated before that actually participating in a tri is more important than winning and while I want to be physically active for the rest of my life I'm not sure I believe that. The truth is I love winning or placing near the top of most races, it brings an incredible sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that all the hard training was worth it. I'm not saying I won't be a competitive age grouper any more but I can definitely see how it is going to be very difficult to break some of the PR's I've set in the past.

I've been going through this pattern of having a good training week or two and then my body is so broken down that I need to have a week or two off. I'm so excited to be training again I think I immediately want to start two-a-days. It's not necessary right now and I can tell I'm suffering from the same thing Alberto Salazar went through, years and years of smashing yourself into the ground has led to adrenal fatigue and every time I try to up the intensity I get sick... Frustrating, yes but that doesn't mean I can't compete any more it's just that my method of peaking for a race is going to have to change. Amber is focusing on just getting a consistent base built for me right now and I know it's the right thing to do but very hard to hold back. There are plenty of days where I felt like I haven't done enough, however I know that I only need a solid 12 week build and I'll be ready. We are 18 weeks out so I still have a good 6 weeks of base building and then I'll move to 2 workouts a day with more intensity thrown in there.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back Into Some Consistency Again

I'm finally starting to get back into some consistent training once again, making sure that I keep everything slow and steady zone 2 efforts. I definitely don't want a repeat of last year and right now I'm feeling good about just being able to do regular daily workouts. I know I'm not in good shape right now but I'm learning that part of the ability of athletes who race year after year is going through a regular process of de-training and building slowly.

I'm in the build phase now and just to see where I'm at I did a little 30k TT on the trainer with fellow triathlete Steve yesterday. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and I managed to average 279W at a weight of 77kg giving me a 3.62W/kg starting point. The idea behind using W/kg allows all of us to compare 'relative fitness' because of course lighter athletes don't need to push the same wattage to maintain the same speed as heavier athletes. Also as I continue training I will hopefully see an increase in lean body weight and this will equal a higher W/kg number. My power might not change but if I'm losing body fat I should see a higher W/kg number and by definition a faster speed at the same level of power. This is the primary reason a training buddy (Robert) can go the same speed as I can at a much lower wattage. He is a 60kg athlete and he averaged 195W for the 30k TT; giving him a 3.25W/kg number a little lower than mine but he's also starting from 0 on the bike, he hasn't done any riding in months but it won't take him long to get back to 220W (giving him a 3.66W/kg number).

So if I continue the slow steady training I should remain injury free and as I build the distance my weight should slowly drop and lean muscle mass increase. I realize that there is a critical tipping point where my power will suffer if I try to get too lean and for me it seems to be between 73-75kgs (160-165lbs) my typical Ironman race weight is about 165lbs and my off season weight is about 175lbs. So I'll give myself a few months to get back into race shape and then start sharpening up with some interval sessions once the outdoor training begins. I've never prepared for a June Ironman before and it's going to be interesting to see if my body responds to the low-slow training the same way as it does to the hard-fast training I usually do as I prepare for IM CDA.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

The New Year is always a great time to reflect on the past year and see what went well and what you feel like you could have done better. It's also a great time to set some new year's goals and 2013 is no exception. Of any year I know this year is going to bring the most change to our lives, our baby boy is about a month from joining us and we're both really, really excited to have him in our modest little family. Amber is getting incredibly uncomfortable and is ready to be done with pregnancy, she's hurting all the time and he's starting to become very strong! Yes he has his daddy's genes so the hyperactivity has started already- he's going to need a lot of sports growing up.

As for me I think the biggest realization I had during 2012 was that I can't train the way I used to. Going hard all the time will work really well for a short period of time (2-5 years) but if I want to keep racing into my 40s then I need to have an off-season, a build, and a peak. So after recovering from an injury for 8 months I feel sufficiently 'de-trained' and I'm ready to start building again. The thing I'm realizing about me is that I have to be going full bore or nothing at all, so I'm trying to find that middle ground where I feel like I'm training enough but not so much that I'm doing damage. I started the year with an easy 50 minute run- in the past I would have felt like that isn't sufficient enough for Ironman training but part of the process is slowly building back while staying healthy and injury free. I just got over one of the worst flu's I've had in about 5 years during Christmas so I'm giving myself a little leeway to build slowly and keep everything in zone 2. A few of us had our VO2 max tested in December so I've nailed down my training zones and it's just a matter of staying in the 'base building' zone for a couple months while I create some endurance again.  

2013 is going to be challenging but my primary focus is on creating a great environment for our baby to grow up and secondary is Ironman Cour D'Alene and Ironman Calgary 70.3. If I can race well and stay injury free then this year will be a tremendous success. Fortunately I have my greatest supporter Amber to help me and we'll be there for each other just like we have been every other year.