So. It’s been a few weeks since my last triathlon of the 2014 season, which has given me time to reflect on my training and performance and develop a game-plan for the off-season.
First, I owe a huge thanks to my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and basically everyone I’ve interacted with these past eight months. There’s no way I would’ve been successful without help. Syracuse Bicycle hooked me up with a sweet Slice, and the guys at Zen Bikes took care of me when it came to maintenance and random questions and concerns. The Tailwind Endurance coaches were instrumental to my improvement on the bike, and obviously my Full Throttle Endurance coaches and teammates motivated and pushed me too. My coworkers and friends were incredibly supportive, and my family was my rock. So thank you, thank you!
From left to right: Getting dialed in at Syracuse Bicycle; pushing all the watts at Tailwind Endurance; hamming it up for the camera with my coaches; trying not to cry after my Girls’ Club colleagues/friends made me a card and t-shirt before Nationals; running a 4th of July 5-K with my dad.
Anyway, let’s talk about what’s going to happen from now until official training starts up in January 2015.
Swimming will become my recovery workout of choice. I’ll still get in the water once or twice each week, but I’m not trying to make gains. My swim improved this season (#wannabeswimmer), so as long as I start 2015 at a better spot than 2014, then I’m OK with backing off the volume. And honestly, those training hours would be better spent on another discipline.
Biking will still be a top priority. It would be crazy to back off the bike now—I’m finally starting to find my cycling legs! Ideally, I’ll get in the saddle three times each week, and as the weather gets colder, I’ll become a regular at Tailwind again. I want more watts!
Strength training will happen on a regular basis. During the winter, I was diligent about strength training thanks to “optional” sessions after our indoor cycling workouts. As the season progressed, though, it became less of a priority; with only so many training hours, something had to give—and it couldn’t be swimming, biking, or running. Anyway, I plan to strength train and do corework at least twice each week. Both will help across the disciplines, especially the corework in terms of the bike.
Running will become a top priority. This requires some explanation.
Last off-season, I focused on the bike, which needed to happen, and I made some serious gains. Case in point: The bike was my weakest discipline at 2013 Nationals; this year, it was my strongest. And this was noticeable during all my races: I’d work the swim and rock the bike—and then try to hang on and not get run down.
During some races, this strategy worked: at SoBe and Stamford, I was able to hold off girls because of my swim-bike combo. However, when I looked at final run times, there was a lot of room for improvement. When I couldn’t run down the second-place female at Hopkins (who beat me by 30 seconds), this further proved my run needed some attention. And at Nationals, I put time into girls and came off the bike 23rd, which was where I needed to be. But then I got run down.
This was a frustrating fact to accept, and one of my first thoughts upon finishing the race was, “My run has to get better.” I needed this wake-up call. I absolutely love biking, and if I didn’t get run down at Nationals, then I would probably spent the off-season pushing all the watts.
But I got run down.
So this brings me to an important announcement: The man, the myth, the legend Coach Pat—who founded Educated Running—will be doing my run programming. He’s a legit runner (he WON the Bear Mountain Half-Marathon this year), he’s an experienced coach, and he isn’t too shabby as a triathlete either. Basically, this is what he does—and I have no idea what I’m doing. (Full disclosure: I’ve know and work with Pat in real life.)
Throwback to our days as models. Pat is on the right.
I’m not sure what is reasonable to expect in terms of progress during the next four months, but I do know it will be—well—four more months of specific, structured run training than I had last off-season. And I’m keeping the big picture in mind, too: This training block will set the tone for 2015—and beyond.
Bottom line, I’m super excited to start training with Coach Pat. Wait, I’m excited to run? Guess I’m making progress already.