Whoops—I’ve had this post drafted for months and failed to edit/publish in a timely manner. Can I still blame the NYC Marathon for stealing my life during the month of October? And seeing as my 2016 triathlon base building phrase begins—oh—tomorrow, the off-season has officially ended. Plus, I don’t have weekly training updates to report due to Sloth Week. Note to self: make sure Sloth Week always falls on Thanksgiving. Eating too much and doing nothing equals the ultimate recovery week!
After an eight-month triathlon campaign that contained its fair share of challenges—leaving my former team, mapping out my “piecemeal” training approach, and sustaining a bike crash—I craved a break following my final race in August. It was a long season, and I needed to back off the intensity and slowly become a real person again. But the “off season” is not the “soft season.” This period is a prime time to take a break from rigid swim/bike/run workouts, but I also used the past 14 weeks as an opportunity to address weaknesses and slowly lay the groundwork for 2016. In my most recent off-season post, I discussed my overall game plan for these three months. Here, I map out tangible goals … and review them since this post did not go live when it should have …
Crunching, er, crushing miles
What I wanted to happen: swim once per week for recovery/cross-training purposes and participate in my first swim meet
What actually happened: avoided the pool (I have not been in the water since Sept. 18) and started doing November Project workouts on Friday mornings instead
Just doing work with some November Project humans and Dean Karnazes
Soooo … whoops? I said the same thing last year too: ‘I will not avoid the pool for months on end,’ and look what happened. In my defense, though, I got the green light to forgo water time and try other off-season fun activities, specifically the bootcamp-style November Project workouts. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep doing these on Friday mornings during the season so I’ve been enjoying them while I can.
What I wanted to happen: ride once per week for recovery/cross-training purposes and occasionally ride outside
What actually happened: rode Wednesday mornings at Tailwind Endurance and dropped my FTP by 20 watts
Keeping my head up, though. Hello, One World Trade Center.
Since this off-season was all about the run, I was prepared to back off the bike. Full disclosure, I can be a stubborn athlete, so it was tough to admit my in-season FTP was not the same as my off-season one.
What I wanted to happen: run all the (injury-free) miles under Coach Pat’s direction and develop my mental game
Also survived a grand reopening party with about 100 of our closest friends
All in all, this off-season resulted in some solid running gains. Thanks to Coach Pat, we increased my weekly mileage, and as I ran more than ever before, I remained injury-free (aside from rolling my ankle during speedwork). During this block, running started to feel natural. In fact, I felt more “at home” running than biking, which is huge. I was also able to demystify the 10-13.1-mi. distance, and hopefully this translates to comfort (?) entering the paincave and running 6.2 miles off the bike.
Finally, as I mentioned in my previous post, my piecemeal training structure—swimming with the Bearcat masters, biking on the CompuTrainer at Tailwind Endurance, and running under the guidance of Coach Pat—will remain the same. However, I decided to hand over the reins to Earl Walton, founder and head coach of Tailwind Endurance. Even though I did an OK job overseeing everything last year, I’ve reached the point in my triathlon career where I need the guidance of a professional. Earl gave me a lot of input this past season—writing race simulation workouts, guiding me through taper weeks, and helping me get my head right after my bike crash—and this partnership is now official. Essentially, he will be functioning as my mayor, making sure we’re balancing the three disciplines, creating periodized workouts, and functioning as a sounding board/voice of reason when I get crazy ideas and/or freak out during taper weeks. We’ve already talked short- and long-term goals, and I feel very confident and motivated knowing I have an experienced captain guiding the ship. Plus, it was neat—and a little mind-blowing—to verbalize my triathlon goals for the next three, five, and 10 years.
Let the 2016 campaign begin!