Monthly Archives: January 2017

Triathlon Training Log – Week 4 (Jan. 22)

To sum up this week in one photo:

My secret cold-fighting weapon. Guess it’s not a secret anymore, though …

It seemed like everyone was sick this week, and unfortunately, I succumbed to the congestion and coughing for a few days. Toward the end of the week, I was on the mend, but relapsed today and cut short my scheduled long run.

General training notes: as week four of structured training, this span served as a recovery week, and it was perfectly timed. Thanks to a nor’easter and a head cold, my workouts were affected a bit. Granted, almost everything got done (we missed an Achilles run due to the weather), but I was feeling only 75-80 percent throughout the week.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

I kicked off Monday with our normal technique-based ride. My coach also announced we’re power testing next week, and I’m strangely excited—probably because it’s been one year since I’ve done a proper test. Bring on the pain!

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Due to the nor’easter, I opted to ride indoors. This session contained three, 10-minute blocks filled with threshold and VO2 max efforts, plus a five-minute FTP block at the end. On Tuesday evenings, I normally run with Achilles, but my bud and I decided to skip it since it was still raining and pretty windy. (He’s visually impaired so any type of precipitation is a factor.)

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

This freestyle-focused swim contained a lot of cruise and build efforts, and I’m really excited I can finally tap in to distinct speeds in the water. I logged slightly less than 3,000m before heading to work.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

Wow, lots of time in the saddle this week. We repeated the ride we did last Thursday that centered on cadence. Since I didn’t run at all on Tuesday, I was itching to lace up so I logged four easy miles in the park after work.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Why I swim with a masters team: I can lead my lane during freestyle practices, but I bring up the rear during IM sessions—and that’s very humbling and motivating. Our “normal” lanes saw some changes again, and a few folks who swim in the fast lane joined my medium-speed lane. Per usual, I took my place in the caboose and hung on for dear life, but I executed the workout as prescribed (i.e. not reverting to freestyle) and did not get lapped. Both I consider huge wins, ha.

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I met up with my Achilles bud for one loop of the park in the morning and managed to survive distance-freestyle day in the pool.

Sunday – a.m. run

I planned to do eight miles today, but since I was coughing and congested, I shut it down after five. Womp, womp.  A super early bedtime is in order tonight.

How do you decide if you should work out when you’re sick?

My 2017 Triathlon Life: Race Schedule

The time has arrived: let’s talk about the 2017 triathlon racing season.

The 2016 campaign seems like another lifetime, and although I thoroughly enjoyed the off-season, I’m ready to start laying the groundwork for a successful 2017. Overall, I made a lot of progress during the 2016 season—it was my first year training with a coach instead of putting together my own “piecemeal” plan—and I’m excited to continue this journey: growing, maturing, and becoming a better endurance athlete.

Favorite time, favorite place: dawn patrol in Central Park

As my fifth official tri season (wow!), this year will center on expanding my endurance portfolio. Multisport has become my lifestyle, and I love being a student of the sport; continuing to learn, grow, and challenge myself will be the overarching objectives this year. Therefore, in addition to a handful of “normal” Olympic-distance races, we’ll do events that take me outside my comfort zone—like swim meets and stage races.

My long-term triathlon goals have also prompted the diversification of my endurance portfolio, mainly because long-course events, specifically a 70.3 (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run) now seem feasible. I’ve been around the sport for a good amount of time, and I’ve also seen and trained with friends who have tackled this distance; this experience has demystified the distance, and it has also showed me what is necessary to string together a solid outing. My mindset has gone from ‘someday, a long time from now’ to ‘maybe in a few years’ to ‘I want to do it.’

cRUNch, cRUNch

With this in mind, the primary focus of the 2017 season will be building a base for making the jump to long-course racing—specifically racing a 70.3—in 2018.

New England Short-Course Meters Championships

Boston, MA

March 17-19

Can’t stop, won’t stop: swim meet number three is going down in March.  The New England Short-Course Yards Championship draws tons of regional teams and promises solid competition.  Not that I’ll be “competing” against anyone else.  My only goals are to further expand my race experience portfolio and have fun.  Hopefully I can string together decent swims, and since my masters team goes every year, I know we’ll have a blast. When registration opens, I’ll sign up for all the freestyle events (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free), plus the 100 IM. My masters team will race relays, so I’ll probably end up swimming the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay, and/or 400 free relay. And yes, I know this is an aggressive schedule for three days, but it’s all about gaining experience.

Queens Marathon

Queens, NY

March 26

For the past month or so, I’ve been guiding with Achilles, and for the most part, I’ve been running with the same athlete. He was the second person I was paired with, and we hit it off. He’s also a triathlele, and we have a lot of mutual friends in the community. Because of this connection, during our third or fourth time running together, he asked me to guide him for the Queens Marathon.

I have never run a marathon—but this is not about me.

My coach and I have talked about it, and I’m taking the necessary measures to prepare myself for tackling 26.2 miles. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you’ve seen my long run increasing throughout the past few weeks as well as my weekly mileage. While covering the distance will be a mental challenge for me, I am also cognizant of the time on my feet. Thus far, it looks like our target marathon pace will be about a minute slower than what would be “my” projected marathon pace so muscle fatigue will be an issue for me once we get to the later miles.

All in all, I’m very excited and humbled by this opportunity. My triathlon racing season doesn’t start until June, so the timing of this race works. I’m looking forward to experiencing a race from a new perspective, and this will be an extremely memorable way to complete my first 26.2 miler. (Did I just say first?) I never thought 2017 would be the year of the marathon, but it’s happening!

Seneca7

Making the rounds through my old stomping grounds

Geneva, NY

April 30

Worlds will collide again this year when my NYC runner friends and I make the five-hour drive to the Finger Lakes.  The core of last year’s team will return, but there are a few of us who will be running this day-long relay for the first time.  And since I’m not starting a new job, we’ll spend Sunday night in Geneva after the race instead of driving back immediately after finishing. Like last year, I plan to view my three legs as workouts and use each as an opportunity to execute a slightly faster pace than what I hit running off the bike.

Rev3 Quassy

Middlebury, CT

June 3

This is one course I can’t seem to crack, so why on earth am I going back?  Well, for that exact reason:  I have unfinished business.  A few years ago, I had a disastrous race at Pat Griskus, and although I tapered expectations for last year’s Rev3 Quassy, it was still a mentally tough day for a variety of reasons.  I’m hoping actually riding outside (woohoo for health insurance) before race day will solve those problems.  In all seriousness, though, this race will be increasingly important this year, even just from a confidence building perspective.  Quassy is hilly and technical course, much like the 70.3 I’m eying for 2018.  With Earl in charge of the training, I have full confidence we’ll be physically ready for a good day, and I feel like my mentally game has improved leaps and bounds.

HITS Hudson Valley

Hardware for all!

Kingston, NY

July 8

Aside from the training weekend in Lake Placid, my weekend “Upstate” was the highlight of the 2016 racing season.  The fact that it was a good outing was a pleasant surprise. I always want to do well at races, but this event has been about executing across the disciplines—stringing together the best possible race on that day (and seeing where the cards fall in terms podium spots)—and then spending the rest of the weekend hanging out with friends.  It’s so important to strike that balance, and this race weekend always makes me feel grateful for the people this sport has brought into my life.

New York City Triathlon

July 16

My experience volunteering for CAF at this race last year was ultimately the catalyst for me getting involved with Achilles, and this time around, I plan to participate in the race as a guide.  My role will be similar to what I do during the Queens Marathon–I will be with an athlete every step of the way–but I have not solidifying who I will be guiding yet.  Not to worry, though, as this will fall into place as the race approaches.

Cazenovia Triathlon

Chasing that first-out-of-the-water feeling

Cazenovia, NY

August 27

The first multisport event I completed, the Caz Tri holds a special place in my heart. In past years, this race has served as a capstone to my season: typically, I’d have a humbling experience at Nationals and return home with my competitive fire burning and crank out one last solid outing before heading into the off-season. Although this race will be my final triathlon of the season, it will more accurately mark a turning point in my training progression as I shift from a swim-bike-run focus to a swim-run mentality.

SwimRun VA

Richmond, VA

October 21

I am beyond pumped for this stage race!  Throughout the course of one day, my team—Two Stevens, because my training buddy’s first name is Steven, and that’s also my last name—will cover six swim legs totaling 3.3 miles and seven run legs totaling 14.95 miles for a total mileage of 18.32. This race will provide new challenges as far as training and racing go, but we’ll also need to iron out logistics and get comfortable with a few things—like running in wetsuits and swimming with in our running shoes.

It’s worth noting that for the first time in four years, I will not be going to Nationals.  Although I fully committed myself to the process, last year’s race itself left a lot to be desired from an experiential standpoint.  In turn, those feeling gave me pause to reflect: why has this event become a season staple?  Do I really want to go back to Omaha and do it again (even if parts of the course have been changed)?  How does it align with my goals as a triathlete? Also, I can usually swing one training trip and one “destination” race per year, and the Richmond SwimRun race simply made me so much more excited.

So that’s where we stand for 2017. I’m sure I’ll hop into a few road races throughout the year–and I will go to Lake Placid for a training camp–but these are the events we’re building my schedule and progression around.

Which event are you most exited for this year?

 

Triathlon Training Log – Week 3 (Jan. 16)

Did this short week seem long to anyone else?

All about that dawn patrol

General training notes: my body has finally acclimated to the 4:45 a.m. daily alarms, which means my super early bedtime is also being enforced. My swim and bike workouts felt great this week, but my legs felt less-than-fresh on the run. Tuesday’s outing was especially tough, and that prompted me to take a complete rest day on Saturday.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Thanks to the holiday, I slept in and took the 7 a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind instead of my normal 5:30 a.m. one. We repeated the same ride we’ve done the past two Mondays—lots of tech work with a few tempo blocks, plus four VO2 max blocks at the end. Coming off a 13.1-mile run, I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond to the harder efforts, but after some tough love from my coach, I hit them. “Don’t give up your strengths just because you’re going long.”

Tuesday – a.m. run

I kept this run super easy, but my legs felt the effects of Sunday’s long run and Monday’s CompuTrainer ride.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

The Russian coach subbed this workout, and we logged 3,000m of IM work.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This hour-long ride centered on tension and cadence work. After a longer warm-up, we tackled three builds that progressed from tempo to threshold to high threshold, and as the effort increased, our cadence decreased (which translated to adding more gear). Following a easy endurance block, we finished the workout with three VO2 max intervals.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Wowza, what a tough swim. A handful of young, fast dudes attended practice (as one of my training buds exclaimed, “who are these 12-year-olds?!”), which affected our normal lane assignments: some folks who normally swim in the fast lane were bumped down to my lane. It’s one thing to see those swimmers doing their thing in the lane next to you, but actually swimming with them? Yikes, they are fast. My goal was not to get lapped during this IM practice, and I was thankfully successful. It was a very humbling and motivating experience because I feel like my swim has come a long way, but then to see how the faster athletes swim … holy cow. After 70 minutes, my body was screaming, and I shut it down with 3,300m logged.

Saturday – off

I realized I haven’t had a rest day in a while and figured taking one would be a good idea.

Sunday – a.m. run

New PDR (personal distance record) alert: I ran 14 miles! There was a half-marathon in Central Park that my running buddy was doing, so we linked up, and I tacked on an extra mile after. All things considered, it went well—although I spent the rest of the day on the couch, ha.

How did your week of workouts go?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 2 (Jan. 9)

Winter came to New York City this week, and spring also paid us a visit on Wednesday.

As seen on Church of the Sunday Long Run

And the cold weather returned in time for today’s long run—woohoo!

General training notes: base building week two is in the books! I’m still getting used to the daily 4:45-5 a.m. alarms (it takes me about two weeks to fully get back on the bandwagon), but other than some sleepiness on Wednesday, I felt great this week. I logged one “quality” workout this week—Thursday’s CompuTrainer ride—and everything else was relatively easy.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We completed the same technique-based ride as last week: lots of cadence work with some tempo efforts, plus one build from threshold to VO2 max.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. run with Achilles

My running bud is finally back! We met for 5.5 miles in the park before work. That evening, I guided an Achilles athlete for a complete loop (six miles) in the park.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

During this freestyle-heavy practice, we completed a variety of descending blocks (50s, 75s, and 100s) for 3,450m total.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

The toughest ride of the week, this 60-minute workout contained a lot of quality efforts: we faced three, 10-minute blocks, and each contained various intervals at 85-90 percent of our FTP, 90 percent, 92-97 percent, 100-105 percent, and 105-115 percent.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Friday practices tend to be IM-focused (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle), and this one was no exception. Our main set included a 200 IM, plus drill work across the strokes for a total of 3,100m. The coach also gave me a slight, but big pointer for my backstroke (actual swimmers: I want not moving my shoulders enough/at all), and I immediately felt a difference in terms of speed and smoothness. The wannabe swimmer saga continues!

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy loop of Central Park guiding an Achilles athlete in the morning and a monster 4,300m freestyle swim with the Bearcats during the afternoon. Sportz Saturdays are my favorite!

Sunday – a.m. run

An easy two loops of the park plus one around the Reservoir for a total of 13.1 miles

Has the weather affected your workouts?

Reviewed: The 2016 Off-Season

The 2016 off-season has come and gone—and the 2017 is underway—so it’s a good time to recap the past three months and talk about where my training currently stands.

2017 looks pretty good so far.

After my final triathlon of the 2016 campaign in August, I had mixed feelings about shutting things down and heading into the off-season. Physically, I felt like I was only just starting to scratch the surface of months of concentrated work; as the season progressed, I felt stronger and more confident across the disciplines. Mentally, though, I needed a break. Between changing jobs and moving apartments, lots of life stuff happened aside from swimming, biking, and running. I absolutely love the multi-sport lifestyle, but I definitely needed time away from structured training. So as I eased into Sloth Week—the glorious seven days in which I did no physical activity—I told myself once I started up again, I would do whatever I wanted, only.

An epic, homemade, three-tiered snickerdoodle cake from the Bearcat masters holiday party

As I started sweating again, I did some swimming, running, and even some rowing, but absolutely no cycling. For more than three months—sixteen weeks to be exact—I avoided my bike. Honestly, I’m still shocked and surprised this happened, but after my final race of the season, my desire to ride vanished. Instead, I wanted to swim all the meters and run all the miles—and my coach was completely on board. So that’s what we did: logged laps in the pool at Baruch College with my Bearcat buds and ran miles in Central Park. I embraced this identity transformation, fell in love with the process, and found ultimately joy in the water and on the road. No longer did each session seem like something I “had” to do. Rather, each stroke, each footstrike became an opportunity to get the best out of myself. There’s no doubt spending time on my not-as-strong sports will prove beneficial, especially since my “A” race in 2017 is a swim-run stage event. (More on that later.)

Sidewalk wisdom

Spoiler alert:  I did reach the point where I wanted to get back on my bike. That was the plan all along—spend some time away so I’d feel fresh and rejuvenated when it came time to start smashing watts again. It worked because riding brings positivity again:  I love it, and I love being around my Tailwind peeps. We’re slowly ramping it up—cycling twice a week indoors—and I feel like my normal triathlete self. I’m also very at peace with how the off-season transpired. I did what I needed to do to put myself in a position to succeed—both during this season and beyond.

On the bike, I’ve noticed a shift in my mentality. Most of my riding thus far has been in zone two with the goal of building my base. Last year, those easy endurance miles were the bane of my existence. They made me ancy. Give me threshold, give me VO2 max, let me touch the fire and feel the burn. But today, I am perfectly fine with it. Like my swim and run workouts, I no longer view zone two as a place I “have” to spend time, but I want to. It is part of the process, and it completes the process.  Always trust the process.

My race schedule is almost solidified, and it looks a bit different from past years. Improving, maturing, and ultimately becoming faster are still goals, but another component we’re focusing on this year is further developing my race experience portfolio, leaving my comfort zone, and finding happiness in the process.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 1 (Jan. 2)

The first workweek and training week of 2017 is officially in the books!

Cold, snowy miles in the park. Hello, winter!

The office has been quiet the past few weeks, and fortunately, I’ve been able to make some progress on my long-term to-do list. I’m also back on the 4:45-5 a.m. alarms everyday, which means the season is underway. That has also meant I’ve needed an afternoon coffee three days this week, whoops.

General training notes: let the 2017 season begin! Like last week, I feel like a triathlete again because I did all three sports. (I even rode twice!) For the next four weeks, we’ll undergo phase one of base building on the bike while maintaining my current swim (three-ish days a week/9,000m) and run (four-ish days a week/30 miles) volume. I’m really excited for this upcoming season because it will see new challenges across the disciplines. (More on that later.)

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

No work meant I got to “sleep in” and take the 7 a.m. class instead of the usual 5:30 a.m. Since official training has started, we will be doing this skill-building ride every Monday for the next four weeks: thirty minutes of drills/tech work with some tempo efforts sprinkled in.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. run with Achilles

Double run days are my favorite. Two loops of the Reservoir before work and four miles guiding an Achilles athlete in the evening.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

So. Much. Kicking. After Tuesday’s high-for-me mileage day, my legs held up surprisingly well during our kick-heavy 3,750m practice.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Tension and pedal work was on tap. After a longer warm-up, we focused on tempo and threshold efforts in which cadence decreased as effort increased and finished up with a few sprints.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Even. More. Kicking. If my legs still work at the end of this week, then I will be shocked. We did a fair amount of IM work during this 3,700m practice as well.

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles

Five easy and snowy miles guiding one of my Achilles buds. We have some exciting race plans for 2017—can’t wait to share!

Sunday – a.m. run

Solo snowy long run: twelve miles in 17-degree weather. Even though I stayed in Central Park for two loops, I felt like I was at home in the tundra!

Do you enjoy running in the snow?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 17 (Dec. 26)

Happy 2017!

Watts up, 2017?!

Although I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions, I do find a sense of ambition, optimism, and opportunity with the start of a new year. That being said, we can make positive changes whenever we want; it shouldn’t be a decision solely relegated to a new 365-day cycle. For me, 2017 means it’s a officially a new triathlon season with structured training beginning on Jan. 2.

General training notes: lots of running, a fair amount of riding, and not enough swimming. My, how things changed this week! To be fair, the pool was operating on a holiday schedule (I swim at a college) so less time in the water led to more time in the park. Both my runs and rides are still easy; it’s all about building that base.

 Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. run with Achilles NYC

Kicked off the workweek with 5.5 easy miles through Central Park. That evening, I went to my second Achilles workout and guided a visually-impaired athlete through the park. We ran six miles and chatted the entire time.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

My final swim of 2016! During our 4000m practice, we focused on shifting speeds, and I was pleasantly surprised with my execution of 2×150 when we built by 50s. I was to tap in to three distinct efforts.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Seventy-five minutes in the saddle with a long warm-up and 6×3-minute builds from sweet spot to threshold. (Everyone else got to hang out at their VO2 max, but we’ll get there.)

Friday – p.m. run

It started snowing around 5 p.m., and I met up with one of my buds for an easy “yog” through the snow in Central Park.

Saturday – a.m. runs

Final run(s) of 2016: I ran eight miles solo through Central Park first, and then I met up with Achilles and guided an athlete for six miles.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Watts up, 2017? I kicked off the new year with a 70-minute resolution ride at Tailwind Endurance and “treated” myself to a sports massage after.

Do you make resolutions?