Tag Archives: November Project

Reviewed: 2015 Triathlon Off-Season Goals – Part II

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

What actually happened: averaged 25-ish miles per week, read Running Within, and ran a mentally sound 13.67 miles at the Philadelphia Half


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!

Training Log – Weeks of Oct. 19 – Nov. 2 (Weeks 42-44)

I’m back! These past three weeks have been crazy, chaotic, and intense thanks to a 50,000-plus person race called the NYC Marathon. In total, we produced 34 events in 32 days, including 10 events during marathon week. This data, of course, does not include the “optional” parties our vendors threw at night after said events. Somehow on little sleep and three cups of coffee daily (I usually stick to two), I survived—and I somehow managed to log my workouts too. Since I have three weeks of training to talk about, I’ll employ a list-style recap.


Central Park fall bliss

Week of Oct. 19

Workouts logged: five

Total miles: 31.15


… that time we hosted a course preview, and more than 700 people came.

Key takeaways: Even though I’m riding only once each week, the bike is starting to feel more natural. Granted, I’m not making as many watts as a should be, but my cadence is on point. Thanks to a Thursday evening work event, I opted to sleep in and skip what has become my normal November Project workout. And I also chose more rest because I had back-to-back long runs on the docket: Saturday, we hosted our annual Last Ten Run, which takes runners through the final 10 miles of the NYC Marathon. So I ran that on Saturday and then did my official long run of 12 miles Sunday.

Week of Oct. 26

Workouts logged: five

Total miles: 13.86


Ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes showed up to a group run. Just another day.

Key takeaways: Thanks to events every night, I really cut myself some slack on the workout front. Everything got logged during the week, but the not-enough-sleep/extra booze combo did not lead to workouts that felt great. My total mileage was down because I did not complete a long run; usually, I run long on Sundays, but that simply was not happening with the marathon.

Week of Nov. 2

Workouts logged: six

Total miles: 26.42


Nothing but bliss

Whew, back to a normal workweek and normal workouts. It took me a few days to rest and catch up on sleep, but by Thursday, my runs felt a-OK again. Coach Pat has me tapering a bit for the Philly Half in a few weeks, so my long run was only eight miles. (Wow, does this mean I’m a runner now? Ha!) Everything clicked, and I hope things feel similar on race day.

How are things going with you—training, life, etc.?

Training Log – Weeks of Oct. 5 and 12 (Weeks 40 and 41)

Greetings! Despite not existing on social media for the past two weeks, I am in fact alive. There’s a race taking place here in a couple weeks—have you heard of the TCS NYC Marathon?—so we’re firing on all cylinders.


Marathon season has sprung!

No complaints, though. I’d rather be busy than bored.

General training notes: As I enter my busy season at work, training has become less of a priority, but everything is still getting done. Interestingly enough, running now feels more natural to me than biking. Wowza.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training

Steady five miler on the West Side Highway, plus some corework and upper-body strength training. That evening, we had a fun work event/full-fledged tech session with Nike, so I ran a little there too.


A fair amount of “hydrating” occurred

Wednesdaya.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance off

Full disclosure: after the previous night’s “workout,” a 5:30 a.m. CompuTrainer ride was not happening. Cheers to the off-season!

Thursday – a.m. run

I repeated last Thursday’s tempo run (10-minute warm-up with 10 minutes “on” and 10 minutes easy times five) and felt great.

Friday – a.m. November Project workout

Traveled to Queens for a jumping jack, pushup, and burpee-filled workout. As per usual, tt was tough, but this strength training stuff is exactly what I need to be doing during the off-season.

Saturday – a.m. run

Long, easy nine miler along the West Side Highway and through Central Park

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy four miler along the West Side Highway

Total miles: 25.12

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

Steady five miles along the West Side Highway

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

I am so out of cycling shape it isn’t funny. I did an Ironman taper workout with two Maryland-bound athletes and struggled to hit my endurance numbers. And my FTP efforts felt like VO2 max intervals. Honestly, it was frustrating, but the bike is not a priority now, and I’m confident I’m on the right path as far as allocating training time to the run.

Thursday – a.m. run

Guess what’s back: speedwork! I was kind of excited to take on Coach Pat’s 4x1000m workout—and it was brutal. For the most part, I’ve been running easy with one steady run, so I’ve “forgotten” what it’s like to push and go fast.

Friday – a.m. November Project workout

I road my road bike to the workout (sidebar: I forgot how much I love my roadie.), and we did a playing card workout. Red cards equated to crunches, and black ones meant pushups—and aces meant burpees. My group of five went through the 52 cards in 40 minutes or so.

Saturday – a.m. run and strength training

I wore my grassroots (November Project) gear during this four miler, and the highlight was easily when the fellow NP human yelled, “F%&$ YEAH!” as we passed each other.

Sunday – a.m. run

Amazingly blissful 10 miler on the West Side Highway and Central Park. This running stuff, guys—it’s pretty great.

Total miles: 25.68

I’m off the grid until Nov. 3, but tell me: how are things? How’s training going?

Training Log – Week of Sept. 28 (Week 39)

It’s tough to believe at this time last week, I arrived back in New York City from Colorado.


Not the mountains, but the park is pretty. And about that recap. It’s coming … ?

General training notes: Nothing too noteworthy to report. Running continues to feel better and better (shout out to Coach Pat!), and sadly, my “real person” playtime has ended as we enter the crazy, chaotic marathon season at work. No complaints, though—being busy is good!

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

Uneventful and steady five miles along the West Side Highway followed up with corework and upper-body strength training

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

As my first ride in weeks, I did not have high expectations, but I still felt unsettled after a brutal FTP-focused workout. “Be confident in your direction, not your performance,” advised Earl. And as always, he’s right. In order to focus on the run, the bike had to be pushed to the backburner.

Thursday – a.m. run

I loved this tempo run: ten-minute warm-up with 10 minutes “on” and 10 minutes easy times five. Breaking up the tempo work, well, worked from a mental standpoint: ‘It’s just 10 minutes. I’ve got this.’ I logged approximately 7.09 miles plus an untimed mile cooldown. (Does running eight miles mid-week make me a real runner? Ha!)

Friday – a.m. November Project workout

I had a blast at the 5280 NP workout … and it’s the off-season … so why not? This workout contained two parts: for part one, we partnered up, and while one person ran up a hill, the other held a plank. (And you kept rotating and changing out.) For part two, one partner alternated between five pushups and five dips, and the other ran down a hill and alternated between lunges and bear crawls. Here’s what blew my mind: part one was great (yaya for corework!), but my legs were toast for part two. I’m talking “VO2 max work on the bike” toast—all from running up hills and doing lunges. You bet I’ll be back!

Saturday – a.m. run

We held our annual Four Jacks run in preparation for the New York City Marathon, and I paced one of the groups for four miles. (The entire run spanned 20.)

Sunday – a.m. run

Absolutely blissful long run. Everything clicked, and I felt like I was flying, and it was awesome.

Total miles: 24.09

How’s your training going?


Training Log – Week of Sept. 21 (Week 38)

The mountains called.


And I answered.

I’ve been in Colorado the past week, spending a few days in Denver for work and a handful in Colorado Springs for fun. I’m honestly shocked I didn’t “accidentally” miss my flight yesterday.

General training notes: Going into this trip, I knew my weekly mileage would fall short of what I’ve been logging, but I was totally OK with that. My coworkers and I got in two trail runs, plus a November Project workout, and I did a ton of hiking and exploring in Colorado Springs. So even though my officially mileage was much lower, I came back to NYC feeling extremely sore from my off-road adventures—ha!

Monday – off

Travel to Denver

Tuesday – a.m. run

Tough and gorgeous 3.7-mile sunrise trail run at Red Rocks. I planned to buy trail shoes while in Denver, but didn’t have them for the outing … and it’s highly possible I wiped out. On the bright side, my road rash made for some great conversation with the higher-ups; they were definitely impressed and won’t forget who I am!

Wednesday – a.m. November Project “5280” (Denver) workout

Are you surprised? The NYC tribe has exploded in popularity, but my rigid triathlon training has made it tough to attend. (Based on my normal schedule, I’d have to sacrifice a swim or bike workout to sweat with the NP folks.) But since swimming and riding weren’t options in Denver, I went with three coworkers, two of whom are avid NPers in NYC. Spoiler alert: I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. We started the workout with 100 pushups and leg throws, and then did a playing card workout for about 30 minutes: each colored card from the deck determined if you did pushups, mountain climbers, or sprints.

Thursday – a.m. run

Woof: even tougher 4.9-mile trail run at Green Mountain. The altitude and hilly terrain proved to be a tough combination to overcome, but it was the perfect way to start our final day in Denver.

Friday – hiking/exploring in Colorado Springs

I hiked the Manitou Incline, which spans only one mile, but gains more than 2,000 feet of elevation.


Like all my CO workouts, this climb was super challenging. (I didn’t time myself, but I’m guessing it took 30-45 minutes to get to the top.) On the bright side, I was able to keep up with some Air Force students who were doing the climb as part of their training. Then, I went to Garden of the Gods and wandered around for about an hour.

Saturday – hiking/exploring

After my inaugural full-blown camping experience in Fairplay, we explored the Breckenridge area, which included a hike through the Lilly Pad Lake Trail.


Sunday – off

Traveled back to NYC

How do you stay active during work trips/vacations?