Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fiddling with structure while I suck..

am) 3 miles in 34:14 with an average HR of 136. This was pretty much a nice stroll around the neighborhood with walking on every small rise to keep my HR down.

Part of what I didn't like about have my weekly structure planned for me is that my body reacts to training stress in a somewhat predictable manner and the schedule was not written with this in mind. I've always hated the 7 day week as a runner. And a quick digression if I may- I have been pouring over my training logs from when I retired from the Ironman to now, and with my skewed sense of time I somehow thought I had been 'just' running now for 3 years... turns out it's been less than 2 years! On May 9th of 2007 I had finished an 85 mile ride with Tim DeBoom. I stepped off my bike and retired. I leaned it against the wall of my garage and never looked at it again (thanks Tim ;)). I ran my first 2 marathons (2:40 & 2:30) while training for Ironman. Technically I have only been focused on running for 23 months. No wonder I'm struggling! Anyway- the 7 day training week sucks.. damn Babylonians.
I'll npw simply step back and regain my aerobic strength with a long period of focused running with the only goal being to build volume (still, in my opinion, the first step in my success). When I think of the big picture I see very few "A" races in the next 2 years. Racing has always felt like more of a burden to me. A bump in the road that only messes up my training. The approach I envision is to take 2 years to gradually build to being able to absorb 110-120 mile weeks at high altitude. Yes- those are just numbers. 110-120 mile weeks may be arbitrary but they are also proven benchmarks anecdotally. I need to try and not force those numbers to work for me. If 90 miles works better for me then I need to recognize this and take the hit to my ego. But I'm going to try it to see.

I think my friend, Paul Kindzia, a former athlete of mine, said it best in a recent comment:
"Write the plan, log the data, review the data, make appropriate changes, race/test, repeat."

I believe this approach is beautifully simple in theory, but requires a fair amount of thought. "Log the data" (which means also collecting said data) and "review the data" can be complicated, but I think it's critical for a self coached athlete. I seem to have started a slight backslide since I stopped using my HR monitor so diligently. I want to get back to using it as a tool for assessing and building my fitness yet prevent myself from becoming reliant on it to tell me how I feel.
The over riding focus for this year should be for me to recognize my past mistakes, correct them and learn from them, and move to the next level.


FatDad said...

Paul has it exactly correct. It's the basic premise behind successful financial planning and works for just about any goal.
I was at a seminar with Jamie Clarke, a Canadian who summited Everest and he credits their successful summit to two things:
1)recognizing that it would take far more than he was prepared to give to make the summit (a comment echoed by Mark Allen re: Ironman. Winning the race on the race's terms) and
2)going over the data from previous unsuccessful attempts, finding the mistakes and not repeating them.


Claus Bech said...

Hi Tim, regarding Your athletic background, goals and high standards for Your own coaching practice, You might not be the easiest guy to coach! Of course there's a match to your profile out there, with some coach, but it seems that You're more process-oriented than performance-oriented and a coach might be better suited for the latter goal. From reading Your blog on a regular basis You sound most satisfied when You're finely tuned with logging the miles, hitting target numbers, coping with fatigue, enjoying Your family, Nature and life in general. No coach will ever get so dialed in on You as a running/family man, except You. Finding the balance and searching for Your physical limits through running will inevitably result in great results, with Your physical and training talent.
Change of subject... When You were training for the ironman, You had superior fitness, based on high mileage. Cutting off 10-15 hrs of cycling and 5-6 hrs of swimming contributed a lot to that fitness. Knowing that running benefits from biking, explains why a lot of triathletes often runs "unreasonably" well of low mileage, while they sometimes disappoints when turning to running solely. I think it's often a matter of patience, to expand the mileage, which might take years. You have ramped up that mileage very quickly, it seems, being blessed with strong legs and avoiding injuries. But maybe Your recovery and general adaptive system is lagging behind and leaves You with sporadic deep fatigue and non consistent results. But hey, if there was a simple formula, it wouldn't be a challenge and that's what it's all about, right? Keep on running, racing, thinking, smiling, being frustrated, run some more and keep searching, Claus Bech

JK1 said...

well... you can be thankful that you don't have to get up at 4:45 and be swimming at 5 anymore... So, you've got that going for you. :)

Lucho said...

Fatdad- My only financial rule is to save my money and don't buy crap I don't need. Works well.

Claus- Good insight for sure. I agree that I have pushed my volume up simply because I don't get injured. Yet it affects my performance and my consistency. I want to take 3 years to build back to 110+ mile weeks and be more patient. I think I just need more time too.

Jeff- I do have that going for me. Swimming I don't miss.

beth said...

james quit the swimming too. now i'm the only lame-o with the 4:45 wake up call to freeze my ass off.

as for your running. i like this post al ot and i like claus' comments. you ARE very process oriented..i see how much the success in training motivates you.

i can't wrap my head around seeing racing as a bump in the road. as you know, i think the racing is the best part. but then again, i perform much better in a race than in training. almost always. unless i am secretly racing the people i am training with :)

anyway, enough about me...i think you should set your long term goals on what makes you happy, and if not racing a lot is that, then do it. the only thing is, with racing so little, you have to put so much stock and mental-ness (huh?) into each race that your brain takes over becuase it IS important. maybe racing a little more would take the pressure off?
i don't know. but i'm happy that you're making your own direction. being coached is hard, isn't it? i'm at the point in triathlon right now where i need a coach (to improve) but i don't want coach. i am super sensitive and adapt to what i need daily and being coached is hard! since when did your blog become my personal diary? whoops!
wishing you peace, love, running, and happiness, b