“The Big Suck”

Posted: December 20, 2010 in The Plan

Never were two words so impacting and meaningful:  training schedule.  Just in saying the words I immediately begin to hear angels singing harmoniously; hanging onto that one perfect note, and letting it linger and waft through the air, filling your entire being with ultimate purpose.  Ah, yes, the all-haloed triathletes’ off-season training plan. Just as soon as someone even so much as mentions those two words – training schedule – heads will begin to pop up from behind locker room doors, or from behind shower stall corners, and immediately lock into the conversation like alert gophers who have spotted movement on the horizon.

So, without further adieu, here it is; my new winter training schedule.  Let’s call it: “The Big Suck”.  This is the first of what will be, inevitably, an ever-changing organic training plan for the next few months leading up to the Around the Bay race, and onward again towards the Welland Half Ironman in July, and, ultimately, the Cancun 70.3 in September.

Am I psyched?  Absolutely.  Am I scared shitless?  Damn straight.

Monday:  Short (Easy) Run / Weights

I am beginning the training week on an easy note with a short, recovery run of 30-40 minutes.  The onus of these particular runs is not on speed, or form, or endurance, but in just getting out and getting the legs moving.  For the winter I will probably either run from the gym or on the track if it’s completely crappy outside.  The dreadmill is an option as well, but I really don’t like running stationary while staring at a wall.

Afterwards, the plan is to do some light yoga stretching and core work before hitting the weights for an hour.  I am focusing more on muscle endurance than I am on power, so I am using lighter weights and increased reps for the chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps, and legs; lots of squats, crunches and push-ups, the triathletes best weapons.

Tuesday:  (Spin) / Yoga / Swim

I have really been enjoying my yoga class and would like to keep up with that for the winter.  Eventually, I will need to swap out this workout for more spinning, but right now it’s all about building my core strength as well as providing my body some necessary recovery time after a long week of run training.  The class usually runs about 45 minutes with 5-6 minutes of meditative breathing at the end which not only have I began getting better at, but actually looking forward to.

Tuesdays are my prime pool workout day apart from the Masters class on Sunday.  I take my workouts from my pool Bible: ‘Workouts in a Binder: Swim Workouts for Triathletes’. This book has routines to improve my endurance, speed and form.  Average workout distances range from 2 – 4k a session and I am focused on building this endurance base during the week.  Later in the year, when the Masters class has wrapped up I will need to fit another additional swim workout into my week, but for the time being this lone workout (including Sundays) is enough.

(added 02/21/11):  I have also added 50-60 minutes of spinning prior to beginning my yoga class (detailed below).  Sometimes I take an offered spin class at the YMCA, other times I will do a solid 45 tempo ride on the trainer myself, whatever.  I will begin ramping up this spin time over the next weeks weeks but keeping it manageable as I am still very run focused at the moment.

Wednesday:  Tempo Run

I call this my weekly ‘Balls to the Wall’ workout.  My body is more built for comfort than it is for speed, so these faster-paced, medium distance (approximately 8-10k) runs are not necessarily my favorite thing to do.  However, the idea this year, now that I have a decent endurance base from last years training, is to work more on speed and these tempo runs will be the prime opportunity to focus on improving my split times.

Thursdays:  Brick

This is my weekly 90 minute shit-kicker of a workout.  The current Brick I participate in as part of my triathlon-specific training group is an Interval-based workout combining fast spinning with 3 x 7 minute runs on the track or dreadmill.  These intermittent, short and fast runs are usually done at 85% of maximum effort and are intended to spike my heart rate and maintain my current cardio level as well as beginning to get my legs accustomed to get off into a run quickly while already fatigued.  Come springtime, I will transition these workouts to be more of a Base workout combining longer periods of spinning with a longer, single run afterwards.

I usually like to finish with 20 minutes or so of slow, deliberate yoga stretching and core work just for shits and giggles.

Friday:  Rest Day

My designated day to do sweet fuck all.  If push comes to shove, I can fit in another non-taxing weights workout or some yoga stretches in the evening instead but, ideally, I should be doing nothing but allowing my body a chance to recuperate in anticipation of Saturday’s workout.

Saturday:  Long Run

This is the granddaddy workout of the week and the real focus for me over the winter.  Currently I am at the 16k mark and will build my distances each week by 10% in four week intervals; this is known as Periodization.  I decided to schedule my long runs on Saturdays to take advantage of the fact that I am mobile on the weekends where I can escape the city for a change and can drive out into the countryside in search of pleasant and quiet country roads and hills; lots of hills.  Unfortunately, this also means that I am destined to do 18k on Christmas morning, and then another 21.5k on New Years morning, but so be it.  This long run workout, come springtime, will need to be rearranged in my week to immediately follow the long ride days.

Sunday:  Masters Swim / Spin / Core

This is the second of my Tryforce group workouts and is specifically aimed at developing my swimming form in the pool.  The Masters class is instructor lead and I’m currently swimming at an Intermediate level, and I look forward to joining the Advanced swimmers in the next lane over later this training season once I nail my flip-turn technique.  Once the nice weather arrives and this Masters swim ends, Sundays will designated as my Long Ride training days and I will therefore need to replace this workout with another pool workout (or open water swim).

Afterwards, we transition into the spin studio for 45 minutes of fast tempo spinning followed by 20 minutes of crunches, core work, and yoga stretching before retiring to Starbucks to gripe about our weeks aches and pains.

  1. Your excited for this? I need a motivational booster I think.

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