Hello there. It has been a while since I have blogged. And it hasn’t been because I haven’t been doing anything. Quite the opposite in fact. I have been so busy that blogging has been the last thing on my mind. On top of that, I haven’t really been motivated to blog simply about training. I did that last year leading up to IMWI and I can only blog about so many long rides or speed workouts.
So, rather than focus on individual workouts, I’m going to talk about how I have approached training this season versus last season.
While my training plan this year is nearly identical to last year’s, my approach has been completely different. In general, I have been taking this season a lot more casually. That’s not to say I am slacking off by any means, but rather it means that I know which workouts are key workouts and which ones have some wiggle room. When it comes down to it, there are 12 workouts each week. Of those 12, I only consider about 3-4 of them “key workouts.” So, as long as I nail those key workouts, I am free to modify/tweak everything else.
For example, last year, I execute each and every workout exactly as the plan called for. If it was a 2 hour bike with 5×5 min @ Z4, I diligently programmed my Garmin and headed out to a stretch of road where I could safely knock out the speed work. This year, however, when I see 5x5min @ Z4 on the plan, I just go out and do my thing and try and get in some speed bursts while I am on my ride. If I only end up doing 4 of them, or each speed burst is only 3-4 minutes long (usually because of traffic or traffic signals), so be it. Not the end of the world.
The other big change is who I train with. Last year, I trained nearly entirely on my own. Out of the 7 centuries I did last year, I had company on only 1 of them. This was due to two reasons. First, I was so focused on exactly following my training plan that I didn’t want to work around others’ schedules. And second, I didn’t know that many people in the area to train with.
That all changed this year. By joining the Striders Tri Club last winter and participating in some more LBS group rides, I have met a slew of
crazy like minded individuals. While most of my day to day workouts are still done solo, I’ve had company on nearly all of my long workouts. I’ll actually be doing my first entirely solo century of the year this weekend (unless I can find someone to join me before Saturday). Also, because of the group, I have done more OWS swim practice this year alone than I have over the past 4 seasons combined. (Side Note: Unfortunately, it has been so stinking warm this year, that I haven’t been able to wear my wetsuit at all. The entire reason I wanted to do more OWS is because last year at IMWI, my shoulders were killing me from lack of practicing with the wetsuit) Sure, more group workouts means that I have to occasionally rework my schedule, but it is totally worth it. It also means that I generally have to pack up my gear to take with me to a training meetup. The downside to this is that my office is in a constant of state of disarray as I am horrible about unpacking everything and putting it away when I get home.
Finally, when it comes down to it, this year is all about having fun. If an opportunity comes along that sounds fun (whether it an extra OWS or a 160 mile bike ride), I find a way to fit it into the training schedule.
With this changed approach to training, I feel just as ready for IMMT as I did for IMWI last year. Probably even more so this year actually. And not only am I ready, but I am having a blast!
How do you approach your training? Stick to the plan no matter what? Find opportunities to change things up?
And now I’ll close with some bike porn. You’re welcome.
So far, I absolutely love my new Flo Cycling wheels! After I get some more miles on them, I’ll post a full review.