Jul 27

A New Take On Training

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.

2012-07-26 17.42.07

So far, I absolutely love my new Flo Cycling wheels! After I get some more miles on them, I’ll post a full review.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/07/27/a-new-take-on-training


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  1. Matt Oravec


    Love the bike 🙂 : ) 🙂

    Yeah I think getting through the first 140.6 is about mentally proving to yourself you can do it, the A-Type personality makes you super anal to not miss anything and do EVERYTHING as prescribed. As we now know… that isn’t truly necessary haha.

    Glad you found your groove and are having fun 🙂
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Must be getting close to taper time

  2. Tim

    Those are some seriously sexy wheels! Finding some freedom in the training plan must help to keep from burning out.
    Tim recently posted..The Ability Tour Ride for Awareness

  3. peter takeda

    totally agree with matt although i can count the number of workouts i’ve missed one one hand

    nice wheels
    peter takeda recently posted..2012 IMLP New Swim Record

  4. Jon

    Thanks for the NSFW warning!!! Systems has threatened to ban me from internet usage due to internet porn.

    Jon recently posted..Unsustainable

    1. Jon

      PS. You bike front wheel bike stand does NOT match the bike. Might wanna fix that…
      Jon recently posted..Unsustainable

  5. Alex

    Love the wheels but wow that’s a lot of spacers.

  6. Chris

    The bike looks pretty sweet. Love the wheels.

    I would like to get to the point where I don’t follow the training plan verbatim, but currently I stick to what is scheduled. It definitely makes it hard to train with others since nobody’s plan is the same. Maybe next year I’ll relax a little.

    22 days to go! Nice.

  7. Beth

    Ooh, with wheels like that you better go FAST at IMMT 🙂

    You are likely totally on-track with training despite taking a more loose interpretation of the schedule this year. I’d just be too afraid to mess something up by doing that on my first!
    Beth recently posted..DCRR Track Mile Race Report

  8. Heather O

    I LOVE that your wheels match your bike! That’s HOTT!!!!!!

    And as long as you don’t start following the no training plan training plan, I think you’ll be just fine being a little more lax with your workouts 😉 Can’t believe IMMT is just around the corner! Wish we could come!
    Heather O recently posted..Bike Rides, Put-In-Bay, and Camouflage

  9. Matthew Smith

    Those Flo’s are so hot! I WILL be ordering some in the next little bit. It sounds like you’re a pro at the training plans and knowing exactly what you really need to fulfill in order to execute a good race. Actually, I was meaning to call you up to get your wisdom on when and how to start training for Ironman. Jenn and I are volunteering at IM Louisville in August, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be signing up to do it in 2013. I may need to listen to an experienced Ironman about the basics of getting started.

    P.S. That shed is looking awesome!!!
    Matthew Smith recently posted..Oh Baby, Baby!

  10. Jeff

    I love how the last two years you and me have followed the EXACT training plan. Last year to the letter. This year – hit the key workouts and have fun with s/b/r on the others.

    Funny thing is I feel more ready this year and am enjoying IM training much more. At least until this morning )-:

    Email forthcoming ….
    Jeff recently posted..Buffalo Springs Lake Tri 70.3 …

  11. lindsay

    i personally think the loosey-goosey training tends to work out better. well, maybe not ‘better’ in my case since i get too loose and don’t even do long runs. but you’re still getting in the workouts and the miles and having fun while doing it. i’m sure the fun part gives you at least a 14.9% boost in speed come race day. at least.
    lindsay recently posted..paging dr. house

  12. Carolina John

    Yea those wheels are pretty sexy. Outstanding.
    Carolina John recently posted..Old Man’s Race

  13. Colleen

    Those wheels are amazing! 🙂

    I love your approach. Do you think it’s because this is your second Ironman. I mean, I often think that I trained differently for my first out of fear of the unknown. Now you kind of know what to expect and can get through it all a little different.

    Either way, it’s working for you and I can’t wait to see how MT goes!

  14. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    I couldn’t agree more with you on this. Last year I trained alone for the majority of my workouts as I didn’t want to miss a beat. Now I still do the majority of them on my own but I invite others to join me and let them know what I’ll be doing. It has worked out great but at the same time if I ride for 1:45 instead of 2:00 I don’t beat myself up over it as shit happens.

    I am in better condition at this point of the training cycle for IMAZ than I was for IMTX. I think a large part of that is what MattyO said in that it is mental about going the distance. Now we know we can do it and it is just a matter of getting faster at it.

    This training cycle seems to be all interval work so they are ‘shorter’ but far more intense.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Top Cities To Eat…..according to who?

  15. Ellen

    Um, OMG. I want to take that bike out for drinks and dinner and then snuggle with it on the couch…
    Ellen recently posted..Awe and Blah: Snapguide and L.A. Fitness Spelling

  1. Weekly Link Roundup – August 11, 2012 |

    […] this link is a couple of weeks old, but it was a good read about relaxing your training schedule to allow for some fun. Kevin did his first Ironman last year, and is racing IM Mont Tremblant next weekend. This year, he […]

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