Friday, January 6, 2012

Things That I Will Do in 2012.....

OK, so as per my previous post, I made just  two simple resolutions this year….    To waste less time surfing the internet and to put full effort and concentration in to every workout.

But there are soooo many other things that I want to do/achieve this year!   I have already posted my provisional race calendar and, of course, I will be trying my very best to undertake all of the workouts that The Puppeteer sets for me on to the very best of my ability, but beyond this there are a whole host of “triathlon things” that I need to do better this year.

During my first year of working with The Puppeteer I learned a great deal, both about triathlon training in general and about myself.  I have built what I now consider to be a reasonable “base fitness” which I intend to use as a springboard to more intense training and improved performance.

I remain relatively strong on the bike and my run times continue to improve at all distances and hopefully these will continue, but there are two “primary limiters” that I need to try to eliminate, so I will start with these:

First:   Lack of Flexibility:     Surprise, surprise, this tired old body is not as flexible as it used to be!   When I do stretching exercises next to other victims of The Puppeteer (especially the ladies of course) it’s clear that I have a long way to go!   In addition to increasing the likelihood of injury, the lack of flexibility likely hurts my performance in all three disciplines.   So what’s the solution?  Work, work, work!   I have done a couple of TRX sessions with The Dominatrix aimed at teaching me specific stretching and flexibility exercises and now that I have a TRX set-up at home I will incorporate these into my routine.  I will also do more exercises from Verstegen’s Core Performance books and spend time trying to master some yoga techniques as illustrated by local yoga guru Sage Roundtree at:

The good news is that I should be able to fit these additional sessions in relatively easily around my regularly scheduled workouts and they are definitely something that I can do when traveling.

I am also committed to improving my dynamic warm-ups before workouts (especially runs) and to stretching and using the dreaded foam roller afterwards.     In parallel I will be using TRX and Core Performance drills to try to dramatically improve my core strength.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever be this guy…..

......but I’ll try!

Second:   Swim Endurance:   This is very clearly my weakest triathlon discipline and the one that needs dramatic improvement.  The Puppeteer tells me that all is not lost and is actually reasonably complementary about my “form” but I still have poor endurance and am not able to hold my good form over long distances.   The solution to this one is to suck it up and work at it!   There’s nothing to do but to suck it up, schedule extra sessions in the pool, complete every swim set exactly as set and just keep at it!    I will also make sure that I get monthly one-on-one swim sessions with The Puppeteer.  One positive here is that I have discovered the City of Raleigh Optimist pool which is much nicer than Millbrook Exchange and is closer to home!

I also intend to hook-up with local triathletes to do more open water training swims in the local lakes and hopefully to do some sound/ocean swims with the GS-OBX group down at the coast this summer.

One other fun swim related objective is to learn to do freestyle flip turns properly (tumble turns if you’re in the UK or Australia).

I identify a key secondary limiter as my crazy and erratic work/travel schedule, but there’s not much I can do but try my best to work around it and to find ways to keep up with things when traveling.

OK, so those are the big ones…   what else?

Here goes, in no particular order:

1.   Continue to work on the bike.  More “TITS” (“time in the saddle”) will help, but there are other things to be done.   I need to spend more time in the aero position (the aforementioned flexibility will help!) especially that I now have “The Slut” and have converted my Cannondale CAAD9-5 back to a pure road bike and removed the aerobars.   I’m also going to work on my climbing and would love to find a way to ride in the mountains of NC somehow.   I would love to take a vacation follow some of the Tour de France stages one day, but I need to build up to those mountains!    Losing some weight will help (see below).   I would like to complete at least one organized 100 mile event.   I would also like to get my pedal stroke properly analysed and, perhaps, work with someone’s power meter for a while to try to get a good feel for how to get the best out of this relative strength.

Outside of specific triathlon training, our youngest daughter has finally learned to ride without training wheels and SWMBO loves riding her bike, so I’m looking forward to lots of “family rides” both on the local trails and at the coast.

Finally on the bike side of things (and this is something that I have already started) I’m going to do most of my own “wrenching” and keep my bikes in tip top shape – I already have my workshop kitted out!   J

2.   Get more sleep.   Have been doing well on this, but have slipped a little over the holiday period (those darned bowl games!)

3.  Attend The Puppeteer’s spring triathlon weekend clinic at the end of March. 

4.  Work out more often with others.   With the exception of a few rides with The Snitch, I was pretty much a Lone Wolf last year.   Working out with others is much more fun and I can now at least hold my own a little better than this time last year!  I can also learn a lot from those with more experience.   This has already started and The Puppeteer is already arranging a lot of group sessions – yeah!

5.  Find my racing weight.  I’m guessing that this is somewhere in the 180 – 185 lb range and will make a big difference to both my bike and run performance.  Of course this involves both continuing to eat well (sensible portions; good quality food; push calories earlier in the day) and burning calories.

6.  Have my run gait fully analysed (this may go along with 3. above) and continue to work on run technique to both improve performance and reduce injuries.

7.  Take dynamic warm-ups and post workout stretching very seriously.

8.  Stay hydrated

9.  Get serious about racing!   I know the ropes now and should know how to properly pace myself etc.   No reason to hold back!   I may not be challenging the podium any time soon in my age group (there are some scary dudes out there!) but I will improve my performance and race results!

10.  Continue having fun!   Train and race with a smile on my face.  This lady is my inspiration in this regard!  If a world champion can absolutely destroy world records without ever taking the smile off her face, then so can I!    Ummm....   I mean I can keep smiling, not break any world records!!!

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