Monday, February 16, 2009

The Week in Training

I'm starting to get the hang of triathlon training. It's fun. The best part is the variety, the worst part is the planning. In New York City, something as simple as going for a swim isn't exactly simple. Last Monday, it meant five people to a lane and an ornery French dude in a bikini who nearly got into a fight with another swimmer. Just out of circumstance, I ended up working out every day. This isn't ideal, but I'm not at the point where I'm doing two workouts a day -- or even brick workouts. Here are the tallies:

Running: 2x, 19 miles. I should probably ease off the running somewhat. I went for a 12.5 mile run on Saturday at about 8:00 per mile, too quick. I'd rather use that energy on the bike and in the pool.

Swimming: 3x, 3.7 miles. By the end of the week, I got more comfortable with flip turns. Man, it's a long way from Whitemarsh Country Club showdowns with Manufacturers to chasing the line in a YMCA pool in Greenwich Village.

Cycling: 2x, 31.3 miles. Both rides were on stationary bikes. Not ideal. I'm wondering whether to try spin classes and go at my own pace. I'm a little wary b/c I picture a spin class with loud music and a maniac instructor. That would be way too much to handle from silent runs in the dark by myself.

Total distance covered: 54 miles

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Reason Why I Love Running

I admire toughness. It comes in many different forms. One of the most satisfying parts of life is being tested and coming through. Most of us will never be tested as much as this NYC firefighter. Check out his full story at Runner's World. Here's the first video of the series. (Thanks to Tim Wilson for pointing this out.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Week in Training

This was sorta the first week of triathlon training. Right now, I'm just getting used to doing a variety of things, rather than just run. It's different. For one, tri training will require a lot more planning. Running requires some planning, but not nearly as much if I'm going to squeeze in nine workouts a week. I'm not there yet. The variety seems to make recovery easier. Running all the time gets super tiring for me. Learning to swim again is hard without long recovery. All in all, I'm OK with how the week went. I worked out six of seven days, although one swim was short because I had to do an interview.

Run: 2x; 16.75 miles: I stuck with a long run (11 miles) because the weather was really nice. Running is going to take a back seat for a bit while I get comfortable with swimming and cycling.

Swim: 2.5x; 4600 yards. There was an abbreviated session of just 600 yards. The other two were 2,000 yard swims, done in sets of 100s. I'll need to come up with real swim workouts. First, build a base -- and get comfortable again with flipturns. The low point: I got a terrible cramp in my calf getting out of the pool on Thursday. Writhed around in pain on the deck for a little. It's still a little sore.

Cycle: 1x; 50 minutes. Today was my first time on a spin bike. I was a little perplexed. Kevin, my tri advisor, said to keep the cadence high and focus on pulling through the spin. I tried to do this. The spin bike, though, seems to kinda take off on its own. My heart rate only broke 100 toward the last 10 minutes. The average for the session was a mere 97. That's clearly not enough. Still, it was the first cycle. I'll improve.

Foot massage: 1x, 30 minutes. This was a day of firsts. The Chinatown foot massage places always scared me. But I was convinced to give it a try. Not bad. There were a few delicate moments when he got to my Achilles on my left leg and calf on the right leg.

Overall: This was a slow start to training. I wouldn't even say I'm training yet. The key now is to get used to dong a variety of workouts, particularly in the disciplines I don't know, and getting a schedule where I can do enough. Stamina-wise, it was an easy week. The only hard workout was my last swim, which for some reason was drudgery. I kept getting lapped, which didn't help.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Marathon Hiatus

The last several months have been frustrating, at least from a running perspective. I went through too much denial about my injury, then basically hoped it would heal itself. I'm back to where I can run 25 miles a week. On Sunday, I even went on a 9-mile run. Not bad. Something is not quite right. I still love to run, but I'm tired of it a bit. I trained so hard for the sub-3 marathon. It exhausted me, stripped away 10 pounds, and, worst of all, left me with a nagging injury.

I need a change of pace for a bit. About 10 days ago, I finally joined a gym. I went totally old school by choosing the YMCA. Getting back into the pool was a big factor. As you can see from the photo, I used to swim as a child. (I'm the one in the front. As one unnamed party said, "You are a different scale than your family.") A couple times last week and the last two days, I've swum, nothing serious, just a bunch of laps. Today I did 2,000 yards. That's about an 8k. It's strange to swim again. My arms get sore, there's lactic acid buildup, and flip turns confuse me. Yet I like it. I zone out in the water; it exhausts me. The upside: no soreness. Muscles can get a little sore but there's none of the trauma of running that's sometimes left me feeling like someone ran over me in a van.

I want to do a triathlon. I'm not running a marathon during the spring. For the past few months, I haven't trained and just run aimlessly. A tri is a new challenge and something to focus on. There's a lot of work to be done. I don't even own a bike, and riding about 20 miles with JPSCalifornia made my legs shake a bit. Still, my cardio levels are presumably high and the endurance part shouldn't be a problem. It should be interesting to see how much the years of running translate to new activities. I'm clueless about training and getting help with it. I'll swim and bike at the Y the rest of the winter, as well as run, then get a road bike. Not at all sure if I should settle for a sprint or do an Olympic distance. Maybe both. It should be humbling.

No matter what, though, I'm still a runner. Murakami talks about this in "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running." He's done many triathlons but still considers himself a runner. "For a runner like me, what's really important is reaching the goal I set for myself, under my own power. I give it everything I have, endure what needs enduring, and am able, in my own way, to be satisfied."

Swim: 2,000 yards, 44 minutes