Cue the Bon Jovi music…
On Monday I started my 11th week of training for my next great endurance adventure, the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman on June 14. Monday also signaled the beginning of the second half of my 20 week training plan. When I started training for this race I was an avid runner who thought he would like to swim and bike, but in 10 weeks I have learned to love the two new legs of this adventure. Some of the most relaxing times I have had during the training have taken place on the bike during my long rides and the most growth has occurred during my pool exercises. Each “A” race that I look at I view as a challenge. Sometimes that challenge is to get faster, or go longer, or for the Ironman the challenges are numerous and different. With this race I have to challenge myself to commit, more than ever, to train and learn technique as well as to push my endurance levels and concentration beyond that for any road race.
This was by far the part that I felt most uncomfortable with. Ever since I broke my nose in High School I have had trouble with it when I would go swimming. I knew going into the training that this is where I needed to spend a lot of time initially to get comfortable and to build up my confidence. Luckily starting in the winter allowed me plenty of time to focus on this skill without the temptation, or even the ability, to get outside and train for the other two legs. I spent many mornings before work and on the weekends swimming laps at my local rec center and I can say that after 10 weeks I feel comfortable in the pool and confident in my ability to complete the distance. My form is not perfect and my speed won’t win any races, but my only goal at the race will be to get out of the water and onto the bike.
I must admit that I haven’t cycled outside as much as I should have. Starting in February, plus having one of the snowiest winters ever have limited how frequently I could get outside and hit the roads. With that said, the next 10 weeks will see many longer rides before work, after work, and even longer on the weekends. I know that my there is only so much improvement the next 10 weeks can bring to my run and even my swim, but I plan on seeing a lot of improvement in my bike. 56 of the 70 miles on June 14th will be on my bike and I plan on training like it until the race.
Although I have learned to love all three legs of the triathlon individually, running is still my true passion. Through all my training I have always remember that my fall goal is the improve on my marathon PR that I set last October. (That PR seems a lot more reachable now with my recent sub 1:45 half in Virginia Beach.) I have found that even with me not running not nearly as much as I have previously all my other training has allowed my running to continue to improve. I have done a lot of strength training focusing on power and leg turnover. Many of my runs have been done on tired legs after bike rides to simulate the race conditions which also helps build my endurance for my longer runs in the fall.
I know that if my race experience is anything like my training, I know I will do another triathlon in the future. I love the challenge, knowing that all your hard work paid off, and knowing that your determination is making you better. This training shown me all of those and I am sure will continue to surprise me for the next 10 weeks!