So as the snow blows furiously outside my window, and I happily think of the sunshine I will be in at this time tomorrow, I thought I’d provide a little update on the first two months of 2016 training. They’ve been fantastic and I am really looking forward to getting outside, feeling the wind on my skin rather than the blowing of my fan.
For the latter part of November and December I had less structure to my training but more just what I felt like doing and getting fit and ready to put in some serious training. I spent a lot of time during these months researching the science behind triathlon training, becoming familiar with terms such as V02 max, lactate threshold, efficiency and economy, periodization and reverse periodization etc etc, and reading and evaluating the research studies behind different training protocols. By gleaning this knowledge I was then able to confidently progress with my training, knowing that my approach was backed by science.
Much of January was focused on bringing my swim volume back up. There was some intensity added in, but I have learned that trying to maintain a high level of fitness in the water over a long period of time is not really possible or practical. Therefore, the approach is to become aerobically fit and technically a much better swimmer, and then starting (very soon), to work on the higher end speed. Miguel Vadillo has been a great help with improving my technical efficiency in the water, and while it will be a matter of practice, practice, practice, I am confident that some of the changes I am making to my stroke will pay off over time.
This is where some of the bigger changes to my training needed to be made. In January I was left to my own devices with creating my own training, something I thoroughly enjoyed. Having done my research the intention was to follow a reverse periodization plan, which meant lots of very high end work. Intervals were typically 2-4 minutes long, targeting the V02 max range of effort. This work was really challenging and tiring, but also very satisfying to see progress from week to week. As a change from last year, I made sure that my training was either very hard or very easy, with very little time spent in zone 3. I also have not done very many rides in the 3hr range. Last year I was doing 2 rides a week that were ~3hrs in length, while this year I have not even been doing one a week (usually every 2 weeks), and have switched to doing many rides that are around 2hrs in length. This allows me to get in more quality, while knowing that there is still plenty of time in the year to get in some long rides. Moving into February I was persuaded by Barrie to allow Mirek Mazur to take over my cycling coaching. I was skeptical at first, as his approach is different to what I was doing, however after a month of his workouts, I am seeing improvements and am willing to see how this goes over the next few months.
Nothing remarkable is happening here. I have followed the gradual progression in running volume and intensity and am following a pretty standard plan of 2 workouts, 1 long run, and 1 short brick run per week. Overall I am satisfied with how things are progressing, as I am far ahead of where I was at this time last year. My intention is to get my run volume to somewhere around 4 hours/week and stay there, hopefully remaining injury free. While this is a very low volume for a pro triathlete, given that I averaged less than 2.5hours/week last year, I don’t want to set too lofty a goal that will see me injured in short order.
Overall it has been a blast. I love having the consistency and schedule that winter training can so easily provide, and I think there are a lot of benefits to doing the indoor workouts. That being said, there are certainly a lot of benefits to being outside, so I am headed to Arizona in the morning to take the fitness I have been working on to the roads. I am excited to get some natural Vitamin D again and will make sure to post periodic updates here to tell you about all the fun I am having. 🙂
Thanks for reading!