Monday, August 30, 2010

Ironman by the Numbers

I'm two weeks away from IM number two for the year, my third overall.  I feel great, except for a back issue that might slow me down on the bike.  I wanted to break down some of my numbers over the last few years, the result is the eye chart below.
Stats from my three Ironman races

What is all that?  It's graphs of my weekly swim (green), bike (blue), run (red) and TSS (orange) for the six months leading up to each of the my Ironman races.  There's all kinds of cool stuff to pull out of this data, but I'll just mention a few of my thoughts on it.
  • The swim mileage has tapered off considerably in each race.  This is a product of not being in a regular masters class.
  • The swim mileage seems way too low!  Less than 3 miles a week doesn't even seem possible, since I swim masters twice (about 1.5 miles each) plus one open water swim (1 to 2 miles) each week.  Maybe I'm skipping too much?!
  • My bike miles were down considerably from IMAZ to IMSTG, dropping from 92 to 75 miles per week.  This is partly because I was focusing on the run during that time, partly because this was winter, and partly because I just wasn't into biking for a while.  Luckily, it's recovered a bit to 88 miles/week for IMWI.
  • My run miles are up considerably, an increase of 40% from 13.3 to 18.7 miles per week.
  • During my IMAZ prep, I ran more than 20 miles six times.  For IMWI I've done it 11 times.
  • During my IMAZ prep, I ran more than 30 miles zero times.  For IMWI I've done it 3 times.
The Training Stress Scores (TSS) are tough to judge.  My IMAZ TSS is low because I didn't have a watch that TrainingPeaks worked well with, so most of my run TSS were under-counted.  My IMSTG and IMWI could be compared directly (increase of 9.6%), but that's deceptive too.  My IMWI numbers include my four week recovery after St. George, so they're a little lower than they would ordinarily be.

So what does all this mean?  I'm  ready to race!  I have a huge aerobic base after 3 season of Ironman training.  I set a half marathon PR at Carlsbad in January, and broke it at AFC in August.  I had my best IM70.3 run in Oceanside this year.  My biking has been a little suspect this season, but my numbers look good during my power tests - so I'm confident that I'll do fine if I can drink enough water during the race.
Two more weeks to keep sharp, then it's off to see what I can do on the plains of Wisconsin.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not Dead Yet

Finish of the Carlsbad Sprint Triathlon
I know, I haven't been around lately.  I don't call, I don't write... mostly, I don't write.  Nothing nefarious afoot, I've just been busy.  I bought a house in May (two days after finishing IM St. George) and although it wasn't listed in the paperwork it came bundled with a lot of chores.  I've spent my free time just trying to keep up with the mowing, laundry, and dishes.  I haven't even made it to the big stuff like mounting the television, fixing the water line to the fridge and installing the air conditioner (I'm assuming San Diego will have a summer at some point in 2010).  It doesn't sound like a lot of work for home maintenance, but I'm trying to squeeze it between 40 hours of work, and 20 hours of triathlon training.  It's hectic, but it's workable - and things will be better this fall once the Ironman training subsides.
IM Wisconsin is less than six weeks away, meaning I have about 4 more weeks of tough training.  I just completed a badly needed rest week, today was the first day back after a ludicrously easy rest week schedule, which I still struggled with.  This morning it was 16 miles running, my longest run of the year (since I technically stopped "running" at mile 13 in St. George).  It went.... OK.  I struggled to hit my pace, but finished the run without being too beat up, and ready to tackle the remaining 16 hours of training for this week.
What has surprised me so far in my IMWI preparation is that I'm not burned out.  During the training for both of my previous IM races (and one I trained for and didn't compete in), at some point near the end I just got completely fed up.  I wanted it to be over.  I wanted to just do the race and go home (though I really didn't even want to do the race).  I wanted to go home after work and watch television.  I wanted to put more attention on my career, on my personal life, on myself.  I was doing one of the most selfish things I had ever done (train for endurance sports) and all I wanted was time to myself.  Burnout is not logical, it just sucks for no reason.
Somehow I have avoided that this time around.  All I want to do right now is train just a little bit better, and then toe the line in Wisconsin ready to kill it.  I think having a couple of disappointing performances earlier in the year helped to focus me on what I'm trying to do.
IMWI will be my last Ironman for a little while - I'm taking 2011 off from that distance.  But the plan is not retirement... it's reloading.