Two weeks ago, I went down to Texas to do my first event of 2017. This was my first race since leaving my full time job in December, and my first chance to see where I was at both physically and mentally - What might be working? What might I need to adjust?
In the end, It went well and I am happy with my result. I have made some adjustments and I'm ready to build volume and push my overall training load. My season is off to a good start.
On Training the Last Few Months:
Change #1: Throughout the last few months, I have made some changes in my training and day to day life. The biggest change has been in my swimming. I am back training (kind of) like a swimmer again. My swim training is night and day compared to what it was over the past few years. Take a look below at a sample week swim training before and after December.
The first sample week is from September - this was leading up to Ironman Chattanooga. My swim TOTALED 5,500yds for the week. The second sample week is from February where I totaled 21,850yds for the week. Big difference in overall volume and a big difference in overall speed.
I also believe that swimming more has let me build an overall bigger aerobic base. I will keep building on the swim and continue to push harder and harder in the pool.
Change #2 -The other big change since leaving my job has been the amount of rest I can get throughout the day - I do have daily naps (most days), and I am able to use tools like recovery boots more often than I did in the past. I feel as though I get higher quality workouts this way. When I was working full time, my workouts would happen between 4:45am and 6:50am. This was far from ideal - and did not let me push when I needed to push. My training was to similar day to day, thus I lacked the varied stimuli needed to make gains.
Some quick training facts about work done from January up until the race in Texas
- Longest bike ride - 2 hours 10 minutes (Intense, on the trainer)
- Average bikes per week - 6
- Run milage - 30.2 miles per week average - Still mostly on treadmill
- Swim average was over 20,000 yards per week
- I had only 4 long runs since IM Arizona - 2 x 16 mile treadmill runs, and 2 x 14 mile hilly runs in Maui over spring break.
- Weekly training hours averaged between 16 and 18 hours per week. This is starting and stopping my watch at every moment of rest, so moving time only.
I went down to the Woodlands Wednesday morning before the (Saturday) race. Over the past few years, my family has joined me over my birthday weekend at different races throughout the US (2013 Boston Marathon, 2015 NOLA 70.3, etc) - This was no different, and it was a fun family trip.
The lead up to the race was typical. I had no expectations of placing and was planning to use IMTX as a long hard training day and warmup race for a few Ironman races that I am targeting throughout 2017. I was not feeling great, but not bad either. Texas was an opportunity to get a progress report on where I was. Below is the week leading into, and including Raceday.
I was up at 3 on Saturday to get ready for the day - I use solid foods such as bagels, cereal, and some fruit to take in roughly 1,000 to 1,500 calories before the start. I will usually eat this throughout my prep in the morning. I graze on whatever I feel like eating, and it works well.
We got down to transition around 4:45am and was able to set up bike, nutrition, and drop off bags. Beth and I then walked to the swim start and were there about 40 minutes before we went off at 6:25. I got in as soon as they let us in around 6:15 and got in a good swim warmup.
We were lined up at 6:23 or so and the canon went off at 6:25. It was dark still.
My NUMBER ONE goal for this race was to swim fast, swim strong, and be able to race in the water. I was absolutely able to do that. I led the second pack the whole way into the canal, then shared the lead of the group swimming from the canal to the swim finish. I raced the swim, stuck with a group, and accomplished my number one goal of coming out of the water with a pack. I am proud of this, and it set me up to race the rest of the day. I swam a 54:35 (no wetsuit).
Transition was fast - and I had a lot of company out of the water for the first time in my pro tri career.
The bike was good throughout. I had no specific goal power, and did not have a goal pace. My intentions were to race with the people that I was out of the water with and that's what I did. It was a flat and FAST course. Perfect for a first race where you do most of your training indoors. I put my head down and went.
I would estimate that I consumed around 400 calories per hour for the first 3 hours, then 300/hour for the last 1.5. It was a mix of Gatorade, gels, gummies, and bananas. I get most of my nutrition from on course.
Over the last 15 miles, a strong headwind picked up and slowed me down a ton getting back to transition. I rode a 4:28 off of 240w Normalized Power.
When I was in transition, I knew I was probably in the top 20 overall, and would be very happy finishing with a result within there. I also knew that I was at 5 hours and 30 minutes overall race time leaving transition. That gave me a 3:09 marathon to break 8:40. I chose to run very conservatively to try and break that time barrier.
The weather for the three loop marathon was PERFECT. I was comfortable the whole way. I even splitted the entire 26 miles. My nutrition was red bull at (almost every) aid stations, coke sometimes, gatorade sometimes, and a few bananas here and there. My final marathon time was a 3:07.
I made a wrong turn about 400m from the finish, turned around, and ran through the chute in a total time of 8:37:52. This was a new PR for the distance by over 15 minutes, and a great start to my year. I placed as the 15th professional and will mark this race as a success.
I was very sore for two days up until Wednesday, then started to push training back to normal that day. I took one day off in total, was in the pool on Monday, then on the bike and running Wednesday. This was by far my best/fastest recovery to date - I felt completely normal six days after the race. I would guess that it was because of the conservative run and the cool temperatures during the marathon.
Next up is IRONMAN BOULDER! June 11th. I have included a gallery of our fun times in Texas below. I also did some videos when I was down there as well - those should be below as well.
Thanks for reading!