Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Training Strategy Talk

One of my favorite things to do after a race is to head to the nearest Cracker Barrel and discuss it with Jason over bacon, eggs, biscuits and coffee. I get to hear about his race - how he felt, what he thought about his performance, any crazy things that happened up there at the front of the pack - and I get to tell him about mine.  If I'm excited about how I did, he is excited with me.  If I am disappointed, he is encouraging and proud of me anyway.  Either way, we usually end up talking about training strategies for the next go round.

Jason is one of the few people I trust to give me training advice.  He knows me and he knows his stuff.  He ran in high school and college, and has run ever since.  He doesn't approach anything haphazardly.  He reads about it, studies training plans, learns from what has and has not worked, and he consistently follows the plans and goals he sets for himself.  That does not mean he is always right, but it does mean I thoughtfully consider (and probably try) most of what he suggests.  He also waits for me to ask, which means I'm usually open to what he has to say.

So as we talked about my performance in the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon, he knew I was disappointed because I'd worked hard and believed the end result would be a little faster than it was. We talked about what I had done up to that point and discussed why it might not have provided the results I wanted.

For the swim he said it might be good to approach our workouts with a plan.  He said it was easy for him to swim and hardly get his heart rate up, and I agreed.  Many times when I go to the pool, I swim for about 30 minutes and call it a day.  I focus on my form, my technique, and my breathing, but I rarely include any intensity.  He suggested some workouts that I intend to try this week.

For the ride he talked to me about how I use my gears. While I am riding much more than I did last year, he said I'm not letting my bike do some of the work for me.  I'm using the smaller gear (in the back, several levels), but I leave my larger gear (in the front - three levels) on the middle setting. (Jason explained this to me much better than I am explaining it here.)  He suggested the higher setting for the front so I intend to practice this week. The reason I never change that gear is because when I first got my bike, it caused my chain to pop off, which made me nervous. I think it is time to get over that, however, and learn how to use ALL of my bike. We didn't just leave it at gear efficiency, though.  I've got plans for my next rides as well.

For my running he suggested speed work.  He knows I am not a fan, but I agree with him that it is an important factor that is missing from my running workouts.  For now I'm focusing on the 5k and 10k distances, leaving marathon training for the cooler temps.  My friend, Katie, is also incorporating speed work into her marathon training, so I intend to join her on Wednesdays at the track.  My workouts may be different, but there will be solidarity in the fact that we are out there together.

As far as bootcamp goes, this is the very last week of the six week class. I have enjoyed the challenge and the workouts quite a bit, but I have not seen the results I'd hoped to see (a more toned upper body).  Jason suggested, instead of signing up for the next bootcamp, starting a weight training program that I will do 3 times a week.  He said bootcamp provided a lot of cardio and that is not really what I need.  He said a focus on weights would get the results I am after, and I agree.  I intend to start that next week.

Figuring out training strategies and discussing them with Jason helps keep me interested, focused, and motivated.  I love it.  It is like a puzzle, and I've got to figure out which pieces fit together for the final picture I want to see.  Having a plan also keeps me more consistent.  If I know Tuesdays and Thursdays are cycling days, I don't question if I'm going to ride my bike after work.  It is a planned cycling day.  Period. 

On my run this morning (on my way back from my track workout with Katie) I was thinking about Jason (I do that a lot) and the impact he has had on my running.  When he entered my life, my monthly mileage doubled, my finishing times for all running events dropped significantly, and now I'm doing this triathlon thing.  Maybe I would have discovered some of this on my own, but Jason's example, knowledge and belief in me has been a huge influence on much of it.  Having him by my side gives me the courage (and motivation) to get up early and get it done, to reach a little higher, to try something new, and I will be forever grateful for all of well as our post race Cracker Barrel training strategy talk.


  1. Awesome that Jason is so helpful and knowledgeable. I like how you have one thing in each of the three events to work on. Hoping to hear good things about your race in two weeks!

  2. your little cracker barrel meetings sound nice. and it's interesting you posted this now, because during my speed work today i decided i was going to send you some questions about what i should do as far as training -- since i'm doing so many races in a short time and want to figure out a good way to give myself the best chance of doing well in each one (or in several of them is actually more accurate).

    so probably this weekend i'll be sending you some questions...

  3. Send on those questions! I'll be glad to give any tips I've got and I'll consult my personal trainer (Jason) as well. ;)

  4. How exciting! I think you would be an amazing coach and those kids will be lucky to have you!!
    I love reading your training programs and hearing how you mix them up and change them to get the results you want. Keep up the good work!

  5. I have learned SO MUCH doing Tri 201...and one of the main things is about gearing and how much it helps. Eric says you paid for them, you should get your money's worth!! Have you considered doing Parker's training camp at the end of the month?? It's going to be intense, but I think the educational aspect of it alone will be worth it.