Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beach 2 Battleship preview and goals

This Saturday is the big day. Beach 2 Battleship full iron distance. I signed up for it last December, and started my training plan Feb 2nd. This day has been coming for a long time.

I was so excited to get started. It felt so good to be back on a solid plan again.

Apparently, I was also pretty funny back when I started this training plan! Such enthusiasm waned as the workouts got longer.

I wrote my own training plan this time, based on a pattern that I took from the first training plan. I wanted to take an increased volume approach, building on time slowly so hopefully I wouldn't get injured. The basic pattern fell into 2 swims, 5 bikes, and 5 runs every week, working out twice a day 6 days a week (except for only 1 workout on Mondays). The first two weeks were a warmup, only going 30 minutes per workout. Then a nice long 22 week base building phase to really ease my way back into some longer distances.

The year was really nicely broken up with Ironman Raleigh 70.3 coming in early June. The base phase broke out so that I never had to go longer than the half iron distances before that race, then after that race my long workouts were never shorter than half iron distances. I was able to build the endurance slowly and effectively over several months.

Then the self-doubt started setting in. Maybe I wasn't taking the right approach, maybe I was peaking too early, maybe I wouldn't be able to hold this endurance base for so long. I needed professional help, so I called on Doug MacLean - a pro triathlete and QT2 systems coach. I asked Doug to write a training plan for my 12 week build phase and scheduled a consultation to see if I was taking the right approach, wasting my time or just digging my own grave.

My build phase plan did not include enough periodization or specificity in the workouts. Doug's plan had a 3 week Build1 followed by a recovery week, then a 3 week Build2 and recovery week, then a 2 week Peak phase with a recovery week and a 2 week taper leading up to race week. Having that plan in my pocket gave me enough confidence to tackle the build phase.

We also talked about nutrition and overtraining on the consultation, as well as measuring the effectiveness. I actually have gotten sick with a cold twice during the build phase, and that almost never happens. And I had to deal with an actual injury that was pretty scary. Tendonitis in my right foot kept me completely sidelined for 2 weeks; that wasn't fun at all. Fortunately it cleared up pretty quickly, but is still one of those things in the back of my mind.  After Saturday I'm going to take an extended recovery period to really let that thing heal up completely.  Actually it is healed up completely, I'm just going to be really lazy about it.

The build phase and the taper have come and gone. Wednesday morning was a 45 minute bike ride that completed the plan.  The hay is in the barn, as they say, and I'm ready to burn that mother down.

What would I do different? This was too long. For the volume (time) that I wanted to put into it, trying to build and hold that much endurance for that long led to burnout and injury. Next time I'm going to keep the plan to about 16 weeks instead of this 39 week plan, and actually try to execute more of the speedwork.

Goals & Course Preview
The plan is simple for Saturday. Execution is the key. I know what I have to do. A few weeks ago I did a half iron locally so I could practice pacing and nutrition for the full. It worked like a dream, so I need to go execute exactly like I did in that half. It's supposed to be sunny and 63* on Saturday, so we're shaping up for a dream race.

Swim 2.4 miles: Goal 55 minutes
The swim is in the intercoastal waterway, point to point, so we're swimming with the tide the whole way. This race is known for its fast swim times. It should be about 20 to 30 minutes faster than you could normally swim that distance.  55 minutes is fast, I know. But here this is pretty reasonable. And of course my Masters swim team has me in peak swim shape right now, so I'm going in confident.

Bike 112 miles: Goal 6 hours
It's flat and fast, that bike course. Sit and spin, spin hard, eat, spin some more, then keep spinning. I know what my speed, heart rate, cadence, and perceived effort should be to make it through the ride with enough energy left over to run a marathon. I know the course gets windy out there, so just stay aero. Enjoy riding down the freeway, they actually shut down one lane of I-140 for about 12 miles. Aide stations start at mile 21 and hit every 15 miles or so after that. Eat as much as I can, take in about 2000 calories on the bike.

Run 26.2 miles: Goal 4 hours
I want to keep around an 8:30 pace while I'm running and walk all of the aide stations (every mile). This course is new, it's an out and back 2 loop course. So it's one stretch of road going 6.55 miles hitting the same aide stations 4 times each. Eat as much as I can at the aide stations, take it one mile at a time. Run as often as I can. Look for family and friends. Our hotel room faces the run course, so Kelley and the kids will be cheering from above. Talk and enjoy the moment. This part always goes by too fast.

Goal 1: see that finish line; don't die.
Goal 2: see that finish line before nightfall. Race starts at 6:30 AM
Goal 3: break 12 hours
Goal 4: break 11 hours

originally the build phase training plan was supposed to bring in enough volume, speedwork, and power training to get me finishing under 11 hours. With the foot injury, I had to reset my expectation. If I break 1 hour on the swim 6 hours on the bike and 4 hours on the run with fast transition times then I will break 11 hours. Slow transitions and an 11:15 finish time will still be totally amazing. A 6:30 bike split is more realistic. Breaking 12 hours seems more feasible. It gets dark around 7 pm now, so a 12:30 finish will still be a huge PR. Remember in IMFL 2011 I put up a 13:06:24, ran most of the second lap of the run after dark without a headlamp, and still felt confident in my time. Anytime you see an Ironman finish line it's a good day.

I know this course. I feel confident in this course and in my ability to conquer this course.  It's time to go out and get the job done.

You can track my progress Saturday using this link:, I am bib #35. 

Are you coming down to Wilmington? Please say hi to me if you see me out there! The social aspect of these things is the best part. I know there are going to be lots of blogger and facebook friends out there. Kelley is going to be sending stuff to facebook and twitter from my phone too.


Sarah said...

Hooray, this makes me so happy, can't wait to track you and cheer you on virtually! You've made it my friend, now it's the party!

Alecia Taylor said...

I can't wait to hear how it went!

Alisa said...

Good luck! I will be following you online and can't wait to read the recap of your race.

You put in the work and you're ready to roll.

Trust your training on race day and stay mentally strong (those are the two things I keep telling myself anyway).

carrie said...

Good luck! You are ready to go kick some major asphalt! Can't wait to read the recap. :-)

Badgergirl said...

Good luck, John! I'll be cheering (and watching) from Wisconsin!

Amy - the gazelle said...

Yay! So excited for you! It's going to be awesome. Can't wait to track you from afar!

hebba said...

Good luck! Can't wait to read about it!

Colleen said...

Best of luck John! Have a great race!