Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Sorry I was gone for so long...I sort of missed last week as it whizzed by in a blur of half marathon recovery, an unexpected family gathering (and consequent two day trip to RI), a day of sleep and rest and a weekend of visitors. The pace of life in the summertime never ceases to amaze me. How we pack it all into a day is beyond me. Sometimes I feel like I can hardly keep up. Thus the quiet and crickets chirping over here at 2/3rds the vent...

Anyway, I'm all recovered from the race and feeling really good. Had a bit of a meltdown on Thursday last when I got up at 5 am to swim, got dressed, got all the way to the door, turned around and went back to bed. But that was the extent of it and now I'm good. Two good rides this weekend and one mediocre run and I'm back at it.

So, one thing you might or might not know is that Weasel Boy moved to Ireland in December (he's an englishman but his lovely wife is Irish). Gone was/is my awesome swimming and training partner. Alas, thru the magic of the internet and gmail, we've been able to chat almost every day and it's almost as if he never left. One day at the end of April it dawned on me that I had one month to finish getting ready for the half marathon I just ran, and I needed a plan. Almost jokingly, I asked the Weasel if he'd be interested in writing a plan for me for the month of May. He said yes and thus began a month of run training that got me thru my half marathon a screaming 30 minutes faster than last year. I did the work, but I owe the plan entirely to him.

Fast forward to the last week in May, just before the race...I again half jokingly asked if he'd like to take a stab at the month of June to get me ready for the Fairlee Tri on July 9th. He said yes again!!! Ladies and gents, I have a coach. A free coach! Well, not totally free, I have an obligation to spoil the crap out of his first born child, but essentially free. WB is looking for a good job in Bio Med research (yeah, he's one of those over-achiever, super smart, PhD kinda guys) so he has a little extra time on his hands - and he's willing to spend it on me!! What a great friend. (BTW, if you live in Ireland - Belfast area - and need someone to fill a position in biomedical research, he's your man).

So, Monday began cycle one leading up to my sprint tri this coming Sunday. The plan started with a prelude that included this bit of advice:

I think where you stand at this point is that you have all the endurance you need for an Olympic distance race. 1500m swim is no problem, you can cycle 25 miles in your sleep, and you just cruised a half marathon. Don’t take this as criticism, but your limiter is your willingness or ability to hurt yourself just a little when you’re training. I’m not saying you have to push yourself ragged every time you train, but you are at the point where you have to start experimenting with intensity, so that you can separate yourself from “finishing” and move on to “racing.” I’m not saying you are a failure if you don’t come in the top three, but you have enough experience and hours and miles under your belt to allow yourself to start to push a little, start to finesse the art of racing.

He could not have said it more exactly... this is what I've been struggling with for a long time now. Pushing until it hurts is my limiter. I think I spent so much time in my high school and college years injured that I'm afraid to push that hard because I'm sure it will take me out of the game. So, given that WB did such a good job of assessing my abilities in preparation for the half, I'm trusting him totally to move me to the next level. Here's what last night's speedwork session looked like:

warmup: ~7 minutes
EZ stretch

lap 1 (0.8 mi.) faster than ½ marathon pace, but not all out - think about posture, stand tall, think about moving yourself forward without moving up and down. Think economy.

Drill set 1: Skipping
Skip for 15 seconds – walk back to where you started. Skip again for 15 seconds, walk back, skip again, walk back. Have a quick drink then you’re off again.

lap 2 (0.8 mi.) again, pick up the pace, concentrate on experimenting with your economy again. Shift things around – see what feels good, what doesn’t.

Drill set 2: Strides
20 seconds of striding – not all out, but you’re pushing the pace. I want you to find yourself some gears. Walk back slowly to where you started. Do this another two times (drinking as much as you want) then off again.

lap 3 (0.8 mi.) dig in here. I know you’ll be tired and puffing – and if you’re not WHY NOT ?!?!?! - but now is the time to focus. Concentrate on keeping your form good through this last lap.

Drill set 3 - repeat skipping set 1

EZ jog home and stretch

total time: 40:36, not including the warmup or warmdown.

I was a little sore by the end so stretched a lot and sat with some ice packs while I ate my dinner...but today I feel good - strong, not sore. How freakin' lucky am I? My own personal Weasel Coach. One confession - I feel a little guilty about the fact that I'm not doing it myself - planning and holding myself accountable - but I'm looking at it as baby steps right now. I need someone to push me, to have faith in me where I don't have faith in myself. I'm hoping my confidence will build as a result and I'll finally be able to take the reigns. For now, it has to be enough just to follow the plan...

So Weasel, if you're reading, you rock dude. I'm fired up and can't wait to see the results...

Train hard!!


Blogger Flatman said...

Good plan...go for it!

11:15 AM GMT-5

Blogger Cliff said...

Good stuff.

Yes i do see pushing yourself is a tricky business. But with someone frmo a third point of view helping u, i am sure u will be fine.

11:21 AM GMT-5

Blogger Bolder said...

i had no idea weasels could coach, p-dawgs of course, weasels no.

2:23 PM GMT-5

Blogger Barb said...

A good coach is one that knows how to motivate. He is doing a fine job. Keep posting his words of wisdom so I can sponge up some free coaching, too! :)

I hope it's cooler than 80 degrees for your Tri. I'd be dying! I think it was you that told me I need to acclimate to the heat. You were SO right!

2:55 PM GMT-5

Blogger Joe said...

Welcome back. It sounds like you've recovered from that awesome half marathon and you've come back to your training with a renewed commitment. Good luck with your new training plan.

3:22 PM GMT-5

Blogger Scott said...

You're very lucky to have WB. I totally do better whenever I have a coach giving me feeback and pushing me.

I look forward to reading about your progess.

Now... get back to work till it hurts!

7:07 PM GMT-5


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