Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'Why didn't you just swim one mile?'

I came home from my swim on Monday exhausted. I complained to Gary as I sank into the couch next to him: “Oh, I’m so tired. I just swam 150 yards shy of a mile – my longest swim ever!”

Accepting my statement that I, indeed, was tired but still puzzled by why I didn’t just churn out another 150 and call it even, he asked in all seriousness, “Why didn’t you just swim 1 mile?”

After laughing at how silly I must’ve sounded, I told him that I was in Week 3 of Week 6 of a Swim One Mile in Six Weeks plan and it just had me swimming 1,500 yards this week.

“Oh, okay,” he said, assuming I was practicing some super-secret triathlon training method and must know about what I was talking. “Really great job!” he enthusiastically congratulated me.

Here’s a little background. When I started swimming in December of 2007 by taking swim lessons at the Y, I couldn’t even put my face in water. My first trip toward the other end of the pool was doing that swim where you keep your head out of water, turn it with every stroke and splash like the dickens. Oh, and after the first lesson, I went out and bought noseplugs.

Toward the end of my 6-week lessons, I could not quite swim 100 yards. During my first tri last June, it took me 27 minutes to backstroke 400 yards. During my last tri this past September, and after 2 months of Total Immersion (TI) swimming 2-3 times per week, it took me 47 minutes to swim freestyle 900 yards.

Today, still swimming TI, I can swim 400 yards in around 11 minutes and 900 yards has recently taken me about 25 minutes. Oh, and, I’ve recently given up the noseplugs.

If you would have told me a couple years ago that I would be swimming one mile – without noseplugs – someday, I would have told you that you must be looking into the wrong crystal ball.

I wasn’t just a beginner swimmer. I was a beginner’s beginner. I came from absolutely nothing! So, the fact that I just swam “150 yards shy of one mile” is something I just needed to take the time to celebrate.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Things I need to do differently this year

Just because I can burn 500-600 calories in an hour biking or running, doesn’t mean that I can eat whatever I want. I could eat just cake all day and still not go over my maximum calories, but what I ate will not have given my body what it needs to function at its best.

The suggested ratio of carbs to protein to fat for triathletes in training is approximately 40% - 35% - 25%. I consume so many carbs that that percentage runs around 75% of what I eat. I have managed to begin to eat foods with a higher protein to fat ratio, but I still need to bring down the carbs.

I use to log my food and it compiles this data into a lovely pie graph for me to see this particular ratio.

I did a little here and there last year, but I had no commitment to it. With all the physical rigors through which tri training puts you, your muscles need to be able to support you.

I’ve been doing it at least two to three times a week since December, and I can already feel that I’m not as wimpy, especially during my runs.

Last season was just about having the endurance to make the distances. I just trained whenever I felt like it - which was still 5-6 days a week - but I really had no goals other than reaching the distance.

This season, because I’m training for a Half-Ironman and training properly is more critical with a longer distance tri, my days will be planned out for me with a plan from Beginner Triathlete.

I’ve already witnessed the benefits of laid-out plans. The last three weeks I’ve met all of my appointments for my 8-week 10K and my 6-week swimming plans. If I was not following these plans, Mr. Random would have been my coach and less benefits would I be receiving.

I actually enjoy stretching, so skimping on it last season doesn’t compute. Since I’ve started this 10K running program three weeks ago, I’ve really made an effort to spend at least five minutes - sometimes more - after every run stretching really well. I’ve paid particular attention to my calves and hamstrings where I’m usually sore the most.

The results? Hardly sore at all.

When I began training for my first tri season (2008), I just wanted to cross the finish line. I read a lot of information and picked the rules I thought were best, but also convenient, such as increasing distance 10% each week, taking rest days, getting fitted for a proper pair of running shoes, etc.

However, because I picked and chose at my convenience, I also ignored some other pretty important ones – and I saw the consequences.

Now that I’m getting more serious about the length and intensity of my training, it’s time to go back to everything I’ve learned and not just follow the advice that is only convenient for me.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by my blog. Have a blessed day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Past two weeks' training in review

So, my Half-Ironman training plan doesn’t begin until the end of April, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not training.

Just to give myself some type of schedule between now and then, I’m doing a 10K plan, a swimming plan and a pushup challenge during this time. Now that I have my new road bike and the weather’s warming up, I suspect I’ll be out on the road more, too.

As things stand, I just completed week 2/8 of the 10K plan, week 1/6 of the swimming plan and week 3/6 for the Hundred Pushups Challenge.

I’m particularly excited about the running plan. It’s really given me the push I need to just get out the door and run. My long slow distance run was today and I enjoyed just taking my time covering the 3.5 mile distance.

There was a little bit of drizzle when I started the run, and I turned around after a few seconds and came back home. I told Gary, “I know it’s just sprinkling, but after many minutes of this I’m just going to be soaked.”

He just chuckled and said, “Do whatever you think is best.” I realized that we both thought I was being absurd, but I was hopeful the rain would disappear. I did a load of dishes.

After a while, the thought of allowing myself off the hook with such a lousy excuse made me ashamed. I decided that no matter how much it was sprinkling, I was going to get it I did. Luckily, the sprinkles had subsided for about 90% of my run so it ended up not even being a problem.

I bring this up because if I didn’t have this plan to keep me committed, I would have done one of three things: 1) I still might have run, but I would have cut the distance short; 2) I would have gone to the Y and broken up the distance between the treadmill and the track, but still may have been tempted to cut it short or 3) I just wouldn’t have run.

This past week was a week of personal records as well. I ran the first mile of my 2-mile run this week in 7 minutes and 40 seconds. I have never run that anywhere near the 8-minute mark, so to go under 8 minutes was a great surprise and an incredible treat.

I also shaved off approximately 2 minutes off my 400 yard distance in the pool on Wednesday. I average around 12:30 for that distance and I finished it in around 10:30.

I took my new bike out for a real ride yesterday. I was planning on going 12-24 miles, but the 20 mph crosswinds were blowing me into traffic and it really wasn’t safe, so I cut it short and went 9 miles.

Even with that in mind, I was able to up my average speed to 15.5 mph, instead of that 12 mph that seems to have gotten more attached to me than I to it.

So, having a schedule is proving to be quite the asset for my training. I just need to practice this habit of commitment the next few weeks before the Half-Iron training begins, so giving in to the excuses becomes harder as consistent training becomes critical.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by and reading about my training journeys.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Whatcha doin’ with a suitcase?

Winter has started packing up its belongings and is clearing out the closets.

I’m sure there will be many more days of cold, but instead of them being the rule, they are becoming the exception.

It is supposed to get up to 68 degrees this weekend and it truly is a time to celebrate.

I wish I could help Winter pack to expedite its departure, but that’s like trying to pluck a feather from a frog: It just won’t happen.

So, greetings and salutations, Springtime. So long, Winter.

No more excuses about sub-freezing temps! Let’s get training!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coroners, cars and crashes - but it's not how it sounds

You have GOT to read this funny, well-written story by a fellow triathlete blogger (Because I Tri) about her unusual experience with the county coroner the other day.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's a 'chi' and why is it running? (r)

This is a re-post of something I'd written back in October. As the training season kicks into full gear, I thought it was worthy of a re-post.


Some of you may notice a link on here to a Web site called ChiRunning. If you want to run better, and pain-free, you have to check this out.


I was skeptical when I heard about it, too, but about a year ago, I decided to pick up running. This was right before triathlons got on my radar screen. I started out running a half-mile and then worked up to one mile. The trouble is, my knees started to really hurt - again.

In fact, I decided to take a break from running and work on building leg strength for a few months. If the muscles surrounding my knees were strong, my knees wouldn't be so weak and, therefore, as able to be injured.

Meanwhile, I got interested in triathlons. I read a swimming book, Total Immersion (TI), and just fell in love with the theories behind the author, Terry Laughlin's, techniques. At the end of his book, he recommended ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer.

Soon thereafter, I got a copy from the library. I read it in one day.

I won't go into all of the details about the mechanics of it. It would take a book to explain and Dryer's already written it, but basically it's about falling into your run instead of forcing yourself to run.

Here's a short video of Danny Dreyer, the creator of ChiRunning, explaining the difference between ChiRunning and typical running.

I can say that since running this way since April, I have experienced no knee pain during or after running - none!

If you're tired of your running causing you pain, it is definitely worth your time to check out the book and/or DVD. It may end up not being for you - but what if it is?


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