Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Plan

On MLK day I start my training plan for 2013. Why so early? It is eighteen weeks until the Sun Mountain 50k trail event, which is my first ‘A’ race of the year and my first ultra ever.  This is also the only purely running ‘A’ race for the year. After that I switch my training into trail triathlons, which have shorter running sections (usually, about 10k with elevation gain). These running sections are done after a swim and mountain bike section, so having trained to run fatigued during a 50k event will be helpful. Not to mention that running fitness is the most difficult to achieve and the overall endurance effect will prepare me for a 3 or 4 hour triathlon.
This plan developed after I reviewed last year. What went right, what could I have done better and what did I wish I would have achieved. Last year was great as I built endurance after years of being sedentary. I tried out many different types of events. I did road and trail running events, mountain bike cat 2 races and endurance events, and an Xterra triathlon. In the end I recognized how wonderful running was for building endurance. It gave me great opportunities to get out and just explore the mountains on fantastic adventure runs. I loved these. I also loved the variety of the triathlon. It had been years since I had done any swimming, and open water was pretty new (although I did unintentionally swim some nasty rapids in my early whitewater kayaking career, so swimming in a wet suits on a lake was pretty tame in comparison).  So, for total fitness and happiness I have decided to focus on trail triathlons for 2013.
I also learned that I am slow. I finished almost all my races last in my age group or close to last. That is Ok, because I finished. Not only that, but I finished way ahead of everyone sitting on the couch. Just finishing an endurance event is a huge accomplishment because I had spent so many years laying around and genetically I am slow. There are no Kenyans in my family tree.  I’ve done well in non-endurance events such as downhill skiing and whitewater kayaking. Hand-eye coordination and balance have been my strength, but I’m not wired for endurance events. Playing against my destiny has been satisfying. I recognize I will never be first when competing against others. That’s OK. I just want to do better than I did last year. I want the 46 year old me to kick the ass of the 45 year old me. 
So, with that assessment in mind I set my 2013 goals. Number one is to have fun. This journey is unsustainable unless it’s fun.  Pain is OK occasionally, but must be countered by the accomplishment. The rest of the goals are important too. Avoid the IT and other injuries that plagued me last year and maintain my health. The final and least important goal is to get faster.
Lastly, the plan is a work in progress. I’ll tweak it throughout the year.  It isn’t a plan so much as benchmarks and goals to gage progress. I know I won’t follow it exactly. A plan is a great roadmap, but the detours and tangents are what makes for an interesting year.

What did you learn last year and how did it factor into your plans?

1 comment:

  1. Like your plan and retrospection on 2012.

    Two things leap out as I reflect on 2012. First, I put my running second so Amanda could train for and run her first marathon. She got first dibs on running time so I enjoyed more mid day or after dark runs than usual. While I enjoyed running in the dark and other odd hours the heat of mid day running was sub-optimal. But it was all worth it when we cheered her to the finish of the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee.

    Second, I learned that working with a coach helped push my fitness, endurance, speed, and most importantly my dedication. The accountability of following a plan and reporting progress really helped me.