I’ve been at this endurance sports thing (1 hour or longer events) for a few years now and next year feels like it will be my senior year in the my endurance training education. Through those years I have definitely seen some grade A performances but there have been some F’s and everything in between. Reflecting back, I think I have finally come close to defining the training formula, that allows work/life balance along with injury prevention. The tips in this post come out of all of my collected mental notes from the past few years. This guide is not a one size fits all, but a blue print I have found that works and that you can tailor for yourself.
Every year around this time, I find myself in a struggle trying to balance the need to rest after a long competition season and wanting to maintain a good fitness base until the next year starts. The hardest part is trying to maintain the motivation in light of not having any races on the calendar and the dropping temperatures outside. The thought of just writing off the day and sleeping in, becomes more and more appealing. Each year, I have tried to define a training plan for maintaining a minimum fitness standard but have often found that the busy nature of the holidays, work, and overall training fatigue, blows up those plans. Last year in particular, was pretty bad. I did almost nothing, notching some of my lowest performance totals in years, see below.
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In a way, I am glad I waited to post this update until today because I can throw a shout out to Diana Nyad for completing a 35 year old dream. For those who don’t know, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or swim fins, swimming from Havana to Key West over the holiday weekend.
Well, I’ll start by getting straight into it. I didn’t hit my 500 km goal for September. I did a total of 230 miles last month, about 70 miles or 23% short of the 310 miles I needed. I was unfortunately derailed by a chest infection during the latter part of the month that kept me sidelined. I tried a workout now and then but they were wasted efforts where I found it hard to breath most of the time. Disappointing I know, but I am not Superman and shouldn’t expect Herculean efforts to just come to me.
This post is a more of a training guide/tip for those looking to maintain their short distances speeds while training for a half marathon or greater. I recently noticed my pace slowing down over the course of training for the 500K challenge. Running endurance races is great, but keeping up your weight and speed are hard to do when you want to be at the front of the pack. I found a workout that can help with distance speeds and it’s called the Mile Breakdown and I borrowed it from Mark Remy at Runner’s World.
Last month I mentioned in a few of my 281.2 posts that I would give periodic updates this month on my training. I call this month’s goal the 500k challenge. 500km represents the metric total distance I wanted to meet this month in swimming, running and cycling. That goal breaks down to 10 miles of swimming, 60 miles of running and 240 miles of cycling, for a total of 310 miles. I debated calling it the 310 mile challenge but 500K just sounds cooler to me. I also thought that the swimming part would be the hardest to complete at the beginning of the month and I have been proven right. At about a third of the way through this month, I am equally a third of the way done in all three disciplines. The time in the pool being the most exhausting of the three.