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 keep up 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.
This year, however, I really don’t want to repeat that same mediocre training performance. Now, to be fair, we were in the middle of moving across the country last year. That transition was more involved than I thought it would be and it ate up a lot of our time. This year, I am leveraging the lessons learned and workouts from this past year and using them over the next two months to stay fit throughout the holidays. There are three main guiding principles I am using to help drive my November/December training.
Firstly, we decided to register for a race in early January, the San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15K, to give us something to train towards. I set an aggressive time goal for that race of 1 hour flat. The 15K distance is one of my favorite distances as it is right at the short end of the endurance distance standards, so you can push the pace very hard without the need for the extensive amount of recovery needed after a half or full marathon. Moreover, that race is the weekend right before our 2014 triathlon training calendar starts, so training for it will serve as a great base building plan.
Secondly, I have designed a training plan that plays well into our work and life schedules with the flexibility for doubling up on some days in the event that we miss a day here or there. The plan is run heavy, since our first event will be a fast 15K road race. Also, we are incorporating lots of yoga and strength training to rebuild core strength and flexibility. For the two strength training days, we are pulling a lot from pro triathlete workouts I find during the week in the various Zite fitness articles I come across. I’ve included examples of those here as well.
The last thing I am doing is defining a monthly mileage goal for each discipline. The goals are there to make sure we are hitting the base numbers necessary for picking up with our full training after the San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15K. The mileage numbers are modest and consist of 100 miles of cycling, 60 miles of running, and 8 miles of swimming per month. Those are just minimums, so if we can get more in, the better. I have also, started to leverage Training Peaks online fitness tracking tools and professionally designed training plans. A lot of pro endurance athletes use Training Peaks for analyzing their performance and interact with professional coaches. I figure, why recreate the wheel, when I can copy the best and hope for even half of their success. So that’s the training plan, along with updating this blog regularly, I hope not have a repeat of last year’s training malaise.