And here I go again, saying this blog has been neglected and I promise to do better, yada, yada, yada. I guess in the spirit of a new year, I should commit to at least trying to be better and updating on what is going on with me, for all 3 of my loyal readers :)
1) I have started training with a coach. I have always been self coached, using training plans out of books or off the web somewhere, and I feel like I have gotten by okay, but have hit a performance plateau I don't know how to get around. Also, it just simply hasn't been in the budget in an already expensive sport. Once a year, Ben Cagle offers a coaching scholarship/sponsorship to one athlete for a year of free coaching. It is his way of paying it forward. I had applied last year in hopes of having a coach for IMTX, but was not selected. I had all but forgotten about this opportunity until I got an email from him saying he was opening it up for the 2016 year. My first thought was, "Well, I don't really know what I want to do in 2016, or have any big plans, so why would I do that?" But then I thought, why the heck not? Like I stated above, I have been frustrated by my lack of gains in the sport, and haven't known how to push through them, so this might be just what I need. So I applied and got selected back in November. My training plan with him started the Monday after Thanksgiving. All I can say is 5 weeks into this is it has already taught me so much and changed my outlook on training.
For one, I have been a runner for 6 years, and I am entering my 5th season in triathlon and I have, for the most part, followed or done training plans that are "just put in the time/mileage". So a three mile run would be just go run three miles at whatever pace felt good that day. I did some speed work, mainly on the run training with my IMTX plan, but that was very limited. Now, with Ben, every workout has a goal and very specific targets to hit. There are not more "run 3 mile" or ride 20 miles. It is all done by time and with very specific things to do and accomplish within that time period. I really like it, though it has been a mindset shift. I also feel like my training is more efficient and no more junk miles.
Another thing I have loved in having a coach is that I no longer do the analyzing or planning. I simply do whatever he loads in Training Peaks. This has been soooooooo nice, I can't stress enough. I let Ben do that, and do whatever he tells me to do. I trust him and though I don't always see the why of specific drills or sets he has me do (like running drills for example...I hate them!), I just do it. I am only 6 week into this, but so far, so good, and I am so excited to see my progress this year!
2) I got a new bike trainer. I bit the bullet and got a screaming deal on Wahoo Kickr power trainer. I am still not sure what to think of it. The Pros to me are not using a back wheel, training with power (though I am not sure what to do with this data yet, but that's Ben's job) and it is cool to control the trainer from my cell phone. It is also quieter than my old trainer. The cons are that it is a lot of information, but not sure what to do with it. Granted, Ben is taking this data and working it into my training, but I see it as just another measure of my training, like HR or pace. Another down fall is that I won't be able to use this once my bike is on the road, as I don't have a power meter for races or road riding.
I know that there are things like Trainer Road and the ability to download different workouts onto the trainer, but I don't feel like those accomplish the very specific things that Ben wants me to hit during a ride. Hopefully I can give it time and figure it all out :)
3) Training wise I feel great. No injuries, my shoulder isn't bugging me at all on the bike (thank Heavens!!!), and I have been very consistent in my training lately with Ben. It's amazing how being accountable to someone else motivates you to just get it done!
4) My goals for 2016 is to focus on short distances for once, and try to qualify for and go back to Age Group Nationals. They are in Omaha this year, on August 13. Here's to trying! I know I said I didn't care if I ever went back, but I wasn't prepared like I could have been, and now I feel like I can do better. Plus, its much closer to home, so it makes it more doable!
That's all folks! Happy Racing and training all!!