North Shore Sprint Triathlon

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Training Program vs. Bartl's Goals

When I logged on to write this and saw the countdown at the top of the page, I realized I have less than three months until the big day. The training has seemed to go by very quickly, and I know the days leading up to the race will slip past me even faster if I allow it happen.

While I've kept up with the training - especially as a beginner - I'm having the feeling that I haven't done enough and need to work harder. As I mentioned in a previous post, I put a lot of pressure on myself and set expectations high. Not just with training for my first sprint triathlon, but always. The race won't forgive me for losing days of training by not fighting through the obstacles put in front of me - no matter how unavoidable.

This weekend I had the honor of being a groomsman at my buddy Brad's wedding. The amount of fun I had was well worth not being able to train for three days, but at the same time they are days lost that I can't get back. I ate, drank and let loose, ignoring the training program for the entire weekend. These things are going to happen when your good friend gets married, and there won't ever be a single regret for having a good time and not sticking to a strict training plan.

The main thing is how you respond to any type of "setback." I woke up this morning after a day of recovery from the wedding and ran 2.5 miles with a time I'm proud of at this point. I can feel my endurance level rising as I get back into the running shape I was at this point last year. Earlier last week I didn't let the poor weather get my down. I got up, went to the gym and did my own version of a mini triathlon. I swam for a half hour, rode 10 miles on the stationary bike and ran two miles on the treadmill. It was the closest thing I could get to a simulation for the event and felt good doing it.

My main problem right now is that I had a mishap with my bike. I set off to ride my bike to work - roughly 18 miles from Chicago to Northbrook - and didn't get even a quarter mile until a bungee cord snapped off my bag and wrapped itself around the chain hub. My dad hopefully will be able to fix it tonight when he comes by, but if he can't I'm stuck on the stationary at the gym until I can get it fixed. The stationary is a poor replacement for biking outside over hills and also finding a rhythm with speed. It's just something else I have to fight through.

Last week before the wedding I was on a roll with my training and felt myself coming along. I dropped another couple pounds down to 147, putting me at 11 pounds lost over the course of the training. I am going to begin incorporating light weight training to build my muscle endurance, which the program calls for me to do.

So here we go. Less than 90 days until the race, and I have a little catching up to do - maybe not within the program, but to bring myself to my own satisfaction. And really, if I have that kind of mental attitude without over-working myself, I think I'll be in good shape.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Week 2 Update, Plus Diet Obstacles That Lie Ahead

As I mentioned in my previous post, the most challenging aspect of training for my first sprint triathlon will be to learning how to swim correctly. I've been watching some online videos on proper form, balance, breathing techniques, etc., but I can't seem to get the hang of it. Combine that with my complete lack of patience, it's becoming annoying to get in the pool and struggle.

I should be taking a step back and realizing that it's going to take some time to nail something down that I've really never done before in my 32-plus years on this planet, but telling myself that isn't working. I'm the type of person who sees a goal and wants to accomplish it in the least amount of time possible because I expect a lot out of myself. When I'm having trouble with something, I get frustrated.

I'm balancing those emotions a little better and have tried to focus on the fact that even though I am not swimming as efficiently as I'd like, I am at least burning calories in a new way and getting a different workout, which will eventually help me. And hopefully in a few more weeks, I'll be doing much better in the swimming aspect.

I've made up for the lack of swimming progress by exceeding the biking and running goals listed in the training program. Yesterday, I biked from my apartment to the lakefront and rode to Navy Pier and back to my place, totaling 14.28 miles. I followed that with a two-mile run, completing my first Brick Workout a week and a half ahead of time. A brick workout consists of stacking two disciplines of the triathlon into a single workout to help simulate race day. It felt very good, though I know there's a long way to go to be able to do that consistently while also adding an almost-half mile swim along with it. But I'm getting there.

I weighed myself this morning, and here's an update on that progress:

Starting weight: 155.6
After Week 1: 150.4
After Week 2: 148.8
Race Day Goal: 143

Losing seven pounds in two weeks isn't bad, but I realize that's mostly the water weight I'm getting off me from eating poorly and not working out as much in the 2-3 months prior to the training. Dropping the rest of the weight will be much more difficult, so losing those five pounds to reach my goal will be tougher, especially since I plan to gain some muscle weight in the process.

Also factoring in is that I slipped a bit last week with a sandwich from Al's Beef and pizza the following night. While a couple of "cheat" meals aren't the end of the world, making them a habit is the problem. I've been eating rather well since, but there are more challenges this weekend.

I'm going to Indianapolis for my buddy Brad's bachelor party, leaving Friday afternoon and coming back Sunday morning. Along with not being able to complete a workout for two days, I won't be able to fall back on my salads and healthy meals I've prepared for myself. With alcohol involved, the urge to eat unhealthy, quickly and late at night will be something I'll have to do my best to overcome. I think I can stay away from the late-night indulging, but there won't be many healthy options available. It will be unavoidable to take in the calories of the alcohol because, let's face it, I won't be sober much at all.

Next week, I go back on the day shift and will have to overcome the obstacle of a completely different work and training schedule, which I have to figure out on a trial-by-error basis. I'll be posting updates on how that's going.

Thanks for reading!