January – Frequency First
Although I had a list of my major goals for 2011, I also wanted to keep track of my big picture training and lessons learned in a monthly post. I have an issue getting busy with work, workouts and life stuff without blogging it out but I think I can stick to a good monthly post and it should provide some good perspective looking back. It also became clear with a test that I took this month for work that I like to do work, learn from it and hopefully share some lessons learned. Finding some of my key strengths with that test was one of the highlights of the month for me. Off to a good start with the new year.
After finishing up some goals for 2010 and taking a break from training in December, I started January with a no-training-schedule schedule. I talked to Gordo about when to start real training again but with us finishing moving into our new pad, me having to be in the office from 9-5 everyday at work now and just getting back into training it looked to be the best approach. We talked about some of the 30 day stuff below, an outline for the year and it looked to fit the big picture plans for the year.
it was a good rest stop but its time to get back to work
Kicking off the new year with some rides and run with friends I found myself able to get in some solid frequency around swimming, biking and running. Nothing big but my focus was around frequency. Having to be in the office from 9-5 kept me on a tight routine and training out of our new place made it all easy to fit in the schedule. Everything was just so accessible and I found that without having to drive to every workout and with the urgency of having to get it done before or after a full day of work I was getting it done and starting some good habits in our new place. Exploring the new single track that is right out of our front door had had me running more than ever…and loving it!!!
Last year, I did the 30 days of running and it forever changed my running. I decided to give it another go this year except I made up a few new rules for myself. Instead of trying to run every single day and stick to a minimum of 30 minutes I decided to add three elements.
1) I would not need to run every single day and would actually plan on taking one day off from running each week and running one day as a double.
2) I would add one “quickness” session a week -track, repeats, long strides, etc.
3) I would increase my long run each week building to 2 hours.
My idea behind this was to get better quality instead of trying to satisfy a minimum and still have a good target to reach for frequency. I felt like if I could handle the volume jump last year with little running the previous year so I should be able to deal with a little more intensity and volume this year. Well, it looked like it would be fun. . . and it was! Somewhere around the first week I noticed that I also had logged the same number of swim and bike workouts also. It was just so easy to train out of our pad and I like to swim and ride my bike…a lot.
I switched my focus to try for something new. 30/30/30 in 30. 30 swims, 30 rides, 30 runs within 30 days. This was a growing goal but it took a back seat to finishing moving in, working 9-5 and any other key events. What that meant to me was that I would attempt to get in 30 of each session but if I missed something I would not try and make it up. I also wanted to keep my running as a focus and allow for some big days on the bike and in the pool without having to worry about doing too much.
In the end I did not get my 30/30/30 or even 30 runs and I actually had 31 days in January to get it done. That was OK with me. I kept the balance in my life, knocked out some quality projects, passed some technical certifications at work while spending more time in the office this month than most quarters of 2010. I still had my one of my biggest frequency months across all three sports but I had invested in the long term areas for consistency. Knowing when to get a game going and when to not get stuck on numbers was a lesson I pulled in from last year. I knew if I could just get started and keep moving I would get more done than I started out to do.
I also did not just try and get by with the minimum. I logged a few BIG days on the mountain bike including a couple solid days climbing to prep for a 12 hour mountain bike race that ended up stripped me down big time. A good recovery from that allowed me to fit in half a dozen swims over 4K and half a dozen 2 hour runs. I had more swim sessions with Nova than any other month which means that I was swimming pretty hard most of the time. Not sure yet if that was a good thing…there are sharks in the water at every Nova session! Keeping the focus on frequency required me to keep my easy days easy and the hard days like good races. I found myself absorbing the frequency and the bigger days and was able to recover from the mountain bike race and finish the month strong with a little over 50 miles of running in the last 4 days. Most of that was built around a double run of two half marathons on the weekend. While this sounds like a lot it was very easy pace, very easy on the mind and schedule and I fell like I have absorbed it very well. I have a long way to go and I do not want to be a February rockstar when I have my sights on getting strong for November.
Next month, Monique and I have a dream crusher weekend planned with some friends in Palm Springs and then I am off for the Endurance Corner Tuscon camp at the end of the month. No other racing plans at this time except the outside chance that I may jump into a 4 day stage race in Patagonia with my hero Paul but if that happens I am happy to adjust. Until then it is back to the 9-5 grind and stacking the hay. See ya out there.