As athletes, there's no getting around the fact that we love working hard for our goals. Sometimes we don't have a specific goal in mind, but rather a list of possible outcomes but I think we would all agree that we all have dreams of finding personal success in our sport of choice.
One thing that I have learned over the past 7 years is that it takes time to build an athlete. Because we all have different strengths, weaknesses and differing lifestyles, we all have unique ways of achieving our goals.
I have voiced my opinions on nutrition and training, in terms of quality, many times in previous blogs so I find it important to say that the building of an athlete is not simply dependent on being athletically gifted.
I don't believe that success has to do with finishing times, pace or speed but rather how you compare yourself to years past in terms of becoming a smarter, faster and healthier athlete. For if you see yourself progressing as an athlete, you will be more likely to continue the sport for years to come. However, it is important, VERY important, that when you compare yourself to years past, that you recognize that as you become a stronger and more efficient athlete that your training will change and that there isn't a one-size-fit-all approach.
This is my first time ever doing a training camp. Karel has designed an excellent training plan for me and I continually see myself being consistent with workouts. We are finishing week 9 of Kona training and I am having a lot of fun.
There is healthy balance with IM training and the rest of my life and I thank him for not giving me all-day weekend workouts. Although the focus of this IM training plan is centered around quality, that isn't to say that we haven't spent time working on my endurance, speed and power as a long-distance triathlete. Approaching my 5th Ironman, I can't help but think of the work I did preparing for my 1st Ironman. Transforming my body from triathlete to Ironman triathlete was overwhelming but I approached it with an open mind in order to get to my very first IM starting line feeling stronger than ever before. It was an amazing feeling and I have craved that feeling ever since November 2006.
(Winning my age group at my first IM (IMFL) at 24 years old. 11 hours and 47 minutes)
Fast forward to 2011 and I am so super excited for this Ironman. One thing that has lacked in my past 3 Ironmans (Kona, IMKY and IMWI) is mental toughness. I believe that racing an Ironman (or participating) is 90% mental on race day. All the training is in the past and if you give yourself the perfect taper and provide your body with the best sources of food on the days leading up to the race, you should have nothing in your way on race day except your attitude.
Because of my history with hip problems, I welcome this Ironman because I will use my mind just as much as I use my body. My goal for this Ironman is to have my mind be the only limiter on race day. By trusting my training plan (and knowing how to fuel for an Ironman) I can't wait to see what my body is capable of doing, without any physiological limiters in my way. Sure, I recognize that anything outside of my control can occur on race day but I respect the 140.6 mile distance and I have never pushed beyond my limits or push beyond what I have trained my body to do on race day. For no amount of nutrition can make me go any faster on race day if I haven't trained it to do so in training.
I welcome this training camp as an opportunity to build strength and power (after I properly recover next week) but more than anything, to put myself in situations that require focus, mental strength and a positive attitude.
"It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers."
Day 1 Trimarni-Kona training camp:
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
81 mile ride (3:53) w/ 6 fast guys (thanks Shawn Burke and VMS crew)
Followed by a 6 mile T-run.
48 min. 8:03 min/mile pace
mile 1: 7:59
mile 2: 8:01
mile 3: 8:03
mile 4: 8:04
mile 5: 8:03
mile 6: 8:00
4 PM: 3500 yrd swim
Location: New Port Richey, Fl (parents house)
7:15 AM - 5 hour ride (92 miles)
1 hour warm-up
Main set: 3 hour "tempo" interval. Increase watts by 5 watts every hour, starting 15 watts below "IM watt effort" all in cross winds or headwinds on Suncoast Bike trial.
1 hour spin/cool-down
(I pay no attention to speed when I bike but keep my power meter on average for speed and power while I am doing intervals. Speed means absolutely nothing to me in terms of how I am performing during my ride since I rely on my power meter to determine my effort. I also monitor my heart rate on my power tap).
3 mile T-run off bike.
Main set: 3 x 1 mile descending w/ 1 minute rest between miles.
23 minutes. 7:43 min/mile average pace
mile 1: 7:53
mile 2: 7:42
mile 3: 7:36
Tomorrow I welcome the hills of San Antonio, Florida (Dade City) followed by a "long" run.