From the Coach’s Training Log- My Prep Period Training
To paraphrase Sy Sperling, I’m not just the coach of TriForce, I’m also a member. That means I follow the same TriForce plans as the rest of the team. I just started easing back into structured training last week and I’m on the TriForce Prep & Conditioning Plan. I thought I’d give you a quick summary about what I’m doing in case any of it applies to you.
Right now I’m still working out some rust & tightness from Kona followed by 3 weeks of bare bones activity. My hamstrings are tight and my swim muscles are completely deconditioned due to neglect.
Here’s what I’m doing / focusing on:
- Doing the “least I need to do to improve”, NOT “the most I can do without breaking down” The good news is that right now if I just do the basic plan (no optional volume), I’ll improve quickly since I’m getting back into shape. Adding extra training on top (except maybe technique work) is just wasting ammunition at this point. This is a great time to get out and work out “like a normal person” with most of your workouts lasting an hour or so.
- Zones / Heart Rate: forget about last year’s power #s on the bike and pace on the swim and run. I know my heart rate zones on the bike & run from past years (HR zones barely change from year to year, if at all). I’ll try to keep my HR below 160 on the run and 143 on the bike. Since I’m “out of shape” it will be a challenge to keep the HR low, but I’ll lead by example and keep the HR low for now! Does it hurt to see my power #s dip below 200 when I used to be at 230 for my steady riding? A little, to be honest, but a 20% drop in power is normal to start the season, and I know I’ll be at lifetime bests in the new year IF I FOLLOW THE PLAN!
- Swimming. My swim muscles are weak and I’m “easily fried” in the pool, so I’m doing LESS than recommended in the program. I’m swimming about 1000 yards * 3 days per week. At over 1000 yards I notice my perceived exertion jumping up and my form deteriorating. I skipped the CSS test since I think the TTs will fry me, so I’m relying on perceived exertion to keep my intensity low. I’m taking this opportunity to work on my technique (particularly catch & pull) with lots of UNCO, doggie paddle, sculling and water polo drills.
- Strength Training. I’m going to strength train for the first time in years this season. Now I’m starting SUPER LIGHT and just doing 1 set for the first week or two. Squatting with the bar, calf raises with body weight, seated rows with 25 pounds. It’s downright embarrassing, but it’s the right thing to do!
- Diet. This is actually a great time to lose some extra pounds (the training is mild enough that fueling isn’t so critical). DO NOT TRY TO GET DOWN TO RACE WEIGHT THIS TIME OF YEAR. Being at a super light weight is bad for your immune system, recovery, etc. But I will try to get down within about 5 pounds of my race weight, which is comfortable for me. My ideal race weight is probably around 154 pounds and I’ll try to get down to 159 by the end of the prep period. (Haven’t started this yet!)
- Bike Fit. Also on my “to do” list is to get a great bike fit and to experiment with making my TT position a little more aggressive. This is a great time of year to play around with fit & position since the volume is low and our race is so far away.
- Taking Care of Other Things When I Have the Time and Energy. This is the only time of year I’ll have massive blocks of time and energy to devote to big projects such as: (a) revamping and improving the team training plans; (b) creating lots of web resources for the team (blog posts to accompany the different parts of the plan, videos, etc); (c) creating more swim technique resources; and (d) reorganizing my garage. If I can get all that stuff done I’ll be able to “train in peace” once my volume goes up!
- Improving as a Coach & Athlete. I also take this time to reflect on how to improve myself and a coach and athlete and how to improve TriForce. I take this time to (a) read and process all of the web articles and materials that I’ve been collecting with Evernote all year (and to incorporate the best ideas into our programs); (b) study my swimsmooth coach’s clinic materials to improve my swimming & make me a better swim coach; (c) read tons of books on coaching and sports (the Kindle bill is racking up!); and (d) I also arranged with sports scientist and coach Alan Couzens to do a series of consults this year to analyze my training over the course of the year (he’s a number cruncher) and to share his thoughts and observations. Alan takes a very different, numbers based approach to training and I’m excited to learn from him.
I have only 5 weeks left of this magical prep & conditioning period and I intend to make the most of it!