Saturday, January 30, 2016

Power of Community

            It can be scary doing something new, but at least a little less so when you have someone doing it with you.  I’ll be kicking off the triathlon season this year with a return to Green Bay.  This time, however, it will be different than in the years past.  One, they no longer offer an Olympic-distance race so I’ll be doing the sprint.  Two, this will be an incredibly exciting race this year because of the group of people that will be coming along too!  Katherine will be kicking off her season with me, four months post-delivery of her second baby (a girl!).
Then there is a crazy, awesome group from the Northwoods Tri Club that will be competing too.  Races are always more exciting when you know more people, but this group adds another level of excitement!  For several of them, it will be their first triathlon ever.  I have helped write out the training plans for 3 of them, and another just had her 2nd hip replacement surgery a couple weeks ago.  It’s been fun to watch them learn, challenge themselves, and grow from this experience already.  I can’t wait to watch them cross the finish line!
When you train within a community of people, you have a built in support system.  You have others holding you accountable, encouraging you, and going through it with you.  You can hit rough patches in training and frustrations that they will help you get through, and they will be there celebrating the accomplishments with you.  My 50x50 challenge in the pool last winter was much more fun when I had company towards the end.  Workouts and competitions are even more of a blast when you get to experience it with others.  It’s also what brings you closer together.
Social media can be a powerful tool that can be used for accountability and support as well.  Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, etc can all be positive tools.  Share your goals with friends and training partners, and you can find a crazy amount of support and encouragement out there when you are really needing it.  They are also a lot of social media groups that you can plug into and find it there if you are not ready to share your goals with all of your friends just yet!  When you tell someone your goals though, you are now no longer just accountable to yourself.  It is a gift on the days when we want to quit.  Life is much richer when lived in community.  They can also help you keep perspective and give you somebody to laugh with along the way.
The last time I had a big group together for a race was the Wausau Triathlon in 2012 (pictured above).  I am STOKED to have this community with me for such an awesome adventure.  Want to join in the fun?!  You know you want to….

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bike Block

            I’ll be trying to get on the bike as much as possible during this block, which includes January and February.  The biggest challenge is finding the opportunity.  I used to do all of my biking during Baya’s naps because she’s been (for the most part) predictable and I’ve even gotten up to 2-hour rides on the trainer in during her naps.  Myles is certainly another case entirely.  Sometimes he’ll take a good non-stop nap of 2 hours or slightly longer.  More often though, he will wake up during it and while sometimes it can be quick in getting him back down, other times it can take 40 minutes or more, or he may refuse to go back to sleep altogether.  Since he’s inconsistent at wake-up time and if he still takes a morning nap as a result, he’s also harder to get consistent at the time he goes to sleep for his nap.  He’s been as early as noon and as late as 1:45.  It’s hard to make plans that count on him.  Whenever I think we’re in a rhythm finally, it gets a wrench thrown into it.
            I’ve been learning a LOT from my new book, “Power Meter Handbook” by Joe Friel, and it’s affecting my bike training.  For January, my focus is on aerobic endurance, and then muscular force and speed skills.  He’s given me a more precise target range for the aerobic endurance (which is actually based on heart rate – being in zone 2, but would be at a moderate intensity), and I’ve never done the muscular force and speed skills as he explains them.  For muscular force work, you get in a big gear, stay in a seated position, come to a stop, and then pound it as hard as you can for 6-12 revolutions, aiming for watts that are twice your FTP.  I actually really like doing these.  For speed work, I’m doing high-cadence drills that last a few minutes for each interval, and are done at a cadence level that is slightly uncomfortable and maintained for the duration, in hopes of extending the duration of each interval of the course of several weeks.  This is to improve pedaling efficiency.  I’m pretty pumped about making gains in these areas! 
Come February, I’ll continue with the aerobic endurance and lengthening the duration, but then I’ll be doing less muscular force and more muscular endurance.  These will be the classic 2x20’ (5’) “sweet-spot” intervals at around 88-93% FTP.  The purpose of this workout is to increase Functional Threshold Power.  I’ll incorporate speed skills into warm-ups if I can’t get them in elsewhere during the week. 
            I hope to bike 3-5 times/week.  I’d like a minimum of 4 times, but I know life happens (or shall I say, Myles happens).  I’ll continue to swim 3 times per week, but I’m cutting back on my yardage.  I’ll keep my runs at an easy pace still, with some strides, and a weekly long run.  I’m shooting to still hold on to 6 days a week of running.  I’m looking forward to this block, even though I know it’s also a painful one!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Work In Progress

“New Year, New You” seems to be the theme every time January comes around.  With feelings of a fresh start, we think that this will be our year.  Gym attendance skyrockets and many set out to make changes.  Somewhere along the way, however, whether it be months, weeks, or days into the new year, people tend to settle back into their old routines and habits.
            Changes don’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t work like a light switch, and we shouldn’t expect it to.  Instead it’d be better to consider ourselves to be under constant renovation.  If we are not continuously working on bettering ourselves, we become stagnant and settle for a lesser version of ourselves than what we are capable of, and what we would like to be.  Challenges are healthy for us.  Being stretched can be painful, but the reward is great.
            I am not yet the person I desire for myself to be, and I will always have something to be working on.  This goes for all areas of my life.  Some I have already been working on, while others I need to be more intentional about.  As a mother, I desire to grow in patience: slowing down and enjoying my time with the kids in whatever stage they are in.  Even more than that - patience for the times when I feel like I’m going to lose it.  As a wife, I desire to be more intentional about feeding my husband’s love language.  Spiritually, I desire to be in Word and prayer as a regular part of my daily routine.
As a coach, I’m attending clinics and regularly reading as much as I can, and trying to take advantage of the knowledge of those around me so I also grow in knowledge.  As an athlete, I’ve been lifting regularly this off-season, been getting regular chiropractic care, and my goal is to get much, much more sleep this year.  My current read is “The Power Meter Handbook” by Joe Friel.  I’m learning a lot and it makes me excited for this upcoming season!
In all the busyness that is life, it’s easy to be complacent.  It’s also easy to make too many goals, or ones that aren’t SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).  What are YOUR 2016 goals and how will you accomplish them?