September 17, 2012

Rev3 Cedar Point full race report

I chose the Rev 3 race series as my iron distance focus race this year as a different type of race management company other than WTC.  I did this for two reasons, one; after Hawaii last year, I didn't want to let another year slip by without another race under my belt and the nice thing with the Revolution triathlon series is the fact that they rarely sell out. (I registered in June for a September iron distance race) And secondly; I wanted a "non-pressure" type of race that was a little cheaper and a different alternative to the Ironman brand name.
Me and Mrs. Keep Moving Forward :o)
Rev3 Cedar Point was a no-brainer for me.  We have family and friends that live up in Cleveland and were willing to put us up for the weekend (along with take care of us leading up to race day - thank you Donna and Barry!) The race itself was a good time of the year and if the weather cooperated, it was bound to be a fast time too.  The fact that it was a little north of Cleveland allowed me to go drive the 2 hours to get to the race site and check out the course (as eluded to in a previous post found HERE)

Since this race was so low-pressure for me (meaning no Kona slots available), I took it as about as stripped down of a race I could have done.  I did not use any race wheels on my bike at all, nor did I use an aero helmet, no bells, no whistles, nothing.  I really couldn't care less who was racing against me in my age group as placing didn't really matter too much, I was only worried about my execution of this race.  See in previous years, I've always floundered on the marathon portion of the iron-distance triathlon.  I've always come out of T2 like a bat outta hell on a mission and then by the time mile 13-18 comes about, I'm cooked and walking or just slowing down in general.  Not really having a problem with the closing miles, I've just never had a race with even paces that I've been proud of.  That was to change this year.  My desire was to execute this race flawlessly.  More of a race against myself that you had to check your ego at the door and swallow the pride.  I wanted to focus on my OWN race, rather than let the other racers around me shape my outcome.
Obligatory photos at packet pickup - Tiff went on for a 45 minute PR!!
So fast forwarding to race-day, we had gotten up to Sandusky the day prior and just eaten and visited with friends the day before the race.  Having a great breakfast with Ken, Greg and Amanda was a nice way to start the day and then after check in, lunch with Tiff and Ken was a good cap off to the day-prior-to-IM "eat-fest" before going back to the house and relaxing.

Race morning came and it was eerie.  The day prior when packing my transition bags, I mentioned to Kim that it almost didn't feel like I was racing, like I was packing bags for someone else.  Maybe this is because I've done 7 iron-distance triathlons and this is all pretty much second nature by now, or maybe it was because this was such a low pressure environment for me to be racing in that I was completely at ease.  Honestly, we just got up and went to go find Ken the morning of.  Nice relaxing drive with some coffee and a bagel, not a bad way to start the morning.
At the race site, we were greeted by a fantastic sunrise and the lake looked pretty calm.  I was eager to get into the water as I was REALLY hydrated and needed to "find a warm spot" quickly.  The cannon for the race was a bullhorn and I lined up right next to the start buoy along with the other 400 people in the race.

2.4 mile Swim - 58:15 - 5th overall amateur, 4th male - 2nd in M30-34 AG
The gun went of and it got REALLY lonely.  The thing with these smaller races is that compared to the M-dot races which have about 2000-2500 people vying for that "perfect" line between buoys, the race in Cedar Point only had 400 or so folks starting which makes for a little different dynamic.  Anyway, we start swimming hard towards the first buoy and there's this guy next to me who is also trying to draft off a faster swimmers feet near us.  It's pretty sparse mind you and we have the ENTIRE lake to swim, but he and I knocked into each other a few times until I pulled away from him.
Things got really lonely and there was no clock to see how we all were doing time-wise.  What I do know is at least one person BOLTED from the start and was just pulling away (I kinda lost sight of him) and there was a female behind me that was tapping my toes around one of the turns.  I just let her go by (actually I swung off to the side and slowed WAY down and she looked at me funny as she passed) but I tried to draft off her and she was swimming very crookedly.  Nothing really exciting happened other than having a lack of people to draft off of and passing a few of the slower pro's.  2nd loop was a LOT more wavy than the first and the chop coming into shore was like getting slapped around by the waves.  I know I'm a relatively strong swimmer and I was having a tough time with it, so I can only imagine what the weaker swimmers felt like!

Transition 1 - 2:13
Ran in and there was only one set of wet footprints leading into the men's change tent, which reaffirmed Kim yelling to me that I was second overall (turns out I was actually fourth male at this time - two guys swam 50's and exited the water with the pro-wave, so no one noticed them) I ran out of the tent and saw Ken Koppenhaver and yelled to him as I was going to get my bike.

112 mile bike - 5:13:29 - 6th overall amateur - 4th in M30-34 AG
I popped out on the bike and I knew my foot would hold up here, exiting transition I saw Kim and Tiff who told me I swam a 1:01 (they were reading off the clock - actually was 3 minutes faster), and got some cheers and instantly noticed my HR was a little high.  I tried to soft pedal it on the causeway on the way out, but there was a guy in front of me and I was eager to make up for a sub-par swim.  The causeway was a little bit bumpy, but being out of the water so early, you could weave around the bumps.  My stomach still felt full and my arms were REALLY tired from battling the waves, so I was a little nervous about how that would all play out and tried to settle in as best as possible.
My stomach felt rather full and I decided to not take in any calories for the first 30 minutes.  Because of the wavy swim and full sensation, this was the right choice.  Also my heart rate was high and I knew I wouldn't digest unless I got that under control, so I started to slow down a bit.  After 2 hours passed on the bike I was back on track with calories and was riding slow enough that I wiped out the time I waited to intake calories.  A really neat thing happened near the 20 mile mark.  I was passed by a motorcycle with a camera guy on the back of it and he had either an Inside Triathlon sticker on the front of the helmet.  He started snapping some good photos of me and then just drove off.  It was cool and made me feel really pro, but I hope I get to see any of the photos somewhere!
I passed 2 guys in the first 15 miles or so and got passed by a few as well.  I was trying desperately to keep track of things, but another guy came by me at like mile 20 and asked where we were in the age group race and I had no idea.  It was comforting though that I wasn't the only one interested.  Around that 25 mile mark I realized I was kinda in no mans land and from about 25-55 miles into the race I saw NO one passed me and I passed no one.  Literally if the signs were not on the road marking the course, I wouldn't know if I was going the right way.  It really felt like a training ride.
Near 55 mile mark, we blended in with the half'ers and there was some confusion on my part because I was focusing on passing them safely and I saw some signs that read a bunch of things like, "full 2nd loop" "half ironman" and "full finish" and I was 56 miles in at that point.  I turned a left and there were half'ers coming back towards me too, which was really confusing.  I didn't pay any attention to the half maps, but maybe I should have because for the next 4 miles until I saw the 60 mile full marker, I had no idea if I was going the right way!  My buddy Jim LaMastra told me that last year he and a few pro's took a wrong turn and I was internally freaking out a little (given my track record)

After finding the 60 mile mark, things were smooth sailing.  I felt like I was pacing this ride really well and the Garmin File from the Bike proves it too.  I got passed by 2 other guys in the closing 10 miles (near the causeway) and the last guy that passed me asked, "you really wanna get off that bike don't you?".  To which I replied, "YES!" as I was bouncing around on the causeway lumps back to transition.  All in all, good ride that I am really proud of.

Transition 2 - 2:11 - 6th overall amateur - 4th M30-34 AG
Nothing special to report here, other than nervousness of how long my foot would hold up and the guy that sprayed sunscreen on me hit the chaffing on the back of my neck which made me wince...

Run 26.2 miles - 3:36:20 - 4th overall amateur - 4th M30-34 AG
Heading out was a little surreal, Kim was giving me placings and splits via her mountain bike and I hadn't run more than a few steps in the last MONTH prior to race day.  So I really had no idea how my foot was going to hold up.  I figured out at packet pickup, if I rolled onto my arch and pushed off via the big toe, it only hurt the capsulitis a little bit.  So I figured I could work with that.  Realistically I knew I could get through 13 miles, but the last half of an ironman marathon is hard enough when your body is at 100%, let alone when you are taking a gamble and you haven't run in a month.  I knew I was in for a long ride.
I was all decked out in my PowerBar Team Elite kit and as a presenting sponsor of the Revolution 3 triathlon race series, I was able to get into their photo stream on Flickr with the shot above.  Gingerly clicking off the first few miles again I was trying to keep my heart rate down.  I knew from my training that I'd been running faster than I was at the current moment, but my heart rate was being my dictator and I was sticking by it.

The first loop was eventful, I was struggling to keep my heart rate down as the heat of the day started to creep around and I was clicking off 8minute miles like it was freaking clockwork.  Honestly, if you look at the Garmin File of my Run, it proves that I was slow and steady through the entire thing.  I think of the entire race, I was most proud of the steadiness to the pacing that I exhibited during this run.  Kim popped by me at around mile 15 or so and asked how I was doing.  Things were actually pretty good and as she sped off to go cheer for our other friends, I began to think I might just be able to pull this crazy thing off!
Loop 1 of the run
I saw a bunch of folks during the run - Tiffany was en route to a crazy good PR in the half, I saw Ken toughing it out on a rough day for him, Greg and Amanda were cheering like crazy on the sidelines and I yelled at Doug MacLean who was looking smooth as always in the aviators. Jim LaMastra even came over and slapped me five as he was on his way to a payday and subsequent 10th place pro finish.

Hitting mile 18 or so, we were obviously all mixed in with the half'ers and it was hard to see who you were actually racing against.  But I was coming up on a few folks that I recognized that had passed me earlier in the bike.  There was a dude in a Ballou Skies jersey and another guy in black with a bib# in the 90's.  I was getting word from Greg, Amanda and Kim that I was gaining on the Ballou Skies guy and I was getting really focused on catching up to him.  I knew I was in 5th overall and illusions of grandeur started dancing in my head whether I could catch him and then the guy in black in front of me.  I would later realize that the moment I saw the guy in black, he was probably passing the Ballou Skies runner and that's the last I would see of him.
Loop 2 of the run - more focused
There have been a smattering of folks from WNY that have qualified for their pro cards in the last few months/years (Hansen, Brodnicki, Rosinski, Curbeau, Ohlson, etc).  I would be remiss if I didn't think that hitting top three would be REALLY cool (although I know I would ultimately not take that pro/elite card. Let's be honest, there's no way I belong in the pro ranks and this was not a stacked race.  Additionally there's no way I could validate that card in any other races over the next years....nor do I want the professional triathlete lifestyle for myself, so I know I'm being hypothetical right now, but people have asked, "if you would have gotten top 3, would you have turned pro?" Quick answer - no.) I was basically getting lucky no one fast showed up here at Cedar Point.

Anyway, back to the race!  About mile 22, I was coming up on this Ballou Skies guy and right around that time Kim was coming up to cheer for me on her mountain bike.  She started to say "there's 4th place..." and I put a single finger up to my lips and said, "shhhh" because I didn't want the guy to know I was coming.  I wanted to sit a few feet behind him, reload from catching up to him and then make a surge and pass that made him lose all will to chase me down and stay with me.  I made that pass at mile 23 and I heard his footsteps fading in the distance.  I was in 4th place and as soon as I got comfortable and settled back into my pace, disaster struck.
It felt like someone had thrust a knife through the bottom of my right foot and I was forced from running to a hobbling walk.  Immediately I thought, "NO! Not now....oh no!!!!" as I just hobbled as fast as I could and realized I still had 2.5 miles left to the finish line.  I tried running once or twice again to no avail and the Ballou Skies guy passed me once more, pushing me back to 5th.  I was hobbling and jogging and watching my garmin read slower and slower mile splits.  I think there was a 10:00/mile in there and then a 9:20/mile in there.  Everything was falling apart and I knew that if I didn't make it to the line soon, I would be in danger of letting that 9:xx time slip away from me too!

So I bucked up, I told myself, "you can do anything for 2.5 miles" just start running and grit through the pain".  Ballou Skies guy was gone and I was just focused on finishing.  Those last few miles and steps were the most painful and humbling that I have ever run.  Kim was waiting for me at the finish and I was hoofing it in as best I could.  I was just trying to limit the amount of people that would pass me and the amount of time that would go by.
You can see the Ballou Skies guys arm and shoes behind me...
Entering the park again, I knew I was about 1 mile from the finish and I tried to pick up my pace.  My HR graphs show this and I have no idea what those spikes were late in the marathon (maybe static electricity or interference from water being poured over my head?)   Regardless I heard Kim and Tiff cheering their fool heads off when I was nearing the chute.  I just figured it was because I was so close.  It was only after I turned the corner and saw the finish line, did I realize why they were going berserk.
1.8 seconds after I crossed...
I came around the corner, and Ballou Skies was picking up his kid and waving to the crowd.  He was slapping hands and really living it up in the finish chute. HE HADN'T CROSSED THE LINE YET!!! I don't even really remember making this conscious decision, but I just bolted as fast as I could for the line.  The official results show me as finishing 1.8 seconds ahead of him.  After I caught my breath, I felt kind of like a jerk for passing him in the finishing chute, but I'll paraphrase what my father in law said after we called him on the way home, "it's a race, not a freaking parade!" Classic.

Rev3 Cedar Point Iron-distance triathlon - 9:52:28 - 4th overall amateur and 1st M30-34 AG
You'll notice that I was 1st in the M30-34 age group in the final standings and that's because they removed the top three guys and put them in the overall category.  Top 5 people in the amateur race were in my age group. The guy that I ran down in the finishers chute with the Ballou Skies jersey on lost out on getting; a fuel belt, a fuel belt palm bottle, $25 to the Rev3 store, a sweet AG winner medal, and free entry to the Rev3 CP Iron distance race next year ($500 value)

The aftermath  
It is exactly a week after racing as I write this and the swelling in my right foot has finally subsided.  The day after the race, I looked like this:
My buddy Tim (yes the same one from the comment section) had the best remark about this picture.  I'm just paraphrasing, but he said something to the effect of, "who is the fat kid that took a picture next to your foot?"...hilarious.  I've been doing all the right stuff like elevating it, taking ibuprofen on a regular basis and icing it and FINALLY yesterday I was able to see some veins in it.  I don't know what it means and I have scheduled another orthopedic doctor visit to see what they say about it, but we'll see.  

All in all I'm really pleased about the race and if I have a bum foot for a little bit, so be it.  I've finally hit that elusive sub 10 time and while my marathon might not have been as fast as I would have liked, I have been asking some reputable sources around here why that might have been and will post another blog about "what I learned" at a later date.  

So, it's officially off season for me, the Oktoberfest beers are flowing regularly and I'm relaxing and trying to get into a pattern of a normal person.  I'm still limping when I walk because of the foot, but it's getting better daily.  I hope everyone else's seasons end on the same high note as mine did.  Here's to 2012 multisport season, one hell of a year!  Cheers.

September 16, 2012

Ridecarbon time management article

A few weeks ago during taper, I shot out a quick post about "Time Management and the Ironman Triathlete" and that was actually an article that I wrote for ridecarbon which is this crazy good website that does a lot to knowledge share for folks in the area.
The link to the article that got posted on their website can be found HERE (you just have to scroll down) and it's worth the read.  You think you are already cramming every last ounce out of your day?  Often times - you're not.

Anyway, read and comment and enjoy. And when you're done, check out the rest of their site for other tidbits of information.  They actually have a really great Course Descriptions section where you can read descriptions of local and national level races from the athletes perspective.  Expect to see some up there from me shortly.  The site is definitely worth the visit.  Cheers!

September 13, 2012

Wedding Day / Honeymoon to Costa Rica!

I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear my thoughts on the race from this past weekend in Cedar Point, but as I've eluded to many times before on this medium, life is about more than triathlon.  So with that being said - a package came in the mail today that will allow me to FINALLY be able to finish of this post that I've had in draft mode since about June (or July - let's be honest)
Let's take the way back machine Mr Peabody to this past December shortly after I proposed.  After looking at several local venues during the evenings after work, Ms. Keep Moving Forward (soon to be Mrs.!) and I were discussing the fact that it seemed really silly to drop so much money on a single day.  And contrary to popular belief, neither of us really like to be the center of attention. So jokingly, Kim mentioned that there was still time for us to elope and we began scribbling names down on a cocktail napkin and by the end of the night we had a plan to have the wedding over Memorial Day weekend in Naples, Florida surrounded by only our close friends and immediate family.  (we did that so everyone didn't have to take an extra day of vacation on our account)
Sunset on the beach our first night of the honeymoon
But fast forward a few months into February and we had tossed around a few ideas for a honeymoon, but nothing really stuck out.  See, we've been really lucky and fortunate to have traveled as much as we have in these recent years.  Last year we went to Hawaii, we've traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on a top performer award trip for Kim's work where we got waited on hand and foot.  So we really didn't have any place that our hearts were set on.  Until Kim went to the National Sales meeting for her job and found out that she had won ANOTHER trip by being a top sales performer company wide.  Additionally at the same conference, she was named the MVP of the Northeast region for her division!!! Crazy day.  I got the text and subsequent call and I honestly thought she was joking, but it was to be in early June of 2012 and was in Costa Rica! How cool...
We got the email that we were staying at a place that neither of us would ever DREAM of staying as it was a Four Seasons resort and it was just the perfect storm of being days after our wedding.  A work-paid honeymoon, jackpot!  This is the resort that we stayed in and as you can see it was really posh.  But I digress, I'm getting ahead of myself.  I'll chat more about the honeymoon in a bit. 
Awards gala in Costa Rica
There is a really crazy story that happened with the wedding day.  I had planned on an 18-20 mile run with my buddy Tim (you'll recognize him again from the hilarious comments on many of my posts) in the morning prior to the ceremony and Kim had planned on getting her nails done with her maid of honor.  Tim and I had a BRUTALLY hot run and we got a little lost, ended up walking for a potion of the run and basically ran out of water and bonked real hard out in the middle of no where (but that's another story...) and we got back to the hotel and I went up to the room to start getting ready for the ceremony. 
This is a few days later...
I got to the room, picked up my phone and listened to a frantic voice mail from my bride to be in which there were tears and sobs saying that she was going to Urgent Care and getting stitches.  I kind of freaked out...called her phone immediately and her maid of honor, Tiffany picked up and confirmed that Kim was fine and just getting 5 stitches put into her hand.  She apparently had a freak out of her own as soon as she entered the premise of Urgent care and told the lady at the front desk, "I'm getting MARRIED today" and the front desk lady took pity on her and pulled her right back to a room.
You can see the band-aid on Kim's hand from the stitches

This little elephant is more well traveled than most people I know!
Turns out Kim was going to test the color of the paint prior to going to get her nails done the morning of our wedding and was in the elevator of the hotel and trying to open up a bottle of nail polish that hadn't been opened in a few months and was stuck.  The cap was so cemented on there, that in trying to open the bottle, she cracked it and basically broke it in two, cutting her hand.  Not a god way to start your wedding day when you have to wear a white dress!  Kim and Tiffany tried to get the bleeding to stop themselves, but it was too much and decided to go to Urgent Care.

Us and our wedding party of 2....told you it was a small wedding
Gotta have a little fun!
Well, it all worked out and as I say there were, "blood, sweat and tears" on our wedding day, but what else can you do other than just roll with it?  And that's exactly what we did.  We had some laughs in there as well and the ceremony was beautiful, Kim looked absolutely stunning and I beamed as soon as she walked in.  Our reception was amazingly fun - the singers actually got people up and dancing prior to dinner even being served!  It was a hoot and we were surrounded by the people we love most; family and friends.  Looking back I wouldn't have wanted to change anything. 
My best man, Josh, gave a great toast that even involved a bottle of Strawberry Kiwi Snapple from our Carriage House days and welcomed Kim into "our family".
Kim's dad, Randster gave a heart-warming speech which also had a few good jokes in it too.  Someone captured it via YouTube and it can be found HERE.  We had a slide at the hotel that everyone was staying at and honestly it was a weekend celebration by the pool.  My nephews even thought the entire pool party that the hotel was for us and asked me, "Uncle, is this all for you?!" to which I replied, "sure..." :o) Let them think it was! Hehe.
On our way to Costa Rica...newlyweds!
But we left for Costa Rica and got there a day prior to this "work" awards trip starting, which was nice to enjoy and get a lay of the land prior to everyone else arriving. The people that were organizing it knew it was our honeymoon and when we checked in, advised us that we had been upgraded to a private villa up the hill.  It was amazing.  We got preferential treatment all week long,  had little gifts delivered to our room, got called out and had to stand up in front of everyone (directors, managers, etc) at the awards gala and we were known as the "honeymoon couple" all week long.  It was pretty cool.
Waiting to head on the next zip line (there were 11 in total) there was one over 1/4 mile long!
Kim didn't get any pics of me because she didn't want to drop the camera
Horseback riding to the base of the volcano
The main thing that is fantastic with these award trips is that you get to do an excursion each day that is picked up by the company.  When we went to Cabo a few years ago, we crammed SO much in that it was like you needed a vacation from your vacation when you returned home.  Our thoughts were to keep it simple, find one thing that looked fun and have the rest of the days to ourselves.  We chose a hacienda borinqen which involved a horseback ride around the countryside, zip lining through the lush canopy and then a visit to the thermal hot springs at the active volcano.  Such cool memories and we got a massage one other day, but with Kim's new stitches, our water sports activities were curtailed and we got to lay by the pool drinking beers instead (how awful!...haha)

Mud baths at the thermal springs

Part of our daily morning hike
We had our own little private hut up the road that you got driven to by a little golf cart.  But the thing was that the hills were so steep that often when getting driven up, they ran out of steam and stopped in the middle of the path!  The drivers then had to call another cart to come and get you, which was funny becuase we could've just walked. Kim also made the executive call to sign us up for spin classes every morning and they had some crazy intense instructors.  Each morning we also would do a little hike up and over the ridge from one side of the island to another. Fun stuff, but BOY were we drenched in sweat afterwards!
Our private villa up the hill
Fun surprises left in our room, along with wine

I'll leave you all with some more pictures of our the wildlife that we saw, scenery shots and pics from the gala, but I feel extremely lucky.  I'm married to an amazing woman and we've already experienced so much, I'm so excited to see what the future has in store for us, but am perfectly fine with letting it unfold as it should.  No need to rush it, we have all of our lives together to make more memories.  
This bird would come on our balcony every morning and steal our sugar packets for our coffee and fly away! Ballsy little punk...
These large lizards would just walk around the grounds...
We finally saw monkeys!
I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed experiencing it.  Cheers.

September 5, 2012

Time Management and the Ironman Triathlete

This is an article that I wrote for RideCarbon recently and I thought I would share it here since a lot of peoples seasons are winding down and we're all collectively looking towards next year.
I’ve always finished each season and looked back on my training logs and smiled. Deep down I know that after a good result, I’ve known that there was nothing more I could’ve done. With each passing season I always thought that my training schedule was jam packed and I couldn’t have fit even an hour more of training into it. But the crazy thing is, year after year, I always bump that “total hours of training” time up north again.

It’s not like you magically have more hours in the year, or get less sleep, from what I know, triathletes are the masters of time management. I have no clue how the super-mom’s do it or the people who have incredibly unreliable and jumpy work commitments, but as a young athlete I am lucky enough to not have many distractions in order to streamline both training workload and nutrition to optimize performance and lifestyle. To the folks with time commitments and other obligations, I give you an incredible amount of credit; I don’t know how you pack it all into one day!

You often hear the phrase “triathlon is a lifestyle – not a hobby” and that is fairly accurate in my mind. From making smart nutritional choices each day, to waking up before the sunrise many days of the week, training for an ironman is not easy. Most folks would just rather roll over, hit the snooze button and catch a few more Z’s, rather than wake up and hop into a cold pool at the ungodly early hours before the sun rises. As a time crunched athlete, we try to maximize our workouts and get the most out of each time we pull the swim cap over our head, clip into the bike pedals or lace up the running shoes.

Many people (myself included) look at professional triathletes and wonder how they are able train for 30-40 hours weekly and continually perform at their peak. The logistics of doing this while also holding down a full time job are overwhelming to most newcomers. As someone who has gotten ridiculously close to that 30 hour mark in my own training while also holding down a 40+ hour a week full time job, I figure I might as well share some tips and tricks in how to “get it all in”. (Case in point, I am writing this article from plane seat 12C while en route to my corporate headquarters for business travel.)

However, in order to effectively plan out a routine and capitalize on the hours that you are given in the day, the first thing that a time crunched athlete needs is a solid baseline. My suggestion is to look at the last few weeks of your training and average them together to see where you stand in “total hours per week”. From this you can move onward and upward and make the most out of each day. Because if you don’t know where you are starting, then you’ll never understand how to keep moving forward.

Once you have the solid baseline of hours that you are comfortable training in a given week, you can plan out on two different fronts; first how to maximize your free time in the week by scheduling your “basic week of workouts” around your schedule and secondly, how to increase that number of hours to be able to withstand a larger or higher training load. In this article I will focus primarily on a few tips and tricks that I have found in order to schedule life around triathlon.

I like to look at my season as certain blocks of training and you probably do too; you know the usual – pre-season, base phase, build, taper, etc. I try to increase up to an average amount of hours that exceeds or builds off of where I was in the previous week/month/year. I don’t want to get into the specifics on what workouts will make you faster or when to schedule them in your week (I feel that dives a little deeper than this article will allow) I just want to focus on when to fit them all in.

The time crunch is different for each athlete as no two people’s schedules are the same and most likely are consistently changing. So before you start moving workouts around and arranging your life, there should be some introspection on how much you want your training to dictate your life and most of the time this coincides with your goals for the year. Everyone must come up with a definitive hierarchy in their own mind on where triathlon fits in relation to other things such as; family, work, social life, etc. Often times increasing stress in one area of life can cause undue tension in others so be aware as your season progresses. Many people I know wake up well before normal folks in order to get their workouts in and ensure that it does not disrupt any of the aforementioned areas of their life. Having a spouse or partner that approves and is supportive often helps too! But for the basic time crunched triathlete, managing to fit their workouts into their busy schedules is a must.

Anyone that is willing to try and improve themselves already understands that you likely have to make some sacrifices in your life to excel and as type-A triathletes, many of us don’t have a problem focusing our energy and cutting out the excess. Often triathletes err on the side of going overboard and therefore get looked at as the ridiculous person that is wearing spandex to the grocery store because post ride/run is the only time left in the day to shop! (not that there’s anything wrong with that – I’ve done it myself!) So just be leery of that! Anyway, back to the focus of this article…Some of the ways that I have found to increase training hours are specific to my schedule, but I’m sharing them in the hopes that they might be able to help you as well.

This past year I was able to run 3-4 days per week during my lunch hour. Luckily, my office had a shower that was in the janitor’s closet in the basement (which I’m sure my co-workers were thankful for as well!) that I was able to utilize to clean up quickly year round after my lunch runs. In getting out on my lunch hour and running a few miles, I was able to get a mental break from the stress of work by running with some friends thru downtown, but also I was able to get my miles in when normally I would just let that time slip away. So, if you can go out for an hour at a time and lace up your shoes for 4 days a week, that’s an additional 4 hours of training each week that you completed prior to getting home in the evening. I’d like to think of it as “free time”.

One of the other factors in increasing training hours year over year was that I was able to join a master’s swim program at a local college that met each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the ungodly hour of 5:45am. We swam for an hour and a half and this was a very supportive and fun crew (that always helps) that held you accountable and gave a reason to climb out of bed that early in the morning. With a little planning and grabbing some nutrition before heading to work, this accounted for my weekly swims of 3 times a week and (if I got in on time…) four and a half hours more of training per week.
In the summer months it takes a little more planning, but many people forget that a recovery ride or endurance ride for their commute in the morning and evening can be a very enjoyable and beneficial way to get to work, save on gas, and also get some more hours in. It takes a little planning on maybe bringing your next day’s clothing into the office the day prior and also requires a shower in your workplace, but if you can swing it, then you’re well on your way of increasing you hours in the saddle!

Myself, I used to be a night owl, but training for triathlon has turned me into a semi-morning person (having an automatic coffee maker that you can set the night before always helps too) and there are many hours that are often overlooked in people’s schedules. So before you say there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all in, take that closer look at your schedule and see if you can squeak out any more in your life. Or see if you can “kill two birds with one stone” and get your training in when you’d be normally doing something else. As one of my favorite quotes goes, “you have to make the most of the time that you are given”. So get out there and get it done friends, maybe I’ll see you someday before the sun rises!