Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm embarking on a new thing, going to give Crossfit a try. I'm mostly intrigued by claims on the Crossfit Endurance website about training for endurance events using Crossfit as the main training basis. Some claim that you can train for an event as long as Ironman in training sessions no longer than 90 minutes. I'm intrigued... stay tuned...

Swimming: Triathlete's Main Set

Here's a good main set that you can do one of two ways. You can either work the distance part of the set at a hard pace, and use the 100's as a moderate recovery, or you can swim the longer distance portions at a fast-distance pace and push the 100's, trying for a lower overall split in the 100's than you had in the longer distance.

I swam this last night, choosing to work the distance portions, keeping a 1:20 pace going, and then swimming the 100s at a 1:25 pace.

400, 4 x 100
300, 3 x 100
200, 2 x 100
100 100

Total: 2,000 yard main set. If you want to do it differently on another day, reverse the order and swim it with the 100's first and the 400 last.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More Coaching

It looks like I'll be doing more Master's coaching in the future. Our Master's group has been expanding rapidly, due to our enthusiastic main coach and a lot of very fun swimmers. We've added one more day a week and it sounds like I'll be picking up more of the Saturday workouts. So you can expect to see more swim workouts and tips here from me.

I'm also thinking of launching some kind of remote swim coaching. I've done this voluntarily for a couple of people who don't have access to a good swim coach - I've had them email me a video and then analyzed it and gave them feedback and drills to work on, and they've reported good improvement from this. I was talking to hubby yesterday about maybe making this a mini-business, since I know that many triathletes don't have access to a local swim coach, and I can often help people dramatically improve their stroke with just a few coaching sessions in real life. It might be possible to have the same sort of service available over the internet. Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Her Own Race

Asa did a local race, the "Truffle Shuffle" last week. She chose to do the 2-mile run/walk all by herself (!) since I was way too sick to even go at her pace in the cold outside air. I did have her take a cell phone with her and call me from the turnaround point, especially since they also had a 4 mile race on the same course and I was worried that she wouldn't turn around in the right place.

There were an awful lot of people with dogs there, so I was a bit worried that she would never finish the race. If you knew Asa, you'd know that there are not many dogs on this planet that she can resist petting, and sure enough she spent most of the pre-race time going from one cute dog to the next. Fortunately once the dog owners started running, she couldn't really stop and pet them anymore until the end of the race.

The other thing I absolutely LOVE about my daughter is that she has her own personal style, and it's like no one else's (as you can see from her choice of running attire, LOL). Fortunately, it made her very easy to pick out among the hundreds of runners and walkers out there on the cold and windy course. I think maybe I'll see if I can find something like this to wear at my next triathlon - wouldn't that be fun???

I was so very proud of her doing this whole distance by herself. She and I have done some training runs together and I know at her age it's a lot more motivating to have someone else with you to chat with and such. When I knew I was too sick to do it with her, I guess I thought she'd just wait for another race, but no way. She insisted on going ahead and doing it on her own.One nice thing about the Truffle Shuffle is you get a truffle from a local chocolate company at the finish. Now that's the way to end a race!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: The Slow Fat Triathlete

Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now

Don't let the title put you off, this is one of the best triathlon books around, and definitely the first one I would want to give someone just getting into the sport. It's inspirational, funny, and contains a heck of a lot of good information. There's just that darned title getting in the way. I recommended it to a friend of mine and watched her kind of cringe - it's like when you tell someone they should read this book you can hear them thinking "Does she think I'm slow, and fat???" I love the way the author explains the title in the first page, it really makes sense with the rest of the book, still I worry that it keeps more than a few athletes-to-be from picking this little gem up.

The author, Jayne Williams is just a gifted writer. She has that ability to turn her own experiences into something that everyone can relate to. On top of giving you her insights into her own first races and eventual immersion in the sport, she passes on a whole lot of wisdom on everything from what to take to your first race to how to survive putting on a wetsuit for the first time. She handles it all with humor and an upbeat quirkiness that conveys the awesomeness and beauty of the sport without descending to the maudlin. With chapters on equipment, training, your first race, how to be a supportive spouse or partner, injuries, illness, and eating, this book pretty much covers almost everything I'd want to tell a first-time triathlete.

So pick this book up and give it a read. Even if you've been in the sport forever, it's sure to touch more than a few memories and give you a smile. And give it to your noobie friends, just tell them to ignore the title. No really, you're not slow and you're not fat, just read the book already!

The Comeback Trail

I spent five days at my mom's house this week, which was probably a good thing for my overall recovery. I deliberately did not take my running gear, so no chance of heading out in the very cold air there for a winter run. I took my bike and trainer for indoor workouts and swimsuit so I did a few laps at her YMCA, and now I feel a ton better. One run so far this week proved that my legs still do work, although they pooped out after about 3 miles and the last mile home I was really dragging. It's amazing how a few weeks can take you from easily going out for a ten miler to barely making a 5k! But now that all is well, I know it will come back fast. The weather is gorgeous here and I'm planning an actual bike ride, outside(!) tomorrow.

I feel a serious physical longing to be outside doing this triathlon training thing. Spring fever is setting in!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ha Ha, The Joke's On Me

I'm way too sick to do any exercise whatsoever out in the cold cold air, but my back feels GREAT! Maybe because I haven't been doing any killer workouts this week... ya think?

Whatever, I'll take it. I'm going to swim tonight if I have to cough up a lung to do so. No really, just kidding. I'm going to swim tonight and take it really really easy and only do 500 yards if that's what it takes to get all better.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


There are people on this earth who must be able to calmly and patiently await the attainment of their goals. The face of the Dalai Lama springs to mind, but I'm sure average every-day people like this exist as well. I've never been one of those people. Sometimes that is an advantage - the ability to push yourself beyond all reason is, obviously, a necessary attribute to training for something like an Ironman, something no really actually truly sane person would do. But often it's a disadvantage too.

Last week I was sick, I basically ran myself into the ground with some overwork and some lack of sleep thrown in for good measure and caught myself a terrible bug that's been going around. This week the sunshine came out to play and, not being able to resist its siren call (though I probably, in retrospect was not 100% well), I headed out for a nice hour and a half bike ride in the cold wintry air on Thursday. Fast forward to Friday morning and I feel like someone had taken a blow torch to my lungs. I can picture them in there all red and angry and inflamed, probably cursing the stupid brain sitting atop their body for putting them through such torment. Today I'm slightly better, but not much. So there goes my workouts for the weekend, blown up for the joy of a ride outdoors after months on the trainer in the basement.

The good news is that all of those basement trainer workouts made riding outside feel effortless and beautiful, something that couldn't describe my first season's rides in years past when my bike sat ignored in the garage all winter. So I have hope that once my lungs truly heal up (and I am NOT, NOT, NOT going to run tomorrow no matter how good I feel) and the good weather returns as it always does, I'm going to have some great early season riding ahead of me.

For now, it's back to bed with my hot tea and my cough drops.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Then...and Now

Then...when I started biking I thought I was so smooth when I could pull my water bottle out of its cage, take a drink, and replace it all without falling over.

Now... I think I'm so smooth when I can pull my cell phone out of my Bento Box, check my voicemail, and return it without breaking my aero position or losing 90 rpms.

I guess I've learned something in 20 years of biking after all...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Saturday's Swim Workout

Here's my workout for the Master's yesterday. It left me quite sore in the lats and shoulders after that last pull set.


2 x {Swim Free: 200, Drills IM order: 100}

2 x {100 Kick IM no board, Swim 100 Free}

4 x 50 Build Speed

Main Set:
Adjust intervals as needed. After the 200, your interval should be 5 seconds faster per 50 yards than your interval to start with.

4x50 on :50
3x100 on 1:40
2x150 on 2:30
1x200 on 3:15
2x150 on 2:15
3x100 on 1:30
4x50 on :45
3x50 Hard on 1:00

50 EZ

Pull Set
Pull 5 x 125 : Rotate 25 Hard
25 EZ

Cool Down
3 x 50 Progressively slower

Total: 4050 yards