Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ironman Training Review: July, 2014

So far 2014 has been more about training and recovering from surgery, not racing. Yes, I did go out and "race" Jerseyman Triathlon in the aquavelo division a few weeks after surgery. And yes, I also went to Eagleman 70.3 and did the swim and bike before handing in my chip (still couldn't run). But that wasn't racing. Those events were more about just getting out there and proving to myself I could still toe the line. Nothing more, nothing less.

That has changed. On July 4th I raced the Firecraker 4 miler in Palmer Township and I did the Steelman Open Water Swim (OWS) on July 14th in Quakertown. I didn't do a specific write up on either event because ... well, I really don't know. I just didn't. Both events went well.

For the 4 mile run my plan was to just go out and see what I was capable of doing 11 weeks post-surgery. With minimal running miles - none fast - I entered the race with no expectations other than getting a baseline. Run hard, see what happens.

Jon Soden - Firecracker 4 Miler
Photo Credit: Firecracker 4-Miler 
What happened was an official time of 26:01 on a slightly short course. According to my Garmin the course was 3.89 miles and my avg. pace was 6:38/mile. No one was more surprised than me. If I had held a 7:20 pace I would have been ecstatic. Something to be said about having base fitness.
Jon Soden - The Complex Triathlete
Best part of training is going to places you
would normally not in the company of friends

Next up was Steelman OWS on July 13. This is an event I added into the schedule when I made the decision to forego racing Ironman Couer d'Alene. After entering the 5k swim a few years ago I have since stayed with the more sane, 1.5 mile race. My total time was 43:44, just a few seconds slower than my PR, good enough for 4th in AG40-49. Clearly, nobody showed up in my AG, and the time was satisfactory. The water was a bit choppy and I didn't feel like I swam particularly straight all day.

Here's the breakdown for July (and the first 3 days of August):

Swim: Admittedly I had trouble getting to the pool this month. When I got there, motivation was waning. After 10+ years of training in the pool I finally hit a stretch where I just wasn't as motivated as I should be this time of year. I attribute the situation to a number of factors - no need to put huge volume in with my A race so far away; not having an outside pool to swim at as I have had for the past 5 Summers; a bit of swimming burnout.

This past week I emerged from my funk and had three quality swims.

Bike: Unlike the swim there is no lack of motivation to ride. In a little more than a month I logged 883 miles in the saddle, finishing off the month with my longest ride of the year (81 miles). Not just logging miles, I have completed the specific workouts I had scheduled, including my favorite - hill repeats on Applebutter Road. The only real "lost" bike ride this month was the result of a horrendous thunderstorm that left the Wednesday Night Ride stranded in the park for 40+ minutes waiting for it to pass.

Bethlehem PA - Jonathan Soden
One of my favorite roads in the Lehigh Valley
On July 27th I did my last ride with the Sunday Morning Cycle Fitters group that rides from the Jersey side of the free bridge in P'burg for the next few months. This is a great group of riders, led by Charr, with a desire to find the biggest hills on the Jersey side of the boarder and climb them. While I will miss the group, I need to have long rides that are more focused on the steady-state riding necessary for Ironman Florida.

No worries, I'll still be riding hills and will be back charging up those hills with the group once I've recovered from IMFL.

Run: Things are going well. I have managed 4 runs per week for the past four weeks without any knee issues. Volume is nowhere near where it has been in the past, nor will it be as I prepare for IMFL. Reality for me is the next three months will be an experiment of n=1. In the past I have responded very well to volume ... which just can't happen now or likely ever again. Uncharted territory to say the least.

I did, however, do my research and have a plan of what I want to do. Theory is nice so now we have to see how it plays out in the real world. The next test will be at the two Olympic distance triathlons I have scheduled for this month (Steelman and TriRock Asbury Park) and then at Pocono 70.3 on September 14. If I can run reasonably well I continue on the path I am charting. If not, we reassess the situation.

Overall: I'm starting to feel pretty good again and, more importantly, my body feels ready to take the pounding of Ironman training. Good thing as $hit gets real now. Starting now (August 4) I need to stay focused on the big picture and Ironman Florida.

This will be the last weekly report as I will move to weekly updates up through Ironman Florida.

Train hard. Stay focused.

Related Posts:

Ironman Training Review: June,2014

Ironman Training Review: April & May, 2014

Ironman training Review: March, 2014

Ironman Training Review: February, 2014

Ironman Training Review: January, 2014

2014 - The Year for Ironman Racing

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