For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Basic training

As i've yet to firm up my next race or adventure i figured i'd spend a month or so testing out a basic fitness regimen i've been working on.  My goals are to be able to re-develop some reasonable level of climbing strength as well as swimming strength while maintaining my biking and running abilities.  I have a feeling i might have to sign up for and run an actual ironman sooner rather than later to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, but am going to hunt around to see if i can't find a magazine or company who might want to foot the bill for travel and race entry in exchange for an article or something - might take a while for this avenue to bear fruit though.  I'm not really in the position right now to put up a thousand bucks just to prove a point to - particularly when weighing this option against using the money for a week long escape for the whole family down to Joshua tree for some climbing...

Back to the training idea (sorry for the digression!) - here's the plan:
  • Tuesday - Climb/Lift [15/2.5]. After teaching my Yoga class i'll do 15 minutes of laps at the climbing wall (only 22 feet high, but better than nothing!), using big holds for a bit to warm up then increasingly smaller ones.  I'll be using an auto belay system so i can just climb up, let go and get lowered down and get 5 seconds rest.  This should be pretty good for creating an interval like structure.  I'll do or so of tabata style intervals for pushups for 2 and a half minutes.
  • Wednesday - Bike or Run/Lift [20/5].  The biking/running will be done on a stationary bike or treadmill and probably use the hill program which essentially creates four one minute work intervals and four one minute rest intervals after a warm-up.  I usually set the pace and level so that its a brutal workout.  Each week i'll alternate running and biking and will aim to make each week's run/bike harder than the previous one by some metric (speed or level).  I'll do 5 minutes of tabata inspired intervals for legs (both quads and hamstrings).
  • Friday - Swim/Lift [15/2.5].  I'll swim, either doing a straight tempo swim or some sort of interval workouts.  Often i'll do a 300 warm up, 8 x 25 as fast as possible, leaving every 30 seconds, then 300 or 350 warm down.  I'll lift for back, tabata style - 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, for five minutes.  Typically i'll do pulldowns or rows of some sort.  Ouch.
  • Sunday - Run or bike [45 or 75].  I'll alternate running and biking so that if i ran on wednesday i bike on sunday.  Both of these efforts will be pretty serious.  for a forty five minute run i might do a 2 mile WU @ 7:30 pace, then 1 mile @ 6 min, 1 mile @ 7 min, 1@ 6, then the rest @ 7:30 pace.  For a 70 minute run on the treadmill i might do the random program on lvl 6 (0-5% incline), starting at a 7:30 pace (8mph) and increasing the speed by 0.1 mph every 7 minutes to finish at a 6:40 pace (9mph).  
A month might look like - week 1: run wednesday, bike [45] on sunday.  Week 2:  Bike wed, run [75] on sunday.  Week 3:  run wed, bike [75] on sunday.  Week 4:  bike wed, run [45] on sunday.  

One of my favorite workouts, and what i view as a critical piece of the plan, is the wednesday workout.  I find that by setting a 'baseline' the first wednesday after returning to training (after a major effort - my reset button) and forcing myself to 'up' the intensity every week (which is why i use a treadmill/stationary bike), i can progressively rebuild my running and biking to a pretty high level over the period until my next reset.  If i didn't have a reset - ie no big run or race that required serious recovery - i'd eventually start to plateau as i'd begin approaching the limit of fitness achievable on such limited volume.  

Of course the limit of this fitness, at least in my opinion (and experience), is sufficiently great that it allows me to do pretty much anything.  


  1. Take the family vacation, way more important, memorable, and gratifying than any race.
    If you're racing just to prove a point, why not do a mock IM time trial? Even just completing the bike and run within your goal time would indicate your level of fitness. If you need the motivation of being in an actual race, find a marathon to sign up for and ride 112 miles just before it.

    1. mike - yeah, this is what i'm thinking too. I might also have a number of other folks try things out after being guinea pigs for 10-12 weeks so its not just me. After all, i'm pretty sure i'll be just fine. The biggest challenge is going to be finding a good place to swim for 2.4 miles.....