Running as fast as I can since '93
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  • Overcoming my barrier to success

    Posted on December 10th, 2011

    Once again the end of the semester has come between me, my blog, and my countless fans. You would think that taking six credits, just two classes, would leave me with plenty of free time to spend writing about myself…

    Well it doesn’t. Mixed with all the other things I have on my plate these days, studying for two classes has become quite difficult actually. You may be concerned that I have had to cut down my training time to accommodate. Not to worry, I have my priorities straight.

    After my race at Myrtle Beach it became more clear than ever that I can be a great triathlete, if I can swim faster. I like to think of the swim as a barrier to entry. No one ever wins the race with a superior swim, but it can be lost with an inferior one. It won’t matter how fast I bike or run in the draft-legal world if I can’t swim with the pack. Winter ’11-’12 is dedicate to conquering this barrier.

    When I am not on the road traveling with the NAU Lumberjack cross country team, I am getting in the pool. I have been trying to get in the pool nine times a week, with doubles on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also try to get in with the Masters swim team as often as possible, requiring to swim on my own only three to four times a week. Last week this routine led me to my first 40,000+ yard week ever! (It was actually 36,700 meters, all swam in a long course pool at 7,000 feet)

    On the bike the focus right now is to build bike endurance and “bike specific muscles” (in the words of my coach Ian Murray). I just bought a PowerTap, which is a fancy (and pricey) piece of equipment that tells me what my power output is. Power is a much more reliable way to quantify workouts on the bike than using speed or even heart rate. Because the weather has been pretty cold in Flagstaff I have been confined to the trainer mostly. When I get home for winter break however, I plan to put in a lot of hours on the saddle.

    I have really let go of my running recently. I have only been averaging about 25 miles a week for the last few weeks. That run volume is extremely low for me and is something I only would have done if I were recovering from an injury in my past days as a single sport athlete. As I said earlier it is all about the swim for me right now, and in order for me to get the quality and quantity I want in the pool, I need to take it easy running for a little bit. The plan is to have some run focused weeks probably in February. I will have extremely good fitness by that point, and hopefully with a few key run workouts I will be ready to run near the front of the pack.

    In the future I would love to be in a situation where I need to work on my run again to be competitive at the top. This would mean that I have overcome that barrier to entry and my results are no longer being capped to the back half of the field before I even get on the bike.