Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer of Mark...

After an impossibly difficult but unbelievably rewarding school year I am looking forward to retreating to inner sanctum of my training. In reality my training has been in shambles since the latter stages of the Vermont City build up last spring. Injuries, accidents, and the demands of teaching had lulled my fitness into what at times felt like a self-induced coma. Nevertheless there were always flashes that made me realize fitness was always waiting at the door like Eko after a long day. Obviously starting is always the hardest part of any endeavour but it also has the potential to be the most rewarding time.

The past few months my training has been exclusively geared toward triathlon. As is often the case looking back led me to see the foundational gaps that assuredly led my tower to fall. There was a distinct lack of strength work that left me as a shadow of my former athletic self. In my youth I always used a silly cliche saying the my strength was my greatest strength. I was always one hundred percent certain that I was one of the strongest guys out there and that with my limited speed I could compete with anyone. Somewhere I went astray and that critical component of my training has been lacking. Whether it was complacency, age, or just plain laziness I needed to figure out a way to get it back.

The plan...

Every Monday is going to have time carved out for a hill workout. The workouts will be a bi-weekly rotation of Death Hill (This week 3 x hill 3:12, 3:15, 3:10) and Drummer Hill. I will shy away from the mile long Drummers for the first few rotations. There is no faster way to get stronger faster than running up hill fast. I am still miffed at how I managed to string out the pack one the uphill section of Northfield last month. Fr those of you that do not know Death Hill in Swanzey, NH is a seriously harmful hill that is a staple of Keene State training. As approximately 800-meters with grades as steep as twenty percent it is comparable to doing squats at the gym. Drummer Hill in Keene looks a lot like an uphill runway that serves as an entrance to a planned community on the edge of town. Around 300-meters its times so closely reflect that of track 400s that people in and around Keene use the times interchangeably. Drummer Hill typically sees its share of the workload during the winter months but it is going to become a big part of my summer training. Perhaps I will even make an attempt at my record of eighteen repeats.

Wednesdays are going to be interval days but the plan is to shy away from the track. I have a tentative plan to measure a grass loop on the practice soccer fields at KSC with Pete Thomas once my obligations at school are complete. I have been running through this field on the latter end of some of my training runs. It is so soft and so flat that it seems like a no brainer for someone that has had a touch of the injury bug to use it for intervals. I will use the field early and often in the summer and focus on longer intervals like 800s and miles. I will not totally neglect the track but I don't want to find myself in the rut of running fast without a purpose. I have never really worked out on grass but am excited about the change it may usher into my running style.

Saturday is going to be BRICK tempo day if I do not have a race. I have decided that a lot of my rides this spring on The Vulture were a little short and lacked the difficulty that I am accustomed to. I have scouted out a new route that heads up Route 9 to Route 10 out to Gilsum. From there I will take the river road to Route 12a and then hit the hills of Darling Road. A short loop of West Keene will land me at thirty miles before my runs. The runs will be either progressions, tempos, or fartleks depending on the week and how my legs are feeling. I will vary the distance between four and ten miles as well depending on what kind of week I have had. Running off the bike is very difficult but I think it is my biggest strength as a triathlete. The part of the race that everyone dreads the most is my bodies state of homoeostasis. I feel like that is a heck of a good card to have up my sleeve.

Sunday will be a long run of 13 to 17 miles. I'm never running over two hours again in my life. I just don't see the point.

I have a plan for swimming and cycling as well but I need to clear up a few questions before I move forward. The cycling in its skeletal form will consist of a few thirty mile TT rides and a few uber hilly forty to seventy mile rides.

This is obviously a huge undertaking that I am one hundred percent confident will produce results. The long term goal is still the Timberman in August but I will make that decision later in the summer after a few status checks at smaller races. Mostly I just want to get back to a higher level of fitness. To an extent I'm sure that there is a lot of vanity tied up in the whole process and having the gaul to blog about it only makes it worse. This base that I hope to produce will hopefully be able to carry a tremendous load capable of carrying more than the house of cards that my training has been lately.


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