Following everyone online as they raced Galveston over the weekend really gave me the kick I need to start getting excited about my upcoming races! CONGRATULATIONS to all of the newly crowned ironpeople in blogland!
I think I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was doing something called Fast Camp. It is basically an online 8-week training camp. The idea being that you will become blazingly fast and want to sign up for coaching services. The premise is great and I love having a new variety of workouts to keep me focused. I needed a little change to spark my interest again. The funny thing about Fast Camp is that it has taught me a little something about myself. Somethng that I wasn’t really expecting to get out of this experience.
While I don’t have all that many triathlons under my belt, I have enough training invested to have an idea of what it takes to get myself across the finish line on race day. Everyone is different in terms of what they want to get out of their triathlon experience. You may have a time goal, a need to finish in the top 10% or to cross the finish line and not require a trip to the hospital. I am sort of mixture of wanting to finish in a certain time (or improve upon my last time) and simply cross the finish line without requiring a trip to the medical tent (which seems to be more difficult for me than one might think… seeing as I got a minor concussion in one race and severely dehydrated in the last two races). I’m special. Special enough to know next time there will be a new hydration plan and no skid soles attached to the bottom of my feet.
In the last year, I have eagerly soaked up triathlon advice from every source possible. When it comes to training, people and their plans run the gamut from someone who pays a coach and follows a structured plan to those who really have no formal plan they just know basically what it takes to get the job done. I think the experience of Fast Camp has shown me that I really prefer less structure when it comes to training (which was the opposite of the intent of the camp – they were, after all, hoping the participants would like it so much that they would sign up for their coaching services).
Don’t get me wrong, I am gaining a lot from the program but I like to be able to insert a tennis match or two here, some weight training there and flip flop workouts around to fit my schedule. I am more of a “here is how many miles you need for your long run / long ride this week, go do it” as opposed to “today we are going to ride 15 minutes in zone 4 followed by 5 minute bursts in zone 5 and then 30 minutes in zone 2”. I like simple, uncomplicated and plain vanilla.
I am glad I went through this exercise so I could come to the realization of what works for me. I had taken what amounted to a year off of tennis when I was focusing on triathlon last year and recently realized how much I had missed it. There has to be a way to work it all in. Why should I have to choose between two things that make me happy, right? Ironically, a blog on the Fast Camp website helped clarify my thoughts. They listed the 5 most common mistakes made by Half-Ironman athletes. The top two really spoke to me and what I am feeling right now.
- Getting overwhelmed by the training lingo. Aerobic, anaerobic, lactic thresholds, VO2Max, that sort of thing. “Your training only has be as complicated as you make it…and we suggest you keep it simple… Focus on the WORK, do progressively more of it, and the fitness will follow”
- Making training overly complicated. You don’t need overly complicated brick workouts. Make sure that Monday works with Tuesday and so on and that it all meshes with your personal / social life.
While I know that the “less simple” version probably would make me faster in the long run. It’s not like I am giving up a shot at a Kona spot here - that certainly is not in my genetic make up. Right now, it is more important to me to be able to fit in other activities. I am still going to follow a loose plan and will definitely be putting in the work but it will be in a way that works for me. We’ll see how it goes…. :)