Thursday, January 3, 2013

Decisions, Decisions...

I am planning on starting my training for the Memphis in May Olympic Triathlon next week. I have a goal time of a sub 2:40 that I want to get and I know I am capable of hitting. Last year I finished in 2:47, so I really thin I can hit a sub 2:40. Unfortunately  the coaching thing is not going to work out for me after-all  so I have been looking at training plans for the Olympic distance. I have narrowed it down to 3 plans that I got off of (a great site for a wealth of info on doing triathlons). So now it is only a matter of deciding which plan I want to follow cause they are significantly different in 2 of the 3 triathlon segments.

In all three plans, the running mileage stays approximately the same, within 10 miles of each of the plans. Swimming is where there is a noticeable difference, one is 37k, one is 72k and the third is 97k. Biking is also a huge difference when comparing these plans. 1,282 miles, 1,340 miles and 1,734 miles respectively.

I based each of these plans off the following criteria: 19 week plan, swim 1:50/100 (which I might be faster than that) Bike: 19-20 mph and run of 8:50-9 minute miles. The workouts were setup for a total of 8-10 workouts a week. So here is the breakdown:

MIM 2013 Plan:
S:1:50/100        2 swims a week       1 rest day
B: 19mph          3 bikes a week
R: 9/mile            3 runs a week
Total yardage swim: 37, 150 yards
Total mileage biked: 1,282.70 miles
Total mileage ran: 340 miles

MIM Middle Plan:
S:1:50/100         2 swims a week       1 rest day
B: 19 mph          3 bikes a week
R: 9/mile            3 runs a week
Total yardage swim: 72,150 yards
Total mileage biked: 1,340.90 miles
Total mileage ran: 350.70 miles

MIM Sub 2:40 Plan:
S:1:50/100         3 swims a week       0 rest day
B: 19 mph          4 bikes a week
R: 9/mile            4 runs a week
Total yardage swim: 95,950 yards
Total mileage biked: 1,734.70 miles
Total mileage ran: 350.70 miles

Now, here are my concerns: These plans are only for January through May. If I looked at my total mileage for 2012 in total, I would surpass my bike mileage. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I want to make sure I am not biting off more than I can chew since I have a family and a job that are pretty important to me. I also worry about not having any days offs with the SUB 2:40 plan. So how do I decide?

I think I have to look at each plan and see how it works out through the week. What will I be doing on Mondays, Tuesdays, etc... How does that fit into my schedule and how will that impact my family? Can I get it done in the mornings before the kids go to school? I know I will not make every workout listed, but which one of these plans is going to help me hit my goals. Plus, I will be training for IM after this race, which will be even more taxing and tougher!

So after writing it out and really thinking it over, I am going with the middle plan. To me, it makes the most sense and falls in line with my schedule and my capabilities. I also think this plan will help me reach that sub 2:40 goal for an Olympic distance race. In 2012, leading up to MIM I did the following miles/yards: Swim 66,830, biked 659 and ran 176. This plan will double my bike and running, which is where I need the most help. So here it what my plan will look like starting Jan 7, 2012.

Monday: run short and bike short
Tuesday: swim med (maybe a Master's class)
Wednesday: run med and bike med
Thursday: swim long (maybe Master's class)
Friday: Rest and Recover
Saturday: long run (may be leading a running group at church that morning)
Sunday: long bike

Putting this down on "paper" definitely helped me see which plan is best for me and helped me think through some aspects of each plan. I would highly suggest that you look through a plan and compare plans before you just pick one, not all plans a re the same!

Thanks for reading and Happy Training!


  1. Before I read that you had picked, I was going to suggest the "middle" plan - I think it is unrealistic for anyone with a family and job to not have one day that workouts can be blown off. And truthfully, you could do a morning/evening workout (especially if one/both were shorter workouts) and build in another rest (aka skip) day to accommodate "life". You also don't want to burn out before digging into IM training.

    I still need to figure out what my "A" race for tri is going to be this year so I can figure out how that will affect any "plans" I put together for myself. But I tend to have a "just want to finish" mindset.

    1. I totally understand the "just want to finish mindset" and I normally have that with any new distance I try!

  2. You've done a great job getting your training in before the rest of us get up. But, I admit I wonder how you'll fit in training for a "whole" Ironman. Wish we could keep up to train with you some. We like biking, running, and swimming, too. Just not that much that fast!

  3. well written! A lot of people just randomly pick a plan that's either below their ability or too aggressive (unrealistic) to their lifestyle.

    ^Sounds like a tandem may be in the future too :)

    1. 2-person bike. A lot of my married friends really enjoy them. Might be something to check out for the fam.

  4. Not that I know what I'm talking about, but I would make a hybrid and build your own and go with 2 days a week swimming and 4 biking. There is so much more to gain in both the bike and run by being a strong cyclist compared to the small gain you'll get in the swim. Plus, you can do a lot of your cycling on the trainer and be around the family. Just my 2 cents and they aren't worth that after the fiscal cliff :-)

    1. I agree and that is why this plan is more focused on the bike than any plan I have ever done!

  5. Arnt you doing Redman full this year? You will be in either in the later stages of Base by the time May comes around. Which you will be more then ready for an Olympic race.

    The book that I personally is worth its weight in gold, that I dont hear or see alot about, is "My Best Triathlon" by Joe Friel. It has training plans for 4 distances (sprint, olympic, 70.3, 140.6) and they are all advance, but manageable. It is what I used last year and using this year. I would check it out from your library and see if you like it.

    1. Thanks BDD, I am going to check that book out!

  6. Even the last plan isn't that much. On avg is is 5K in the pool/wk, 91mi on the bike/wk, and 18mi running/wk.

    Why don't you cut a swim out and do one of the bike and run workouts as a brick and then you get the best of both worlds with a more bike/run volume and a day off.

    The main reason for doing it this way is that you are doing a full in September and the time in the saddle added now will pay off big time when the Redman training begins and even more on race day.

    Good luck!

    1. I seriously considered cutting a swim out, and I may do that when I start training for Redman, but this is specifically for the Olympic race in May, then I will set my sights on Redman and come up with another plan!

  7. Jeff makes some real good points. The best benefit for you now is saddle time with the right amount of intensity built in. Intensity is key but too much will break you - that's why many plans trade cycling for running. You can push the intensity more on the bike with lower risk of injury than running.

    Get faster before you go longer.


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