Dec 12, 2014

Switching Gears

I've had close to three weeks to recover from the Philly Marathon and I am happy to say I do not have any injuries, which is why it’s time to switch gears! I have been focusing on the marathon for the last 3 months. As a result, I had no choice but to place swimming and biking on the “back burning” for a while. During this time I continued to swim 2-3 times per week and cycle 1-2 times per week, but most of these workouts were used as active recovery.

I have “switched gear’ (literally and figuratively) and will be focusing on improving my power on the bike over the next few months. Now that the weather has turned cold, it is almost impossible to get outside for a decent bike workout. As a result, this (below) is where I’ll be sitting for 4-5 hours per week from now until April. I am fortunate to have a few training partners to join in the suffering, which will certainly make these workout easier.

In some ways it’s nice to get a break from running. On the other hand, it’s not easy to go from running 50-60 miles per week down to 25-30. This is why it’s great to have a specific program and a coach to help me stick to the program and keep focused. After all, I was a runner first, so I think it’s only natural to want to concentrate on running as opposed to the swim and the bike.

If you know anything about triathlon you've likely heard the quote “it’s all about the bike!” This pertains to pretty much any triathlete, assuming you are comfortable in the water and on the run. The vast majority of triathletes, whether they are competing in a Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, or Full Ironman, will spend more than 50% of their total race time on their bike. For example, when competing at Challenge St Andrews (half iron) this past summer, I spent 55% of the time on the bike. Lisa (spouse) was completing her first half Ironman with the goal if finishing, and she too spent more than half of her time (52%) on her bike. Is it any wonder that most training programs involve you spending at least 50% of your training time on the bike?

The main priority for me will be to do my best to improve my FTP (functional threshold power), which is essentially the maximum power you are capable of pushing for one hour. A power meter is necessary in order to obtain an accurate FTP. There are several different options, including the Stages Power meter, which is what I am currently using. I’ll explain more about training with power in future blog posts.

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