I have found that someone with limited training experience with the three triathlon disciplines seems to make a lot of progress early on in their preparation. That someone I am referring to is of course myself. Reflecting back on my training last summer, I did not dedicate nearly enough time to training as I should have. I knew I was competing in a sprint race and I took it for granted.
The other day I joked that I put in more training time this past July than I did pretty much all of last year. And to be perfectly honest, I probably trained more last month than I did in 99% of the months I ever trained for a powerlifting or track & field meet. That goes way back to the summer of 2004 after I graduated from college.
Right now I’m a little less than 3 weeks out from my race. I am again competing in a sprint race. I am 100% more prepared for this race today than I was for my race last year. A couple of reasons why I think I’m more prepared are:
This past week was one of the best training weeks of my life. At 37 years-old, I completed two long bike rides (both over 20 miles), four running sessions (12 miles—that is a lot for a still active powerlifter LOL), and two swim sessions (each over 2000 yards). I hit a personal best time in my 4-mile run and 5k run. I hit over 16mph on both of my bike sessions, and for the first time in my life swam over 2000 yards in two swim sessions in the same week.
Last year my goal was to finish the race in under 2 hours. I finished in 2 hours and 3 minutes. I didn’t deserve to finish in under 2 hours. I didn’t put in enough work. My swim was 19 minutes. My bike was just over 50 minutes. My 5k was over 43 minutes. Yes, my time in transition was over 10 minutes.
My goal for this year is to finish under 2 hours. My second goal is to finish under 1 hour 45 minutes. My training indicates that I should be around 1 hour and 45 minutes. I’ve been practicing my transitions, as well as incorporating more brick workouts in my training. I’m really looking forward to this upcoming race, but I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to maintain a consistent training protocol. In the end, my training philosophy for this race is process > outcome.
I was looking over the end of the month content views on the Forza Athletics website, and I noticed that most of the top 20 viewed and clicked on posts are from my old training posts. Last month 14 older training posts and videos appeared in my top 20, which tells me that some of you out there are interested in following along with my training. Since it has been such a long time, I'll fill everyone in on what I've been working on the past couple of years.
Last December I started training for a powerlifting meet. I haven't competed in a full powerlifting meet since January 2015, I was bored with my training, so I decided to sign up for a meet. I was scheduled to compete in March, 2019.
In early February I noticed a lot of tightness in my right pec/bicep area. In 2012 I had surgery to re-attach my right tricep, so of course I was concerned. Up until that point in my training, I had hit a lot personal best lifts. I hit a garage gym personal best of 545lbs. in the squat, as well as 275lbs. for 11 reps in the bench press.
I thought about continuing to train through the pain, but thought better of it. I was a month out, I had just turned 36, and didn't know what to do. Well, I did something that I had always wanted to do, I registered for a sprint triathlon.
I have always wanted to try a short race that was local. I registered for the Rochester Sprint Triathlon held in late August. I had plenty of time to train and get into shape, but my focus faltered big time.
I completed a ton of swimming sessions thinking that part of the race was going to be the most difficult for me. In reality, I should have spent a lot more time on my bike. The Sprint triathlon consisted of a .5 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 run. Looking back at my training today, I completed a total of 10 runs from the time I registered until the time I competed. On the morning of the race I weighed in over 280lbs. I was not ready to race. I managed to finish last in my age group of 35-39 in the Sprint distance with a time of just a little over 2 hours. My goal for the race was to finish in under 2 hours. I missed it by about 3 minutes.
After I finished the race, I didn't do much of anything for a couple of months. I felt so bad about my race finish that I just sat around. I completed a couple of training sessions in the garage, but nothing really spectacular. After wallowing around until the holidays, I again registered for the Rochester Sprint triathlon. This time I knew I had to dial in my training and focus on what I needed to do in order to not blow up during such a short race.
My wife bought me a bike trainer for my birthday. A couple of times a week I would complete 1 hour training rides in the basement. I started running when the weather got a little nicer in March. I also bought a new bike in May to give myself a better opportunity of racing faster. My 30 year-old bike that I used last year wasn't going to cut it.
I hope that gives everyone an idea of where I'm at with my current training and what I'm currently focused on. Training for a triathlon race, even though I'm training for the shortest version of one, has made me feel like an athlete again.
It is difficult to put into words, but not training to compete in a powerlifting meet or track meet has really got me focused and zeroed in on what I want to accomplish. Physically I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. At least the best shape of my 30's.
I track my sleep and nutrition, and I've noticed a huge difference in how my body reacts to certain foods and my training sessions if I haven't fueled my body properly enough. This morning, August 2, 2019, I weighed in at 250lbs. This is the lightest I've been in a really long time. I feel good. My body feels good. I'm going to continue with my triathlon training into the fall as long as I can. I enjoy my 25 mile rides on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I actually like my 4-mile running loop around the neighborhood.
Maybe next summer I'll take a big jump in distance and register for a Half Ironman distance race 70.3. But first I'm going to crack 2 hours in this sprint race!
Dr. Infurna is an active powerlifter and thrower. He has recently shifted his focus to training for Triathlon races. His next race is the Rochester Sprint Triathlon at the end of August, 2019.