The end of 2013 involved a couple very significant adjustments: enrolling as a full-time student at the University of California, Berkeley; joining a fraternity (Chi Psi, Alpha Delta Delta); and starting a job as a physics research assistant. Unfortunately, this put a major setback in my training, and thus I came into 2014 with very limited fitness. However, near the end of my spring semester, I found a way to balance my hectic lifestyle and still train as a triathlete. Thus, my race season starts and ends a little later than most: the bulk of my triathlon races will begin in August and will continue through the end of October. Immediately after that, I plan on putting in a 12-week running block to focus on building speed before the 2015 triathlon season.
My first couple of races will be used as “tune-ups” to get back into the racing grind. This includes three of On Your Mark Events Tri for Fun races, which are very local, low-key events. I will also be travelling to an Olympic-distance race in Santa Cruz in the beginning of August to adjust to a “big race” atmosphere. To make sure I’m ready to run hard, I’ll also try to do a 10K before moving into my competitive races. I’m currently looking at 10K on the Bay, a local event just a couple miles from downtown Berkeley.
My competitive season will start right around the beginning of UC Berkeley’s Fall semester: the end of August. I will be kicking things off with my first competitive triathlon of the season: a local olympic-distance race at the Oakland Triathlon Festival. In mid-September I will be heading back down to Santa Cruz for the Big Kahuna Triathlon: a half-Ironman distance event that will be used to prepare me for one of my A-Races (Challenge Rancho Cordova). I will be closing the month of September with a third visit to Santa Cruz for another Olympic-distance event: the Santa Cruz Triathlon.
The month of October contains both of my A-Races, and thus I am planning on being at my peak fitness. On October 5, I will be travelling up to the Sacramento area for Challenge Rancho Cordova: a half-Ironman distance event which will bring in a lot of national and international talent. I have an ambitious goal of making the podium for my age group (men 18-24). Three weeks later, I will be heading down to San Diego County to complete in the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon at Oceanside: an Olympic-distance event where I also hope to make the podium for my age group.
Following my A-races in triathlons, I plan on putting in a solid running block to end of the year. Ideally, I can put in 10-to-12 weeks of structured run-specific training, and drop my times in the 5K, 10K, and/or Half Marathon. Specifically, I’m looking to peak at my final race: the Carlsbad Half Marathon in mid-January.
I would like to put A LOT of time into developing a competitive swim fitness. I’ve finally been able to get myself out to the pool at least 5 days a week, and thus I’ve been able to put out a couple weeks of 10,000+ yards. Although this is certainly making me a better swimmer, I’d like to get even more mileage in, and thus I hope to make 20,000 yards/week a baseline of mine for at least a size-able block of the season. Once I adjust to the increase in volume, I would like to spend a lot of time doing 50-yard, 100-yard, and 200-yard repeats to build speed. I have invested a bit of money into Roka’s SIM Pro Swimming Shorts, and I think it was a fantastic decision. The buoyancy from the shorts supplements my kick in the water, which not only keeps my legs more fresh for cycling and running workouts, but also allows me to focus on building strength in my upper body. Given that all my races this season are wetsuit-legal, I believe this will be a very integral training tool to improving my wetsuit swim times in the open-water.
For cycling, I finally put the money down and bought a Stages Power Meter. This has DRASTICALLY helped me improve my bike training, and I’m eager to see how it improves my racing. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks learning how to utilize my power meter as an incredible resource. One result of this is that I have developed the easy-hard training philosophy: make your easy workouts EASY, and your hard workouts HARD. I am trying to put a lot more hours into the bike this year, hoping to average approximately 12 hours/week through the rest of the season.
For running, which is arguably my strongest sport, I am going to keep things easy for the first part of the season. ALL of my runs are going to be at a comfortable, conversational pace, just focusing on getting the miles in. Once I have built up a strong base, I’m going to drop off a bit on my cycling intervals and replace them with running intervals on the track: 1km and 2km repeats, in addition to tempo runs (at threshold pace) between the 5K and 8K distance.