Here we go!
First … the details. I understand that everyone reading this is not in the same situation that I’m in. Everyone reading this will come from different backgrounds, different families and different structures. But the cool thing about triathlon is that we ALL started somewhere. Every single one of us at some point could barely make it 25 yards across the pool or barely made it up that first hill on that $100, super heavy Target bike. Maybe we even walked/jogged that 50 pound overweight body for a run. Just over three years ago, all of these things I just mentioned were true for me. I started there and now I am here—trying to qualify for the biggest stage in triathlon—Kona. It’s really important that people know I didn’t get to the fitness level I am at right now off of talent. It was all work, early morning wake up calls and a genuine belief and desire to get fast.
I’m going to give you an overall idea of what my day-to-day training is like without giving away my whole life. I really want to translate the whole family-work-workout ratio. The sacrifices made, the times I screw up or lose focus and in doing so hopefully I will inspire some out there to try and do the same so they can reach their goals.
So here are the details:
Family: I have a beautiful wife of 10 years, Amy—who you will see a few guest blog posts from in the future. She’ll tell her side of the story and maybe give you some more insight to what REALLY goes on around here. I have two kids: a daughter who is 5 and a son who is almost 4. Amy is a stay at home mom.
Career: I’m the Director of Marketing and Business Development for a company down in San Diego. It’s an hour commute each way. For three years I made that commute each day but, as of about a year ago, I am now able to work from home two-to-three days a week. Don’t kid yourself though; I don’t have it easy because of that. I’m often attending late night functions, all day golf outings and trade shows, which is not ideal while training for an Ironman.
Finances: With only one income, triathlon is a probably one of the worst hobbies I could have picked! With a SoCal mortgage, a family to care for, bills and races/hotels to pay for—needless to say money is tight. I debated whether or not to include a “Donate” section on my website because it can come off tacky – but I really don’t care. If you want to help contribute to my journey, you can donate HERE. And thanks for considering!
Structure: If your situation is anything similar to mine, then you know you have to make quite a few sacrifices to make it work. For me, getting up early is key – which means getting to bed early is even more important. So I basically structure my day around getting to bed by 9 p.m. I need those eight hours of sleep otherwise I usually get sick or see a decrease in performance. I’ll discuss this more on Thursday’s blog post.
So there you have it. Hopefully this gives everyone an insight to what I’m up against each day going into these workouts. As far as training goes, some days I can get in a double workout, sometimes one, sometimes none. I imagine most of you out there are the same: Each week is so different with family/work schedules, and that makes it even more difficult to stay consistent. Every Saturday is not going to be a long ride or every Wednesday a Masters swim—which can be a good in a way because you’re always shocking the body and switching things up. Doesn’t make it easy though. That’s why I’ve learned to just take things day by day and not have a schedule etched in stone because things come up and you have to be willing to adapt and be as consistent as possible.
I’m still toying with the idea of the best way to post my workouts. For now I’m going to write out everything and then highlight/take screen shots of my key workouts of the week. Eventually I might link up my Garmin Connect account or maybe Strava. In the meantime you’ll just have to trust that what I put down is what I’m doing. There’s no reason to lie about what I’m doing—it’s just a hobby! I have no shame or anything to hide, hopefully this gives you some insight!
Things to note: If you saw THIS post you’ll know that I cut my fingertip off on Christmas Eve so I haven’t swam in about a month. So this was another week of just riding and running. My wife and I also celebrated our 10 year anniversary, so we left the kids with the grandparents and headed up to Yosemite for the weekend. This week’s focus was all about trying to get in some good quality sessions while staying healthy before heading out of town.
Monday: Fri-Sun of last week was pretty brutal so Flanny [Robert Flannigan] and I decided to make this just a single day.
Trainer Threshold intervals (copied/pasted from Training Peaks account):
30 minutes WU
3 x 10 minute Z4 (Threshold)
5 min recovery between efforts
Let your legs recover fully during the 5 minutes between intervals so you can ride consistently.
4 x 20 sec right leg, 20 sec left leg, 20 sec both legs
Z2 remainder (total 2 hours)
Post workout notes: I don’t have a power meter yet (very soon!) so it can be really hard to gauge my effort levels. I basically go as hard as I can without slowing down to much. This workout crushed me. I’m on Season 3 of “Walking Dead” via streaming Netflix and I felt like I was a “walker” after this. One thing to note: I do not watch TV which frees up an amazing amount of time in your life (more on this later). The only time I’ll watch is when I’m on the trainer—just not during intervals, I have music for that! And I also watch the Chargers games, although no more games this year.
Tuesday: Again, without swimming – we have another single day. I work in San Diego on Tuesdays and hit this workout on my way home at night.
Group Track workout: At Cal State San Marcos with the North County San Diego Track Club.
20 min up, 2 laps of stride the straights, jog the curves.
2×1200 @ Half mary pace w/60-90 sec recovery (avg’d 5:50, 5:40 pace)
2×800 @ 5k-10k pace w/60-90 sec recovery (avg’d 5:19,5:11)
2×400 @mile pace w/60-90 sec recovery (avg’d 4:54, 4:56)
1 mile at 5k-10k pace (5:16)
c/d (total 1 hour)
Post workout Notes: I’m happy with the way my running is coming around. I led this workout even after four hard days in a row. I’ve seen some big gains lately which is perfect timing with the Surf City Half Marathon coming up in three weeks.
Wednesday: With the anticipation of me leaving town that weekend we had to get in a big day today.
3 hr long ride: 2:53, 51.5 miles, 1500 ft of climbing – AVG 17.8mph
Easy run (non brick): 40 mins, 4.28 miles – AVG 9:28 pace
Post workout notes: I worked from home so I got up at 5am, worked from 5-9 – then rode 3 hours. Ate a big lunch, worked from 1-5, then put in a 40-minute easy run. Something to note: my easy runs are sloooooow. I don’t even look at the watch; it’s usually in the 8-10 minute mile range. I just go off of feel, with nothing to prove, all to gain. Kenyans do the same thing. After dinner, playing with the kids, reading stories … etc., I had 30 minutes where I put in some stretching, foam rolling (something I’m trying to do more of). Then it’s some alone time with the wife, packing for our trip and then its lights out at 9 p.m.
Thursday: Single day. Thursdays I work in San Diego. Today my boss let me off a little early to get a head start on our anniversary weekend. After putting in final prep plans for the weekend I jumped on the trainer for some big gear work.
Big Gear Trainer session: After a 60 min warm up on the trainer I want you to do 5 x 3 min big gear (hard enough to slow your rpm’s to 40-50) with 1 min of high cadence spinning between (100 rpm+). Ride the remaining time in Z2 (total 2 hours)
Post workout notes: Again, another QUALITY session. Flanny doesn’t put a bunch of fluff or extra miles in. I have a limited schedule so each workout is planned with a purpose. I have a sick love for big gear intervals. I love the burning legs feeling – this is bike specific strength training.
Fri: We got up at 3 a.m. and drove 7 hours to Yosemite. After checking into our hotel, we hiked 6 miles and climbed up to three different waterfalls. Breathtaking!
Saturday: Flanny had a specific running workout for me, but with the trip it just wasn’t going to happen. This weekend was all about celebrating our 10 year anniversary. So we woke up, had a huge breakfast and hit a big day on the trails. Normally I would never input “hiking/jogging” miles into my log but this one was actually pretty difficult. We ended up hiking/jogging more than 9 miles with 3k+ of climbing in altitude. It was one of the best days of my life. We were surrounded by beauty and on our way down it got misty and foggy and we ran most of the way home in this dream-like setting. Unreal. Something I’ll never forget!
Sunday: After traveling back home I got in an easy 40 minutes of running to shake the cobwebs out as my legs were pretty sore from that hike! 4.5 miles, 8:53 pace.
Bike: 121 miles
Total hours: 14:47
So overall it was a great week. Our little getaway felt like it recharged us for the year! I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store and excited that you can follow along with me.