Got Training Plans?

17 02 2011

“Steph, what races are you doing this season?” Chloe has asked me this several times in the past few weeks, and I kept putting off registering for races. Race season is  far away; Tris are so expensive! Could I do a half iron man with Chloe? All these thoughts have been going through my head, but today I registered my first few races of the season, which you can check out on my updated Race Page.  So…now what?

Well, that’s the funny thing. While Chloe has a detailed training schedule, I have never been good at following a training plan. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon back in 2006, I didn’t have a training plan. I just ran 5-6 times per week, increased my mileage along the way, and ran two long runs, one 15 miles and one 18 miles. BIG MISTAKE. Please, if you ever do a marathon, follow a training plan!! I still finished, but man, was it PAINFUL!          

Since I’ve gotten into triathlons, I’ve tried to be more intentional about my training, but not to the point where I follow a strict training calendar. Last summer, I came up with my own “plan,” which I thought was sufficient: I rode my bike to work a few days a week (20 miles round trip); I went for long rides on the weekend (I think the furthest I went was 50 miles); I swam twice a week (about 3000 meters each swim); And I ran 10-15 miles/week. Despite not having a regimented calendar planned out by people more experienced than I, I found time each week to do what I thought would help me finish the race, and finish strong. This may not be best practices, but it works for me right now.

I think the reason I have avoided training plans was because I don’t want to feel straight jacketed into certain days being for certain activities. Some days I’m in the mood to swim, while others, I’d prefer to spin or run. Like today, it was GORGEOUS outside; it was an “I really want to run outside” kind of day. So, I did, because my calendar didn’t tell me I had to do otherwise:-)

Maybe this year will be different, and I’ll follow a training plan. Suggestions are welcome:-)

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to follow plans like this so I can make tasty things like this:

Question of the day: Do you follow a training plan for your races? Where do you get your training plan?

Good, Better, Best…

17 02 2011

Happy Thursday!

5 months from today I (Chloe) will be an Iron Woman.

Ok that’s not actually true…I will be a 1/2 Iron Woman, but that just sounds funny. It still seems pretty far away, but the more I train, the more I can picture myself in the Race. With only a handful of sprint triathlons under my belt and only 1 olympic distance, some might think that I am jumping the gun…but in my mind, bigger has always been better.

When I was really young and just starting out as a competitive swimmer, my Dad shared with me some words of wisdom that have stuck me ever since. “Good-Better-Best, Never Let It Rest, Till’ the Good is Better, and the Better’s Best.” I repeated this quote to myself during hard practices in middle school, insisted on having it printed on my high school year book page and shared it with my swim team at Tufts University. Over the years, I have repeated this quote proudly. What could possibly be wrong with always looking ahead to your next goal, pinpointing places that need improvement and working to become a better athlete/student/person?

Turns out its not so straightforward after all. My competitive spirit has DEFINITELY helped me to become a better more fierce? triathlete…

I'ts ok, you can laugh. or be scared. I am not that scary in real life I promise.

But it has also left me struggling to give myself a break. Its hard for me to back off, slow down or take an unplanned day off. JUST REST.

I am really good at this….

and not as good at this…

That would be my family's cat, Nala, relaxing.


Other bloggers ( Tina (Carrotsncake) and Heather (SideofSneakers) ) have done posts on the importance of rest and recovery, but I really don’t think there can be enough emphasis on how important it really is! I am lucky to have a mentor/coach who is helping me to learn and understand the importance of rest and recovery, especially while training for such a long race; but I know that if it wasn’t for those scheduled rest days in my training plan, I would have a hard time listening to my body. As an athlete my whole life, I have learned to push past the point of comfort, which on the one hand is great for building strength and confidence, but on the other, not so great for learning to listen to what your body needs. I have read a number of articles, including those from Runners World and Beginner Triathlete, which have helped me to understand the value and importance of rest and recovery…

Rest and Recovery Help to:
Prevent injuries from overuse. Muscles are broken down during exercise. Recovery days allow these muscles to heal and become stronger.

Restore glycogen (the complex carbohydrate which comes from sugar and is broken down for energy during hard workouts).

Prevent mental burnout. Exercise and training should be fun! If you constantly push yourself through times when your body is saying slow down, take a break, REST, then you will experience feelings of burnout or lack in desire to continue exercising or training.

I have learned that the most common cause of burnout in athletes at every level is lack in rest and recovery. Many athletes do not lack the will to train or work hard, but do not give their body’s proper time to recover. In general, I have found that it is helpful to give your body at least one day a week to rest and more.

Lesson of the day: Find this button and give yourself permission to push it 🙂


So- there you have it- my struggles as a trainaholic. I don’t think that my “Good, Better Best” mentality is going anywhere anytime soon, but I am working to appreciate, respect and look forward to my rest and recovery days. Aaaand speaking of recovery days…TODAY IS A REST DAY! woohooo! I am out of triathlon mode for the day and plan on spending the evening with some of my Eating Club Girls for a special girls night out!

Question of the Day: Do you also have a hard time cutting yourself some slack? Whether it be at work, training, general exercise or in another aspect of your life? Or are you someone who is pretty good at listening to their body and their needs and have no trouble taking some time off? Share your comment below!