Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Me, mojo and The Race

Over the past couple of weeks, really ever since I really, truly knew I wasnt doing Melbourne IM my training, eating, recovering (I mean really recovering - ie getting to bed and sleeping properly and not dozing on the couch late at night) just hasnt really been happening. I've ridden - sometimes, I've swum - a bit, I've run - a little. But to say I've been following a program would be stretching it. Yeah, there are some sort of good reasons for some disruptions to my tri-life (not having a permanent home, having the four of us in a 2 bed apartment etc certainly isnt helping much) but the truth is the primary reason I love triathlon, the thing that has worked for me when every other diet and exercise program has failed has been missing - that vital (and missing) component is .... The Race.

Of all the tired, trite and overworked triathlon motivation cliches going around (which by the way I love - as much as I recognize the shallowness of these little mottos I still get hooked) one of these that resonates most strongly with me is "Pro's race for a living, I race to live". Looking good, feeling great, staying alive ..... these are strong enough motivators for many people to do the right thing by their bodies, not for me. I need The Race. Its not like I'm going to win anything, or even be competitive with other athletes, I just need to know that relatively soon I will be tested and I want to do well. That motivates me, that gets me up in the morning and makes me walk past the chocolate cupboard at work.

Ever since I've pulled out of Melbourne IM there hasnt been a race on the horizon. The is Roth, but thats in July 2015, that's over the horizon and not a close enough goal. I figured this out last week and so have been scratching around, looking at the calendar and building a new race program from the wreckage of the old for myself. Well, rather than repeat the mistakes that have seen me enter at least three events and have to withdraw before the start I figured that in deciding on what will be The Race that comes next I'd actually talk to my coach and have an outsiders and professionals take on what would be good for me.

This was my (our, really) thinking.

My number one goal is Challenge Roth, Jul 2015. I aim to race that, not just finish. To that end I've started planning 15 months out and have already set aside 3 months long service leave from work to give myself a solid 10 weeks of 'going pro' in the lead up to the event.

Whilst 15 months is a long time, what I have learnt is that I take a while to recover from an ironman and doing another full ironman between now and Roth would not be smart. It took me six weeks to be able to start training and would have been around 10 before I was take to training at full intensity. Just doing the maths and saying 'if I started prepping for the next IM now?' doing that race and then recovering and before you know it I'm actually eating into my prep for my A race. So, if not a full IM, how about a (or a couple) of 70.3's. To be honest that was my original plan, probably Sunshine Coast in September and possibly Challenge Melbourne in February. Again, doing the maths, Challenge was probably a bit late and didnt fit my plan, and while Sunshine coast is a good race and would be fun its probably a little early.

At this point Sean had an interesting suggestion. He thought, well, if you've got 15 months, instead of just solid tri training and racing that whole time, how about we take the Australian autumn/winter and use that to really work on my main weakness - running. And so, instead of just piling on more general 'tri' training, really focus on the last leg, and what better way of doing that than running a marathon. And hey look! The Melbourne Marathon is on in Oct 14. So Sean suggested, think about it for a week, ease into running, hit a hard 16ish week running program, do the marathon, take a break and come back with a stronger run than I've ever had and punch out an Ironman program for Roth. Sounds easy when I say it fast. But more importantly it sounds smart.

Less importantly but also a consideration, I'd rather be running for up to three hours close to home in winter than riding for those 6-8 hour days (getting wet and miserable riding home from the Dandenongs or King Lake in June/July).

Anyway its not locked in but right now I'm thinking The Race will be Melbourne Marathon. I'll keep you posted but even now the idea is getting my mojo flowing.