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HIM Training: Week 16 (Wrap Up)

by Meghann on September 27, 2011

16 weeks. Done. Just like that.

Time flies when you’re training your booty off! ;)

The original week 16…

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The actual week 16…

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Monday

Tuesday

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Wednesday

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Thursday

Friday

  • Rest

Saturday

  • Rest

Sunday

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By the numbers

  • Run: 17 mi
  • Bike: 75 mi
  • Swim: 2500 yds
  • Yoga: 1 day

BAM!

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My first EPIC!! :)

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Week 16 was race week!

It was also my final taper week and – at times – I felt like I wanted to pull my hair out because I went from training 2+ hours a day with multiple sports to taking it easy with less than an hour. By the time race day came, I was so ready to get out there that all my nerves disappeared and I just had FUN with it!

And fun I did! The race surpassed all of my expectations leaving me on cloud nine for the next 48 hours. Incredible doesn’t even begin to describe it!

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You can read my full race report here. ;)

Training Plan Reflections

I created my original HIM training plan with no clue what I was getting into. I’d done a handful of triathlons in the past, but had never created an official training plan for them. I sort of just incorporated swimming and biking into my normal workouts and crossed my fingers I make it to the finish line. I knew a half ironman would be different, so I studied some plans I thought would work.

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The plan itself was great, but it’s hard to determine what your future self will be doing on a Saturday two months from now. The key to training successfully is flexibility with your workouts, which is why I’ve been tracking mine the whole time – to show how a plan can be reformatted to fit your needs or plans for the week. I’ve always believed that there’s no need to completely give up your life during training – the trick is to fit your training schedule around your life, not the other way around.

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I didn’t follow the plan to the T, but I did hit all the milestones leading up to the race. My longest swim being roughly 2300 yds in the pool (and 2000 meters open water), the longest ride was 50 miles, and I built up to 11 miles on my feet. I regularly practiced two-a-day training, kept up with weekly speedwork with the Tampa Tri Team, stuck with the New Rules of Training for Women lifting plan, and did a brick roughly once a week.

The week or two before the race was the only time I began to seriously doubt my training. At that point I had hit the ‘too late now’ phase of training and suddenly felt like I hadn’t been doing enough. Should I have done more bricks? Should I have practiced my transitions? Should I have aimed for higher mileage on the bike and on the roads?!? Could’ve – Should’ve – Would’ve‘s invaded my mind the entire two weeks prior.

Then I made it to Augusta and all those doubts disappeared.

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From the minute I walked into registration I felt like a new person. I met SO. MANY. amazing triathletes who did nothing but calm my nerves and tell me that I could do this. They gave me the strength I needed to push all the negativity out of my mind and just do it.

Impact of Training on Race Day

On Sunday I crossed the finish line feeling strong. I was beaming from ear to ear and felt like i had enough energy to do the whole thing all over again if they let me. Obviously my runner’s high was in full force. ;)

All my worries of being undertrained were behind me. My body did exactly what I had trained it to do and I never felt like I wanted to give up or like I was ready to die. (A good sign!)

What I would do differently

This was my first HIM and I’m proud of how I trained, but it wouldn’t be a real challenge if I got everything right in the first place!

First of all, I thought 16 weeks was the perfect amount of time for training. Any longer and I may have lost my mind and any shorter I would have felt undone. 16 weeks was enough to build my endurance and learn my skills.

Swim

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At the beginning of training I had these big plan of swimming 3000+ yds at a time, but that didn’t happen. Courtney was actually the one that talked me away from that ledge and told me I would be fine doing the basic swim workouts she gave me (as is) throughout training. I took her advice to heart and stuck with them. My training swims averaged 2000 yds and I was FINE with that on race day. My endurance was there, my stroke was there, and I was happy in the water. Win. Win.

There is no doubt that I’ll need more open water swims in the future. My sighting skills are horrific and swimming longer than 25 yds at a time is something I need to practice. I’m happy that I at least got one or two open water swims in, but I’ll definitely be aiming for more in the future!

Bike

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Cycling is my weakest of the three. I’m slow, I’m cautious, and I have no skills when it comes to shifting gears. I was really surprised on race day when I would pass fellow cyclists going up hills, until they zoomed past me going down them. They were racing smart – saving their energy going up and letting it all out on the downhill. I must learn this skill. Soon.

Next time I train I would LOVE to focus more on the bike. Not exactly by getting more milage in, but more of toning my skills! I need to do more speed work, more hill work, and just teach my legs to spin faster. This was the first year I’ve really dedicated any time on the bike, so I’m prepared to use this summer as my starting point and build from there.

Running

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I <3 running!

As soon as I got off the bike, my legs took off – they were so happy to run! I had heard horror stories of how awful it is to run 13.1 miles after cycling 56 miles. I didn’t get many long bricks in and – was told – I would be walking the majority of my run because of it.

Granted, I did resort to the Galloway method for the remainder of the run, but I would call that racing smart. I listened to my body, figured out what I needed to do to finish the run strong, and survived. I would do that method again in a heart beat.

I cut back on running during training because that’s where I’m the strongest and I wanted to focus on where I was the weakest. Next time I probably would keep the same running mileage in training, but do a few more long bricks and more speed work. Quality over quantity.

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.

I LOVED this race. I’m an endurance sport junkie and actually preferred the 70.3 distance over the sprint and olympic triathlons (just like I prefer half marathons over 5ks).

I had problems calling myself a triathlete before Sunday, but – after spending hours discussing swimming logistics, cycling times, aero bars, transition set ups, bottle hand offs, bricks, etc, and never getting bored – I can now scream it from the roof tops.

I AM A TRIATHLETE.

And no one can make me feel otherwise. Remembering that feeling of crossing the finish line is all I needed. :)

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A look back at how I got here:

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