Building a very wide base

The official training program for Team In Training doesn’t start until December but I’m not just sitting around until then.  I’m already prepping for the real training by starting slow and building gradually.  It’s important to stay injury free over the next 14 months so I have to be smart about this and not over-extend myself too quickly and get myself hurt.

The first few months of the official training are called the “base” period.  These months get the body ready for regular intense exercise and get it used to working hard and recovering.  Normally the base period lasts a couple months but in my case it’ll last much longer, and that’s fine.  The longer the base period, the stronger the foundation on which to build.

I’ve picked up a few books on training but the one I like the most is Joe Friel’s Going Long book.  I’ve read each chapter at least one time, and some of them I’ve practically memorized.  He’s a big advocate of building a wide base and concentrating on endurance instead of speed, especially for people new to the Ironman distances.  For sports I’m weak in he advocates repetition instead of length.  In other words, better to run 2 miles three times a week than try to run 6 miles once a week.

To that end, I’ve been trying to get in at least two runs and swims per week, building a solid muscle base that won’t get injured.   I’m using Garmin Connect to track my workouts for now, since it’s free.   It’s super-basic and has virtually no scientific analysis capability, but it does the (basic) job.   Here’s what my August training schedule looked like:

August 2012 Training Calendar

August 2012 Training Calendar

August Training Calendar

Click for a larger view…

As you can see, I’m doing a great job with the swimming (which are yellow), fitting in two or three swims per week.  Swimming is really easy to fit in because I can do it on the way to work or on the way home, and there are always free lanes in the pool.  I’m fitting in some running (in blue) and keeping my pace low. I’m biking most weekends and that’s it.   That’s probably enough for now since I have a deep base on the bike already and I’m doing a good job of long long without going too hard, although I keep putting in more hills than I should.

And I’ve even managed to get one brick in, with a 20 minute run after a long, slow ride!   By the way, the grey “HR study” is an occasional thing I do to measure my resting heart rate from time to time.   I just like to check up on the resting pulse from time to time, although I’m not very consistent about doing it under the same conditions every time.

If I can keep this up until December then I’ll probably be in excellent shape to start the harder training when the group workouts start up.   That’s the goal at least – go often, go slow, don’t blow up, don’t break down.   Meanwhile I’m collecting some great data on run pacing (vs. heart rate), bike pacing, gearing, etc. and really getting to know how my body responds to this new approach to training.

Remember:  I’m doing all of this not just for myself but to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma research.   If you’d like to contribute to my cause and encourage me to keep pressing on, please visit my donations page.

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