Another block finished. 6 months out from my first race is when it starts getting interesting for me. This is where training moves from general limiters to specific limiters. General limiters are to do with being balanced, both structurally, aerobically and anaerobically. This is the general training tick list:
Do you have the right amount of muscle needed and is it in the right place? (around 30kg of appendicular muscle, with relatively big legs and small arms)
Do you have the right amount of fat (4kg over race weight is ideal this time for most guys out there).
Do you have any relatively weak muscle groups, and are you strong enough, (peak torque on the bike >1000inch pounds)
Are your high end power numbers (5second, 1minute, 5 minute) in line with your threshold (FTP) and is your 2.5 hour best in line with these. In other words are you an aerobic animal, an anaerobic animal or a balanced animal?
If you haven’t achieved pulling these general limiters in line, depending on your season you might want to leave them for next year. If you are balanced, well done now is the time to go to specific race limiters. For this you look at the duration of your key races and look at the demands for this. An Olympic distance athlete would need different qualities than an Ironman. The questions are the same but the answers would be different depending on your chosen distance.
Have you got enough endurance? Do you need to develop your fat burning ability, is your threshold holding you back? Does your swimming technique suck? Now is the time to address these things. Assessing whether fat burning is a limiter or giving a quantitative assessment on your swim fitness is beyond the scope of a short blog. However I feel most people if they were to think honestly about themselves would get a pretty good idea of what they need to work on.
This is the time of the year when you make the biggest year upon year gains. Depending on if you pick your battles wisely. You are only as strong as your weakest link, if last year you ran a 32 minute 10k and a 4’30 Ironman marathon, don’t think spending time at your anaerobic threshold will do you any favours, chances are you need to bike more. Conversely if you ran 3.15 in an Ironman last year but think a sub 40” 10k is a tall ask for an Olympic distance race, don’t sweat the century rides. When the time comes to train specifically for the key event you’ll find your race pace will improve on last year if you played the season right.
Next week I’ll be discussing not only the structure of my work outs, but also go some way to explaining the difference between Pro and age group training methods.
One last thing, remember it’s January, so for all you lazy ‘I’ll get fit when the clocks change’ athletes, time to get moving, and for all you super motivated winter superstars remember not to burn yourself out too early. This is a time for moderation and consistency in volume. What works for Buddhists works for athletes, follow the middle way.