Saturday, November 12, 2011

Race Report: Big Kahuna Half Ironman Reflections {part 2)

Despite the fact it might not make it on the blog, after every race/ride I always take a moment to look back at my training - did I stick to the plan? if yes, did I accomplish what I set out to do?  if not, why? then how can I make myself more successful next time?

Planning My Training Plan

For this race I loosely used the Essential Week-By-Week Training Guide by Matt Fitzgerald to help me formulate my plan.  This book is pretty amazing and has training plans for triathlons from sprint distance to full ironmans.  Each distance has 10 plans based on how hard/how much time you have to train - level 1 being "just finish" and level 10 being "devote your entire life to training but achieve a massive PR."  When I initially created my training plan I worked in training in anticipation of some fall events (a century and a marathon), and thus needed to be training at distances longer than prescribed in the book.  About week 4 I realized my back injury was not going to let me continue training for those events so I revised my training usually the book level 4 for the cycling distances but made up my own workouts and used a half-marathon training plan I had to fill in the running workouts.  As for the swimming I based the majority of my swim workouts on level 5, with a few from level four to get back into swimming in the beginning and a few I made up on my own when I wanted to swim farther.

The plans in the book are 20 weeks long.  My plan was 12.  While I would have liked to have a 20 long plan, I didn't want to commit to the race until I knew whether or not I passed the bar as that would determine whether or not I could take the summer to train.  Luckily I passed, however, the consequence of waiting was a shorter training cycle.  The race was important to me though, and I hoped that with a slightly more aggressive plan combined with my fitness base 12 weeks would be adequate time. 

Executing My Training Plan

I had a few set backs - a sliced finger that kept me out of the pool for two weeks, a back flare up, a trip to Costa Rica (ok, ok a self induced set back but completely and totally worth it), and a broken toe

I think my plan was 100% doable but doesn't mean I hit every workout.  Despite being unemployed throughout the majority of the training time (although looking for a job felt like a full time job at times), my schedule was almost more unpredictable than if I had a job.  Generally, I feel like I am the type of person who is more successful when my schedule is packed versus open.  For example, when I know I only have "from 7:00 - 8:00" to work out I do it because I know that is the only time I have.  However, when I could say workout anytime between "7:00 and 1:00" my procrastination tendencies would kick in and I would be scrambling to get it in the last minute.  Totally and utterly my own fault but owning up to it is the first step right? :)  That being said, while I rarely did the right workout on the prescribed day, I only missed a handful of workouts that were beyond the control of the above 4 setbacks.

Effectiveness of My Training Plan

Swimming is my "strong" sport and I loved my swim workouts.  I definitely think my plan was adequate and I saw a great improvement in my swimming throughout the 12 weeks.

The book incorporates speed workouts that I did not incorporate into my plan.  Like I mentioned in my race recap, I hit my goal of 15 mph/avg so my training, so yes, I can say the plan was effective.

Ultimately, I think my running left a lot to be desired.  On the one hand I did have some injury setbacks, on the other hand I think there were times I was afraid to push myself harder for fear of making the injury worse and forcing me to withdraw from the race altogether.  As written, I think the plan would have been effective, especially given that I am not a newbie to running.  As executed not so much.

What I will Do Different Next Time

While overall I was pleased with my swimming, I would definitely incorporate more open water swims to work on sighting.

Even though I met my "goal" I want/need to get faster.  I am definitely stronger on the bike when it comes to climbing than I was when I started but I am still slower than I would like to be.  I will definitely be including a "speed workout" each week next time. 

Run more - plain and simple. 

I did one Olympic triathlon to prepare for this race and I am so glad I did.  However, next time I would try to get in at least two or three tun up races.  I would also do more brick workouts.  While there were many "double days," rarely did I do them in a race setting going immediately from one to the other. 

What This Race Meant to Me

Isn't it funny the difference a year can make?  Last year I had a few minor and major setbacks which seemed to make it impossible to achieve many of the goals I set for myself.  I understand that in the big scheme of life these were minor bumps in the road but at the time they felt major.

On May 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm I achieved my major personal/career goal I failed last year - I got the news I passed the California State Bar.

This left my fitness goal.  Last year I was in the midst of training for Barb's Half Ironman when I found out I was going to have to take the bar again.  I had to bow out of training although I still went and cheered on Alisa and Tara and watched them become half iron{women}.  Thus, this year after I found out I passed the bar I knew my next goal (besides finding a job) was to get my half ironman.

Thus, even though I may be slightly disappointed with my my time, this race was kind of like my last obstacle I had to overcome to fully be able to put the disappointments of 2010 behind me and I did just that.

My overall training stats include:

28.71 miles swam
638.76 biked
112.38 ran

over 12 weeks.

So . . . will I do another?  I think we all know the answer to that.  July 8, 2012 Portland Rev3.  I will get my sub 7:00.  Training starts March 5.
Pin It!


  1. YAY for your next 70.3! I'm excited to come spectate & cheer you on!

  2. I think you are plenty capable of sub 7. I think you know what you need to do to get there. My Barbs training was 20 weeks and it felt rather long. I think I might do a month of "prep" and then a 16 week plan.

    I think I'm in for Portland but I have to build up my running miles before I am for sure committing to racing. If not, I'll be spectating for sure!

  3. I've heard great things about Rev3 races! I think you'll definitely meet your goal!


I appreciate your comments. Thanks for taking the time to leave one!