Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Out, Out Damn Slump

I have been in this frickin slump for around a month now and it is time to HTFU and more importantly STFU (Smarten TFU). Last week I was sick with the second head cold in the last 6 months. I would get home from work and had no energy. I tried to run on Friday and could barely make it through 2 miles. I was really disappointed because I had my first century planned for Saturday and it was one one of the flatter ones in Georgia. So, instead, I took the entire weekend off. This gave me some time to think about my progress, my current plan, and my diet. In addition, I have also been having GI issues on my long runs.

Over the weekend, I re-read parts of the Paleo diet and read several articles from various sources. I looked back through some of my training logs. I knew it was time for a few changes.

The biggest disappointment, besides the slow recovery in my running is my inability to lose weight. I think my weight has been one of my biggest hurdles to success. With that, I knew I needed to change both my diet, as well as look at my training plan and make adjustments.

I am phasing out most of the processed "food" I have been eating, including all those 100 calorie snacks. I went to costco and bought lots of fresh veggies and made a massive salad to get me through most of the week. I am going to cut down on my consumption of bread. My focus is eating natural, less processed foods. This has always been the basis of my usual diet, but with iron training and other things keeping me busy, I have neglected my diet because I did not make time to cook or prepare the good foods I need. This is the first part to me losing weight. I have also restarted taking my supplements, including fish oil, Vitamins B,C, and E, and Bromelain.

The second thing I did was to analyze my training plan and think about making some changes. I am not going to really change the weekends long run and rides or my weekly bricks, but I am considering some changes to my weekday training plans. There are a couple of different philosophies when it comes to training for ironman. The usual method involves training long and at low intensities, mainly Z1-Z2 with a small amount of speed work. There is another school of thought that stresses quality over quantity. I have about two months left until my 70.3 and then another month after that is B2B. By training mainly at lower intensities, I have not been getting the metabolism boost that I would get with higher intensity training. It has also been harder for me to regain running speed under my current plan. I am considering doing more tempo runs and hill repeats at high intensity. Some of this is already in the plan, but some of it isnt. I also think I need to get back to running with the group on Saturday mornings, because that is also a big part of how I got faster. When I first started running with the group, I couldnt hang on with the group. Eventually I was at the fromt of the group and at some point I was running faster then the main group. By running with the faster folks, it'll help me push myself.

On the bike, my training has been at a high cadence and low resistance. On the trainer, I can barely get into mid Z2 on the bike using this method. In order to build more strength in my legs, I am going to build in periods at the same high cadence at higher resistance.

For the swim, the biggest thing I can do is loose weight. I cannot seem to get my splits down on the swim. I have a strong feeling this has to do with the excess drag.

While I may be taking some risk by altering my training plan at this point, I really feel that the metabolism boost that comes at slightly higher intensities will do more to help me lose weight. I feel the benefit from losing weight will be more then the benefit of training at lower intensities during the week. I will continue to train long, but I may also allow my HR to go into Z3 on the bike and possibly low Z4 on the run. This is the first year I have trained by HR and I feel like I have made the least progress. As long as I do this in a smart way and listen to my body, I feel I will see better results on race day.


Shannon said...

I like the new plan. I don't think losing weight will alter your training in a negative way. It always makes you faster. Check out on the web about "eating clean." That is how I dropped my weight.

D10 said...

You sound like you have everything under control and know what you need to do.

I have found that when I plan meals ahead of time and do all the prep work for the week on weekends, it is a lot easier to eat healthy.

Good luck.

Sherry said...

Excellent choices, Kevin! I'm totally with you on the food part. I eat 'well' but not 'clean'. I still have processed items in my diet that need to go. 'Eating clean', like Shannon said above, seems to be the way to go.

Ride/run with the fasties... SO true! I think this component is key and honestly, I also do not do it nearly enough. You are motivating me to do so!

Swim... have you ever had your technique analyzed? Swimming is SOOO technical. I've seen some very big guys move VERY well in the water; so don't knock your weight too much in that area. :o)

I am so excited about you moving into the B2B months... so excited! Scott and I are going to do the B2B half next year and I WISH we were doing it THIS year! Exciting! Looks like a GREAT race!!!

Jess said...

I hope all the smart, new changes help!

Wes said...

The majority of your training needs to be in Zones 1 and 2. Training for an Ironman is not the time to be concerned with speed. Training for an Ironman is not the time to be concerned with losing weight either, for that matter. If it happens. It will happen.

Read these articles by Gordo to help you understand training intensity and weight loss.

Right now, you need to be focused on going the distance at the highest sustainable pace you can for 140.6 miles. Focused on increasing your distance so you can ride 112 miles and then run 26.2. Speed work is not going to help.

6-8 weeks out from Ironman, my speed work consisted of 2-3 10 to 30 minute Zone 3 intervals on the bike, and MAYBE some marathon pace runs.

If you want to lose weight training for an Ironman, then you need to get ANAL about counting what you put in your mouth and when. A healthy deficit will help you lose weight, but you need to build muscle too. Tracking calories in and calories out is hard to do when training, but YOU CAN DO IT.

Good luck...

Jon Gilchrist said...

As a fellow clydesdale, once I made those SAME dietary chanegs, the weight started falling off me. Now granted, I'm doin more tempo and speed work then you are right now. But my weight loss had become stagnant, even with that. Guess we really CANNOT eat whatever we want as triathletes.

I like the cahnges..go get it!!

teacherwoman said...

Oh boy, if I would have asked you to write a post about me, you nailed it. And, I am not even training for such a distance. I am sooo struggling with my nutrition it's not even funny anymore.

I am currently reading a book on The Woman Triathlete and it has mentioned getting out of the "gray area" for training, with doing more interval and speed work. I guess I didn't realize how important it played into your metabolism until you mentioned it here.

I think your idea of changing your training up a bit will be good. I look forward to seeing how it benefits you and what other thoughts you have in regards to the changed.

Keep up the great work Kevin!

Purling Sprite said...

I am loving the way you are taking charge of this slump. You seem to have everything planned out and the only thing that will happen by following with your plans is a positive change. Go for it Kev. You can do it.

Ryan said...

Train More...Eat Less!

That is my secret to success, well that and I only eat salads M-F. My reward dinner is usually Saturday night where I get whatever I want with no guilt. The hardest part of everyday for me is between 3-5pm. I could easily eat 1000 calories of crap if I am not careful...fruit and water.

Oh, I have used my trainer a ton this year and I have difficulty getting my HR up while riding it too, but I have increased leg strength by replicating long hill repeats and one leg drills.

Stef said...

Kevin thanks so much for your comment on my blog.

I've been reading your blog for awhile now and it seems like you are always looking for ways to move forward, so I feel like you are moving forward even though you are in a slump. I know that holds true for me if I just stick with it and accept that there will be down times. . . . I totally support you and glad you are still blogging once in awhile.

The changes to your diet sound good -- I'm a huge advocate of eating CLEAN. At the same time I still struggle with it. . . . sigh . . .

Keep movin. :-)

ShirleyPerly said...

Diet and nutrition is such a pain in the @ss! Even if one does not need to lose weight, they are a big concern when training for an iron tri. I hope the changes work for you. FWIW, my coach is having me do some speed work too as well as the long slow stuff. I find it helps keep me more interested in the training.