It's about time I got around to setting some goals. Some are new, some are carried over from last, but either why they are going to guide how exactly I approach the off-season, next season, and beyond. First up are the immediate goals (ie. off-season goals)
During the last few weeks of my unstructured training I managed to scrap together a rough training plan for the next few months. And by rough, I mean it's very free flowing. There's no "you must run x miles on Thursday and ride the trainer with 16' LT intervals on every Monday morning following a full moon." I figured this way I can keep my sanity this way by not being overly anal about missing workouts and not getting the distance in. I'll have plenty of time to freak out about the plan once the official Ironman training starts.
That said there are some definites. For instance the swimming has got to improve. I'm tired of seeing guys finish ahead of me in my age group only because I was out-swam. It's no secret that it is my weakness and probably one of the areas I can most easily improve upon. So, as things get busy, these workouts will take priority. How will I improve? Well here's the off-season plan:
4 swims/wk with an optional 5th. I have gotten a lot of good information from www.swimsmooth.com and will be using a 12 week plan from there. The fourth day will be a light drill-focused 1500yds and the optional 5th would be a long steady swim. The workouts look fantastic and I'm looking forward to working on my stroke rather than just putting in the yardage.
3 rides/wk with an optional 4th. One of the members of BT is running a 14 week "Improve your power" workout group. He is a very knowledgeable individual and having never really followed a structured biking plan I am looking forward to hopping on the trainer and not just putting in the mileage. The optional workout would be a 2 hour steady effort ride. The DVD collection is stocked and I'm now the proud owner of a PS3. Hopefully that will make the long steady rides fly by.
4 runs/wk. One day of speedwork and a one minimum long run of 10 miles. In the past I have allowed my longest run to drop to around 5 miles over the winter. It makes for a long build up in the spring. I gotta suck it up this year and brave the elements for longer periods of time. More frequent running has definitely helped my speed this fall, and I'd like to keep these gains over the winter. I think 4 days a week will do wonders to maintain that speed.
And last but not least, stick to the strength and flexibility plan. I am notorious for letting this slip, mostly because when I do it, it's at 8-9:00 at night. It's hard to not convince myself to veg out at that point. So this will consist of 3 core sessions, 2 circuit training sessions, 3 foam roller sessions, and 1 total body stretching session per week. It seems like a lot, but they are short sessions (even more reason to not skip). And I may add in a day of yoga too, but we'll see how things go first.
It seems like a lot to handle in the off-season, but if I want to improve its what is needed to be done. If enjoyed the last few weeks of unstructured training, but it's time to get down to business. And after some much needed R&R, I'm ready for it.