Monday, April 22, 2013

Cycle to the Sun...

...and other new developments!

So what does any self-respecting triathlete do when she gets shut out of the two 70.3's she wanted to race in 2013?  Signs up for one of the toughest road bike races out there!  I'm so excited!

So excited, in fact, that I even got myself a coach. Although I've had reasonable success coaching myself through three triathlons and countless running races, cycling is still a relatively new sport to me.  And over the last few years it has always been in the back of my mind that I could probably do a LOT better if I had someone who really knew what they were doing taking charge of my training.

For CTS, there was no other option in my mind.  Training for a standard road race or triathlon to finish is fairly straight forward.  If you have some reasonable knowledge of endurance sports, are fairly self-motivated and can follow directions, there are thousands of "canned" plans that will take you through your races.  In triathlon training, I'd pick a plan then basically follow the "hours" recommended for each discipline.  I didn't really do (OK, I did zero) interval training, outside of swim sessions with my masters group.  I just S/B/R'd and hoped for the best.

Where it gets dicey is when you are going to be climbing straight up a mountain for several hours with a 10,000ft+ elevation gain.   And I knew I couldn't do it alone.  So far I think having a coach is AWESOME, and here's why it's working for me:
  • It eliminates a lot of trial and error - I have a relatively short training window (the ride is June 29) so I need to maximize my training time and do the sessions that are going to get me up that hill (and I really know very little about the mechanics of a cycling training program).
  • It's HUGE to have my workouts planned for me - I don't have to think about it...just do it.
  • Although I've used a Garmin for a couple of years now, it was really for amusement purposes only and to get a guideline on time, distance and heart rate.  Now it provides useful information for my coach and guidelines for me to consider during workouts.
The big thing, though, is that it made me realize, almost from the beginning, that I never pushed myself hard enough in workouts before.  She is making me work HARD (and sometimes I swear during interval sessions), but I get off my bike every time with a sense of accomplishment.  I'm feeling stronger and stronger all the time.

I have two goals for this race right now:
  • The "A" goal - finish in around 5 hours.
  • The "B" goal - not to finish last.

I'll share more of my thoughts on having a coach in future posts, including why I picked mine.  If you want to get to know her, check out Simmons Endurance Coaching.

More soon!

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