Sunday, February 26, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 68--Interesting and Important Weeks

This week I trained 13 of a planned 13.5 hours. 

Last week and the next two weeks are interesting and important training weeks.


Whenever swim coaches dissect my swim stroke (they giggle) and give me way too many things to work on.   My tri coach is much better at focusing on one or two things to improve.  This week, based on a tip from my Pilates instructor, he took a close look at the “pull” phase of my swim stroke.  He has a Vasa Trainer (a $2000 piece of equipment in his basement!) that enables swim stroke practice and observation out of the water. 

The tip from my Pilates instructor was that when I was doing certain exercises that should engage the lats, I was rolling my shoulders forward transferring the work to the shoulder.  Bad.  Shoulders are not as strong as lats and fatigue much faster.

Sure enough my swim stroke uses far too much shoulder and not enough lat.  I spent most of the three hours swimming focusing on pulling with my lats and not my shoulder.  Much more repetitive training required.

A second focal point this week was my cycling stroke.  The tri coach wants the beginning of the power phase of the stroke to begin at the 11 o’clock position and I was closer to the 12 o’clock   It makes a difference in power but it is difficult for me—my ankles aren’t flexible enough to get my heels down easily at that point in the stroke.  And I have to do it about 90 times a minute—on each foot.  I have to spend a lot of time riding and concentrating on heel position.


The 2017 Ironman New Zealand is March 4th.  I am still very interested in doing a destination Ironman in New Zealand next year.  To me this marks the start of the year-long training to get as ready as possible.  For clarity, I have no illusions about winning my age group.  In my first Ironman I just planned to finish.  This one I want to move up to be mid-pack.

I took my coach, who you remember is legally blind, to the airport Saturday.  He is racing the half Ironman New Zealand (referred to as the 70.3 because the Ironman is 140.6 miles).  United makes it really hard and I am really glad I came into the terminal with him.  Everything is a kiosk.  Check in yourself.  Print your own baggage label.  Michael can’t even see a kiosk let alone read it.  I had to corner one of kiosk helpers and tell her my friend is blind and a kiosk just isn’t going to work.  It took a few minutes to get an agent but after that it went smoothly.  But I wonder how long he would have had to stand there trying to figure out what to do before someone helped him.   And this was at the premier/first class check in.

Finally, the next two weeks are focused on cycling and the good fortune of being able to see three old friends along the way.  The cycling will punch up my cycling endurance—won’t do much for power.  Seeing old friends will add greatly to the fun.

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