Phew. The holidays got a little busy for a minute there. I wasn't super healthy about eating (but who is around that time??) and I took a break from holding myself to any sort of training expectations. As it turns out, what happens when I do that is that I run a lot and pretty much do nothing else - although part of that was the unseasonably warm weather we had (shorts less than a week before Christmas - for a night run??) and some lovely off-season group runs that were going on. I had totally forgotten how awesome it is running with a group, and I've made some new friends now who run my pace. Oh, and right before Christmas I did my first ever pub run, which included drinks and a giant hill. Yes, drinking during the run. It's not as crazy as it sounds. It's crazier.
My pace, by the way, has now pretty consistently landed in the sub-10 category, even over hills (just not insane ones), and that IS my conversational pace, which I now know for sure because I've been holding actual conversations. This makes me happy. Running lately has felt great (with the exception of one bad run) and I know it won't ALWAYS be this way, but I'm trying to enjoy the strong, born-to-run feeling.
So the first week of 2012 brought me back into the game. Well, the first day was an off day because I may have been a little hungover to exercise. (I tried to get on the trainer, but lifting my head made me too woozy.) BUT I rallied hardcore for the first week of the year. I brought back biking this week. Next week, I need to reintroduce myself to the pool.
I'm working on getting with a swim coach for a little extra help in that area. I don't care so much that I'm a slow swimmer, but I'd like to be more efficient at least. And, ok, maybe not dead last anymore.
I have new year's resolutions that relate to exercise. I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm a bit opposite of a lot of people. I don't need motivation to exercise. I need motivation to calm the eff down. So my resolution is to go easy on myself, NOT keep trying to add on to exercise plans, and not try to deplete every ounce of energy I have. So this past week I didn't do everything I wanted, and I had the energy to channel into some other things I needed to do. (I have another new year's resolution to get more organized. Yeesh.)
I found an IM training plan - there are a few in Don Fink's book "Be Iron Fit" that are quite doable. I'm going to try for the competitive plan. It's not too bad - it starts out at 6 hours a week of training and tops out at 20, but only for one week. The heaviest training is during the summer when I'm least busy at work and have the most daylight to train in. However, I also have the option of dropping down to the Intermediate program if that turns out to be too much. There's also a a "Just Finish" plan but it tops out at 10 hours a week and I can't imagine feeling ready to tackle 140.6 on that.
They're all 30 week programs, which means I'll start sometime in February. I'm thinking of tweaking it so that I have a week off after the Pig and maybe a week off after the 70.3, even though a half ironman is actually built into the training (but it's like a week or two off if I do Muncie.)
In the meantime, I'm easing myself into the schedule. It's pretty easy to follow: 3 runs, 2 bikes, 1 brick (bike/run) and 2 swims a week (with a third weekly swim added in week 11.) I'm following the pig group training plan for the 3 runs, which will put me a bit over for the running part of the IM plan, but I'm going to try to follow the rest of it as exactly as I can, and stick with what the plan says for running in the aftermath of the Pig (right about when the workouts start getting looooong!) So working with the group runs and my work schedule, here's what looks like the best way to do it:
M - run AM/swim PM
T - bike AM (spin class) <--this is my long work day, so no PM workout
W - swim AM/run PM
Th - brick
F - off
Sat - long run
Sun - long bike
It gets tweaked weekly as my work schedule changes, but for the most part I can stick pretty closely to it.
And here's how my first week went - like I said, I didn't get back in the pool yet, but that's part of the "easing into it" thing. Plus, I was on call all week and that never works well with swimming.
M - AM 45 minutes on the bike trainer, moderate effort. PM 5.25 mile run.
T - :50 spin class
W - 6.11 mile run
Th - off (crazy work day)
F - brick: :30 on the trainer, 3.06 mile run (:30)
Sat - 6 mile run, first run of the Pig training group!
Sun - 1:00 on the trainer (moderate effort with some climbs and sprints thrown in after I figured out it was gonna get boring) and 1:30 yin yoga class. <---needed that. I've gotten some random twinges from the right calf lately. They feel like muscle or tendon. Interestingly enough, they predominately come NOT when I'm running or even walking on it, but sitting there doing nothing. Running is still fine, and they seem to be better the more I run. Not concerned yet.
Run: 20.42 miles (arrgh, my OCD hates that)
Total time: appx 8 hours