Friday, March 26, 2010

Time to Re-focus



At six-and-a-half months since Ironman Canada (August 30 2009), I can hardly believe we are closer to Ironman Canada 2010 than IMC 2009. I’m not doing an Ironman this year, and maybe not even a triathlon. By choice. It’s time to re-focus and re-build. Time brings perspective and that is what I feel inspired to write about today.

One of the reliable questions I get when people ask me about Ironman is: Was it worth it? Without getting into the whole discussion about my perceived lack of choice in the matter (I simply had to do it) I can now emphatically say ‘yes’. In fact, the beauty of Ironman (or childbirth for that matter) is that the memory gets ever better with time.

After six months, here are the reasons why Ironman-after-a-baby was worth it:

  1. Forced me to realize my weaknesses, not just my strengths
  2. I got in great shape after having a baby
  3. Hannah bonded with other family members and get used to mommy coming and going once a day
  4. Gave me a focus and identity other than ‘mommy’
  5. Provided a huge boost to my self esteem when I needed it most
  6. I had fun
  7. I ticked it off my list (at least for a few years)
  8. Improved my mental stamina for training alone (it was hard to stick to anyone else’s schedule because mine revolved around Hannah)

Of all the items on the list, the first is the one that might not have appeared if I’d written this a week after Ironman. It’s not that I didn’t realize my weaknesses, they were unfortunately all too obvious, it’s that I wouldn’t have recognized this as a benefit. Now, I can take a step back and start to rebuild my strength without the pressure of a big race.

I’ve designed a training program for myself that is manageable and incorporates elements that I hope will make me stronger and faster. I also know what my body needs in order to halt the endurance injuries that I know will creep up if I go business-as-usual. Here is the plan:

  • Monday: Upper body / core work
  • Tuesday: Run – tempo pace building from 5 to 13 km (to train for a half marathon)
  • Wednesday: Run - speed work with warm up and cool down done on treadmill (stops me cheating). A bit of core work afterwards.
  • Thursday: Yoga
  • Friday: Run - Hills or sprints
  • Saturday: Bike ride – 1.5 to 3 hours
  • Sunday: Run - long slow

I’ll also be doing some of the runs (building up gradually in mileage) in the Nike Frees to strengthen my foot and improve my postural issues.

As you can see, it isn’t exactly a triathlon training program. But, this is what my schedule and my body need right now. The focus on running will improve a weakness and hopefully make me stronger in the long term, and the simplicity of program will allow me to spend time with Hannah. Besides, I’m getting in the pool twice a week with her, so that should count for something!

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