To this point, my learning process in triathlon training has been largely self-discovered. I’ve read a ton, attended webinars, subscribed to many newsletters, periodicals, and YouTube channels and have become pretty knowledgeable on a lot of the basic training methodologies. I generally pick things up quickly when I encounter new areas of study, and I normally immerse myself in a very compulsive and “addicted” way.
My local triathlon team is “coached” but not specifically so. Our coach leads a weekly Saturday AM swim workout, and we have optional organized Monday night track workout, Tuesday night group ride, and Wednesday night open water swims come summer time. Our team is fed a weekly training newsletter, and we organize well at key races in the mid-Atlantic area. These resources have been great to help me learn the basics, but lately I’ve been wondering if I should engage with a dedicated coach?
I attended a webinar with the founder of TriDot – this is a virtual coaching program built on data analytics and real training outcomes as opposed to theory. Attendees of the webinar were invited to “apply” to enroll in a “Free-for-Feedback” program. In short you commit to an initiation fee and then two months’ worth of training limited guidance in exchange of providing your own personal qualitative and quantitative feedback in set intervals. If all of the commitments are met you receive a refund equal to the initiation fee and first 2 months.
I’m not sure how I feel about this – after all its a significant financial commitment for a system that sounds sensible and rooted in real outcomes, but I don’t think there’s quite enough coaching engagement for the price. I’m happy I “qualified” (they have some basic requirements that the training candidates must meet) but I’m not certain its for me.
I think a lot of my immediate gains for this season will be pretty low-hanging fruit. First, I need to build my overall fitness. The one thing I want to change is training for POWER before ENDURANCE. They say that the power thresholds become limiters down the line when endurance is built. If your power is limited, no amount of lower zone training will make you faster, just more aerobically efficient. I think I better understand this now, and I’m going to take the next 4 weeks to maximize power in all phases of training.
On the family side of things, my wife has really been a source of inspiration for me. In the last month, my wife has made some profound changes – namely she’s not only gone vegan but also “Raw until 4pm”. She has committed to yoga and strength training (doing something active every day), and has also began the practice of “trying something new at least once per week”. It’s been incredibly inspiring to watch her discover new things, and it’s really brought us both closer together. Not too mention, she’s lost 20 pounds in the last 30 days!
Our kids are also looking at the two of us for a positive example, and they are both asking to go outside and play more, considering more healthy food options (given their ages of 7 & 8 this is more OUR responsibility as parents), and just being more active and healthy. We completed our winter swim team season, and they both came to me and ASKED to sign up for a kids’ triathlon. I happened to find a good one at the end of this month that is well within their physical grasp, and they will be competing in respective 7-8 and 9-10 age groups. We’ve had a great time getting outside when the weather cooperates and back in the pool!
In watching my wife alter her diet – and by the way her fasting morning blood sugar has dropped about 100 points every day! – I’ve tried to make some changes in my own diet strategy. I also recently completed Rich Roll’s book “Finding Ultra” – very much worth a read if you are an endurance athlete. I’ve always found the word “Vegan” a little like the untouchable 3rd Rail – it typically comes with so many other social and political connotations (that I do not align with for the most part). Still there are some great benefits to eating more like a vegan and achieving a better nutritional balance:
- I am eating WAY MORE veggies than ever before. A self-confessed meat and potatoes guy, this has been a big adjustment for me, but it’s been a welcomed one.
- I have been having a green machine smoothie each morning for breakfast – heavy on the spinach, kale, avacado, green raw protein, coconut water, banana and pineapple. I’ve been able to skip coffee most mornings!
- Eating more whole, unprocessed foods is causing me to be less hungry, and not stuff my face so much. I still have lapses, but I’ve been pretty good.
- Gluten is pretty much gone from my diet at this point. I won’t say I’m totally gluten-free, but I’m probably 85% there. Gluten is an insidious bitch, and hides in all kinds of stuff you wouldn’t think it would be.
- I’ve been playing around with HerbaLife 24 products – specifically “Hydrate” and “Prolong”. I’m going to do a full review on both sometime soon, but they work extremely well but have a couple of annoying aspects to them. Plus they both are very expensive and not too much more effective than regular old G2 with a scoop of Blox for longer workout sessions.
All in all – my energy has been high, and I’ve been able to amp-up the intensity quite a bit. I haven’t even begun my half iron program yet (20 weeks), but I’m ready to rock.
I think the vegan thing isn’t quite up my alley, but I do intend on getting closer to a better balance – plus I can’t envision a world where I would pass on bacon…