IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Planning the Season

I was just asked yesterday what races I planned to do this season. While I've already signed up for a few (see list on the left), most of the season is still up in the air. A couple of years ago, you could have asked me in December what my upcoming season was going to be like and I'd have every race listed and every weekend was accounted for! By the first of January, I would know exactly what races I planned to do for the entire year.

Last year, still fighting the hamstring injury, I had registered for several events only to sell off my entries knowing I would not be ready to compete. I did not regret one entry I ended up dumping (including Tri Shark which turned out to be a duathlon because of weather). So this year, once again, I am entering races slowly and deliberately. I don't want to go through the hassle of trying to get money back or selling an entry, and I really don't have extra money to just let a registered, paid event go to waste.

My focus now has become to race more strategically. In the first few years, I think I raced anything and everything that was convenient or went when I knew a group of friends heading out to the event. I have now become a little more "big picture" in terms of how each race might help me in my "ultimate" race. But that doesn't mean that there should be only one "A" race per season. There is room for at least 2, maybe even 3, "peak" events in each athlete's season. Much of this depends on the experience, motivation and ability of the athlete.

In some ways, not having the whole season nailed down makes me feel a little like a slacker - but knowing how well things turned out for me last year, I think I may be on to something. How many times have you signed up for an event 6+ months in advance only to find out there is something else you must do, family-wise or another, even better, event that now you have to miss out on? Sure, you might miss out on some of those events that close very quickly (i.e. the March Madness half marathon), but I think waiting to decide gives you a little more "racing freedom." Now, if you have your heart set on a race for the season, by all means, you'd better be logged in, at the computer, credit card in hand when registration opens up (think Ironman events, or even Tri Shark). But there are still plenty of well-run events that you can sign up for as close to a week before the race.

The 2009 season is just around the corner. If you haven't taken the time to plan out your season, now would be a great time. Even if you don't sign up for every event this month, you could keep something on the "back burner" and keep an eye on registration. You'll know how bad you want to do the event when it starts getting close to being filled. Try to think of how you would take the news if you found out the event was filled and you weren't in. No big deal? I'd probably hold out for another event. On the other hand, if you feel like, "Shoot, NOW what am I going to do that weekend?" or "NOW what half ironman can I get into before XYZ race??", well, then, I think that's probably the event I'd put my money in to.

And if you happen to get shut out of an event you really, really wanted to get in to, you have just two options: 1)as the event gets closer, keep your eyes and ears open and ask around if you can buy an entry from someone who has to bail (of course, some events don't even allow this), or 2)there's always next year.

Monday, January 19, 2009

13.1 Marathon

A few weeks ago, my friend Mary and I drafted this note to the editor of one of the local athlete publications. I ended up never sending the email, but I still think it has validity.

Call it what it IS!

There is a need to speak out about the advertisement published in your December 2008 issue for the “13.1 Marathon Chicago ”. 13.1 miles is a HALF marathon. This is just some gimmick for event directors to get more money by preying on athletes by using the allure of “marathon” in the title of the event without it being the actual 26.2 miles. There is a certain prestige that goes along with saying one finished a Marathon . So why are we cheapening the accomplishment by coming out with races with the title of Marathon if the race is not the actual distance? But if that’s how you roll, I’ve got some suggestions for you. Let’s have a Shamrock Shuffle 4K. Or let’s have the Chicago Half Marathon 6.55. And for your short course specialists, we should have the 2.5K Ravenswood 5K. Personally, I would like to be called an Ultramarathoner – so I’d like to request we have an Ultramarathon 26.2.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New year, commiting to the blog

Yes, I'll admit it. I've been much of a slacker when it comes to keeping this blog updated. One of my projects for the year will be to get back into regular blog posting. I was talking to a good friend of mine, someone outside of the triathlon world, and he gave me a new perspective.

All this time, I've been keeping this blog pretty much focused on race reports and workouts. But you can only race so many times a year and, honestly, most workouts are not blog-worthy. So in our conversation, he made me realize how many things I really could blog about and still have it connected to triathlon and or/training. Why this never occurred to me before is a mystery.

Things have been busy and I've been doing a lot of work towards my coaching business, Tri Smart Coaching. Just when I think I've got some free time, something hits me and I realize there is always something more I could be doing. In the upcoming weeks, I'll be focused on some deep base training to prepare for the 2009 season. I still have not selected all of my races for the year, but I've got ideas floating around in my head.

So be sure to start checking back more frequently. I will be posting on a more regular basis and hope you find it of some value (even if it's enteratainment value!). And if you don't really want to read anything I post, you can always just click on for the music!!