Texas Is the Reason

“Texas is the reason.” -Misfits

January is tough. It’s a long time until the first race. It’s dark and cold and miserable. I call it Crapuary. I try to break down the month into smaller more manageable section and sometimes they take the form of camps. Even if I can’t really go anywhere. Something about a training “camp” makes it fun. Makes it a challenge. Keeps the focus on the present so I don’t get discouraged by how much training I have to do for the coming months.

Now obviously a real camp adds a huge boost in motivation with training partners, ideal and inspiring locations, and the ability to focus on training. My camps www.stronglikebulltraining.com still has spots for our February camps in sunny Southern Spain. Check them out and join us (I recently saw cheap airfare too)

To get ready for the Pain in sPain which fails mainly on my legs, I went to Texas and hung with my man Brett aka www.zentriathlon.com you can see a daily series of 1 minute video posts I did there but here is the summary. To make it more useful I added some commentary about the workouts below.

Day 1: land in Austin and drive 2 hours to College Statio, then go to bed at 3 am and wake up and ride 90 miles / 5 hours in zone 2. I just started training for real so I want to rebuild my base to prepare me for the work to come. This seemed like a good starting point.

Day 2: long run 2 hours, trails, zone 2. Same reasoning here as day 1. Get in the base on the run for the harder days to come. Then 2 hour ride zone 2. Bumping up the volume and burning calories as I need to get back to race weight and drop some of my off season excess. Best to do this now when key and hard workouts aren’t happening. Those will need more fueling and you dont wanna tax yourself twice when it counts in a few months from now.

Day 3: swim 3k. Haven’t been swimming much yet (or at all really) so this was a real kick in the…. But it’s a good start. Did 1k/ 3x3x100 drill/swim/kick. 10 x100. Main set is drills. Sharpen the axe before you chop and you will have more wood in the end. Ya dig?

90 minute gym session. I use to really go pretty easy in the gym. Then I did real gym work with Sean the co-owner of Strong Like Bull. He showed me what real work in the gym looks like. I could hardly walk after this one so I road 2 hours zone 2 to keep the legs working. Also 1 hour trail run because I want good run volume which is easiest to get via high frequency. thankfully all my trail running has been Chainsaw Massacrer free which I think is an issue is Texas from what I recall from my childhood and old VCR tapes I watched that still scare me as I am a total wimp in terms of horror films.

Day 4: 1 hour trail run again for frequency and weight lose. 3.5 hour mountain bike ride. Mt biking is good for you because it helps with bike handling and making a better spin. Plus it’s fun and fun is good. Kept it mostly zone 2 as it pretty flat. Sometimes going up a mountain you can’t do that, like in Montana or Vermont 🙂

Day 5: swim 1 hour. Way easier than first swim. Another main set of drills. Drills are so good for you if you know what you are doing. 1 hour 40 minute gym session. Showed Brett what real gym work looks like and got him walking like a cowboy 🙂 I did a lot of gym work in college as a soccer player so I am really comfortable in them. I think a lot of triathletes act like the weights are on fire or something and get intimidated by the gym culture or scene. Role with me and we can swagger around like we own the place. Trust me. You belong there as much as anyone. 1 hour trail run.

Day 6. 1 hour trail run solid zone 3 chasing Brett who is very fit. Nice to bump up the effort a bit just to show myself I can. 3 hour ride with 6 x 5 minutes zone 3 sub LT intervals. Again, good to tax the upper aerobic system without going over my LT which would be too much too soon for me only a few weeks in. It’s “speed work” when I am not doing speed work.

Day 7. 1 hour swim. 5.5 hour ride. 30 minute brick run. Love a “big day”. Before you go hard for 7+ hours it’s nice to go base effort for that long. This one hurt as its a long day and even zone 2 not that easy by the end.

That put me at 35 hours give or take I think. Solid for a first “real” week of training. There wasn’t tons of hard workouts. Just one run, one ride, and two very hard gym sessions. It doesn’t show that well in this post but those gym sessions are THE key sessions of the week and zone 4-5 efforts. More than 4 hard efforts a week I think hurts the quality and early on would get me sick or injured.

Day 8: was a nice 1 hour trail run then 2 hours of intervals on the bike with 5x 5 minutes of Threshold work. First quality intervals of the year. Wasn’t really by design put Brett is a 5 hour bike split guy so I had to do it just to not get dropped in the middle of no-where Texas. This one was a real struggle after a 7 hour day. One hour yoga an core to start things off and get loose. Plus core is core right now.

Day 9: 2 hour trail run watching the Texas sky go from dark to light. Then back up and drive to airport.

Huge thanks to Brett and more thanks to Emily for putting up with and hosting us. Of all the things I get from sports, the friendships mean the most to me. Also huge high five to my girlfriend Christine for a 30 hour training week.

Foto: Brett loves Amerita bars.