It’s been an amazing year! After completing my first open water triathlon and my first olympic distance triathlon, I can only dream of what the next year holds. I still have a half marathon to run (I dropped down to the half so I can run with my wife while she runs in her first half), and several 5k’s left before the year ends. But it’s time to start getting ready for next year, to improve on triathlon times and distances, and to be fully prepared for whatever challenges happen to pop up.
So the other day, my friend Chris Matthews (she has a wonderful triathlon blog at http://watchchristri.blogspot.com) mentioned that her coach at Team Amazing Day had some openings, I immediatly started peppering her with questions. Since Coach Jenni Keil is in the mountain time zone, and Chris is in Florida, how does it work? Chris was very patient and answered all of my questions so I wouldn’t feel so dumb when I actually called Jenni. After discussing with Julie our goals for the upcoming year, we agreed that we could use a professional that will structure our workouts around us and our schedules. So, very nervous and excited about moving up to the next level, we made the call.
Coach Jenni was patient and kind, listening to our concerns and explaining how coaching online works. There will be phone calls, texts, emails, and workouts delivered via Training Peaks. She explained the MAF (maximum aerobic function) method of working out as to not over stress the body, while staying in the maximun aerobic workout zone. She asked about how many hours we could commit to our goals, what we expected, what worries or stresses we were feeling (not only in exercising, but in life in general). She even said she could work our mentoring runners into the workout schedule. We asked for a little time to discuss it, and I called her back and asked if we could call her “coach”. And with that, we got to work.
This past week has been about Coach Jenni getting a feeling for what we can do, and setting baselines for our workouts. We had a large questionnaire to fill out that showed our abilities (distances completed, medications, health issues, etc.). It has also been a week of me getting used to MAF running. I found out that I have not been running at an aerobic level, but at an anerobic level. I have to learn to run and not allow my heart rate to go over 130 bpm.
The first run using this method left me frustrated, and I immediately texted Coach Jenni and asked her what happened. I could not get my heart rate under 130, and even had to walk for a bit! Finally after a mile I was able to run steadily. Coach Jenni told me that since my heart rate would not come down quickly, it showed that I had not properly warmed up before starting the actual run. She suggested that I run a couple laps first, walk and let the heart rate come down, and then start my run. It worked! The next day I sub 30’d a 5k and a heart rate of 130.
She had me do a bike workout where I had a 20 minute warmup, a 20 minute session where I stayed 5 to 10 points under MAF, 20 minutes at MAF, 10 minutes at 5 to 10 points over MAF, and a 10 minute cool down. The picture below is just about 50 minutes into the session. I’d say it’s working…
It also marked our return to the indoor pool, and to swim drills. Coach Jenni gave me a workout totaling 1800 yards and had a 400 yard time trial and a 200 yard time trial tucked within it! The next day was 1800 yards again, but it was drills only. It felt good to get back in the water again, and it seemed as if the drills are helping, at least to boost my confidence in the water.
I can’t wait to see what the next week brings! I really think we made the right choice in hiring Jenni as our coach, and by knowing that it was time to get assistance to reach the next level.
Totals for the week (Thanks to Chris for letting me steal her idea for posting totals):
Running – 28 miles (8 workouts)
Biking – 23.3 miles(1 workout)
Swimming – 4,750 yards (3 workouts)
Live healthy, be happy!