Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ironman resolutions

What can an Ironman resolve for the New Year?

Get in shape? Done that.
Lose weight? Done that.
Swim, bike, and run 140.6 miles in less than 17 hours? Done that, baby!
Do something that no one else you know thinks they can do? Yes, I've even done that. (and by the way, most of those people are wrong - if I can do it, most of them can, too)

So here's what I'm thinking for 2009. Not resolutions, really, but goals.

1. Get religious about my training schedule. In 2008, knowing I had to work very hard to build the endurance to complete the Ironman distance, I signed up with Cadence Multisport Centers for individual coaching. I knew I needed some external accountability - someone keeping track of my training - to keep me on the plan. And it worked, mostly. But there's often a reason to cut a workout short, or to skip it. Family schedules, work, other activities - everything conspires to ask whether Ironman is more important. And for the age grouper (amateur) Ironman, training and racing are all about balance, as in, how to balance Ironman with the rest of your life. For me, when training loses the contest, it's usually not about balance, but about planning. So I'm going to do a better a job planning, this year, so I get the benefits of training and everything else, too.

2. Push harder in training. In 2008, I learned how to push myself in races - to keep a pace of eight minutes-per-mile in the 10K run of an Olympic distance race, for example. I learned how to push myself in training, also, and my coach's workout plans helped focus that. But with a major goal for 2009 to increase my speed in all three disciplines, I need to make sure I'm pushing hard in training, throughout the year, so I have more to push during races.

3. Bring more people into triathlon. In the four years I've been doing triathlon, I've enjoyed nearly all of it. Long, aerobic-paced runs with a friend. Early morning indoor cycling workouts at Cadence. Six-hour rides through Chester and Berks counties. Sharing brief conversations with other participants during races. Seeing my fitness and times improve in tangible return on my work.

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