triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “winter

Don’t You Hate it When Life Gets in the Way?

Oh, I wish that I was a professional triathlete.


Swim – 2:00:00 – 6300m
Bike – 0:00:00 – 0km
Run – 0:30:07 – 5.63km
Strength – 1:30:00

Total – 4:00:07

I have a pretty delicate balance when it comes to fitting training into my daily life. One missed day can really mess a guy up. Take this week for example; day trip to Edmonton Tuesday killed my bike and run, and leaving Friday for a drilling rig killed the rest of the week and the beginning of this week. Not to mention I spent my birthday away from the girls. Boo.

Looking on the positive side, the workouts I did get in the week were awesome; I don’t think that I have swam that hard for a long time. Our workouts on Monday and Wednesday both featured my favourite training tool, fins. Here is our set from Monday.

Warm Up
400m Swim / 200m Kick / 400m Drill
Main Set
4x100m Swim on 1:45
2x200m Swim on 3:30
4x100m Swim on 2:00
1x400m Swim on 7:00
4x100m Swim on 2:00
2x200m Swim on 3:45
Warm Down
100m Swim – Easy

Needless to say I pretty much ate everything I saw for the next 2 days. Our coach, while we resting between the last 2x200m set told us to focus on a hard kick with a good long reach off the wall. The sentiment from the lane, “we are just trying to stay alive.” Enough said.

I squeezed in a run on the treadmill Wednesday night, making up for Tuesday. Intervals were on the menu as my time was limited due to a late bed time for the little one. No matter, the less time I spend there the better.

The sidewalks, pathways, and roads here in Calgary have turned into pure ice. Not the “oops it is a little slippery” kinda ice, I mean the “holy crap I just surfed for 10 feet” kinda ice. I guess this is what we get for having above zero temperatures in January. I chose the treadmill on Wednesday purely for that reason; I didn’t want to go for a ride.

Running in the winter can be treacherous, especially here in Canada. Cold weather, wind, and dark can make for some scary situations. I have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for winter running in Canada. Stay tuned for that piece of wisdom…..

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I mentioned that I spent the last 4 days in the field, missing not only my birthday, but spending a lot of time away from the girls. Not something that I want to do on a regular basis, but sometimes it comes with the territory. By territory I mean running my own product line with an international company. Not to make myself sound important or anything.

Being away from the normal day-to-day can be refreshing at times, heading into the middle of nowhere in -20 degree weather is not one of those times. I am glad to be back home safe and sound and ready to spend some quality time with my daughter. Strengthening our connection is going to be my top priority over the next 30 days.

So back to normal for the next couple of weeks. As normal as my family is.

Question: Any tips from you on running in the winter?


Recap – Week 48

Time flies……


Swim – 3:00:00 – 9300m
Bike – 1:52:56 – 60.81km
Run – 1:48:09 – 22.99km
Strength – 0:45:00

Total – 7:26:05

Wow, I can’t believe that there is only 4 of these left before the end of the year. November went by in a flash.

I had some pretty decent workouts this week, and trust me, I can feel it this morning. Wednesday’s swim workout was focused on endurance with a little bit of tempo work mixed in. It looked something like this:

Warm Up
400m Swim/200m Kick/400m Drill
Main Set
1x800m Pull with Paddles – 20 strokes or less per length – <12:15
2x400m Swim – Descending – <6:00
4x200m Alternate Swim/Pull – <2:55
Cool Down
Hang on to the side of the pool and die

Seriously, the last 2 sets almost killed me. It is a great feeling to push hard at the end of a workout; I feel that this is where your best fitness it gained. It also helps with the mental toughness, being able to sprint at the end of a 3000m workout takes a little convincing.

I have to say that I like the 200m more than any other distance. You can push as hard or as easy as you like, with not too much pain if you give it your all. I am working to get my 200m split to 2:45 by the end of the Winter session. It is going to be a big push, but better to reach for goal than settle for second best.

Winter showed up in Calgary today. About time, said no one, ever. At least we can make snow sharks in the front lawn.


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Recap – Week 47

My wife asked me if I could stay home in the morning for a couple of weeks to help them get into a decent routine of getting out of the house on time, so I had to skip out on tri-club swim this week. I let my coach know and he graciously sent the workouts for me to follow along with. It was a huge help to keep me motivated in the pool without the team.

I had no problem switching up my routine for the week. It was tough to rearrange everyday and still keep a decent balance and not running ir lifting on back to back days, but I made it work. The girls were able to get a decent routine and as of this morning, she has said I am not needed at home anymore, so I can get back in the pool with the club.

Is it sad that I am excited about getting in the pool at 0600 again?

Question: What is your favorite distance? Why?

Winter Training

“Medals are won in the winter, and picked up in the summer.”


So here I am, races are finished for the year, and I have a decent idea of what my race schedule looks like for next year. As hard as it was to nail that down, I reckon that was the easy part. Now comes the hard part, deciding when to train, what to train, and how long to train each week. Throw in family, job, and free time; the balancing act begins.

Last year I had my balance pretty decent. I peaked at a maximum of 9 hours per week including a couple of strength sessions, and I was happy with my results. I had an adequate amount of rest each week, and my workouts were scheduled to allow me the greatest amount of time at home with the family. Of course, there was times where my wife was chapped that I was off on the bike instead of helping around the house, but I am paying her back with a shinny new bathroom as we speak.

So what does my schedule look like? I am glad you asked, because this post would be pretty short if you hadn’t.

Week of October 21 Workout AM Workout PM
Monday Swim – 1:00:00 Strength – 0:45:00
Tuesday Bike – EM – 1:00:00 Run – ER – 0:40:00
Wednesday Swim – 1:00:00
Thursday Strength – 0:45:00
Friday Swim – 1:00:00 Bike – EM – 1:00:00
Saturday Run – ER- 0:45:00
Sunday REST

The only thing that changes on a regular basis is the length and/or the intensity; I plan this on Sunday based on how my week previous went. For example, I am running in a couple half marathons early in 2014, February being the first. I will gradually increase the length of my run workouts to get in the 2 hour range by mid December. If I miss a long run, or just not feeling great, I will keep everything the same as the previous week and try to change things the following week.

I have to be a little honest, the swim club three days a week kinda messes with the scheduling, In a prefect world I would move a couple things around to run three days a week, probably getting rid of the swim on Wednesday. Here is the thing, I really like swimming and the chance to workout with a group is too appealing to change anything right now.

It is going to be a busy off season, but I am hoping to pick up some medals in the summer…..well, maybe not so much, but you never know.

Oh, and yes, I posted a picture of a gold medal from Sydney in 2000 in honor of Simon Whitfield; he represented Canada then and continues to this day. I am proud to be a Canadian triathlete because of athletes like him.

Question – How is your winter scheduling coming along?

Recap – Week 42

Starting to ramp up again.


Swim: 2:00:00 – 5750m
Bike: – 1:15:00 – 34.6km
Run: – 0:43:53 – 9.5km

Total – 3:58:53

Again, this week has been pretty light. I am trying to stick with the “no more than a 10% increase per week in either duration or intensity” rule. At least, that is what I am telling myself.

We had a couple of great swim sets despite my laziness. Our instructor was away so one of my fellow swim clubbers (that sounds wrong) took over the workouts. Friday consisted of a 4x400m Fartlek main set followed by a 400m kick set to cool down. Word to the wise, a 400m kick set is as much a cool down as 200m IM is a warm up. I felt that workout until Sunday afternoon.

I enjoyed my run as well, a good lunch time run with some pretty gnarly wind. It felt like the wind changed direction once I turned, going against it for 9.5km. I am pretty sure that wasn’t the case, but it felt a little like it.

Renovations are going better now that the electrical and plumbing passed inspection, and we are now working on stuff that we will actually see once the renovation in finished. I am finding it hard to fit in a day worth of work, training session on the weekend, taking the dog for a walk, and of course spending time with the girls. As you can see from my numbers above, the training session has gone by the wayside.

No problems though, I will be finished in about 3 weeks, right about the time that I will need that extra day to increase my miles. Fingers crossed it works out the way I want it too.

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I am working on my winter training schedule at the moment. Trying to fit in 3 swim, 2 bike, and 2 run workouts can be hard enough, but now mix in 2 strength sessions and a rest day, and it looks like I will be back to 2-a-day again for the winter. Oh how I have missed them this summer; wait, they are called bricks past April.

I will dedicated a future post, in the near future, to how I laid out my winter blocks. I don’t have it complete yet, or I would share it right now. No matter how you slice it, it will be a bunch or trainer workouts with some treadmill runs mixed in for good measure.

Question: How have you planned you winter training?

Training When Sick

It is that time of the year again.

I have retired my bike to the basement on the trainer until May when I can head out for an hour and not come home with frozen fingers and toes. The winter run clothing has come out of the closet because the treadmill was only invented for temperatures colder than 15 degrees below zero.

It is also the beginning of cold and flu season. Now if you have kids, it seems like the season never ends. My little one is pretty healthy most of the year, but we do encounter kids with the endless dripping nose or that cough that “just won’t go away”. And if you work in an office, come on, re-circulated air can be a killer.

If you are like me, the winter is when most of your training hours are accumulated. I am talking long, slow training sessions building your base fitness for the upcoming season. You are spending time training specific aeras where you identified a limit during racing season. If you also like me, you don’t want to miss out on a training session, or three.

So when you catch a cold or flu, how do you know when it is alright to continue training or if it is best to take a rest day? There is a defining line when it comes to rest or no rest, the neck.

Symptoms Above the Neck – When a head cold is bogging you down, maybe a runny nose or throat a little sore, it is alright to continue with training at a reduced intensity. The key word, reduced intensity. I don’t like to use zones to relate to training as eveyone definition of ‘Zone 2″ is different, but you need to keep intensity below 65% of your max.

Start your workout and gauge how you are feeling. If your effort level is higher than normal for the intensity, then turn around, head home, and get some rest. If you are feeling alright, then keep going and remember, reduced intensity.

I actually feel better if I can hit the road for a one hour road ride, the trick for me is to take my workout outdoors. Fresh air can do nothing but good for you.

Symptoms Below the Neck – When your symptoms extended below the neck, stomach issues among others, it is wise to skip the training all together. There is evidence that training with symptoms below the neck can comprimise the health of your heart, leading to addtional complications. Take a couple of says off to allow for your body to heal, then see how you feel. Don’t go back to training until the symptoms below the neck have cleared up.

There are times when your body is at a higher risk of picking up a cold or flu; no mom, it is not because I head outside without a jacket. After an intense effort, such as a race or high intensity training session, your immune system is surpressed leading to a high chance of catching that cold your cubical partner has. I have read stories of professional trathletes wearing masks on airplanes on the way home after a race to reduce the risk. Going a little far for me, but being a triahtlete is not my job.

The best way to ensure you do not miss a workout due to an illness is to properly protect yourself during cold and flu season. I am no ‘germ a phobe’, but knowing what I know now, I will do my best to avoid any chance of picking up a virus this winter.

Question: What do you do when you get sick during your training season?