I’ve nearly completely off since min-August, doing no formal since then, just playing. In some ways I’ve really been off most of the year. Job hunting got in the way of early season training, and then with no serious races on the schedule after early June, I played a lot this summer and played hard. Sometimes I went fast and it was a lot of fun.
Tomorrow morning I’m shifting gears and beginning to train for 2012 events. Specifically, that means Ironman St George and Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Anything after that is, well, not officially scheduled right now and won’t be until June 25th.
My goal next year is simple: I’m going to race an Ironman. Yes, I’ve done two before. They were tons of fun, but I wasn’t really racing either one. The first one started as a race but after some mistakes the focus changed mid-day to just finishing. The second one had only one goal, not to end the day any more injured than I already was at the beginning. The goal was accomplished, but I didn’t finish the race. In 2012, I want to test myself and see what I can do.
I know what I have to do to get there and it’s very simple: get strong on the bike. I’m coming into this training cycle with a huge amount of running base and solid speed. In order to race an Ironman, I need to deliver myself to the start of the marathon relatively quickly, but more important is to get there ready to start the real race. I’ll need to build power and endurance to spare on the bike, so it’s there ready to run.
This is a fantastic position to be in. In some respects, it couldn’t be better. Becoming a good swimmer or runner is hard. I’m a good enough swimmer, and a very good runner. Becoming a good cyclist is easier than either of these and better yet, I’ve been strong on the bike before.
But it’s also going to be hard. Getting strong on the bike is going to take some focused effort. There will be high intensity days and lots of long sessions in the saddle. But the kicker is that I’m starting this training cycle just as the weather is getting bad. There will be many hours spent on the indoor trainers this winter. It will be a test of dedication and patience.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was contemplating and planning the next few months, I read this blog post from Troy Jacobson. It was right in line with my thinking, and the reinforcement of the message came at the right time. I’m going to need to make the most of every training session. That doesn’t mean every session is hard, it means the key sessions are hard and everything else is about recovering to allow the affects of training to actually happen, then prepare for the next one.