Monday, August 6, 2012
My Trinity of Iron
There are 3 things I need to change in my quest: train right, get healthy, and lose weight. I'm calling them my trinity of iron. If I miss one of these, I'll fail in my quest. So, what's the plan?
Of the three, training seems the least complicated to me. Yes, I went through the USAT coaching class and I'm sure I can design a plan that will work. Another option would be to get one of the template plans and adapt it but I think it is better for me to engage a coach for the training. I've worked with Coach Mike Monastero from Long Island Tri Coach and Babylon Bike Shop in the past and I know he can design the workouts necessary for my success. I feel that Mike works well with me, can get me in a good place for my goals, and is a match in philosophy.
I'll supplement Mike's sage advice with some focused swim training. I haven't been to master swim class in a while but think that these classes will make me a stronger swimmer. My plan is to spend the rest of August getting back in the pool and then do one master class each week. I've also worked one on one with Danielle Sullivan on my swimming leading up to IMFL2011. Perhaps she'll be interested in giving me a different perspective from time to time. We'll see.
None of this matters if I do not do the training. Finding the time will be my biggest challenge. I do have to work for a living. My job consumes a lot of time. My commute is long. I will have to travel for work. The plus side of the equation is that I can do almost all of my training in my house. I have a Computrainer. I have a treadmill. I even have an endless pool. It is difficult for me to train during weekday mornings and during my IMFL training I often started my workout after 9pm to get them done. I did miss some from time to time but I need to be more diligent. An open item is how to make sure I'm accountable to my coach and myself.
But how much time do I need to invest now? My target is 2+ years away so there is no need to start the 20-25 hour training weeks now (if fact if I did I would break). I'll leave it to Mike's judgement but I'm looking to train an hour a day during the week and perhaps a little longer on the weekends (as life permits) trading duration for intensity. I'm going to try an experiment of a Wednesday double where I run in the morning to try to mix in some Yoga at night. I hate Yoga but even if it doesn't help me physically I think it may help me mentally. If not yoga, I know I'll need some sort of social workout with other athletes. In the winter, spin classes kick in with the tri club or investigate if there is something athletically I can do with my wife (Ironman is a team sport in case you don't know).
The getting healthy component is the next least complicated. I do have some ailments and physical limitations. Some may never get better. Some may get worse but I still have hope that enough will improve to the point where I can be successful. I'll never be perfect but rather than lament on what I can't do, I have to embrace what I can. I have plenty of doctors advising me on the best path for success and I need to listen to them. My current breathing issue is the most pressing. Next most crucial are my legs (knee and feet in particular). Patience for this patient is paramount but I can't be passive with this.
The last leg of the trinity is losing weight. I've done it before. I've done Weight Watchers and have had success with that. I've tried NutriSystems and that wasn't as good for me. I've consulted with a nutritionist in the past and that really wasn't a match for me. Perhaps I need to try a different nutritionist.
My doctor said, wisely, that any diet can work if you follow it. No diet works if you don't though. My two biggest eating disorders are that I eat out too much and when I do I make poor choices in content and quality. The old joke of the food here sucks and the potions are too small doesn't apply to me as the portions are never too small. Speed often trumps quality to my detriment and portion sizes have exploded for me. I think it more habit than need.
My solution is pre-planning. That is, I need to plan my weekly menu in advance and dovetail my dinners with the rest of the family. I need to eat breakfast home before heading out to work. I probably need to start bringing lunch more frequently (I'm going to casually ramp this up). Typically I do OK eating-wise during the week and fall apart on the weekends. When something disrupts the plan, I'll need to adapt.
Writing down what I eat vs. plan will help me succeed (don't worry this blog won't become a picture of every meal that I eat!). I've used livestrong.com to track this in the past. TrainingPeaks supposedly has a feature for this too and it has the advantage of that is where I track my workouts and training sessions. That may warrant some consideration.
There are a lot of plans above and they definitely are things that I need to focus on. The trinity of iron visual will help but it will all come down to me on this quest. I wish it was as easy to do as to write about it but it is not. Every journey needs to start somewhere.