Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Augusta 70.3 Training Plan

I trained for the 2012 Augusta Ironman 70.3 for 20 weeks.  The first 2 weeks were a wash though as I wasn't focused on building a base of fitness that I had hopefully already surpassed.  I participated in the Ironman Augusta 70.3 in 2010.  You can read about my 2010 race here.  That was my first half-ironman.  It rained during much of the 2010 race.  While this was bad for spectators, the rain kept the racers cooler and more hydrated than they would normally be in September in Augusta.  I heard that participants in the 2011 Augusta race were not so lucky.  That year a rainy morning gave way to a sunny afternoon that bought with it unbearably high humidity.   

With no full 140.6 Ironman triathlons on the schedule for 2012 I've been a little slack in my training.  That's not to say that I didn't have some good training days or that I didn't take my training seriously.  It's just that I didn't seem to have as many good hard training days as I thought I'd need to be as competitive as I think I can be.  Of course it can't be calculated what additional damage any increased effort might have caused my body.  Pull a muscle or twist an ankle and I'm through for the season.  To highlight my training over the past 20-weeks I took my training plan and created charts of what I planned to do, what I actually did, and what was the percentage of completed vs. planned training.  Each chart indicates only the time expended on each discipline and not the intensity of effort or the time required to prepare.  As most of you know, a 5 hour and 30 minutes century training day usually starts before dawn and ends late in the late afternoon.  Before you know it the whole day is shot and all you have to show for it is a lawn that still isn't mowed, a dog that needs some attention, and a wife wondering when it will all end.

As expected, my plan called for some base building, stair-steps of increased effort for 3 weeks followed by a recovery week.  The 4 week process then starts all over again 2 more times before ending with 2 weeks of tapering before the race.  The systematic increases in training duration over time was somewhat disrupted by 3 century rides, a few sprint triathlons, and an awful case of hives for which 5 months later I have yet to find the cause and from which I still suffer.  A daily Zyrtec tablet keeps it in check.
Hives from an as yet undiagnosed Allergy
My 20-week planned training chart with the stair-steps I described peaking 3-weeks before the race.  The four lines indicate weekly swim, bike, run, and total hours of exercise.  The maximum total being 16-hours during week 17.
Planned hours of training
As is easily seen in the chart below, the stair-steps are non-existent.  I had some good weeks and some bad ones as well.  I can say unequivocally that I've got the taper part of my plan down pat.
Completed hours of training
My percentages of completed vs. planned were off the mark as well.  Ideally, each of the four lines should be flat along the 100% line.  That isn't the case. 
Actual percentage of of completed/planned training
So, how did my haphazard approach to training pan out?  I had hoped to best my 2010 race 5:01:54 finish time by 10 minutes.  That wouldn't be happening this year.  I was on pace to achieve my goal as I started the run segment of the race but alas, my wheels fell off and I limped to the finish line 10 minutes slower than in 2010.  I had turned a 10 minute surplus into a 10 minute deficit.  My finish time was 5:11:12. 

Fortunately, I have a do-over scheduled for October 28th in the form of the 2012 Ironman Miami 70.3.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading.