Best Laid Plans

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”   - Woody Allen

After building this year's Race Calendar, the next logical step was to build a training plan.  Obviously the way to attain goals is to stick to a plan that will build you up to the point where you can achieve them.  I wanted to write something up that was structured, and stand on the shoulders of giants by following or adapting something made by professionals.

I like the book Training Plans for Multisport Athletes by Gale Bernhardt.  Each chapter is a different training plan for a different scenario: they differ by athlete's level of experience, the event type and length, and the athlete's goals/expectations.  Looking into the book, I figured that my plan should resemble one of three plans:
  1. Faster Olympic Distance Performance.  This is basically what I want to achieve, but the plan involves 2 workouts in different disciplines a day, even in the General Preparation phase (where we basically prep the body for the training to come).  It just isn't terribly realistic for my schedule and life, and most structured training plans look more or like this one.
  2. 6 Weeks to an Olympic Triathlon for Athletes with Limited Time.  This one is nice and simple and also geared not only to my race type/distance, but also my schedule.  I do have more than 6 weeks to play with, and the plan isn't structured with regards to types of workout (speed, tempo, long distance/endurance).  I wanted to get a little better in regard to having more specific training sessions, so this one isn't ideal.
  3. Multisport Fitness Plan.  This is my favourite as it is more of a lifestyle plan for athletes who like to do multisport, and allows for some cross-training (e.g. basketball, hockey, or jiu-jitsu in my case) in your schedule.  It isn't geared for specific race goals, but it is 24 weeks long, which was just about right at the time I made my race calendar plan.
I struggled with trying to hybridize these plans as the structures got pretty complicated, but I liked the idea of a general preparation phase (of about 4 weeks) so I decided to focus on that.



Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week #
DATE
27/02
28/02
29/02
01/03
02/03
03/03
04/03/
1
Main
Swim
Run
Spin
Rest
Spin
Run
Circuit

Backup
Spin
Circuit
Yoga
Pushups
Swim
Yoga
Bike Trainer

Sec. Backup
Jitsu
Body Blast
Circuit
Jitsu
Yoga



DATE
05/03
06/03
07/03
08/03
09/03
10/03
11/03
2
Main
Swim
Run
Spin
Rest
Spin
Run
XC Ski

Backup
Spin
Circuit
Yoga
Pushups
Swim
Yoga


Sec. Backup
Jitsu
Body Blast
Circuit
Jitsu




Knowing how chaotic my life was I tried to match each day to what might be available in terms of work schedule (meetings near lunch would eliminate lunchtime workouts), gym group exercise schedule (spin classes for bike workouts, spacing strength workout apart appropriately), and other extra-curricular considerations like when I would most need to be at home. Each day had not only a backup workout in case I missed my first shot (pool closures, bad weather, work related rescheduling), but a backup-backup workout. So every day had a primary, secondary and tertiary workout option. I included possible workouts like Yoga, the 100 pushups workouts, group exercise at the gym, and jiu-jistu. I tried not to plan rest days (the purple field is a tentative/possible rest day), because I knew they might happen unbidden (based on experience), but boy did I ever underestimate that!

Here's what happened.



Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Week #
DATE
27/02
28/02
29/02
01/03
02/03
03/03
04/03/
1
Main
Swim 1500m
REST


Spin
Run


Backup








Sec. Backup








DATE
05/03
06/03
07/03
08/03
09/03
10/03
11/03
2
Main








Backup








Sec. Backup








I started off sticking to the plan, but by Wednesday, Shark Boy had gotten sick with a fever and throat infection which kept him miserable throughout the day and woke him up several times a night.  After waking up, he was generally inconsolable for almost an hour each time.  Through visits to 2 after-hours clinics and his pediatrician, we ruled out strep throat and ear infections.  The wake-ups continued when the fever was down through drugs, and when he had no fever at all anymore.  Without turning this into a family drama post, suffice it to say that sleep was hard to come by - to a degree I hadn't experienced since he was a newborn.  The red in the table represents days I didn't do any exercise at all - forced rest days.

I managed to get it together enough to attend a spin class on the Friday and on Saturday I decided I would use the scant time I had to do a tempo run.  My thinking was that since I couldn't go long, I could at least go fast.  I had obviously contacted some kind of infection of my own; I was coughing throughout the day, but I had read that you can train with a cold, as long as it's not in your chest.  Does having a cough count?  Apparently it does, because I was sick as a dog by Monday and took Tuesday off work.  I spent the rest of the week recovering and trying to help Shark Boy do the same.

I'm not sure when I felt physically up to training again, because mentally I had just about given up on the idea of committing to anything (even though I've paid for a couple of race registrations already - see the Race Calendar).  I was really down in the dumps, and I guess I needed the entire week to regroup.

The good news:
Getting back into training after a hiatus is an injury trap for me; I had to tell myself the following to make sure I eased back into it (yes, apparently I talk to myself on Twitter):

 I'm happy to be doing something physical again.  I don't feel up to anything hardcore (or doing any strength work) yet, and I don't have a structured plan, but I do have the desire again at least. 

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