January & February along with August are some of my favorite times of year to be an Ironman athlete. It’s not very often that I get the opportunity to train un-interrupted and stack workout after workout week after week on top of each other.
I often look at my race season as a pyramid. Perhaps we can thank my bussiness-y husband, Chris - who has a love for both marketing and duct tape for this theory. At the top of the pyramid is my big lofty goal: to be a World Champion. While this is a large goal (in size) the emphasis placed on it is quite small. Don’t you know - its easier to break down the big, dreamy feel-good goals into smaller, more attainable ones? The next level of my pyramid (working from the top down) can be defined as my “A” races (there are only about 3 of these) for the year. Heck yes I want to win another Ironman! Again, big in heart, a bit smaller in emphasis this time of year. The next two layers are the bulk of my pyramid. Second to last is filled with more goal oriented things such as running under 3 hours for a marathon, a course record I would like to break, or a personal best I would love to set. Which brings me to the point of this post - what I have been up to: building the base to my pyramid!
This time of year is the perfect time to build a great big base to the pyramid. The greater the base, the greater the foundation to my year. Often I take for granted being able to just put my head down and simply get the work done. Before I know it, my first race of the year will be here - and all sense of rhythm to my training will be replaced with a rhythm of pack, unpack, taper, race, recover, pack, unpack, sharpen, race, wash and repeat. Don’t get me wrong - I love this part more than anything as I am definitely a racer at heart.
The past few months in Tucson have been great - I have basically had nearly 10 weeks of zero interruptions to my training. I feel confident in saying that I have built a great base to my 2012 pyramid.
One thing I wanted to change this year was simple: I just wanted to shut my brain (and my mouth in some cases) off and just simply get the sessions finished. Consistent and smart training. Last year when I was down here I felt I really held onto each session as if it were gold. I analyzed numbers, let the horrible days seem like heavy baggage that bogged me down and didn’t appreciate the days I felt good. This year, my goal was to complete each session and not occupy my time with worrying about if a session was good or not. It really was a matter of approaching my sessions like a giant check list, and marking them off one by one. This winter I was all about finding a rhythm and consistent training with some efforts thrown in. Matt Dixon led the purplepatch way and had me on a nice schedule which included swimming 6 days a week, a quality trainer ride on Tuesdays, long rides with efforts on Wednesdays and Saturdays, climbing Mt. Lemmon once a week, recovery sessions scattered throughout the week, and my running was based more on consistency vs. heroic sessions.
The other thing I have focused a lot on this winter is building a strong foundation for the year. Literally. Chris helped me motivate and get back into the weight room and on a strength routine. This can be controversial for some athletes, but for me it works out great. Whether you include weights or not - I am a big believer in implementing some sort of functional strength training into the training routine. Dr. John Ball out of Phoenix has been helping me since June. He has kept me healthy with visits about every 10 days. He set up a dynamic stretching program for me and I also included trigger point rolling and stretching nearly every day. A healthy Linsey is a happy Linsey. Lastly, Bill Kruse kept my legs nice and flushed with weekly massage.
As for Madison? She’s built a nice pyramid for 2012 as well. She’s enjoyed her fair share of sun-bathing on the back deck, plenty of naps, and she’s not one to turn down licking out the empty peanut butter jar. I think she should be in fine form as we head home to Montana at the end of the month.
For now - it’s time to get packing! My days in Tucson are numbered and we are out the door tomorrow: Puerto Rico bound. I am really looking forward to racing somewhere new, somewhere hot, and putting myself to the test. Stay tuned! Chris has booked himself in for a fly-fishing trip, so if all else fails on the racing front, hopefully I will have a picture of a big @$$ tarpon to show on Monday.
See you at the races,