Quote from JJ Watt, defensive lineman for the Houston Texans
The first snowfall in Hamilton has come and gone. Since my last update I haven’t been up to much of anything new, but as that fresh layer of snow fell to the ground, so too did I start fresh on this journey that I have undertaken.
2014 was generally good to me. I won some races, had some new experiences, made some new friends, and generally got to watch the sport of duathlon take a small step forward as we try to get the sport out of the increasingly large shadow of big brother Triathlon. It was incredibly enjoyable and rewarding to watch Duathlon Central grow and see the community get behind it and generate some awesome discussion. Armed with this, we can move forward and hopefully influences some change for the better in our sport!
But you came to this page to hear me ramble about me and what I have been up to! I’ve been chipping away, spending the last few months catching up on all of those areas of life that lag during the summer season. My last two months of training have been a mixture of “completely off”, “unstructured” and most of all…”fun”. Over the past few years of hard, long, grinding duathlon seasons, I have discovered that I have a need following the season to spend some time “playing duathlon”.
I hang my TT bike up on the wall and ride my road bike, display nothing except distance and time on my bike computer, stash my Garmin in my pocket while running to run otherwise gadgetless, and spent some time training for the pure enjoyment of it. I had a ton of fun with my road bike, rode some routes that I tend to avoid during the season, ran as fast or slow as I felt like, and generally trained when I wanted to. Physically, I may not have needed the rest, but I find that doing this is the best way to get myself recharged mentally and excited to train hard again.
However, now that I have had my fun, it is time for brass tacks. The road bike has replaced the TT bike up on the wall for a little while, and the “pain cave” is open for business once again. 2015 is a make or break season for me, and I will be leaving no stone unturned this offseason as I continue to pursue my professional ambitions in the sport of duathlon…the theme of 2015 is “Marginal Gains”. Tentatively (things can change on the slightest whim in duathlon), I have targeted “A” races in early June (USAT Duathlon Championships, Standard/Sprint double) and late September (Esprit Montreal and possibly Powerman Michigan). The rest of my race plan is TBD until the schedule firms up, hopefully sometime in early 2015. Additionally, I have the following, non-race specific goals:
- Seek out some new races, challenges and competition: I would like to try some new races in 2015. K-Town, Gravenhurst and Wasaga are MSC races that I would like to give a shot, while Cornwall and Esprit highlight ideal non-MSC races. Venturing to new places also means taking on some new competition.
- Diversify my training regimen: There are only so many ways you can arrange duathlon training to keep it fresh. I’ll ride my road bike, and perhaps I will join a group ride once a week or have Emma teach me to do yoga. And I hear that swimming is a wonderful method of active recovery…
- Once and for all, destroy all notions of any perceived “weakness on the bike”: Despite two years of focused training and steady improvement, the fact remains that my strong run still makes up for a bike leg that is lacking, and can barely be called FOP in deep races.
I plan to address this weak point with a three-pronged approach:
- Continued improvements in cycling fitness: Many hours in the pain cave watching Netflix await over the next few months to make this a priority, as there are still gains to be made. I will also likely keep my targeted workouts indoors on the trainer throughout the season to closely monitor and dial in my effort.
- Leaving no stone unturned: Hand-in-hand with fitness goes smart equipment choices. Speed can be bought in cycling, and with resident aero-weenies Cody Beals and Phil McCatty just a text or Facebook message away, I really have no excuse to be running a bike set-up that is not 100% optimized.
- Use others to up my “suffer threshold”: While I can thrash myself on the run, I have a hard time doing the same on the bike. After hearing from fellow athletes of how they have benefited from riding with others, I plan to creatively plan my workouts to seek out like-minded others from time to time.
Many gains are to be had for those who reach out and take it. The winter offseason is an opportunity, not an obstacle, and I intend to come out of it an entirely different racer, chomping at the bit at every start line I toe in 2015.
Until next time…keep Du’ing it!