Two summers ago, I decided to do my first triathlon. I figured if my brother could do it, so could I. Since I had no idea where to begin, I enlisted an experienced ironman to help me set up a plan for the sprint distance race (1/2 mile swim, ~13 mile bike, 5k run). I followed it closely and although the weather was dreary, the race was exhilarating. I finished soaking wet with a smile on my face already preparing for my next tri.
Since then, I have done 3 more triathlons, a marathon, and a handful of other road races and bike rides. And for the most part, there is always a training calendar hanging on the side of my fridge. It is a little ‘old school’, especially since everyone uses smart phones to track their workouts, but this just makes me happy.
I have a few different training plans saved on my computer, and there are plenty of online resources, magazines, and books to guide you depending on your skill level and goals. I believe that everyone’s ‘perfect’ training plan is different and it might take a little bit of time to find the one that works for you. Then it’s just about modifying it to fit into the schedule of your life.
I joke that I should make a t shirt that reads ‘Will Run for Swag’ because of all of the races that I sign up for. The truth is, I schedule my workouts according to my upcoming races, and when I don’t have a planned race, I don’t push myself in miles or pace. What I have learned over these past few years is that I really LIKE pushing myself farther than I think I can go, and that a 2 hour BRICK that leaves my legs quacking as I walk up the stairs is actually energizing and exciting!
The other benefit of following my training plan is that exercise gets to be a higher priority on the life list. I will leave work on time to make it home for a bike ride before sunset. My alarm gets set for 5:55AM to meet friends for a BRICK in Barrington before the summer heat. I am in bed by 10PM on a Friday after only 1 glass of wine and a well-balanced dinner. I remember that food is meant to fuel my body, and while I am training, I make better food choices eating more real foods and less processed junk.
I know how sleep, carbs, alcohol, hydration, strength training, and rest impact each mile and ultimately my end goal. This leads to healthier decisions every day. And despite spending more time breaking a sweat, I am more energized and less stressed out. I sleep great at night which puts me in a great mood during my work day. And although I may miss out on a few late nights with the BOY, his support for my training (even when he is trying to convince me to have that second glass of wine), strengthens our relationship! As it stands, training really is the glue that holds my healthy lifestyle together.
These thoughts really hit me this spring when I was in a bit of a workout funk. I realized that during this time I didn’t have an end goal and I wasn’t cross training. The moment I signed up for my first race of the year and dusted off my bike, everything changed! For this reason, I like to have at least 1 race per month during the summer months, and I have pushed myself to step outside my comfort zone training outdoors in the colder months.
Now that it is officially summer, I am in full on training mode and loving it. And although this summer’s race calendar isn’t as impressive as last year, I am just as happy preparing for a sprint triathlon on July 29th (as of today, I am officially signed up) and working towards a half marathon PR. It is the training (and possible the endorphins) that keep me smiling and hopefully burning off a few calories along the way.
The cross training also prevents boredom and injuries. My back is feeling so much better allowing June to be a fun month full of activity!
Fit comfortably into my summer shorts
-I have definitely dropped a few LB’s allowing my summer clothes to fit better. I have a little ways to go but I am back to consistent strength training with the TRAINER, which always helps me rev up my metabolism.
Begin triathlon training
-Goal Met! The BRICK is back!
-This weekend in Wisconsin definitely helped me put life back in perspective. It’s amazing what close friends and fresh air can do for your stress levels! I have also been committed to my yoga classes and appreciating the beauty in my commute.
Get Creative with fruits and veggies!
-There have been a lot of amazing recipes this month. With my recent TREAT DAY, many of them have been sweet and delicious! However, with the farmer’s market now open, our house is always stocked with fresh veggies. And this Blue Breakfast is a new summer favorite!
Goals for July
-Commute by bike
I’d like to find some local places (like the farmer’s market) that I can get to by bike as opposed to driving.
-Avoid white flour and sugar in an attempt to loose a few more LB’s around my middle
-Make veggies the star of my meals (especially the green ones)
-Get moving ever day
Whether its tennis, a walk, or a yoga class, I have been trying to move more every day
-Enjoy every mile of my 2012 triathlon!