You may be wondering why I am not following a pre-made training plan as there are so many free ones out there. When I first signed up I looked at some of these plans but none of them felt right for me. I felt like I would need to change too much to accommodate my needs. For example, as a former swimmer my swimming is still pretty strong and a typical workout is somewhere around 3,000 yards for me. The majority of the plans didn't have me reaching this yardage until nearly the end of the training plan. I also didn't like the idea of having to rearrange because of travel and other obligations this summer.
When it comes down to it, pre-made plans are great for beginners who don't really know where to start but in my opinion they are not always a good idea. Because they are pre-made they don't take into account your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete or your prior injury history. They can be good guidance tools but I think when training for something of this magnitude it is important to make your plan as specific to you as possible.
As I mentioned I am traveling some this summer. Not much, but I am going to the beach for a week in July and making the drive out to Milwaukee for nationals in August. These plus things like weddings and birthdays have nearly eliminated certain weekends for training. What I did before training started was I sat down with a blank calendar and wrote in for each week how long my long ride and long run would be. I did this to keep me on track with the two workouts that may be the most important during training. I also took into consideration that there's a possibility not every long ride or run will happen. Shit happens and I am doing my best to be prepared for it.
From Monday's long ride
Luckily for me I was able to schedule my recovery weeks during my busier times this summer. What I've been doing so far is writing down what workouts I want to do in the weeks before my next recovery week. I include the specifics, so instead of saying swim 3,300 yards I actually write the workout down. Then on Friday or Saturday of the preceding week I take those workouts and schedule them for each day. I also make tweaks if I am behind or ahead on something. If I missed a run the previous week I might swap a swim for a run since swimming is my strength and running is my weak sport. I only look ahead 3-4 weeks because I really can't know where my training is going to be in three months.
Each week of training has been pretty different so far but I am aiming to get in 2-3 swims, 3-4 bike rides, 3-5 runs, 2 strength sessions and 1 yoga class each week. My riding and running are definitely my weak spots so I have been trying to give them some extra attention. I've been doing one harder effort run each week and hillier bike rides. For now I am choosing to include strength training because I can notice a difference with it. I feel stronger in all three sports but if at any point it changes into an inhibitor I will reduce it or eliminate it. I am also including a weekly yoga class because I am the worst at stretching and this is the only way I get it done. The class is basically just an hour of stretching so it doesn't take away at all from my other workouts.
This warrants a post itself but I have also been paying extra attention to my nutrition and recovery. I've half-assed both of these things in the past and finally decided enough was enough. When I am scheduling my workouts for the coming week I am also including what recovery measures I am going to take. After a track workout I may write foam roll and compression socks. I know it sounds a little ridiculous to schedule these things but it is the only way I get them done.
My kind of recovery
Before I go to bed I also plan out my nutrition for the next 1-2 days. I play around with things to make sure I am eating a variety of foods and getting enough carbs and protein. Doing this makes it super easy when I come home from a hard workout and would normally just grab anything I can find. Now I check what I have planned, which I have usually forgotten since I planned it, and actually get excited about eating something real and that my body needs. Again, this may sound overboard but as someone who has a tendency to overeat and make poor nutrition choices this has been a game changer.
I think that's really about it. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask :)