By: Kristen Marchant
Kristen’s 2015 in review
“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin
You can’t set a good plan in place if you don’t know where you’re coming from. For those who are interested, the following will outline what 2015 looked like for me (and when relatives ask me “but what do you do?” I can point them here).
Some of the things accomplished in 2015:
- Got a piece of paper that proves I’m smart [kidding, it just proves I have a BSc, intelligence is still in question]
- Got my pro card (a relatively easy process- meet the criteria, give Triathlon Canada some money, they e-mail you a number, voila, now a pro)
- Discovered more of the world (more specifically, the USA)
Now to look at my training over the year. This is absolutely NOT a guide of what you should do, nor are total hours giving any idea of how that time was spent. The reason I have looked at these statistics is to make changes, and there are many to make. Even as I have gone back to look at what I did, there are times when I’ve said to myself “wtf were you thinking Kristen?” It all made sense at the time…
Monthly Training Volume 2015 (stacked bar chart)
Monthly Training Volume 2015 (line graph)
Weekly Training Volume March 30th – December 28th, 2015
**water running is included with running because the site I use to log my training puts them together
***misc. refers to crosstraining
A total of 453 hours, highest was January (61.25 hours- building into university championships in February), lowest was November (26.4 hours- end-of season break). I wasn’t overall happy with how the swim training went over the year. Up until May things went well, but moving to Hamilton meant changing who I was swimming with (I have been training with the Mac team), and the triathlon season doesn’t match up with university varsity swimming. This meant that workouts were too easy when I needed to go hard, and the hard workouts were too hard (pace times that were appropriate for those much faster than myself). Given that the Mac team is no longer a varsity team, I have no idea what will happen with my swim training come May.
In races: Any race with a large pro field I was consistently front of the first chase pack- not bad for someone who didn’t grow up swimming, but lots of room for improvement.
A total of 628 hours, a max of 64.25 hours, a minimum of 24.8 hours (in a month) but too much of this was ‘fluff.’ (not ‘junk miles’ or ‘waste’ because I think it all has a purpose). Fluff is like ice cream-so good you want lots of it, but should really only be consumed in moderation.
consume in moderation
I think I could have done probably 70% of the volume to achieve the same results if there had been more intensity at the appropriate times.
In races: Consistently around top 5 in bike splits, fastest 90km was 2hrs20min in Miami. #crushedit
Well, well, well, what can I say about this… Total run volume for the year was 137 hours (no that’s not a typo). Average run training per week was 2hrs22min, ranging from 0-5 hours over the year. Given that my average half-marathon time in a half-iron distance race was 93 minutes, I would say I was getting a pretty good ROI from my run training (unlike my bike training, there was no fluff with the running), but I don’t consider 93 minutes to be an acceptable time for someone who wants to call themselves a pro. I guess I have set the bar pretty low for improvement.
In races: My weakest of the three disciplines, times were mid-pack within the field.
To supplement the lack of running I was on the elliptical/stair master/ water running a fair bit, totalling 156 hours.
I consider strength training to be a fairly important part of being an athlete- I know there are differing opinions out there (some would rather just swim/bike/run more), however I think each person needs to find what works for them. There is fairly good evidence that strength training improves running economy, 5k run times, and reduces the risk of injury, all of which I think are good enough benefits to warrant going to the gym. Injury prevention is my biggest focus although I also notice a substantial difference in the water when I do weights vs not doing them. Total time spent on strength and core was 79.8 hours- I was doing really well with it until August when I needed a little time-out from triathlon for a few days and then the strength work just never got added back in…such is life. I am back on the band wagon now though
I don’t track my sleep, but I have always considered sleep to be vitally important. According to this article, it is actually better to cut down on training volume and intensity in favour of more sleep. I definitely notice a huge difference in my mood and ability to perform in training when I don’t get enough sleep. My optimal sleep time is 9.5- 10 hours, so I make sure not to stay up too late very often and if I can sleep in, I do.
This is not something I delved into much over the season, mostly because I was in denial of the toll it was taking on my body. Yes, I mentioned in race reports that I was stressed, but really that was an understatement. While most of this pressure/stress was self-imposed, the reality remains (as my father likes to remind me frequently), the only income I’m getting is coming from races “so you’d better do well.” The reason I had to take a time-out in August was only partly physical fatigue. I got some blood tests done that showed some low values (B12, iron, etc) that needed to be addressed, but nothing was a ten exclamation point (!!!!!!!!!!) alarm bell that something was wrong. The doctor tried to tell me it was stress but I just brushed it off- I didn’t want to admit that I was mentally unfit. However, things had gotten to the point where I couldn’t finish run workouts as I was dizzy and in danger of fainting, and I felt like my lungs were constantly constricted- bad enough that I wouldn’t ride in my aero bars as it made the symptoms worse and I felt like I was hyperventilating. The constant headaches and lack of quality sleep then just made me even more irritable etc. Eventually the lid on the bottle of stress just popped off (and then I slept about 16 hours a day for 3 days straight). No doubt all of this led to under-performing at races and is something I am working on for the coming season.
If you’ve made it this far down the post, congratulations, you’re a trooper! (and you should probably get back to work… ) I am thoroughly enjoying the off season now and am waking up excited to train every day. I hope everyone has had a great holiday and thanks for reading!