So what's going on with training? As I mentioned I will be heading back down to Wilmington in October for the Beach 2 Battleship Full and I'm looking forward to what round two of ironman training has in store for me. Last year was my first year back to triathlons after a few year hiatus, so much of it was spent getting reacquainted with the training and building volume and endurance in my swimming and biking. This year I am excited to continue to build upon the strong foundation that was laid last season, push some limits and see what I am capable of. In the mean time, here's a quick run-down of what's been happening training-wise as of late:
Having consistently kept up with some level of swim training over the winter has definitely paid dividends, and I feel as if my swim fitness is far ahead of where I was this time last year. While I don't necessarily feel "faster" in the pool, I do feel much more comfortable with maintaining a decent pace over longer distances. A lot of time and concentration has been invested in improving my stroke technique and forming quicker turnover in the past couple of months. Just this week, I jumped in with a local swim training group that I plan to swim with once per week on Tuesdays for the remainder of the season. I am excited for the change of pace swimming-wise, and especially for the camaraderie and motivation that the group offers. I will say that my asthma has been "flared up" as of lately adding an additional challenge in training and especially in the pool. While a major bummer, at this point I know what to expect how to adjust accordingly.
My major goal for this year is to focus my time and energy on truly making some cycling fitness gains. So far, thanks to the guidance of my awesome coach, I definitely feel as if things are moving in the right direction and if anything, that my confidence in riding more aggressively has grown. My longest ride to date for 2015 has been 68 miles, which I completed about 2 weekends ago in the brutal 90+ degree heat. While a challenge fueling-wise, I truly enjoyed getting out for some longer miles again! In other news, I've added a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor to my equipment repertoire to gain slightly more objective feedback than what I've had in the past (super advanced, I know!) and have been working towards getting my tri-bike correctly fitted and in "racing shape." It's been a process, but well worth the effort to be in a position of optimal comfort and power come race day.
I haven't been taking too many training pics lately, but here's a few "sights and scenes" from training that make me happy :)
Patience is the name of the game running-wise and I'm taking things one week at a time. My longest run post-injury has been 11 miles, but I've been feeling progressively stronger with each passing week. A few weeks ago I competed in a local 5k with a final time of 21:12, 5th overall female and first in my age group. It was fun, but TOUGH, and also my first open 5k road race in two years! I am more than happy with my performance given I have only put in few hard running workouts in the past couple of months and very little running mileage overall. Moving forward, my goal with the running is to continue to build back to my prior level of fitness pre-injury (and hopefully beyond) while remaining injury free and working to improve my technique in recruiting my glutes more effectively, especially in running hills, which has been a major weak point in the past.
So that's what's going on in my (training) world. It's great to be back to my normal, healthy self, engaging in steady training and working towards big goals. The road ahead is bound to have a few bumps and detours, but I know those come with the territory of stepping outside my comfort zone and that there's joy to be found in the journey. It's not always fun or easy, but I try to remind myself frequently of the blessing that is simply having the ability to be out there doing what I love. One can't ask for much more than that!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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