Once training resumed I did as @CoachCary suggested. I focused on two things:
1) Becoming STRONGER with the help of my new strength trainer Barrie at FORZA fitness and performance center. Barrie is USAT TRI Coach and Iron distance triathlete who also specializes in strength training for triathletes.
2) Becoming faster, specifically RUNNING faster – this required focus on dynamic stretching prior to running, refining my running technique, hill intervals and speed intervals or Fartleks.
Previously I had not given strength training the attention that it needed. While I lifted weights I did not put the energy into my strength training that I did into my Swim, Bike, Run. That needed to change and I started to strength train “like I meant it”. The dividends paid back pretty quickly. With Barrie’s workouts and coaching I quickly started to notice an improvement in not only my strength but also my balance, my coordination and my muscle definition.
My running program included a higher percentage of my “training pie” allocated to the run. Prior to each training session I logged time doing dynamic stretches which are basically moving stretches things like “soldier legs”, “butt kicks”, “high knees”, “skipping” etc. All intended to get your muscles loosened up prior to starting the actual run.
Over the next few months my allocation of training time spent on running was 35% and strength training/cross-training was 20% — 55% of my total training was dedicated to those two elements with remainder obviously assigned to swim and bike.
I also competed in a few of road races over the off season to keep be comfortable with race events. These included:
The Stride – a 10K fund raiser for Littleton Public Schools. A fun family oriented event with guys #1 & #2 running in the 5K and me running with my friends Nico and Erin in the 10K. This was my first time running any race longer than a 5K. Nico being a runner and ultra marathon pacer did me the favor being my pacer; having a pacer helps SO much!
Christmas Carole Classic – this fund raiser 5K in December included several of my TRI buddies. It was a fun event in that we all went out for brunch afterwards but the run itself was brutal. Running “fast” when it’s below freezing outside does NOT feel good. Actually it feels pretty darn horrible and I decided NOT to do that again.
Runnin’ of the Green – this 7K St Patty’s Day event also included some friends and training buddies. This event is huge…as in TOO many people (~5,000) done and off the list for future events.
Cherry Creek Sneak – 2012 was the 30th anniversary of the Cherry Creek Sneak but the inaugural for the 10 mile. This was the first time I had raced in a longer distance running event. This run was also important in that it was a gauge of my ability to run 13.1, which coincidentally is the distance for the run distance of a 70.3 long course event.
Nico and Heather ran the ten miles with me with Nico pacing us and taking photos…it was great!