The Plan

First, mucho thanks to all of you who spread the word about my bag sale or bought one yourself–I truly appreciate it! I have an appointment on Friday to put down 50% on my bike and have it fitted! And it’ll be mine by next week! Woo!

Ever since I declared publicly that I want to tackle the Ironman distance someday, my head has been swimming (ha!) with the following thoughts:

  • I can’t swim.
  • I’ve probably run more miles than I’ve biked in my life, which is to say, I’ve not done much of either.
  • I have no idea what I’m doing.
  • The logistics of transitions/gear flat-out scare me.
  • The whole damn thing scares me.
  • An Ironman is really, really far.
  • A half Ironman is really, really far.
  • I can’t swim.

I’m the kind of girl who needs a plan. I’m off work this week, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading, researching, and laying out the steps that will get me to 140.6 someday.

1) Learn to swim. At the recommendation of the lovely Angela Greenwell, I ordered this DVD and the UPS man JUST delivered it. I’m going to watch it, hopefully learn something, and then hit the pool and see how bad the situation is. My husband was (or, is, I guess?) an Eagle Scout and they make those boys learn to swim well, so he’s promised me some instructional time–even though I think he’s only doing it because it’s guaranteed to be funny.

2) Make the most of my active recovery days. I start officially training for Fargo in a couple weeks, and I’m using an intermediate plan this time around from my good friend Mr. Higdon. This plan only has one rest day per week, and one day of cross training, or active recovery from the weekend’s marathon pace and long runs. I’ll focus heavily on swimming these days, which works nicely, because I hate the elliptical anyways. My gym is literally 10 steps from my office, so I’ll aim to get some quick lunchtime swims in too, for a total of 3 pool workouts per week. No goals for distance. Just going to put the time in for now, and assess later.

3) Bricks! I’m thinking to incorporate one brick (bike/run) per week on my easiest day of running. (Because the Fargo marathon is definitely priority right now, and I don’t want to screw with training for that.) I’ll spend time on the bike, but in light of the fact that I’ll be marathon training and starting from scratch on the swim, it’s the least of my concerns for now. (But OHMYGOSH I’m going to have my own bike! Squee!)

So, those are the baby steps I’ll be taking through the end of February or so. Depending on where I feel I’m at then, I’ll decide if an April sprint tri is realistic or not. If it is, that’s when I’ll start. (There are two local indoor ones that are cheap, and since they’re indoor, save me from a wetsuit purchase for now.)

I’m going to do at least three sprints this summer, and, if by the grace of God I’ve learned how to swim well enough, I might even attempt an Olympic distance late in the summer. If I get that far and I don’t drown, I’ll decide whether or not a half IM is realistic for 2011, or if I should wait until 2012. I feel like this will set me up nicely to be prepared to tackle the full distance in 2014. I’ll be 28 that summer.

Somewhere in the middle of all this madness, I want to run Boston too, but I think adding two more disciplines might help me get there faster. (Is it just me or are triathletes ALWAYS freakin’ fast runners??) Here’s hoping.

So, in summary:

Don’t lose focus on Fargo training. Need to run the marathon I’m capable of.

Just log the time in the pool. Don’t get frustrated.

Make sure I’m competent enough on the bike to at least clip in and out without falling over.

So there it is. If you’ve got any recommendations on how I can improve my approach, please do tell! I’m definitely open to suggestions.

Happy running.

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