Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: Lots of swimming, a decent amount of biking, and running myself into an injury

2015 was full of learning experiences. I didn't do a lot of racing, but I notched a PR or two. I improved on the bike, a little. I logged my highest-volume swimming and running months ever. I skipped weight training and pre-hab, and got injured. I gutted out my seventh marathon.

For posterity's sake, a quick review by sport.

I got off to a slow start in January, but quickly ramped up the yardage. I had a couple of "life events" this year -- getting sick, adapting to a new work schedule, and celebrating both my sister's and my sister-in-law's weddings -- but still managed to get in the pool regularly. July was my highest-volume month ever, and after my second attempt at the 70.3 distance I relished some time away from the pool.

But, I didn't get any faster in the water this year. I tried to find a master's group, but that was a bust. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the pool before work was really hard, and I think that affected my improvement potential. At the end of the day, I only took 21 seconds off my 70.3 swim time, but did manage a 50-second PR in an open-water mile I do every summer.

I need to change it up this year. I'm already working on getting to the pool later in the day, and I want to schedule a swim analysis this season, too. I'm getting there, but I need to be more strategic about making improvements.

2015 was a decent year for my biking. I finally upgraded to a decent magnetic trainer and immediately felt the difference in my indoor rides. I biked about the same number of outdoor miles as I did last year, and although I didn't get to finish the bike portion of the 70.3, I was on pace for a small PR.

If I'm going to improve on the bike in 2016, I need to get outside and ride more on the roads. I haven't yet figured out how to make that work with that pesky 9-to-5. In the meantime, I plan on having a bike trainer-heavy winter to prep for spring. I'd like to invest in a power meter, but that's not in the cards quite yet. So I'll work on the engine for now.

My biggest disappointment for 2015 was that I couldn't log 1500 miles running in '15, my original goal. (I ended 2014 with 1,000 even.) I started the year on track, logging at least 100 miles per month. But I paid for it later when my SI joint went out of whack and my IT bands alternatively flared up.

I really think I was running too much and not doing enough weight training and pre-hab exercises. My SI joint issues resolved with rest and stretching, but I'm still working on the IT band stuff. After a month of almost complete rest, I managed to gut out a marathon in a respectable-for-me time. But then my OTHER IT band started, and is still, bothering me.

I've done a couple runs here and there to round out the year, but it's likely going to be slow-going to get back into real running shape. I'm also doing a LOT of pre-hab/rehab lately. Hopefully, patience and strong glutes will get me there.

I still ended the year with 1,141 miles, 141 more than last year, so that's a small victory.


My goal for this year is to be smart with my training. No more running injuries, no more wasting time in the pool, no more pedaling without purpose. I want to improve and I want to have fun, and I can't do either of those while I'm benched.

Here's to a healthy and wonderful new year.

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