As I’ve segued back into a structured training plan, I’ve been surprised at how little my appetite has changed. Today when I got to master swim practice, I saw our coach for the first time in a few weeks as he’s been traveling. The first thing he said was ‘Mike, you’re looking skinny!’ We got to talking about the balance of weight loss and triathlon training and I realized the importance of this base phase that I’m in.
I’m self coaching myself and using just about every resource available. There is a lot (a LOT) of literature out there about triathlon training, and I would say that a ton of it is conflicting. Not that this is surprising, when diving into any subject with quantitative and qualitative areas it’s usual to have different opinions and point of views. With that said, there is a lot of debate around what to do in the base phase. Some say that you should focus on short, hard intervals and training that is very different from your race specific training, while others say long and easy is the way to go – and everything in between.
In trying to put additional focus and attention on my biking and swimming, It’s made the most sense for me to go the ‘long and easy’ route. I’m running a fair amount, and will look to average 30-40 miles per week (mpw) over the next 2 months, maybe a bit more. The difference is that it is very easy running. Today I ran for 1 hour and averaged 8:42/mile. The easy mileage I’m putting in has so many benefits. I’m building up my aerobic engine and endurance without taxing my legs too much. This enables me to nail my cycling workouts while still getting in some solid mileage. It also is giving me a chance to lose some of the holiday/off-season weight as the easier mileage means my body is burning fat for the most part rather than glycogen and sugar. When I finish an easy hour run I’m not hungry and it’s much easier to manage my appetite versus when I start introducing more quality in the coming weeks and months.
The base phase definitely contains a lot of training that isn’t very stimulating. I’m certain that I’m laying a foundation that is going to have me ready to put in some real work as I continue building towards Ironman Coeur d’Alene and I’m excited to continue on this journey.