I hooked up with an IMCDA Facebook group put together by an outfit that offers online coaching. They posted a video yesterday where the head coach guy mostly talked about the Coeur d'Alene course (he said the bike was the third-hardest of the Ironman bikes, after Wisconsin and Lake Placid). But more interesting for me was his advice on how we should be approaching our training five months before the race.
Before I tell you his advice, if the very fact of this blog doesn't give it away I'll say point-blank that my complete and utter focus today, as it has been from December 21 on, is on Coeur d'Alene. What will get me to CDA in shape to have the race I want to have, that's where I'm at. I'm working my ass off to avoid becoming sidetracked by some seductive, muddy 25K in February (Hagg Lake) or a thrilling big-city marathon in April (Boston).
So here's the funny thing: The coach says I should be doing exactly the opposite. He says I should be thinking about a race in March or April, anything to keep my mind off CDA. He says it's too soon to think about CDA, that I'll be "burned out" in three months when the real training has to get going.
Talk about not being on the same page.
But I think I know why we have such divergent takes on things. He figures he's feeding two types of people when he ladles out his advice: nervous first-timers who, if they think about CDA now, will freak out and overtrain; and crazy young agro-tri freaks who if they think about CDA now, will overtrain. Me, I fall into neither camp. I'm your basic kinda lazy middle-aged veteran who understands what needs to be done five months before the race: slow and steady progress on the volume. No intensity on the run, just a little bit on the bike. (The pool? I dunno; it's swimming.)
I'm not going to burn myself out by approaching all my training in the context of CDA. Quite the opposite: If I put a race on the schedule in March or April, that's what would screw me up. I could call it a C race, but that would be a meaningless designation; I'd still go all out. (You think I got all those PRs last year by racing easy?) No, what I need to do is not race, and just train, just put in the miles, slow and steady.
Oh, also, the coach basically said that getting your training revved up in April, giving you eight or nine weeks, would be plenty of time. Chalk up one more disconnect between me and the coach! True, mid-April to mid-May is the time to bring it all together for some super-intense training. But you're going to need a solid platform upon which to base that effort, right? I don't know. This guy coaches tons of people and he usually seems like he knows what he's talking about, but these two aspects of his approach to IMCDA sure don't seem to fit for me.