Over the last couple of weeks, I've been trying to put together my overall plan for the next triathlon season. The easy part was picking the races. All I'm focused on for this year is Ironman Arizona. And since this is a pretty pricey race (but well worth it in my opinion!), it pretty much eliminates all other non-essential races. At this point, the only other races I have planned are the Ragnar Relay Del Sol and the Disneyland Half Marathon. The only way I will be adding any other races is if I am lucky enough to get another sponsorship, like the Team Marathon sponsorship I had last year. The hard part of the planning is the training.
I've read a fair amount of books over the last few months, trying get a ton of different viewpoints on ways to train. The Run Less Run Faster book, which I used to qualify for Boston, worked as advertised. If I could apply this book to the triathlon world, I probably would. In fact, that's one option I'm looking at. The tough part of that particular training plan is that it is very intensive, and doesn't really account for any rest, which will almost definitely lead to over-training or injury. Another book I've read is the Triathlete's Training Bible. There's a ton of great info in that book. I'm currently trying to filter through it to see if I can produce an effective plan.
With so many different options out there, it's very hard to know what will work. I suppose that's why many coach's will tell you that triathlon is a multi-year commitment. This is in large part because there is such a trial and error effect in the sport. There's no way to know how your body will act during an Ironman until you do it. So you learn a little each time and try and make improvements.
The other hard part is trying to evaluate your training as it is happening to see if you are improving. And since I will be training just about every day, looking at my daily training results is going to almost have to be a scheduled workout of it's own!
I would love to pay someone to do all the scheduling and analyzing for me, but that's just not realistic, or really even worth it for the level I'm at. I mean, have you seen how much some of these coaches charge? This website ranges from $185 to $900 per month! Maybe if I ever get to the point where I am just on the cusp of qualifying for Kona, then I would maybe sell myself on the streets so I could have some extra cash flow (I'm assuming I would have some buyers...) and hire a coach. But until then, I'm accepting offers from anyone who wants to go ahead and coach me for free! Trust me, it will be well worth your time. And just imagine how great some volunteering would look on your resume!
And just to express my current feelings about developing my own training plan, I found this wonderful photo: