Michelle Blessing, who won the New York Road Runners, 102-story, Empire State Building Run-Up in 1995, was 14th this year! Michelle was the Team USA Triathlon Head Coach for both the Men & Women at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and is a Special Guest Coach for the Bozeman Tritons.
Hello to all of you Bozeman triathletes! Art has asked me to contribute to your blog – I am sure that I can find some interesting things to write about. Some of it will be training oriented, some of it will be racing oriented, and some of it will simply be my crazy personal racing and training experiences.
First of all, I really enjoyed my time in Montana coaching at your camp last spring – and I look forward to coming back again some day. I will also write a bit about some of the training information I presented and I will post some of the material that I did not hand out. But for today:
I actually raced a little bit more seriously this year and it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot – or remembered a lot – along the way and I look forward to sharing some of my stories with you. One of my biggest revelations this year is that I need to do a variety of races in order to not get stale -which has the undesirable outcome where I take two or three years off and gain thirty pounds.
Doing a variety of races, of course, is not ideal for serious training or racing (it is pretty hard to train for a 15 minute stair climb and then do the Pikes Peak marathon!), but for me it is the only way that I can seem to keep motivated to train and not get burned out. For instance, in 2009, I wanted to run some stair climbs in NY, LA, and Chicago. I also wanted to run the Pikes Peak Ascent (3-4 hour race), two other long trail races at altitude, and three sprint triathlons. At first I figured that I should not even try to do all of this – it would not be possible, right? But then I figured “what the heck, why not just see what happens?”
So, how did I manage to work this “variety” out and still race relatively well? I kind of grouped my races together at the beginning of the year, based on what they are and how long they would take. I scheduled two stair climbs for the first part of the year – February and April. I focused my training on losing weight :), base training, some strength training, and adding some VO2 max work. Then I shifted my focus to the sprint triathlons for a few months – June and July. I added in some swimming, a bit more volume overall, and a longer bike every week. After that little stint, I moved to the trail running and Pikes Peak Ascent – July and August. I focused on longer runs at altitude and cut out most of the fast stuff – well for me it was fast!
After a few weeks off, I will go back to stair running for the rest of the year. Short and fast and fun! Best of all, no burn out and pretty good results for an old lady! If you are really racing seriously (for example, trying to win USAT nationals for your age group) this would probably not be the best way to go, but for my purpose (having fun and winning local age group races) it worked.
More about some of the specific training/racing in the next post.
Bozeman Tritons Special Guest Coach
Team USA Triathlon Head Coach for both the Men & Women at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia