So, my buddy Drew and I pulled the trigger on IM FL, which will take place on Nov. 5 in Panama City Beach, Florida. It wasn't exactly our first choice, as far as ironman distance races go, but we have a couple friends who wanted to do this one, and we figured it would be a fun gathering when the time comes. Cath decided to take a pass, and instead focus more on performance training with a personal trainer, and maybe some shorter distance events. Unlike her husband, she had a pretty active year - a 70.3, two marathons (including a BQ!) and an ultramarathon - so I think she wants to recuperate a bit in 2011, but is supportive of me wanting to get back off the bench and into the ironman game. And I'm super-excited to get going again - it feels like it's been forever since I crossed the line in Wisconsin, and I've felt a bit rudder-less without an IM event on the schedule, so I'm happy.
I'm anticipating using the same Don Fink plan as I did for IM Wisconsin last year, which I found to be extremely reasonable in terms of a time commitment. Lord knows you can give your entire life to IM preparation, and generally improve your ultimate performance as a result, but I'm just not that interested in going to that extreme. I enjoy training as much as the next slightly-unbalanced triathlete, but double workouts every day and dozens of century rides is beyond my level of dedication and interest. The Fink plan (as detailed in his book "Be Iron Fit") is 30 weeks in length, and provides three different training plans depending on how motivated you are to crush the race - "Just Finish," "Intermediate," and "Competitive." I think I started with the Competitive plan last year, but pretty quickly found that it required more than I was interested in giving, so backed off to the Intermediate schedule. Even cheating a bit with the Intermediate plan, I still felt that I was in pretty good form for the race in Wisconsin, and never really felt burnt out with the training.
But the training plan doesn't start until April of next year, so between now and then I'm thinking of trying to build a little strength with the help of a personal trainer. I don't do much strength stuff during IM training, so now I think is a good time to get serious before the swim-bike-run takes over. I do some strength stuff now, but I know I don't go as near as hard on myself as a trainer will, so that's probably the way to go. Otherwise, my exercising is pretty pedestrian - swim, bike, and run once (maybe twice) per week, strength stuff twice per week, and one or two off days. Nothing over an hour per session. Easy stuff.
But the New Year will bring more intensity and volume, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. Should be a fun ride.