Based on a review of my Ironman races:
1999 Ironman Florida 11:54:41
2000 Ironman California 12:02:51* Long swim
2001 Ironman California 10:55:51
2001 Ironman Canada 11:13:13
2002 Ironman Canada 10:41:29
2003 Ironman Canada 10:48:56
2003 Ironman Florida 10:22:41
2004 Ironman Canada 10:55:27
2006 Ironman Canada 11:15:05
2007 Ironman Canada 10:50:46
See a theme there?
"If you change nothing ... Nothing changes"
Except for the races where I blew up (reduced to walking alot of the marathon in 01 / 06 IMC), I seem to be stuck in a rut of finishing right around 10:50. Don't get me wrong, anytime you cross the line at an Ironman race, *regardless* of finish time, it is a victory in my opinion. BUT, *and it is a big but* you know deep down in the dark recesses of your brain, you have a certain goal or time that would validate all the sacrifice and struggle of the huge training volume over a season.
I guess you can't expect to get different results by following the same protocol season after season so I plan on mixing it up next year. If i'm going to put in the training hours, a given as always, why not push it? I don't necessarily mean an increase in hours because I think the law of diminishing returns applies here. I mean training smarter.
I have a computrainer that has been nothing more then an glorified trainer based on my usage. I plan on exploring more of its features such as using its ergo mode to train at a certain power / wattage level. I also plan on seriously considering the option of training with power (powermeter)- it almost seems like a necessity at this point to get to the next level. I will join the Nike Masters Swim program. They meet twice a week and it would definitely be a good idea based on my swim times going south lately. Finally, I am going to have a more balanced approach over the winter vs. strictly running. Granted, I plan on focusing on the run during the winter months but I will not eliminate or ignore the swim / bike stuff. I just want to have a SOLID aerobic base across all disciplines come April vs. playing catch-up and jumping right into my first 20hr week in Late April as I did this year.
Here's a link to some great training articles for anyone interested.
I know I've mentioned it before but if you have some time, pour a BIG cup of coffee and read the "Hadd's approach" article available through the link above. Yeah, none of the sexy fast stuff there ala track workouts, etc but long-course racing is an AEROBIC engine exercise and focus should be placed there. The ability to run 5 minute miles probably won't come into play during your race! ;-) Also, great stuff in the other articles.
That's it. Simple.
I'm all in for 2008.
Now excuse me while I head out for a run. :-)