In series: I, triathlete

In series: I, triathlete

Post by Olli Pihlajam » Thu, 19 Sep 1991 06:08:35

        This is some kind of continuation to Larry Chapman's self
portrait as a triathlete.

                        I, TRIATHLETE

        I am 25-year old family man, programmer, student,
triathlete... from Helsinki, Finland. Triathlons became to my life
spring 1986 when one night in local pub I and couple of my friends
decided to try half distance triathlons. (Maybe we were
drunken...Notice the analogy with Hawaii ironman birth story) I had
some running background and liked sports, but I haven't ever trained
for anything. I had run just for fun.  Triathlon had just came to
Finland and I and couple of my friends were ones of the pioneers here
when forming one of the earliest Triathlon teams here. Our team was
formed just to keep friends together.
        So I decided to buy racing bike. I got cheap japanese Nishiki
Trim Master that proved itself to be very good compared to its price.
I trained little and could easily put the averige speed over 30 km/h
and learned little swim. I took part of 1 1/2-distance race (swim
1.9k, bike 85k, run 21k) in Joroinen that year. I completed that in 5:01
and was amazed how much easier it was that I had thought - despite of
the fact that I had to walk very much in last 14 kilometers.
        That same year I was married to lovely woman, Esteri. In
summer we got girl, Aurora. In Autumn I started my studies in physics
in Helsinki University. Because of my studies we got to move from
little nice town to our capital city. That winter was too hard to me
that I could have trained. However I participated three 1/4 distance
races next year ('87). It was easy to get in the top 30% finishers
those times. I was 14.,21. and 33.  
        In thiat summer I decided again. "I'm will something - maybe
triathlete?!" and started to train. This winter we got our second
child, boy who got name Juhana. That's about that training again. I
changed my studies to Computer Science.  
        In summer (-88) Europian triathlon Championship race in full
distances were arranged here in Joroinen. I participated there (I was
crazy) and thought: "I've trained too little but I just go it
through..." That day was cold and water was about 15.5 C. I wasn't
used to so cold water. I was scared little. My swimming was developed
in last two years (even with little training) and I had swum that full
distance (3.8k) in 1.15 (in pool). When only 300m left I got really
bad cramps in my legs and I was really cold too. My time was then 1.05
and I was doing my best swim... I cried and thought I will never become a
triathlete. These years I participated some running races and did
relatively good times. (eg. 25k 1.27 and marathon 3.23 (half marathon
1.21... too little training kilometers I walked last 10k))
        Then I went working besides my studies and couldn't get time
enough for serious training. And again in -89 I participated only
running races and one triathlon, which I didn't finish because my bike
broke. That winter I decided (again) I put some time and energy for
training and get something. I joined to one swimming team and started
to train seriously. Of course then (in autumn -89) I twist my ankles when
running. (I'm still sure that was cause by my running shoes) Doctors
said, maybe it will nee an operation but later they decided it would
be better without knife. So the whole autumn was walking on crutches.
After Xmas was able to start training again and I swam a lot, because
I was afraid of my ankles. In spring I got very bad sciatica and that
was about that. This summer was terrible in every aspect of my life,
but I run my first marathon without walking a bit.  
        From autumn '90 to spring '91 there were my first relatively full
training season. I did'n train very much but I trained regularly - the
thing I had missed in all those past years. This summer was promising.
I participated 3 1/4-races and got better and better times. First was
2:28 in rainy conditions. Second was 2:16 and third race took 2:24
(but was little bit longer in cycling and run legs than normal
1/4-dist.) The last race was my first race where I could push my
cycling average speed over 35 km/h and it was tough course in windy
conditions too. My last triathlon was 1/2-distance race in last July
and it proved to me that I could do this. I swum that 2.5K in 14.5 C
water in 44 minutes and put my cycling in 2:11 (transitions included)
but couldn't keep my legs running in last 10 K of runnin leg - so the
running part too over 1:50. Total time was 4:46 and seconds and I was
happy for that. My average speed in cycling was for me amazing 37.2
km/h in that 80 km course! Lot of development on bike with only 2000
km training in this summer before the race!
        Now I'm planning my starting season with care and know what to
do. I have learned my weaknesses both in physical and in psychological
sides. I have good swimming coach and lot of different kind of athletes
as a training partners. I just bought mountain bike for winter
training and have really got in this new type of cycling. Nothing
prevents me to be optimistic when thinking next summer!

        My typical training week skeleton (SEASON I, starting level) now is
like following:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
MONDAY:         Swim                    3-4 k   (w/ swimming team)

TUESDAY:        Mountain bike        2*22.5 k   (to/from work; pulse 145)
                Run                      11 k   (pulse 140-150)

WEDNESDAY:      Weights                  30 min
                Swim                    3-4 k   (w/ swimming team)

THURSDAY:       Mountain bike        2*22.5 k   (to/from work; pulse 145)
                Run                      11 k   (pulse 135-145)

FRIDAY:         Mountain Bike        2*22.5 k   (to/from work; pulse 145)
                Swim                  2-2.5 k   (technique)

SATURDAY:       Bike OR                  80 k              \
                Mountain bike           2.5 h   (pulse 130) | Brick if
                Run                      15 k   (pulse 130)/  possible

SUNDAY:         Weights                  30 min
                Run                       8 k   (recovery, pulse 125)
                Swim                    3-4 k   (continuous, with
                                                 team, without coach)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  

TOTALS:         Swim    11-13 k             4 h
                Bike    160-220 k         6-7 h
                Run     45              3.5-4 h
                Weights                     1 h
                                        =======
                                      14.5-17 h/week

* Hours are effective hours

* Swimming is heavily emphasized to interval type training in Mondays
  and Wednesdays

* Mountain bike kilometers are slower than racing bike k's

* On Saturday I try to do one slow but long (4-5 hours) training
  session as a bike/MB-run brick

* When winter gets darker I think there will be more action on Sundays

* Averige running speed in training is 4:30-4:40 (mainly aerobic)

* My week rhythm by quantity (SEASON I: Sep. to Jan):

                ***
            ***<---- new adaptation level              
        ***        *
               *<--- recovery week
           *
Week:   123456789012345...

* Training week hours means hard week quantity

* Quantity rises from start level to 1.5*start level quantity in SEASON I.

* Quality is >90% aerobic training in SEASON I.

* I Split my year as following:

SEASON:   ><     SEASON I     ><  SEASON II  ><PRE-COMP><   COMP  ><OFF
         +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+--
MONTH:  Sep                      Feb            May       July      Sep

RHYTHM:           3:1                 2:1         2:1        1:1

Here RHYTHM means (hard weeks):(recovery weeks) where total week
stress is QUANTITY+QUALITY both combined

Season:         Emphazises on:
------          -------------
SEASON I:       Endurance, aerobic, quantity
SEASON II:      Speed+endurance, anaerobic treshold,
                quantity+increasing quality, lots of bricks
PRE-COMP:       (Anaerobic), anaerobic treshold, speed+endurance,
                race-like exercises, minor races
COMP:           Races and preparing to races
OFF:            Off-season (light training without schedules)

* Various sports can replace ones mentioned in training plan (orienteering,
  skating, snowwalking/running, hill-running etc...)

* My goals in next summer is:   - 1/2-distances in 4:15-4:20 (main goal)
                                  (S: 0:40, B: 2:05, R: 1:30)
                                - 1/4-distances in 2:05-2:10 (secondary)
                                - marathon in 3 hours
                                - 10 k time trial < 15 minutes
                                - 10 k run < 35 minutes

        I'll tell You more about my training and feelings, mistakes
and successes in upcoming training seasons... Good luck for racing and
patience in training for everyone!

        Olli

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