"I love it when a plan comes together." These words were heard every week in the early 1980's on NBC's show, The A-Team. Colonel "Hannibal" Smith could be heard making this comment each time his team worked their way out of a tough situation. Usually, their success was dependent upon their creating a plan out of bits and pieces of things they found laying around.
So it goes for triathletes unable to afford the expense of hiring a full time coach. Even the cheapest of plans for half-Ironman and Ironman training can cost hundreds of dollars. Like The A-Team, thrifty triathletes must piece together a program from what is available for free. Luckily, the Internet minimizes the challenges associated with gathering information for building such a plan.
I've been busy digging up various training programs. Once collected, they will be reviewed for common threads, taken apart, and put back together in a manner that will best suit my needs over the next several months. Like Colonel Smith, I love it when a plan comes together.
The two things I have noted, thus far, is that plans seem to vary considerably on overall schedule and the official program from start to race day will run from 4-5 months. I will likely use a 20-week program as the base, keep Monday as a rest day, and use several four week micro-sessions I've come across for the winter months. It also seems that most of the programs DON'T have strength training included. So, I will continue to sift through available plans and find some that do.
As I start building this, I will be calling upon those of you with half and Ironman experience for your input. And if anyone has a basic plan that worked for them, it would be greatly appreciated if you shared whatever is available. I do, however, acknowledge that such plans tend to be highly personalized. For this first time out, I will personalize my own plan.
Given the goal of finishing, most drills in any discipline will focus on form and endurance. I will incorporate speedwork into the last six to eight weeks, and also into some of the winter micro-sessions. If the journey is half the fun, creating the road map should make things even more interesting.
And if this plan works, I will be able to look at all the money saved and justify using some of it to pay for an IM distance race in 2008. Well, in my head, at least.