August 23, 2017

Vineman Training Update #1 – Practicing Darth Vader Breathing

Lover's Lane in San Francisco's Presido

It’s been nearly 10 weeks since I started training for Vineman and so far so good.

There has been challenging times like adjusting my swimming schedule, doing bricks on Wednesday morning and making sure I eat and hydrate appropriately. I now have found my rhythm

My long runs are now up to 1.5 hours and my long bikes are 2.5 hours which will start to increase steadily over the next ten weeks (peaking at 4 hours before the final 10 week push begins).

So far (knock on wood) no injuries and I’m feeling pretty good about meeting the challenge (although I still feel that pit in my stomach now and then).

Training Schedules Are Key

One of the things I did was to lay out my training schedule in Excel. I know, kinda nerdy but it helps me plan my training and my life.

As my training model, I’m using Be Iron Fit by Don Fink. It’s a great book and has a lot of practical advice on training and making the time to train.

Don’s training plans go in three, ten week cycles and he has three different programs (competitive, just finish and intermediate). I’m doing the intermediate program.

All three have a base phase, build phase and peak phase which increases duration and intensity as you train for the event. By gradually increase your time and intensity, you build your body up to take on the Ironman distance challenge.

The training schedule I’m using is listed below:

  • Monday: Rest

  • Tuesday: Swim/Run

  • Wednesday: Bike/Run

  • Thursday: Swim/Bike

  • Friday: Run (Swim will be added during the build phase)

  • Saturday: Long Bike

  • Sunday: Long Run

The one thing that I have learned to really appreciate is the rest day. In the past, I would train everyday and thought that was the best way to get better. It turns out, I was wrong.

Rest is just as important as activity because your body needs time to absorb all that training and recover from stress and strain you put it under.

Rest days are also great for getting errands done and hanging out with family and friends.

Darth Vader Breathing

One thing I’m experimenting with is breathing. I first found out about the importance of breathing after reading Body, Mind and Sport by John Douillard. In the book, Dr. Douillard explains why nose breathing (instead of mouth breathing) is not only more efficient but makes you more relaxed. I won’t get into all the science behind it but when you practice breathing through your nose, you slow down, you are more conscious of your movements and your heart rate drops. It takes time and patience but when done right, you always feel in the zone.

The best way to describe the technique is to breath so you sound like Darth Vader. At first, this is going to be really, really hard. It just does not feel natural to breath through your nose while running or biking but after a while (weeks to months), you will start to feel more relaxed and actually refreshed after a workout.

Building Phase is Next

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll start the building phase of my training which will increase the intensity and duration. I’ll also add another swim to the mix. Thankfully, the weather has been kind to me and I hope it continues that way. Onward to Vineman!