OK so as I continue to analyze my training/racing this past year, I went back and looked up some numbers for 2012 vs 2013. (2012 was easy b/c I compiled them and wrote up a blog post!) Mostly I just did a quick comparison of total volume in each sport.
I thought I swam a decent amount in 2012... had ~525Kyd. This past year, even with Dec being very small, I swam over 200K more than in 2012! Yikes. That seems absurd at the moment especially given that I only got maybe a hair faster. 525K seems like plenty. No need for 735,000+yd again in 2014.
Again with biking I thought 7,090 miles in 2012 was a lot... but in 2013 I added almost 2000 miles to that, topping out at just over 9000 miles for the year (again with Dec being near zero). My biking did get pretty strong this year but I don't think it was a lot stronger than it has been since 2011. The interesting thing about the bike volume is that is was done by riding frequently, not by riding long. My longest training rides were rarely more than ~80 miles... seriously I think I did maybe 3-4 rides total that were over 90 miles (not including my 2 ironman races). So mostly this was adding up a ton of 35-45 mile rides. A lot of this riding was quite hard as well but without monitoring HR or power I can't really quantify how hard. Given my racing results though I'd go out on a limb and call it too much and too hard.
My run volume was actually only a little higher in 2013 vs 2012... I came up with 1520 miles this year vs ~1480 last year- but again, Dec was very low volume running so this is mostly an 11 month total. The vast majority of those run miles this year were done by feel vs by HR and the end result was 2 of my slowest ironman marathons in years, so clearly running by feel is not a method that works for me. Without a doubt I need a leash to hold me back on my easy runs- making sure they are legitimately easy vs just adding unnecessary stress without even contributing to metabolic efficiency. I do think run volume works for me but I need to go about monitoring the intensity differently.
I do think there are a few good things about that training I did... I believe the volume might prove to be beneficial once I shed the excess fatigue (after ~4 weeks of doing next to nothing it seems to be mostly gone now). It's been interesting though as I've strapped my HR monitor back on this past week. All those run miles did NOT make me more aerobically efficient on the run. Isn't that crazy?!? I remember when Lucho started coaching me in 2011 and he was watching my HR/pace on the run and told me that I was not aerobically fit and I was totally offended thinking WTF I'd done like 10 Ironmans or whatever how was it possible I was not aerobically fit??? But he was right! And even though I hated it (at first), I was diligent about my run training that year and per his instructions I held back A LOT in training (but put in the miles for sure) and low and behold that was the year I had my best triathlon runs- both 70.3 and Ironman marathons.
So now here I go strapping my HR monitor on again and I find my ability to run with HR in the 140's is not good (it's getting better fast though in a week I'm a minute/mile faster at that low HR). But I was fooling myself this whole past year running my 'easy' runs probably with HR in the 160's and that is not actually 'easy' and it did not work out well for me. Turns out, simply running a lot does not make me aerobically fit. Have to do those miles at the right intensity if I want the right results! :) So, in 2014 I'm going back to the Lucho method of run training (ok, bike too) focusing primarily on MAF running for the next few months then will do my quality mostly with long tempo runs once my HR monitor tells me I'm ready for that. This time around I'm actually enjoying the process because I'm confident it's the right path for me! Cheers to 2014! Happy New Year!