I’d pride myself on being a bit of a science guy.  I actually worked with metrics for 3 years of my life and LOVED it.  What you normally do in most of these situations where you want to introduce change…

1. Observe the system in its current state and record key data points
2. Develop a plan to introduce change
3. Measure changes and observe the system in its new state
4. Analyze changes.  Tweak as needed.
5. Document findings/lessons learned
6. Continue to monitor the system periodically

Yes, I just lost 90% of you with the above.  The point is – whether you are wanting to live a cleaner life, eat better, lose weight, or reduce your run times by 1 minute per mile – when you introduce change to a system you have to understand what you are doing and what the implications are.

What I want to do here is capture some numbers and review these every 3 months or so.  With the initial recording of the numbers – I then can convey the plan I have in place and at the end of the quarter – check measurements and record.

What key measures am I looking at?

Weight: last recorded at the gym at 231.  I feel tomorrow will be around 225-226 at my weight in.  I will update at that time.

Body fat %: the last recorded official measurement I had was 30% and change.  I’ll leave it at that.  With only 30-35 pounds to really lose yet, maybe a few more, 5 pounds will have a profound effect on my bf%.  So, I’m going to use whole numbers here.

FFM: 161 pounds.  This is HIGHLY important to me.  At this stage of my training, I’d like to keep every single pound of FFM.

Goal weight: 190.  Over the years, this might shift downward if I want to get faster.  For now, I want to keep power over slimming out.  I’m not interested in winning ironman.  I’m interested in getting extremely healthy and having a strong outing and still having the stamina to mow the damn grass.

Estimated BF percent at goal: 15%.  I am getting this by subtracting my FFM from my body weight and dividing that by my bodyweight.  So – 29 pounds/190 = 15%.

So – big picture here is:

1. Ensuring I am having at least 100g per day of protein on non-fasting days.  I read about how to “preserve” muscle is to get .6g of protein per pound of lean body mass.  This has me about 100g.  Years ago – I’d cut calories to 1200 and eat mostly pastas/breads to “carb load” for running.  I’d have close to no fat.  1-2 months in, I’d be 20-30 pounds down, but injure myself and find that I’d have lost a lot of muscle and strength.
2. Ensure no less than 1600 calories on non-fasting days.  I don’t really count calories anymore, but I am conscious of them.  On some days, I have nothing.  Usually 2-4 Fridays a month I call “Fasting Fridays”.
3. Train to improve health and lose weight, first.  Times are secondary.  Ideally, I will first trim from 230 to 190 over the next 6 months.
4. Train to improve times, but even marginal gains are ok as long as all items above are met.
5. Increase training load, but also take rest weeks and use training peaks of 2-3 weeks with a rest week.  At 30-40 pounds still overweight and 43 years old, I have to be conscious of stress fractures, back spasms, heart attacks, etc.

While these numbers will be updated frequently, I really will only care about quarterly measures.  I will set quarterly goals.  For example, my 5k run in the Turkey trot was 11:30 or so per mile.  I will set a goal of 11:00 for a mile for my next race 2/10.  I am caring about my race pace being driven down, not my training pace.

I’ve written a little about zone 2 training.  I’m about to add a lot of this to my life shortly.  I took this entire week off due to overtraining with running the previous 3 weeks.  Starting to feel much better.  Going to hit the next week with volume dialed back a little and pace up a little.  My zone 2 was around 122-123 bpm and I’m going to take this to 126-127 as I think this is closer to my mid-zone 2 pace.

I’ve also set up my old bike downstairs with a dumb trainer and tried Zwift.  I feel this experience would be SOOOO much better with better equipment.  For now, all I want to do is spin a little to not lose too much over the winter.   All of the videos I’ve watched now really make me jealous of their setups.  I can afford to do it, but you can drop 10k within 15 minutes if you’re not watching your wallet.  I feel this is something I want to grow gradually.

So – this is the setup.  What you don’t know, and I didn’t know, was that bike is way too big for me.  I bought it when I was nearly 400 pounds and needed a bike that could support me.  However, for sizing, it’s WAYYY off.  My “good bike” doesn’t have the quick release and I might look that up to swap out.  So – my old bike is not extremely comfortable for fit, which then can cause all kinds of issues.

I want to probably look into, for next fall, to take this one…

And swap out for this one – again, not sure what to do since I do not have quick release.  What I am thinking about is in the fall to get a wahoo kicker and just do the chain mount.

I also bought some cheap TT bars for the red bike to see how they work, get a good fit, etc.  I won’t need to really use them until August, but having never used them, it might be a change.  There are trade offs with it, and at this moment still having 30-40 pounds in my mid section, the fit/oxygen might not work out well.

Events

In 2019, I’m looking to be a participant, spectator, and grouper.  I finally found a facebook group with 80 or so local tri people.  My guess is all of them are far more skilled than me.  I could be shy and embarrassed, but I’m going to take that opportunity to try and learn from experienced people.

Participant?  I found some events on trifind.com.  I think I’m also going to use the groups to find the best events.  I watch a guy on youtube called “Triathlon Taren”.  Great personality, but also delivers a lot of geeked out information to help you learn the sport.  It’s been interested to see him travel to events all over the world for half ironmans.  His coverage and participation at Coeur D’Alene showed a GORGEOUS environment that looks very scenic.  So – as I get more interested in the sport, it seems like I might be able to find some really cool regional races and get the low downs on where to stay, how to train for them, etc.  It might be cool to travel to North Carolina for a week for a race and spend time meeting up with one or two of the 20 some people I know there now.  I remember 20 years ago running along the beach at St. Augustine, Fl and how amazing I felt with the sea air.  Running on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ with some of my HS friends and how great I felt.  I remember as a kid going to Chincoteague/Assateague island and biking for hours and catching the scenery.  I just feel my days of going on any kind of vacation to stuff myself like a pig is over.

With that – my first races I have…

Feb – indoor tri.  10 min swim, 30 min bike, 20 mins run.  “C” race and warm up for the year.

August – first triathlon.  I picked this because it starts with 300m of swimming in a pool outdoors then going to 15 min of biking and then 5k run.  I am really sketchy about open water swimming.  Not there yet.  I want to try it this year, and meet with the local group who does it by me, but not there yet for a race.  Nope.  I am also really sketchy with cold water.  I know people wear wet suits when it’s COLD,  but when wet suits are not allowed, but the water is FRIGID to me – that is not my schtick.  I want to get to 185-190 prior to buying a wet suit, so my guess is about 15 months from now I will be wetsuit shopping.

November – turkey trot 5k.  I placed 2449/4100 or so.  It was 21 degrees, 13 with wind chill.  I think a lot of the pretenders stayed home.  My guess is I would have gotten 2600th/2700th out of 5000.  My goal for November is to run 8-9 min miles and finish 1000th-1500th out of 5000.  This might be doable.

So – only 3 races?  Yeah.  I will probably want to add a 5k to this (Meelard Shuffle at my old HS), but it might be a week before my first tri and I don’t know enough if this would screw me up with all of their taper talk.  I might just do it to do it and not try to do a zone 4 run.  Don’t know yet.  I might do a late spring 5k.  The indoor tri is controlled by a treadmill, and I think they add an incline – so hoping to get an 11:00 mile or better averaged for 20 mins.

There is also a triathlon in  York every year – this is one I want to go watch and maybe meet some of the local triathlon group.  I’d like to see how they set up transitions.  What they recommend for clip pedals, what gear they are using (tri kits?)

Fuel

Most of the sport you see people using gels and “nutrition” on rides.  I think most people know I’ve been on keto for a year and you don’t really need this for endurance.  You become “bonk proof”.  The ONLY time I have ever bonked was a day after a cheat day.  I had 2 slices of pizza and French fries for dinner and a cheeseburger for lunch.  I know!!  Mega cheat day!!  Well, the next day I was going to bike 25 miles and decided I was going to burn off those extra carbs.  Well, about 20 miles in, I bonked.  My legs started feeling really weird.  A few weeks later I biked 27 with no issues.  Point is – the ONLY long distance issues I’ve had only existed when I introduced a LOT of carbs the day before.

I need to research this a lot more.  For Sprint tris – there’s probably not much if any fuel needed for a keto, fat adapted athlete.  I can tell you when I did a long distance ride, when I turned around at the halfway point, I had some peanuts and a pickle and I was riding with my hair on fire on the way back.  With keto – I think the big deal is salts.  I want to research this more – as sodium, potassium, etc are very important for heart function and keto doesn’t store this stuff as much in glycogen stores.  I heard some use salt packets every so often.  I’d like to geek out on this!!

That all being said – my fuel when I’m not running, biking, or swimming is keto – but I try to get 100g or more of protein a day on non-fasting days.  I’d like to take my FFM from 161 to maybe 163 or 165.  Given I’ve been weight training for over 27 months, adding muscle at this stage is not easy.  I have ONE thing going for me.  Most of my weight training has been ONE day a week for those 27 months.  As I get down to 200-195-190, I plan on adding a second, and perhaps third day a week of weight training.  More on that another time, but right now, it’s hard to get in the second day at the gym during the week.  I may be doing that here at 4AM on Wednesdays, but my focus right now is getting my run times in order for the military and get my weight down QUICKLY.  I feel weight training and 1-2 pounds of fat loss per week is the IDEAL weight loss.  However, I’m under the gun a little to get another 5-10 pounds off in a short time, so it’s possible running and LISS might be my best short term device to do this – as long as I’m not losing FFM.

GEAR

Well, you can actually have an entire blog/vlog just on the gear.  DC Rainmaker does a lot of these reviews already on YouTube.  What I want to use this section for is to go over some of the essentials I’m looking for in the next 1-2 years.

Running – Really good running shoes.  I got a pair of under armor shoes for my birthday and pretty much have already put about 70 miles on them.  I don’t like them as much as my old under armor shoes.  The new ones I have were inexpensive and I found online – some bought them for me for my birthday.  My next pair will be something I really do my research on and find a running store.  I’m about to get to a point where 3-4 months from now I will be running 20-30 miles a week and want to make sure I’m protecting my feet, back, and hips.  Cost – low

Swimming – There’s a couple things I need for my August tri – new goggles and a better swim suit.  However, the tri I do in August I may have a tri kit, so the swim suit would be for training.  I’m also looking to get flippers, hand paddles, a snorkel, pool buoy, and “floaty pants” as I heard them called.  I also need a HR monitor I can use in the pool.  The fitbit I have is swim proof and records laps, but doesn’t do HR in water.  Next year, I may want to get a wet suit to do some open water swimming with groups.  Cost – low to moderate

Biking – This is where I can drop paycheck upon paycheck easily.  However, I wish to really monitor this so I can try and justify more costs.  I’m not going to spend \$8,000 on a tri bike to go from 12 mph to 12.5 mph.  What am I interested in?  See below. Cost – Shit ton.  Here’s the caveat though – for most of these races, the most time you are using is in the saddle on the bike.  I can improve my swim times by maybe 30-45 seconds per 100yd.  That might be 6-8 minutes in an 800m swim.  I can take my run times naturally down from 11:30 to maybe 8:00 in the next 8-10 months with 40 pounds loss.  With biking – for biking 12-15 miles, I might be able to improve my power and speed SIGNIFICANTLY.  I might be a 100-135W rider right now, don’t know.  Never did an FTP test.  Can’t do it right now without a smart trainer.  Maybe the below over the next 12-24 months takes me to an FTP of maybe 240-270 watts.  While I bike about 12mph on the gravel trails now, I then may have a potential to street ride at 18-23mph.  This is a MASSIVE jump, and given most of triathlon time is bikes – this is where I can get my BEST gains.

• more bike shorts.  Just bought my first pair and have yet to use them.  One problem I have run into with all of this weight loss is “padding on the posterior” has decreased, significantly.  These aren’t cheap.  I’d like to get a few more pairs so you can just throw in one load on the weekends.
• Pedal clips/cleats.  I went to Gung Ho bikes near me and I’m fucking lost.  There’s angles, different brands, types, it’s just unnecessarily complicated.  This requires talking with bike people and then talking to them more.  The cost for this might be \$150-200.  I can see the benefits, especially with pulling on the up-pedal, or whatever that’s called.
• Road rims/tires.  I bought a gravel bike.  What I’d love to be able to do is ride this bike as my every day bike on the rail trail and across the BIG gravel near me to get to the trail.  When I want to do road rides, I want to be able to swap out the rims/tires with thinner rims/tires.  I remember having one of those skinny tire bikes when I was 10-12 or so and it is just FAST on roads.  I’ve tried asking the question to my local bike group and either they weren’t tracking me or I’m some sort of idiot or something.  My tires are a little wider and have more tread than road tires.  I don’t want to have to change tires/tubes every time I swap between.  I’d like to have other rims/tires I can just swap out.  I just spent a LOT of money on my “gravel” specialized bike due to 95% of my riding being on a gravel trail.  I’d like to be able to use it on the road and ride a lot faster with skinnier tires, with minimal hassle.  This might not be cheap, but doable, I think?
• Indoor trainer.  For the fall, when I’m 185-190 pounds, I’m going to be looking into this more and I might go for the gold on this.  This would be my “goal gift” to myself.  After losing 186 pounds and being 186 pounds – it will be a gift to myself to help keep me healthy for the rest of my life.  This would be one of the cool setups you see.  I would like to use my red bike for this rather than the ill fitting gray bike I bought.  This would then use the kicker lift, a fan, a flat screen TV to project the Strava, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, etc.
• Tri bars.  I bought some cheap ones for \$15 just to see how they work.  I think by the time August comes around, I might upgrade this.
• Bike computer.  Right now, I’m just using my iPhone.  This has been working well, but what happens when I’m caught in some rain?  I have an iPhone 6s.  Not water proof.  Some of those computers would then connect to your cadence, HR, etc, and these might be better for recording workouts for the best apps.

Triathlon in general

• Triathlon kit.  Not buying this until I’m much closer to my goal weight.  These things will show the extra 10 pounds you really want to lose.  Not interested in that.  That being said, I have struggled with how people actually do these events without a tri kit.  I mean, do you wear swim trunks and then bike immediately after on those hard ass seats?  Then, when still wet, are you running 5k and getting all of that chafing?  Yikes!!!
• Websites/apps.  I have a few training sites I want to join, one in particular has coaching.  It’s not free.  Right now, I have no way to justify \$18 a month for Zwift when I don’t have a smart trainer.  It’s not really good with a dumb trainer, and my cadence/speed sensor doesn’t really do me too well on it.  It was worth \$200 to get the setup.  For now, it will just be better to use the app with the sensors and bike free while watching some TV.
• sun glasses.  Apparently, glare can be a real thing.  I’ve seen triathletes use these for riding/swimming
• Socks.  This is a subject I could ask 100 people about and get 100 different answers.
• Transitions/keto fuels.  This might be where I’d use endogenous ketones.  Not sure what to pack or how to ensure no one steals your shit.  I mean pros get done biking and then immediately jump off and go running.  Aren’t any of them worried about their \$10,000 bike?

OK – that wraps this one up.  I have about 60 items I want to write about, but the objective here might be to reach out to a few more of you to do some networking and build my knowledge of the sport.