One the ride was over, I knew that I had done everything I could since June to set myself up for a great race next weekend. I've been riding in the hills, hitting tempo/threshold/VO2 workouts, worked on swimming technique, learned to love swimming without a wetsuit in the open water, and run in the heat of the day all in my efforts to prepare for Augusta. Working out alone helps me to really focus on the work I need to do and stay in the 'zone' to stay sharp. I didn't mind doing 50-70 mile rides alone as it gave me time to work on the mental training aspect. I've also tuned out a lot of the noise around me and turned that focused on me.
But one important piece I added was strength training. All along I knew it needed to be done, but I wasn't giving it my full effort. It was a huge missing link in my performance. I wasn't going in to each race as great as I could be.
Since Patriot, I committed two days a week, ~90 min each session, to my strength/power development. I started working with Steve Tria and Mike Carrozza and the gains were noticed immediately. I didn't want conventional strength training and their philosophies fit right in with mine. They were able to create workouts that fit in with where I was in my training cycle without wearing me down. They kept their watchful eye on me each time I was there. Just when I would lift something, Mike would appear and give me some verbal cue for posture, technique, etc just to be sure I wasn't going to do something stupid. When I would workout on Friday's, Steve would cue up the 80's cardio mix on Pandora. That alone would motivate anyone to get through a workout quickly. Heck, even young Mackenna would show me the proper way to use the bands as fashion accessories (headband, arm bands, scarf, etc).
After next weekend, I head into my longest 'offseason' in a few years. I don't plan on resuming my heavy triathlon training until early February. That doesn't mean I will be doing nothing. I have plenty of offseason goals to achieve that will help me spring into my training in February, ready to go. I am trying to sort out which races I will do next year (I am committed to Mont Tremblant 70.3 and Ironman Mont Tremblant - the rest is still up in the air). I need to figure out which races will help me sharpen my training specifically for Mont Tremblant. I find that adding racing to my schedule helps my actual training. I'm not one that can go months at a time just training. I need to race as a test to see how my training fits together. I also plan on getting into the gym a 3rd day during the week, which is tough to do with my work schedule. I plan on racing short distances this fall, as I do every year (5k, 4miles, 10k - at most). It gives me a nice speed boost and high intensity that is sometimes hard to match.