Scott Bowe, the fastest amateur at Ironman Arizona in 2015, set some seriously hefty goals for himself going into his big race. They were:
- “Get a Hawaii spot.”
- “Break 9.”
- “Win my age group.”
- “Be the top amateur.”
With an impressive overall time of 8:49:04 (he swam 51:58, biked 4:39:40 and ran 3:12:02), Scott was able to put a stately checkmark next to all four of his race goals. These accomplishments stand as the pinnacle of his race season. But more than that, they represent all the trials he’s overcome to achieve them.
Breaking nine hours for the first time, winning his age group, cementing a spot for Kona 2016 and having his best triathlon season yet didn’t always seem like it was in Scott’s forecast. After a solid 2011 and 2012, his 2013 and 2014 performances lacked consistency. He commented on this period as the time his understanding and confidence of knowing what he needed to do evaporated. Instead of dwelling in his frustration, Scott reflected on how he could make smart adjustments in the saddle and at home.
Here are just a few beliefs that helped position Scott to win his age group at Ironman Arizona.
Your Kids Can Strengthen Your Commitment to Training — Not Weaken It
When Scott got started in triathlons twelve years ago, he was married, without kids and had an enough free time on hands to indulge a pretty serious video game hobby. On top of that, he was overweight. Today, at 36 years old, the much-more-fit Scott is still married, only now he has two precious kids under the age of five. As all athletes with demanding training schedules know, the transition into parenthood is a tough one. Scott handled his with grace.
Before kids, it was easy for Scott to fit the majority of his training in after work. Now, his limited free time forces him to train when he knows he has the time to spare. His workouts during weekdays happen either before work around 5:00 am or at lunchtime. Committing to training during these two pockets of time is how Scott became more consistent with his training. And the mentality that made it all stick:
“If it doesn’t happen now, it’s not happening.”
Carving out dedicated times to train was just the first step toward improvement. The second was learning how to make the most of every minute he had available to workout. Enter indoor training with TrainerRoad.
The First Step Is Deciding You Want to Win
“Do I want to just be a weekend warrior, or do I want to win?”
That was the question Scott asked himself after becoming a father and realizing 5-hour-long rides every weekend were no longer realistic. The moment he decided he wanted to be a winner, he started training indoors more often.
Scott first started indoor training a few years ago about once per week. His early experiences were with video workouts, and more recently, video-game inspired training software. Since then, his goals and aspirations as a triathlete have gotten more serious. And with it, so have the expectations he has for his training tools. Scott learned it was difficult for him to get in a structured workout when he was riding, albeit virtually, with other athletes. This drawback lead him to discover TrainerRoad prior to his Ironman Arizona age-group victory.
To prepare for his triathlon event, Scott typically did three bike workouts per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. His goal power for Ironman Arizona was 235 watts for the bike leg, so during these workouts, he focused on increasing power for specific durations over time.
His swim workouts were four times a week, which fell on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and Saturdays. He ran every day of the week, sometimes twice a day. The double runs came into play during the first block of his Ironman Arizona prep when he wanted to break his long runs into two runs. During the second block of his build prep, he did them as a single long run.
Here’s what Scott’s typical training schedule looked like leading up to Ironman Arizona.
Perfect Is The Enemy of Great
Scott is not an athlete who takes the mental side of preparing for a triathlon lightly. For years, his overanalyzing and mental stress played to his detriment. That was until he reassessed how he was preparing for his events. After some reflection, he realized he was spending too much time thinking. He finally decided,
“I just need to shut my brain off and stop thinking and worrying so much about making things perfect.”
As Scott notes in one of his blog posts, it’s really easy to get caught up in a trap of trying to lay out a perfectly periodized and planned-out progression. Life stuff always comes up. What you have to do is roll with the punches. Like our head coach Chad Timmerman always recommends to our athletes, if you find yourself missing 2-3 days of training because you were either feeling a little under the weather, went on vacation, or something unexpected came up, just pick up your training where you should be and leave those missed workouts in the past.
Triathlon training requires blinders. There are always going to be distractions you encounter, whether it be a new crop of shiney physiological buzzwords, a fancy study or a blog post outlining some leading-edge training theories. These things will attempt to pull your focus away. Don’t let them — be blind to it all. At the end of the day, you’ll get your best results when you simply put your head down, do the work and stick to your training plan — even in the times you might be discouraged by your progress. That’s what Scott Bowe’s experiences have taught him.
Are you preparing for a triathlon? Our triathlon training plans complete with swim, bike and run instructions, will get you ready for your big event.
For answers to your cycling training questions, listen to our podcast Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.
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