Tomorrow I'm starting my 14-week half-ironman training plan in preparation for the Menomonie Tinman, which is not quite a half-ironman - 1.5/58.5/12.4 instead of 1.2/56/13.1. It's a modified 18-week plan - I shortened it to fit the time I have before my race, and lengthened/increased the frequency of the long bike rides to help me prepare for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds bike race the weekend after my half-ironman.
This'll be the first time in three seasons of racing that I've followed an actual day-to-day training plan - I've always just trained based on intuition and how much time I had. My hope is that this will keep me honest - that a detailed plan will keep me from skipping pool workouts just because I don't feel like doing them.
My goals for the Tinman are pretty aggressive, so I think I'm going to need something structured. My last half-ironman was two seasons ago - a 6:21:06 (46:39 swim / 2:58:16 bike / 2:30:17 run). My goals for this race (which has slightly different lengths) are:
Swim: 49:00 (pace - 1:54/100 yards)
Bike: 3:00 (pace - 19.5 mph)
Run: 1:40 (pace - 8:15/mile)
With a few minutes for each transition, my overall goal is 5:35. In the 2004 event, that time would have given me 11th place (out of 28) overall and 3rd (of 7) in my age group.
The Menomonie Tinman is my early-season test for my A-race - the Lake Geneva Half-Ironman on September 10th. That's an office half-ironman distance, and I'm hoping to push my time down to 5:15 (37:00 swim / 2:45 bike / 1:45 run).