Sunday, January 8, 2017

My training volume in 2016

Now for 5 years in a row in January, I have been analyzing my annual training volume as I recorded it in my Garmin account (

Swim (hours/km)
Bike (hours/km)
Run (hours/km)
Other/core strength (hours)
weekly volume (hrs)

2016 was the year with the lowest training volume within the last 5 years; following 2015 that was the year with the highest training volume. Two reasons are to blame:

First, it was yet another very busy year at work with significant projects to be led and delivered all around the region I own. My day job (and sometimes night job too) remains my priority. After all, I have to finance my triathlon equipment and travel to races somehow. But seriously, I am very proud of what my team and I continue to deliver. The amount of travel that goes with it is a lot though, such that, for the first time ever, I’ve earned Lufthansa (Star Alliance) Senator status. This is not a positive thing. I’d rather not have that status and be more often at home. 2017 will continue with the same and more exciting projects … and travel.

The second reason I blame for my low training volume is a knee injury I’ve had since June. Running, unless very slow and on a treadmill, has been very painful. After each hour of running outdoor, my knee needed about 2 days to recover. An MRI check revealed a slightly torn meniscus that requires arthroscopic surgery and would have probably caused my training to stop for 6-8 weeks. I had already signed up for an Ironman 70.3 race in Bahrain though, and was very much looking forward to it. So, I decided to endure the pain, but reduced my running volume.

Eventually, the amount of training was still sufficient to complete the race in Bahrain and even achieve a personal best in a half ironman race. 5.6 hours a week! That’s all the amount of training one needs to finish 1.9 km of swimming, followed by 90 km of cycling and a half marathon, i.e. 21.1 km of running. Of course, this is not sufficient if you want to win the race, or even just your age group. I believe it could have also not been sufficient for completing a race without having had some consistency of training over several years.

Bahrain was certainly the highlight of 2016, and I’ve already shared a day by day report of it in Arabic. However, there is another small highlight too, which is the fact that some company colleagues and I have started a running group that runs twice a week after work and a cycling group once a week on Saturday or Sunday. In fact, without that, and considering my knee pain, I might have run even less. Being active in a group is one of the ways of committing yourself. You cannot find excuses continuously. Unless you are traveling, the only excuse acceptable is that you have an important meeting or conference call. The running group is growing slowly and I think it will be fairly big once the weather gets warmer. The cycling group was only 2-3 people strong, but I’m sure it will grow too. As it looks right now, there is even interest in swimming and participating in one or more triathlon events. (I’d be interested in reading comments from anyone about any sports activities that your company organizes or you and your colleagues do on a regular basis).

My goals for 2017? When I read my blog entries from the beginning of previous years, I see that I barely do half of what I said I was going to do. But, that’s ok. Half of 100% is still greater than half of zero. So, I do have goals for 2017. I need to sort out my knee issue first, but then I’d like to:

  • Get my weekly training volume up to 7 hours a week (total average for the year).
  • As a corporate athlete, maintain and grow the company running and cycling activities, start a swimming group, and hopefully participate in a triathlon with some colleagues.
  • Pick up Ultra distance running again with another colleague of mine with whom I did a couple of Ultra Marathons in 2015.
  • Do the Hannover Maschsee Olympic distance triathlon in September and I really hope my little niece Sherin will join me and do the sprint distance.
  • Consider doing Bahrain IM70.3 again
  • And last but not least, join Mohamad Maso, my new Syrian friend in Hannover to a couple of races. Mohamad is a member of the “Hannover 96 Triathlon” club which has a team in the second Deutsche Bundesliga. He is a talented 23-year old triathlete from war-devastated Aleppo who will be trying to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to represent Syria. I’m considering with him ITU races in Düsseldorf (June 24-25) and Tiszaujvaros, Hungary (July 22-23). Let me know if you want to support him one way or another, e.g. by supporting his travel and/or accommodation cost to a race.

Finally, there is one thing that might jeopardize a lot of the above mentioned goals. I have applied to join the Alpecin Cycling Team (age groupers). In the unlikely event of being accepted, 2017 will become a pure cycling-focused year!!! I think the draw is end of January. Wish me luck!!!!!

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