In the “Triathletes Training Bible,” Friel talks about big workouts that confirm that your training is working and progressing to your goals. I think this is an incredibly important concept for newbies to grasp.

This is the first year I’m going to do a 70.3, so I am new at the training for it. I set some goals based on olympic distance performances but don’t know how effective that is. For example, does doubling the bike time and then adding 20% create an effective goal time? I don’t know! So how can I answer that question if I have never biked double the olympic distance plus about 22%? That’s where the confirmation workouts come in and provide the answers.

I have spaced out a few confirmation workouts to see how things will go and if my target times are indeed doable. This is important to me because lagging far behind my goal time in a race is a sure-fire-way to kill my enjoyment of the race and make me really mad at myself.

So here’s how I am planning the confirmation workouts, with some basic timelines based on a Sept 8, 2012 race-day.

1. Ride 56 miles outside and run 13 miles in the same week and record the times and speeds as baselines this last week of May. I have 20 pounds to lose, which means I’ll be faster when I lose that weight, and I’m not in great shape right now.  Then I want to do this each week of June as my long workouts. My long swim workout will be a 2800m outdoor swim or 3000 yard pool swim.

2. Ride 56 miles one day and then run 13 the next day once per week in July. This starts getting me ready to put the bike and run together. I should be meeting my race goal times or within 10% during these workouts.

3. Last weekend of July is my first rehearsal day. The last Saturday of July, I’ll do a full-on bike and run brick race rehearsal at about 85% effort to see how it feels. This is supposed to build my confidence that I am on track for my race goals and that I can put it all together on race day.  I am not doing the swim in this rehearsal because that’s my best element and I’m confident I’ll come out of the water feeling good and warmed-up more than tired and ready to take a short break on the bike. This will be a Saturday morning workout followed-by a family camping trip, so adding the swim doesn’t really work time-wise. Anyway, I should come in within 10% of my race goal times. Based on this rehearsal, I can make changes in my workouts and have one month to get something out of the change.

4. During the month of August, my long workouts for bike and run will be a bit longer than the actual race distances. This puts my body and mental state in a condition that is ready for more than the race will give me. And it makes the race just another workout…albeit a really intense workout.

5. I’m thinking I’ll do a 10-day taper that includes a family camping trip and some fishing over Labor Day weekend.