Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lessons learned in my first 2 months of Ironman training

Ice Breaker Time Trial

^^ That’s me racing in the Ice Breaker Time Trial on March 1, 2009.

It's been over 2 months since I started my official Ironman training program on January 5th. So far this year:
  • 77,000 yards in the pool
  • 954 miles on the bike
  • 125 miles running
That is more swimming and cycling than I did in the first 6 months of 2008. I was doing better on my running last year, but that's because I was training for a marathon last year and wasn't recovering from a foot surgery like I am now. I have been executing on the plan that I set out for myself back in January very consistently. There's been a few times when I had to modify my workouts for the week due to work load or being sick but I only missed a couple workouts and not any important ones.

I've learned a few tricks that have helped me stay motivated and avoid injury.

Log your training. I've been logging my training for a few years now, but Ironman training has made me appreciate it even more. Nothing motivates me more than comparing my totals for this year with last year or seeing that I am only 10 miles away from meeting my weekly or monthly goal. I use to log my training. Here's the link to my personal log:

Have a plan but remain flexible. Having a plan is instrumental to training for something as big as the Ironman. Simply doing what you are up to on a given day is Ok when training for sprint and olympic distances, but it does not cut it for the Ironman. Having a plan makes you more disciplined and accountable. There isn’t a one size fits all plan that works for everyone. Some people choose to work with a coach, but it is certainly possible to build your own plan without hiring a coach. I went a bit OC on my plan and planned my workouts on a daily basis all the way through June 21. I uploaded a copy of my plan here: However, sometimes life gets in the way, a foot of snow falls on the ground or you simply feel a bit under the weather. It’s important to be able to adjust and cut your workouts short, move them around when possible or even skip them entirely, especially if you feel too tired or on the verge of getting sick. Skipping one workout won’t hurt your training. Getting sick or injured and having to skip an entire week will.

Commit yourself by joining a team or taking a class. When you have to put in 15+ hours of training a week on a regular basis, it can get a bit old if you do most of it on your own. Working out with other people makes it more of a social experience. You get to chat with other folks, you push each other to go harder, the workout goes by faster. This year, I do some form of group training a couple times a week in all three disciplines. I go to a triathlon swimming class twice a week. Coach Eric taught me a lot of really neat drills that improved my balance and efficiency. I also go to a Masters Swim workout twice a week where coach Justin makes us do hard interval workouts. I join a local runners group for a track workout every week. I am also on a Wines of Washington cycling team. I go on team rides on the weekends and race in road races and time trials which makes me a stronger rider.

Lots of folks including some local athletes training for the same Ironman have asked how I manage to train outside through the winter months. I am always surprised to hear this question. It’s Seattle! It’s rarely below freezing around here. This winter has been particularly nice – there haven’t really been any rainy days either. I only had to ride in the rain a couple times through January and February. All you have to do is bundle up and that’s not a problem. REI has plenty of cool winter gear handy :-)


Boris said...

i'm in awe that you do all this and are *still* on a "beginner" website... way to go :)

Boris said...
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