Sunday, November 9, 2014

All in a Week's Work

Occasionally people ask me what training for an Ironman is like. As a new professional triathlete who also has to work a full time job, it is difficult task that requires good time management, some sacrifices, and the support of some wonderful people. Here is a very close look into the third week of my final three week build in preparation for Ironman Cozumel. Hopefully it provides some idea of the time and commitment required to achieve even slight success in this grueling sport.

Monday, November 3:
4:15am:  Out of bed to get ready for the day
5:00am:  3000 yard swim. Spent some time recovering in the hot tub. This was basically a recovery day from a very difficult weekend.
7:30am - 3pm:  Work
4:00pm:  Enjoyed the afternoon off. Took the dog for a walk with Becky.
6:00pm:  Since it was my birthday, Becky took me out for wood fired pizzas at La Bella Vita. It was delicious.
7:30pm:  Fell asleep on the couch watching TV
8:30pm:  Woke up and relocated to bed

Tuesday, November 4:
4:15am:  Woke up
4:45am:  Out the door for a morning run. The run ended up being 9.6 miles (1 hour 8 minutes), which included some drills/form work. Overall it wasn't an extremely taxing workout.
6:15am:  Breakfast and get ready for work
7:30am - 3pm:  Work
4:00pm:  On the trainer for a 3 hour bike session. This was a very hard tempo workout.
7:15pm:  Shower and dinner (Turkey burgers with sweet potatoes)
8:30pm:  Bed

Wednesday, November 5
4:15am:  Out of bed to get ready for the day
5:00am:  3300 yard swim. This was a hard workout with some good threshold swimming.
7:30am - 3pm:  Work
4:00pm:  Took the dog for a walk with Becky since I had the afternoon off again.
6:00pm:  Dinner (Chicken stir fry). Watched some of the Rangers game.
9:15pm:  Bed (late night...)

Thursday, November 6
4:00am:  Woke up
4:40am:  Out the door for another morning run. This run was 12.4 miles (1 hour 20 minutes) with the first 50 minutes easy and the last 30 minutes hard. The average pace for the entire run was 6:30 per mile.
6:15am:  Breakfast and get ready for work
7:30am - 3pm:  Work
4:00pm:  On the trainer for another 3 hour bike session. This was a brutal session with the beginning having tempo work and then doing 4 x 15 minute intervals. My legs were definitely still sore from Tuesday and the morning run.
7:15pm:  Ice bath
7:45pm:  Dinner (Buffalo chicken salad)
8:45pm:  Bed

Friday, November 7
4:15am:  Out of bed to get ready for the day
5:00am:  4200 yard swim. My body was really fatigued from last night's bike session. I struggled to get through this swim, but fortunately I didn't make the lifeguards earn their pay.
7:30am - 3pm: Work
4:00pm:  On the trainer for an easy hour spin. Kept the power and heart rate in the easy zone 2 range for the entire ride.
5:30pm:  Dinner (Chicken parmesan). This was the start of practicing race weekend nutrition.
6:30pm:  Watched a movie on the couch
9:00pm:  Bed

Saturday, November 8
5:00am:  Out of bed to start the day
6:00am:  Swam 2800 yards. It was a pretty good swim with a mix of form work and decently hard efforts.
7:30am:  Took a nap
10:15am:  Ran 21.2 miles. (Total time of 2:22 which is 6:42 minutes per mile)
1:00pm:  Lunch (Quinoa with spinach, squash, onions, and turkey meat)
3:00pm:  Went to the bike shop and ran a few errands
5:00pm:  Watched another movie while eating dinner (Chicken parmesan again)
7:00pm:  Went out with Becky and Jen to meet some friends for dinner. I had a yogurt parfait since we had already eaten.
9:30pm:  Bed

Sunday, November 9
5:00am:  Woke up to eat breakfast. This was dress rehearsal for race day (Yogurt, whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, rice cakes with Nutella, and a banana)
6:00am:  Back to sleep for a little bit
8:00am:  Woke back up and prepared nutrition and hydration for my last long workout
8:45am-1:45pm:  Five hour trainer ride. I made it through without getting off my bike once. I opted not to stop to change movies, so I ended up only watching one and then I listened to Pandora the rest of the time (Normalized Power - 253 watts).
1:55pm:  I changed as quickly as possible (tough to be really fast when you have to bundle up because of the weather) and headed out for an hour run (8.8 miles at 6:50 minutes per mile).
2:55pm:  DONE!!! I survived the final week of hard prep for Cozumel.
3:15pm:  Ate left over Quinoa and a bunch of other stuff I found in the fridge and then cleaned up/showered.
4:00pm:  Nap
7:00pm:  Sunday supper with Jen and Becky
9:00pm:  Bed

Totals for the week:
13,300 yards in the pool
12 hours on the trainer
52 miles running
22 hours of actual training time

There are no shortcuts in this sport and there is no secret formula. The key is consistency and paying attention to the details. It's doing all the little things, like recovering and fueling your body properly. It's not skipping a workout because you don't feel like it or because you want to go do something more fun. Hopefully the hard work will pay off three weeks from today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Good Days...

Every once in a while you have those days of training that, for whatever reason,  things just go your way. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I woke up early to go for my run with the mindset that I was going to take it a bit easy and save myself for a pretty hard bike session later in the day. The plan was to run eight miles at a comfortable, "cruise" pace and then do some strides and form drills at the end before cooling down.

It took my legs a couple of miles to wake up (I started the run around 4:45am), but once I got going I felt really good. I never pushed the pace hard and kept my heart rate in the low to mid zone 2 range. I ended up going through the eight miles at 6:38 minutes per mile pace. After that I went through some drills making sure to really focus on good form before a brief cool down.

Check out the file here - Tuesday morning run and drills

My afternoon workout was a relatively challenging bike tempo session. The plan was to warm up, then ride in heart rate zone 2 for 90 minutes, and finally ride another 60-70 minutes in power zone 3. I was nervous about how my legs would feel considering I am in week three of this build phase. It turned out that I felt way better than I could have imagined. Here is the breakdown of the workout:

Warm up (15 minutes) - 215 watts, average HR 123
90 minute tempo - 295 watts, average HR 148
Recovery (5 minutes) - 235 watts, average HR 135
70 minute tempo - 306 watts, average HR 150

Overall workout (3 hours) - 294 watts, average HR 146

Check out the file here - Tuesday afternoon bike tempo

The 70 minute tempo actually ended up being above what my zone 3 is supposed to be, but my heart rate kept dropping below zone 2, so I pushed a little harder. I figured that since I was feeling well I could push it a bit as long as I was still comfortable. This workout was a huge confidence boost for me and is one I will remember and think about during race day. Part of improvement is simply believing in yourself and knowing what your body is capable of. If you had asked me a week ago if I thought I could push 294 watts for three hours I would have said "no way." Now I know that I can and that information is useful going forward because it will give me belief in myself.