It’s December 1st. It’s more than a month since my race. I’ve been enjoying a mid-season break, and I’m not shifting 100% to *IN TRAINING* yet, but I’m finally allowing myself to start to plan out the next few months. I’ve been excited to do this since about, oh, Wednesday after the race, but I’ve been trying to keep my mind elsewhere for a while.
“Ok, that was fun, now can we do it again but double the distance” was not exactly what I was thinking right then, but pretty soon after…
I’m really excited about this one. I love doing new distances. I mean, it’s a little daunting to be prepping for 14+ hours of racing. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon are all accomplishments in their own right, but doing them together on the same day? It’s going to be epic.
The best thing about new distances? It’s an auto PR. This one is all about the completion. For this race, I’m impressing about ZERO expectations on my time as long as I make the cutoffs. I’m not a fast athlete competing for the podium or anything, but I’m not worried about running out of time unless something REALLY goes sideways.
One thing that worked out well for me last season was outlining the different periods of training and picking my focus for each. It was a bit of a leap of faith – it made me nervous as hell to to ignore my running to ramp up biking over the summer – but it worked out well (and I didn’t have to do long runs in the worst of the heat, score!).
Feeling pretty excited that this December’s trip to Florida doesn’t require running 26.2 miles, though I’m sure I’ll swim and bike and dive enough to make up for it…
This is all about dipping my toe back into training without being super serious about it yet. While we still have nicer weather, I’m going to prioritize longer outdoor cycling as the basket I’m putting my endurance eggs in. While I’m sure I’ll get some decent run mileage in this month (I’m a big fan of procrastinating all day and running down the sunset on holiday break), I want to concentrate on extending the edge of my fitness on the bike. I’m ready to tick that century ride off the list, and I feel like pushing the cycling will help me build back my endurance more gently than trying to pound out long runs first.
I also need to get back to lifting heavy things again. I tried to get back to it pretty quickly after the 70.3 and my body and mind were both, like, NOPE. I’ve done one gym session, one Oiselle dozen, and maybe 15 push ups (because I decided this week whenever I felt guilty about not going to the gym I was going to do 5 pushups instead). I don’t have a HUGE ramp up period like I did during spring offseason, so I probably won’t go PRing my bench press or anything, but I want to get back to at least maintaining muscle and not losing it. Two sessions per week (starting next week). Doesn’t matter what they are, bodyweight, bands, at home, or the gym, but I need to get in the habit of doing *something*.
Swimming can take a back seat. I swam this week for the first time in over a month and it was awesome and it makes me feel good, but as weird as it sounds, I’d rather concentrate on it when the weather is really crappy. It sucks just about as bad to jump in the pool when it’s 60 and windy as when it’s 30 and windy. However, 60 and windy is awesome for running and biking, so I’d rather do that. I’m hoping to swim once a week this month, but I won’t beat myself up if I lace up my shoes instead.
Iguana donna and I will be seeing a lot of this view in January, I assume, unless someone goes ahead and sets fire to the cedar trees now (please? I’ll pay you 25 bucks and some reeses peanut butter cups?).
January: battling the deathly air.
This is the month where I’ll start following a schedule. January is always pretty much terrible, so I’m trying to plan around the month instead of conquer it. Even if the weather cooperates, the allergens in the air try to kill us. Instead of fighting it, I’ll roll with it.
I’d like to get out on my bike whenever I can, but I realize I’m going to be on the trainer a lot. This will give me the opportunity to get some QT on the death star (read: acclimating myself to riding the vast majority of a workday in aero). I’ll definitely be taking the opportunity to become a regular at spin classes as well.
Again, my goal is to get out and run as much as I can (especially lunch runs, because they’re the best), but I realize I’ll be rocking the treadmill a lot. I do better working speed than long slow slogs indoors, so I’ll concentrate my efforts there. I also have a half marathon race that will benefit from speedwork, so this plan works out well. 🙂
Here’s where I’ll bring swimming back in the mix. I’d like work my way up to do a long swim (90 mins – approximately race distance) and a shorter lunch swim (30-ish mins) each week. I don’t think I’ll be able to throw any more effort at this sport this cycle, but I think that will suffice.
I need to keep on weights 2x per week. This is non-negotiable. The last thing I want to do is break down like I did last year. This is my broccoli. I have to eat it if I want dessert (triathlon).
Two benchmarks I’d like to hit are a) a 100 mile ride/1 hour run brick and b) a 10k swim by the end of this month. We’ll see how my fitness cooperates!
I usually run streak January. Obviously I won’t be doing that this year, but instead, I’ll probably tri-streak – at least 15 mins of running, biking, or swimming every day.
I imagine if you want to spend some non-triathlon QT with me in Feb/March, I’ll be wearing spandex and probably smelling bad. Approved activities include: shoveling food in my mouth, giving me massages, movie marathons where I get the comfortable seat, and drinking a little whiskey with me before I fall asleep sitting up.
February and March: eat sleep work run bike swim
This is the most speculative part of training. It’s going to depend on a) how I’m feeling and b) how my training has gone thus far.
I know how much I can tolerate normally – I can rock about 10-12 hours a week (for a few weeks at a time with a rest week on the horizon) without bending my life around. I’m pretty sure that’s not quite enough to succeed and feel prepared for an Ironman. I know I’ll need to be doing 4-6 hour rides every week and at this point, start adding some 3-4 hour runs and that’s almost my weekly average in those two workouts. For these two months, my life will have to bend around my sport. Eat sleep work train.
Hopefully by this time, my body has absorbed the biking mileage and six hours on a bike is just what you do on a weekend day. The long run/ride combo is a conundrum though. For 70.3 training, I’ll typically do my long run Wednesday night or Thursday morning. That works out well up to about 2-2.5 hours which is conveniently how long I need to run. I’ve done a 3 hour run after work and it’s not bad, but Zliten hates it. I do not relish the idea of getting up at 4am to run for 4 hours before work, especially in the cold. That leaves the typical Saturday long run/Sunday long ride, which sucks too because you get to relax for all of a few hours on Sunday before getting up to do it all again.
I think the goal will be to alternate these things. Sacrifice one weekend for the longest run and shortest ride on the schedule. Do one weekday evening long run (which will be decent IM training anyway since the run is late in the day). Do one weekday morning long run (this will be good HTFU training for me). And then, one week, do the “long Saturday” workout (2.4 mile swim, break, 100 mile bike, break, 1 hour run) and then rest and repeat again in March.
I will aim to do two 20 mile runs in this cycle, and let’s be honest – there’s very little chance I’m going to run a marathon non-stop after 8+ hours of activity beforehand. So, my plan is to do these with the run/walk action which I plan to do the race. I’m thinking I’ll walk .1 and run the rest of the mile to simulate walking through aid stations and a little after. I don’t think I’ll be PRing my marathon here, but I do think I can hold a respectable clip if I’m smart about it.
Already imagining that finish line… the things we do for a medal and all the crappy pizza you can eat, right?
April will be taper and I plan to do it just like Austin 70.3, start with a rest week, then 50% max volume, and then short stuff to stay sharp the week of and then holy crap, I’ll be racing an Ironman. 142 days to go!
I’m sure I’ll look back on this in four months and laugh at something I said here, because plans always change. However, I think these shifting focus through the cycle will help me eat the proverbial elephant of Ironman training one bite at a time instead of being like how the eff am I going to run twenty miles and also ride for many, many hours both in the same week? For now, let’s go ride bikes, shall we?
That’s the answer to most of life’s problems, after all…