Posts Tagged ‘Ironman’

posted by on Ironman

Week Four Recap Pic v2

I will first explain the high level structure of my training plan.  It includes three weeks of building and then a fourth week of lighter volume and training time.  This gives the body a recovery period from the previous three weeks of build and prepares it for the upcoming three-week block.  This is typically how my training plans have been structured…even from my first sprint tri.  It seems to be a good format that by body (generally) responds to well.


PM – Started the training week off with a 60-minute bike trainer workout with hill repeats!!  The main set included three hill repeats at 10 minutes each in length with a combination of seated and standing climbs.  Legs felt a bit fatigued from the bike ride on the previous day, but not too bad.


AM – “Steady” run on the treadmill – 30 minutes at a pace faster that target race pace, but slower than tempo.  I completed 3.49 miles at 8:36 pace.  My quads still felt fatigued, but maintained pace as planned.

PM – Had to shuffle training plan due to a late meeting at work.  Rescheduled swim for Saturday.


AM – 50 minutes on the bike trainer with varying levels of work effort.  Nothing like a morning sweat fest to go the day started!

PM – 2700-yard swim – The main set focused on 4×10 minute steady efforts with 1-minute rest between intervals.  This set was similar to a set I performed in the prior weeks’ plan, but it was 3×10 minute efforts.  I saw some improvement with this 4×10 minute workout.  My sets timed out at 9:50, 9:50, 9:54, and 9:55 for the 500 yard sets.  I was very excited to maintain an overall pace of 1:58 for the 2000 yards total (with very little rest).  The prior weeks’ sets were 9:55, 10:03 and 10:01 with 2:00 overall pace for 1500 yards total.  I love to see progress!


AM – 30-minute recovery run on the treadmill – 3.16 miles with average pace of 9:31, which is on point for this recovery run.  My heart rate averaged 141 and I was happy to keep the HR super low.

PM – The best part about the recovery weeks – MASSAGE!!  I tried a new therapist that was recommended.  I had a great one hour massage and she was able to work out some kinks and soreness.  I find this to be a very important part of training…both physically and mentally!!

Friday:  REST DAY!!!


AM – Swim – This was the swim that had to be rescheduled from earlier in the week due to work conflicts.  This swim focused on drills and form.  It was a total of 2100 yards and I did not even use my Garmin!  (Not using a Garmin is kind of a big deal for me.  I guess I can be called a “data junkie” and like to know my stats.  However, especially in the pool, it is good to have sessions to not think about time/speed and focus on form and breathing.)

PM – BRICK!!  For this workout, Tony joined me and we biked on the trainer for 95 minutes.  There were many different intervals with varying cadences and intensities, which helps the time pass.  Before I started on the bike, I had all my run gear set out, so as soon as I finished the bike, I changed and started out on my 35-minute run at target race pace.  I am usually very consistent.  However, this run was a bit different.  I ran in/around my neighborhood (some rollers) and I averaged 9:10 pace for 3.81 miles.  The inconsistency came in my mile splits.

Mile 1 = 9:34

Mile 2 = 9:30

Mile 3 = 9:10

Mile .81 = 8:22 pace

I was happy to finish strong!  One positive take away to report, was regarding my fueling and how I felt on the run.  In the post from my last brick, I explained how I had not eaten enough on the bike (to sustain the run).  So early on in the run, I felt low on fuel.  I definitely made adjustments for this session and did a much better job! As a result, my average pace for the 35-minute brick run improved from 9:26 to 9:10.  It is all about learning and making adjustments for improvement!


2800 yard endurance swim – The main set of this swim was a challenge.  It included 100/200/300/400/500 easy-to-moderate pace intervals with only 15 seconds of rest between each interval.  I held pretty well, but slowed a bit during the 500 set.  The 15 seconds of rest is what makes this tricky.

The last sets before cool down were 2×300 easy/moderate/fast with 30 seconds rest between intervals.  Despite a good effort, there was not a whole lot of “FAST” going on at that point.  I was really feeling fatigued for these 300 sets, but I just did my best and was happy to reach cool down.

Reflections from the week:

This closes out my first 4-week block of training.  I am very proud of myself that I have not missed any of my scheduled training.  It has been hard at times and I KNOW that it will only get harder as the time passes and the training gets longer and more intense.  With a solid month in, I will just continue forward and do as I have done so far…take one day at a time and do the best I can do!


Time: 8 hours 50 minutes

Swim: 7,600 yards

Bike: 42.43 miles (all on the trainer)

Run: 10.46 miles

Stretching/foam rolling:  Some, but not enough!


Training Week #3


posted by on Ironman

Week Three Recap


PM – 35-minute treadmill run at a “steady pace” (slower than tempo but faster than race pace).  Unfortunately, I had some right knee pain during this run.  I ran for a while before I felt any discomfort, but once I felt a twinge, I stopped and re-started to ensure my form was strong.  I have found that when I slow down when my knee is not happy, it often feels worse.  So, after stopping a couple of time and re-starting, I still felt the twinge. I actually sped up my pace for a short time and it felt better.  I then brought my pace back down to what I was targeting, and all was good.  This just re-affirms that I need to keep stretching a priority amongst all this training.

Average pace: 8:36 for 5.17 miles…this pace was in the range of what I was hoping for.  It is the same pace that I averaged for my 30-minute steady pace run last week.


AM – 80 minutes on the bike trainer with the focus on cadence.  I rode various sets from low cadence to mid cadence to high cadence.  This was a challenging set, but the amount of times you have to change gears and keep an eye on the cadence reading, helps the time to pass.

PM – 1900 yard swim with the focus on speed!  The main set of this swim included 8x100s at a moderate pace with short 15 second rest and then 50 FAST followed by a 30 second rest.  This was a tough set and I really focused on maintaining the SHORT rest intervals.  I was happy that each of my 100s fell between 1:48-1:49.  Yay for consistency!


PM – 70-minute run on the treadmill. I actually misread the instructions on my plan and instead of performing this run at target race pace, I ran it at steady pace, which is 30-sec/mile faster.  I had some issues on the run.  I started the run with some nutrition available, but it was not enough. I ended up having 2 Gus and 2 individual shot blocks and needing full calorie Gatorade (I usually drink G2 – the low cal version) to finish the run. Luckily, Tony was home and checked on me and brought me one of the GUs and the Gatorade, so I could finish up.  I was able to have a decent run, despite having a couple of times feeling “low on fuel”.  Obviously, I need to plan better next time.  I finished the run with 8.2 miles at 8:32 pace.


AM – 55 minutes on the bike trainer with the focus on big gears and low cadence.  I felt pretty good during the workout despite my legs feeling a bit fatigued from the run.

PM – 2200-yard swim – This was a hard one to get going.  I was VERY tired prior to starting workout, but I just told myself to go and get it done.  (Before leaving work, one of my co-workers actually commented “you look wiped”…well that says enough).  All in all, I was happy with my swim (I surprised myself!!!).  The main set focused on 3×10 minutes steady swim with only 1-minute rest between intervals. I was able to stay fairly consistent with the 3 sets timed at 9:55, 10:03 and 10:01.  I did not want to fall below 10:00 for the 500 sets (generally speaking, 10 minutes is about 500 yards for me), but given my low energy level, I felt like I pushed through. I was pleased that I was able to overcome my fatigue and have a decent swim. Maintaining a 2:00 overall pace for 1500 yards total (with very little rest) is a pretty good workout for me.

Friday:  REST DAY!!!


AM – 1800-yard swim with focus on speed work.  The main set included 200s, 100s and 25s.  I was most pleased with my 200 sets and maintaining a 1:52 pace (per 100 yards) for these sets.  The five 100s averaged 1:49.  Slowly making progress….

PM – 40-minute recovery run on the treadmill – 4.23 miles with average pace of 9:28, which is on point for this recovery run.  Heart rate averaged 148 and I was happy to keep the HR low.  The time passed fast because I watched an episode of the Bachelor on the laptop!

Sunday:  Group Ride

A couple of things that make me smile about this week:

1 – Even though I was battling low nutrition on my Wednesday run, I pushed through and finished strong.

2 – Flipping the mental switch to “get my swim done” Thursday when I was feeling very tired and unmotivated.


Time: 10 hours 1 minute

Swim: 5,900 yards

Bike: 66.84 miles

Run: 17.6 miles

Stretching/foam rolling:  Some, but not enough!

Enough Said...

Enough Said…


posted by on Fun, Ironman

Saturday was a full day with a swim and run on the training plan, as well as, a stop at Trader Joe’s and other errands/chores to get done.   The day flew by and before I realized, it was time for dinner out with friends!  For about a year, we have discussed trying this ”new to us” restaurant in Durham.  The restaurant is called Dame’s Chicken & Waffles and I have read lots of good things about it.  From the name of the restaurant, you can already tell that it was definitely a splurge dinner!

Growing up in the South, there are lots of dishes that I love, but I have to enjoy on rare occasions/in moderation.  One of my favorites has always been my mom’s fried chicken, which I actually have not had in a very long time!  I had never tried chicken and waffles, but I knew it would be a delicious pairing! 

We rode to Durham with our friends and even though there was a long wait for a table, we were fortunate enough to grab seats immediately at the bar, where they also served dinner.  Nicole and I had a delicious version of a strawberry mimosa while we all chatted. 

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner

The order was chicken and waffles all around, just different versions/flavors for each of us.  I had the classic waffle with chicken cutlets and a strawberry “shmear “ on the side (whipped butter combined with strawberries).  My meal was quite tasty and you can see from the portion size that it was generous…even so, I still ate every bite (I guess the swim and run from earlier in the day really worked up my appetite)! 

Yummy Chicken and Waffles!!

Yummy Chicken and Waffles!!

The group thoroughly enjoyed dinner and we all left with full bellies.  We headed back to our friends’ house and hung out there a while until Tony and I called it a night.  We had a bike ride on the plan for the following morning while our friends were hitting a long trail run. 

For Sunday, Tony and I decided to attend a group ride that Inside Out Triathlon Club was hosting.  The ride started in downtown Raleigh and covered part of the Raleigh 70.3 course.  Since we are very familiar with the course and know that it has its fair share of challenges, we thought it would be a good ride.   The ride was a 40-mile ride, which was a bit shorter than the scheduled time on my training plan.  However, we figured it would be a solid pace ride and that would result in a good day of training.

After we headed out of downtown to start the ride, Tony and I worked our way up to try to hang with the front of the pack.  It is hard to stick with the group when the course has stoplights and lots of people that have to get through.  We hung with the front of the pack for the first hour and then we fell into a smaller group of 5-7 that really ended up being a good move.  The ride with the front of the pack had a lot of “rubber-banding”…quick starts/stops which make it harder to fall into a steady pace.  After we formed our smaller group, we were able to maintain a good, steady pace that seemed to work for the small group.  The ride totaled just over 40 miles and our average pace was 18.1.  I was pleased with that for this early season ride. 

All in all it was a good ride and we were glad we decided to join the group for the day.   The morning started a bit cool, but it was sunny and so it really was a pretty day!  I plan to watch out for more group rides that may pair up with some of my training.  It is a good way to meet new people and check out different scenery.  However, I still love being able to walk out of my house and jump on my bike! 


Training Week #2


posted by on Ironman

Week Two Recap

I am pleased to say that I have another good week of training in the books.  This is how the week progressed:


AM – 50-minutes on the bike trainer:  HILL REPEATS at 5:15am!!  (What a way to say “hello Monday”!)

PM – Swim…This swim workout was very similar to the one I had done the day before with a focus on endurance at moderate to easy efforts.  This session was a total of 2100 yards.


AM – 30-minute treadmill run at a “steady pace” (slower than tempo but faster than race pace); this is my first early morning run in a while.  It is hard for me to run this early, but I know that I must start trying to get used to morning runs with this IM training.  Average pace: 8:36 for 3.49 miles…this pace was in the range of what I was hoping for.

PM – Swim again…The theme of the week is endurance swimming.  This workout was 2200 yards which includes a main set of 3×10 minutes steady swimming with 1 minute rest between intervals.


AM – 55-minutes on the bike trainer.  This session was intense!  The focus was multiple sets of “max effort” for varying periods of time.  I was a drippy mess after this workout and ready to tackle my Wednesday after this morning’s booty-kicking!

PM – Training planned for morning due to evening meetings.


AM – 30-minute recovery run on the treadmill.  The focus of the recovery run is getting a good run in, but keeping heart rate down.   This is a good morning workout since you don’t really have to push yourself.  Average pace: 9:37 for 3.12 miles.

PM – Swim – 2500 yards of endurance swimming.  This was a repeat workout (same as the prior Sunday with a bunch of 100 and 200 yard sets with little rest between intervals).  Getting in solid yardage!!

Friday:    REST DAY!!!


BRICK!!  For those that might not be familiar with this term, a brick in triathlon training refers to doing back to back workouts of different disciplines with little or no rest in between.  This brick was a bike to run brick, which is the most popular for training purposes.  I have heard that this type of training is called a “brick” because your legs feel heavy (like bricks) when you get off the bike and start running.  I don’t know if this is really how this term was chosen, but I do know that your legs can feel that way!

For this workout, I biked for 90 minutes on the trainer (relatively high intensity session) but it had lots of gear shifting and different sets to focus on, so time went pretty quickly.  I got off the bike, put on running shorts/shoes and ran outside for 35 minutes.  The goal of the run for this brick was to just get the legs going and maintain good form, despite feeling fatigued.  The course in/around my neighborhood has decent rollers, so running from the house is always interesting.  I ran a total of 3.71 miles at 9:26 pace.  Lesson learned:  I had enough to eat/drink on the bike, but I did not take in enough to sustain myself well for the 35 minute run after.  At the 1.5 miles mark, I realized that I should have eaten more.  I will make adjustments for next time!


First Outdoor Ride of the Year  2 hours 46 minutes; 46 miles


A couple of things that make me smile about this week:

1 – I successfully woke up early on four mornings and trained before work.  For this girl (I am not a morning person), I am proud that I conquered the early morning!

2 – Three swims in four days of training!

GIven My Success of Four Mornings of Training, I Thought This was Appropriate

GIven My Success of Four Mornings of Training, I Thought This was Appropriate


Time: 11 hours 3 minutes

Swim: 6,800 yards

Bike: 87 miles

Run: 10.32 miles

Stretching/foam rolling:  Some, but not enough!

posted by on Fun, Ironman

After a Saturday morning of training followed by an afternoon of “stuff”, ideas for dinner were being driven by my growling stomach!  When I got home a bit after 5:00, Tony and I were discussing dinner ideas which turned into an impromptu sushi night out with our neighbors.  I want to explain a bit about our neighbors.  Usually, neighbors are people that you end up moving in next door to or vice versa.  That happened with this family, initially, but we ended up leaving the neighborhood where we met and moved together to our current neighborhood.  We are so fortunate to have people living next door that you can count on for just about anything…a cup of milk, a dog sitter or someone that you can turn to in the case of an emergency.  We are very lucky to have neighbors that are true friends!

I suggested a restaurant called Shaba Shabu and everyone was game!  We had been there several times and I love sushi with the BOGO option!  Service was slow, but that gave us plenty of time to chat, catch up and share some laughs!

Sushi Night Out - Tony & Lee with 1/4 of the Neighbor Family!

Sushi Night Out – Tony & Lee with 1/4 of the Neighbor Family!

It is funny how someone can live next door and you can go for weeks with just a passing wave while coming and going or a quick chat in the driveway to check in.  It had been too long since we spent some QT with them.  We had a great evening and I was glad all our schedules allowed for this impromptu dinner out!  Plus the sushi was tasty and really hit the spot!!

The plan for Sunday was a bike ride in the forecasted 67 degree weather!  Most of our riding peeps were out of town or unavailable, so Tony and I hit the road together.  We planned to leave for our ride around 11:00, but ended up heading out around 11:45.

Getting ready to ride!

Getting ready to ride!

It felt nice outside, but we quickly realized that it was rather windy.  We had a headwind that was not too fun, but the couple of times we had the tail wind, it was great!  This training ride was planned for 2 hours and 45 minutes and my goal was getting time on the legs and in the saddle, without a real concern for speed.  It has been a couple of months since I have ridden on the road, so I was glad to have the weather cooperate to allow us to get outside without wearing 2-3 layers!  The course is one we have done many times before, but not exactly this way.  It contains some rollers which keeps things interesting.  Despite a few areas with bad pavement, this course is really a good one.  Tony planned the route to estimate a ride time of 2:45 and I will say that he did a great job planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014 - our goal was 2:45.  Pretty good planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014 – our goal was 2:45. Pretty good planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014

I was happy to have had a warm February day to get in the first outdoor ride of 2014.  I was even happier that Tony rode with me and plans to support me on many rides to come!

Wrinkled Fingers??


posted by on Ironman

Considering the amount of time I have spent swimming these past five days, I should have really wrinkled fingers…or look like this:


Well, maybe Ariel is a bit extreme, but wrinkled fingers could have happened!!

It is no secret that I don’t love to swim.  I recognize the benefits and am very glad that I do swim.  Not just so I can compete in triathlons, but it is such a great exercise, and I am glad I have it in my repertoire.  Running can be hard on the body and swimming offers such great benefits, the main one being that it is non-impact.

Over the fast five days, I have been in the pool four times (yikes!!).  For me, that is extreme.  After my swim tonight, I started thinking about my volume.  I have swum 9300 yards (double yikes!!), over the past five days.  Technically, I am overlapping my training weeks a bit.  Sunday was the last day of my first training week and was a swim day.  Then for my second week, I swam Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  The good news is that I have completed my swims for training week #2 with a total of 6800 yards.

These last four swims have been endurance swims.  The focus has been on slow to moderate effort sets with very short rest breaks in between sets, with the longest of the sets being 500 yards.  I have tried my best to continue to hold true to the short rest sets.  I believe this is where the true benefit is gained in these type sets.

There are several take aways from these sessions that I am pleased with.  I have been able to maintain good breathing (not shallow) and despite feeling fatigue later on in the sessions, I was able to maintain consistency and keep my times relatively flat.

Over the past several years that I have been swimming, I have had so many workouts that I have not been happy with.  To be honest, probably more that I was not happy with than those I have been happy with.  So, I try to find positives to take away from my swims.  Currently, I feel I have several, and that is exciting.   I have two tough training sessions this weekend, but hopefully those will go well and I will end training week #2 on a high note!

This is all I can ask for!

This is all I can ask for!


Training Week #1


posted by on Ironman

Week One Recap

In a nut shell, I will say that week one went well.  I am glad to have the first week of training under my belt and look to the progressions I will be making over the coming months.  The big lesson I learned this week is to find a balance of commitment and flexibility.  One of the main reasons I say this can be summed up in the photo below:

Snow day!

Snow day!

I had my plan laid out for the week.  However, the plan did not allow for weather related issues!   So, by Monday night when it was predicted that snow would be falling in our area Wednesday evening (the same time I would be leaving to go to the pool for a swim workout), I decided to move my swim ahead to Tuesday evening.  In hindsight, that was the perfect decision.  I don’t love going to the pool two evenings in a row, but I must do what I must do to get my training in!  By Wednesday evening, we had approximately 3 inches of snow and sleet was falling.

So the week looked like this:

Monday (overall I felt good about both sessions)

* Bright and Early morning (it was still very dark outside) = 50 minute bike workout focusing on strength (big gears).

*Evening = 1600 yard swim session with the main set focusing on speed.  (So far, all the swims have a standard 500 yard warm-up mixed with easy effort/drills/pull buoy and an easy 200 cool down.)

Tuesday (swim again – with a training partner!)

*Evening = 1500 yard swim session with the main set focusing on speed again.  Overall a good session, but I need to concentrate more on my form on the fast intervals and not get “frantic”.

Wednesday (learning session)

Wednesday was a run day.  I ran an hour on the treadmill with the goal being “target race pace”.  After much consideration, Tony and I decided what this “target” pace would be.  I have never run a full marathon, so it is rather difficult to nail this down and still have a session that is beneficial.  I checked a few resources on-line to calculate the target pace and I started with this and adjusted it based on my runs over the past couple of months.  This training session was a learning session.  As noted in my last post, I understand the importance of good nutrition and today I failed in this area.  Basically, I did not eat timely or enough to sustain an hour run.  It basically was because of the snow hitting and me trying to leave the office before the roads got too bad (which was after my normal lunch time but before I actually ate lunch) and my 35 minute commute turning into a 2+ hour drive home.   Bottom line is that I made it through the run, but felt lethargic and my heart rate was higher that it should have been given my pace and effort level.  Improvement opportunities noted!

Thursday (overall I felt good about both sessions)

* Morning = 50 minute bike trainer session with a mix of low and high cadence work.

*Evening = 37 minute run with hill repeats on the treadmill (hill work totaled 12 minutes of the run).  I have actually never done hill repeats on the treadmill.  I have done some hill workouts, but not what would be called “hill repeats”.  I think I chose the settings well on the treadmill and had a good session.

Friday – REST DAY!

Saturday – I had originally “hoped” that the weather would cooperate and allow for an outdoor ride.  The forecast looked too cold and windy to venture out for a long ride.  Therefore a 2.5 hour session on the trainer was in order.  Tony was awesome and did the ride with me!  We moved our trainers down to the living room (we usually keep them set up in my office upstairs), but the long session required some extreme entertainment.  We were able to watch the USA vs. Russia Olympic hockey game while we completed our workout.  It was perfect timing and helped the time pass (plus it was a totally awesome and memorable game!!).    The session alternated between easy spinning and target race pace.  It was challenging during the race pace sessions, but even better was getting that much time in the saddle…it has been a while since I was on the bike for that length of time.


Sunday (I had a training partner again today!!)

*Recovery Run – 20 minutes

*Swim – 2500-yard endurance swim with main set including 6×200 with 20-second rest and 6×200 with 15-second rest.  The 200s I focused on an easy effort with the 100s I focused on a moderate effort.  The very short rest periods are what make this set challenging.  I really tried to stick to the allotted rest times.  I was pleased with this swim session.

Week One Snapshot:

Swimming: 5600 yards

Biking: 4.5 hours on the trainer

Running: 12 miles

I will leave you with these two photos of our girl, Jovi, enjoying playtime in the snow!

Our dog Jovi!

Our dog Jovi!

Jovi playing in the snow

Jovi playing in the snow



What To Eat?


posted by on Recipes

We know that triathlon includes the three legs of swimming, biking and running.  However, the fourth leg of triathlon is truly nutrition.  The nutrition of what you have on race morning and during the race is key, but also important is what you eat during training.  You use training time to figure out which nutrition works while you are out on a long bike or run and it will take a bit of time to “dial in” this piece to know what my plan will be on race day.  I know what has worked for me on half Ironmans, and I can use this as a starting point, but my nutrition plan for Lake Placid will involve so much more.  I will continue to post over the next several months as I try new things for drinking and eating to figure out my plan for race day.

Early on my focus will include what I eat during the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  As my training hours slowly escalate and will often include two training sessions a day, what I eat becomes even more important and will contribute to successful training days.  Over the past number of years as I have become fitter and healthier, I began experimenting more in the kitchen. I enjoy reading various food blogs and browsing Pinterest to get ideas and new recipes to try.  I like to cook and try new recipes and if they are healthy AND taste great, it is a bonus!  Here are some recipes that I made this week…

On Sunday night, I made this Cashew Chicken recipe from How Sweet It Is.  I doubled the recipe and we had the leftovers Monday night.  Tony and I enjoyed this dish (we served ours over brown rice) and I will definitely make it again!

cashew chicken

Photo from How Sweet It Is food blog.

During the week, I planned ahead for lunches and made this Vegetarian Quinoa Chili recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod.  Tony was not excited about the idea of this dish since he is not a fan of quinoa.  However, I made it anyway and he has already had it for two lunches!  His comment was that it had lots of flavor and I agree!  I will be making this dish again as well.  (If you are not familiar with quinoa, don’t be afraid to give it a try!  It is a grain and it adds a little texture to this dish.  Quinoa is a good source of protein and fiber and is considered to be easy to digest.)


Photo from Two Peas & Their Pod food blog.

Since Friday was Valentine’s Day, Tony and I made a special dinner to enjoy.  We had steak (Tony’s favorite), baked coconut shrimp, roasted potatoes and asparagus.

V-Day Dinner

I had made the Coconut Shrimp recipe one time before and I thought it would be a nice compliment to our special dinner.  The recipe is from Skinny Taste food blog.  (Note:  I also made the sauce included in the recipe, but used orange marmalade.)

I encourage you to try one of the recipes I have included.  Since cooking is a big part of my “Tri Inspired Life”, I will continue to share tasty recipes that you may enjoy as well!

It All Begins…


posted by on Ironman


Dreams into plans

This week is the official start to my Ironman training program.  I am using a 24-week plan I found on Training Peaks that is targeted for hilly courses such as Lake Placid.  I have lots of emotions as the official training begins.

On one hand it is hard to believe the start is here, because it just seems like yesterday that I was registering for the race…but on the other hand, I selected the plan back in December, so it seems like a while that I have had the plan ready to go.  Most importantly, I am excited that it is here.  This is a huge goal and I am ready to start working toward accomplishing my goal.  I know that there is tremendous work ahead of me, but I am ready to get started.   There has been so much anticipation leading up to this point.

During my training, my plan is to take one week at a time/one workout at a time.  I know with the volume that the plan includes, the amount of work can seem overwhelming.  I am going to try to keep it all in perspective and focus on working to the best of my ability.  I also know that I will have plenty of highs and lows so I will aim to keep my eye on the prize.

Reach Goal

posted by on Ironman

pool in winter

“Off season” to triathletes can mean as many different things as the number of people you ask. For some, off season means a larger focus on strength training, other activities such as mountain biking or really no true routine at all.

I have to guess for a large majority, off season includes time away from the pool.  For me, that has been the case in years past.  Even though I KNEW that I should be spending more time in the pool during the winter, I just could not make it a regular occurrence in the colder months.  I would hit the pool now and again, but that does not foster improvement.

Over the past few years, my off season has included a focus on strength training with a run or session on the bike trainer typically thrown in during the week.  Leading up to the year of the Ironman, I knew that this off season needed to be a bit different.  First and foremost, I HAD to spend time in the pool.  No excuses any longer.  So, the general plan for the off season included:

  1. At least 2 swims a week
  2. Time off from running (6 week break from mid-October to late November) and then gradually work it back into rotation
  3. Stretching and flexibility
  4. Focus on core strength
  5. Bike sessions to maintain a good base

I did a pretty good job sticking to my plan, with a few exceptions.  On average, I hit the pool twice a week.  I have spent time with a friend that graciously agreed to help me improve my swim, so my focus over the past few months has been on technique, form and drills.  My stroke is the best it has been and I am hopeful that my improved technique will translate to increased speed when I start my IM training plan.

I took time off from running which really seemed weird while I was doing it.  I wanted to try to heal a few aches and pains and when I started running again after Thanksgiving, I thought my plan had worked.  The one thing that I had not committed to, though, was stretching and flexibility…

Stretching and flexibility is an area that I slacked in.  Once I started running again with some frequency, I did feel some of those aforementioned aches and pains.  SOOOO, stretching quickly entered my regiment.  I knew this was something I truly needed to be serious with, so for the past 5-6 weeks, I have been doing yoga and regular stretching and it is amazing how much better I have felt on the run!!

While I took time off from running, I did regular core workouts.  I found some new workouts to try on the Nike Training Center app and it was nice to mix things up a bit.  The core workouts started to trickle off when the running picked up again.  However at the start of January, I committed to myself that I would incorporate an ab workout, at a minimum twice/week, until my IM training starts.

Time on the bike is always easy for me to accomplish.  The bike is my favorite of the triathlon legs, so I was able to incorporate regular training sessions.  Since mid-December or so, I have made the conscious effort to work on climbing, since the Lake Placid course is hilly.  Every other workout would involve hill simulation.  I have started to notice an increase in my average watts on several of my workouts, so I am hopeful that my off season bike time will pay off!

I have enjoyed mixing things up during the offseason and am pleased that I was able to stick to my “general” plan pretty well.  It was nice to have the flexibility to incorporate whatever workouts I chose.  However, my personality type likes structure, so following and sticking to a training plan typically suits me.  In a short time, I will be venturing into new territory, so we will see what the future holds!