And So It Begins…Again!

Ironman Arizona 2020 is exactly 30 weeks away and that means it is time to start training again and keep my fingers crossed there will be an actual event to participant in. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, no one knows what will happen. Many Ironman events have already been canceled and I know of at least one marathon scheduled for October that has also been canceled. November is a long way off, but the current pandemic could still end up impacting it.

Last year, I started Ironman Arizona, but did not finish. A few days later, I signed up in order to try again this year. Since then, I have been loosely training in order to at least maintain some level of fitness, but it is time to focus on a proper training plan.

Like last year, I plan to use the Be Iron Fit plan. Last year I had started with the competitive plan but then switched some time in July to the intermediate plan. The first change I plan to make this time around is to start with the intermediate plan from the beginning. I realize that based on my availability and the amount of time I am willing to spend training, the intermediate plan is ideal for me.

That is not the only change I plan to make. I realize that if I don’t do things differently, I can’t expect to get a different result to last year. So what do I plan to do differently? There are multiple answers:

Bike: Of the 3 disciplines, I think I was most prepared for the bike, but there is still room for improvement. In the latter parts of the plan, the workouts called for specific workout types, like hill repeats. I never did these and instead just rode as normal. This time I will use my indoor trainer more and actually try and program in these workouts. Luckily, most of these specific workouts are the shorter mid-weeks ones and while I can’t bear to ride multiple hours on the trainer, I can manage a 1-hr workout. Last year I also skipped a couple of the longer weekend bike rides. I did the 6-hr ride, but I skipped a couple 5-hr ones. I will attempt to do all the rides as prescribed.

Run: Like the bike, I tended to shy away from some of the run-specific workouts and tended to stick to just easy running. I may consider using the treadmill for some of them, but I think just trying and doing more of the tempo runs will help a lot.

Swim: This is my achilles heel. This was the cause of my DNF last year. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, all the pools are closed and so my plan will be starting off on a really bad leg as I will not even be able to swim. So, the first change will of course be trying to do dry-land exercises in its place and hope the pools open soon. Once they do open, I will have to focus more on drills.. The intermediate plan only does swimming twice a week, but I’ll definitely need to do at least 3 days and possibly 4, even if the 4th is just an easy day.

Weight: I have to lose weight. I have to get to the start line weighing less than I did last year. It will make a huge difference on the bike and run. Also, I will have to get my weight down during the first half of the training as I can’t be trying to lose weight as the workouts get longer. So I figure I have 15 weeks to lose the weight I want to lose and then maintain that or just drop slightly in the latter half. I would love to get to the starting line at 170lbs.

Mental: In the end, I think the biggest change I can make is to keep a constant focus on the goal. If I DNF this year, that will very likely be the end of my Ironman dream