Ironman Training – Weeks 3-5

I am now 5 weeks into the 30-week training plan. If I had to rate the last 3 weeks, I would say they were acceptable. This last week was rough as I didn’t run at all. I don’t really have any excuse. Weeks 3 and 4 were pretty good.

I still can’t swim. I emailed the two pools that I can swim at to find out when they will be opening and no one can give me an answer. I am on a mailing list for a Master’s swim group, but I don’t swim with them as their pools are quite far away, but a recent email from them indicated that the pools they swim at will not open until the beginning of July at the earliest. I suspect my pools will be the same.

Due to being unable to swim, I am seriously considering deferring my Ironman entry to 2021. Even if the pools open on July 1, when you remove the 3-week taper, that only gives me 4 months to bring my swim up to the 2.4 mile distance and by the beginning of July, it would have been 4 months since I last swim. That is a very tall order!!

This realization that I may have to defer is impacting my motivation and is a large part of the reason that I didn’t run this past week.

I’m starting to think about how to approach my training if I do defer. I wouldn’t have any upcoming race to work towards. One option is to pick a sport, say cycling or running, and really focus on that, whether it is to build by cycling FTP or my running speed.

Ironman Training – Weeks 1-2

The first 2 weeks of my 30-week training is in the bag. In looking back at my training log, I have managed to do all the run and bike workouts as prescribed except for one run. That one run had called for 45 mins in Z1-Z2, but I only did 24 mins. For that run, my body was just tired and I could tell from the first few feet that I wasn’t going to be able to do the whole run.

The biggest concern though is the lack of swimming. With all the pools closed due to COVID-19, I have not done any swimming for about 9 weeks and it may well be several more before I can swim again. Swimming is my achilles heel and not even being able to swim is raising all kinds of doubts in my mind.

One the bike, I’m doing more indoor cycling that in the past. While I hate being on the trainer, I think it’s better especially for the shorter mid-week rides. For example, one ride is always done at 100+ RPM and it’s easier to replicate that RPM on the trainer than on the road. My hope is to get into. routine where I do the mid-weeks ride indoors and the longer weekend ride outdoors.

This past weekend, the Ironman Virtual Race #6 is very close to the distances I needed to do , I so completed that event. For the 6 Ironman VR races, I have done 4 of them. It is unlikely I will do any more unless the distance matches or is very closed to my training plan. Since I’m gradually building up, that may have to wait until I’m running 13 miles or so on the weekend. The sprint and olympic distances would be too short

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

T-minus-one-day to Race Day

I’ve been in Tempe since Thursday and the last couple days were spent preparing. There was registration, building up my bike, gathering last minute items like water for mixing drinks, and packing the all-important gear bags.

There is only one last task left and that it to drop my bike and gear bags off at transition. That will be done early this afternoon.

With IM tomorrow, I now find my myself looking at my watch regularly and saying to myself “tomorrow at this time, I will be starting the swim“, “tomorrow this time time I’ll be coming out of the water“, “tomorrow this time I’ll be almost on the bee line highway on the bike“. I can only hope this is all true and disaster doesn’t strike on the swim.

Yes, the swim is still my biggest concern and memories of Ironman 70.3 FL will not fade away any time soon. I know that if I get out of the water, I can overcome anything that may occur on the bike or run.