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IMAz What I Learned...Training

Posted Aug 28 2009 8:18pm
I don't know if this will be a series or not. But, I know that I learned a bit about training in my prep for IMAz. I tentatively decided in September to do the race and confirmed Kona Weekend, so that gave me about 6 weeks for specific preparation as the week after Longhorn 70.3 was a recovery week that ended with a 77 mile ride and a 16 or so mile long run. I did cheat a little bit with a couple of big weekends 2-3 weeks before Longhorn 70.3, so in a sense my specific prep started 7-9 weeks before IMAz.

I blogged about it, but I had a little calf issue on 10/23, which was smack dab in the middle of when I really wanted to ramp up the running. That took 1.5 weeks out of my training before I could run more than 1 hour without feeling any real pain which was on 11/2. That only left 1 weekend to get any real 'long' run in. Leading up to this point I had done a lot of 13 milers, several 15ish milers, and 1 20 miler. Definitely not ideal prep.

But, regardless of the running, what had my training been? I had averaged about 16.5 hours of training for the entire year. That is every single week of the year including race weeks, near-zero weeks, etc. In that respect I had a fair amount of 'base' in me in addition to the years of training that I've had. But, that's not the gist of this post.

The gist of this post is that I had 6 weeks, 8 or so max, to honestly get ready for IMAz. In those 6 weeks, my training was very specific to an IM. I still had quality workouts during the week...running and cycling and swimming. But, my weekends were spent with a lot of the time on the bike at IM effort or slightly above. Because I have a powermeter, I could track my energy expenditure so that it matched or exceeded what it would in the race. My long runs were at or faster than goal IM pace. I also did a Sunday afternoon swim that was open water in a wetsuit or at least with a fair amount of pulling (in open water) that was between 3k and 4k. All of my transition runs after my long rides were faster than my goal IM pace, but were not over 5 miles. So, my training was very race specific in the last 6 weeks.

All of that is to say that the approach that I took was very similar to what I have had my athletes do in the past. That is, build a 'base' level of fitness around strength and speed before switching to Ironman Specific training in the 8-10 weeks leading up to the race. This seems to help prevent burnout from endless weeks of 6 hour ride and 2.5 hour runs...the typical Ironman Training Weekend. Instead, you 'only' have to really focus for about 6-8 weeks of hard training with a 2ish week rest period. A year of 4+ hour rides and 1.5-2.0 hour runs makes the transition to the longer IM workouts almost seamless physically, and it is mentally more palatable to know that in 6-8 weeks you'll be ready to go.

Those are my thoughts. Physically I felt ready for the race. Mentally I was ready for the race. This closes that what I learned...training...post. I'm sure that I'll have a what I learned racing and what I learned execution post as well...those two can be lumped together.
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