Unknown Territory - Ironman Training: Month 6

March Recap

Training distances this past month have kept steady in the Half Ironman zone: 

  • High Intensity Swims - >1000-1500 meters
  • Long Swims - 2000-2800 meters
  • High Intensity Bike Rides 16-25 miles
  • Long Bike Rides - 45-55 miles
  • High Intensity Runs - 3-5 miles
  • Long Runs - 7-12 miles
  • Recovery - More important than ever

March brought on some of the more frustrating training days -- recurring knee inflammation, first bike wipeout and wildly inconsistent weather. Nevertheless, several lessons were learned: 

  • Treat recovery days as serious as training days
  • Don't cut dynamic stretching sessions short
  • Never underestimate a slow technical turn on the bike
  • If you drive, make sure your car is consistently packed with everything you would need to swim, bike or run indoors (at the very least), aka keep a well stocked Tri Trunk.

Unknown Territory

Physical and mental boundaries will be pushed to new limits in these next 4 months and there's no room for worrying because those who worry suffer twice. Staying focused, having gear prepped the night before and keeping open lines of communication with family and close friends about my time commitment to training seems most likely to help me march into April's demands successfully. 

A quick scroll on my training app of the next two weeks of training distances shows:

  • Swim: Short - 1,300m+, Long - 3,000m+
  • Bike: Short - 17miles+, Long - 65miles+
  • Run: Short - 5miles+, Long - 9miles+ 

The key to entering this new and unknown territory is to continue using as much of the same gear, strength training, nutrition plans and mental strategies you've been using in past training sessions. Furthermore, ask yourself what works and what doesn't after training sessions. This will help weed out what simply can't keep up with these longer distances. If solid calories take too long to ingest on the bike, try liquid calories. If you keep popping out of aero position on flat rides or on the trainer, invest more time to strengthen your neck, shoulders and upper back. If you find yourself cursing at your mantra, it may be time for a new one. 

Joe Friel's Updated Triathlon Bible: Recovery

After digesting the majority of Joe Friel's updated Triathlon Bible, the section on recovery provided a great reminder as to how important my weekly recovery day is. As Joe states, "You don't become more fit during exercise. Hard training creates only the potential for fitness." So muscle is broken down when you workout and it repairs best when you recover (and eat properly). For those who only lift weights, or run a few miles every few days, several hours of recovery aren't needed. When distances begin to hit 140.6 territory, recovery time must increase as well for proper muscle growth, especially for Type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers.

Joe Friel's morning warning signs that may indicate you're not allowing for sufficient recovery time include:

  • Poor quality sleep
  • Overall Fatigued Feeling
  • Little Appetite
  • Sore muscles/joints
  • Low motivation to train
  • High walking pulse
  • Low Heart Rate Variability

The last one, heart rate variability (HRV) is a neat, moderately researched, indicator of how well or poorly recovered you are. I wrote about HRV in a previous blog post after measuring my HRV for about 45 days straight. It crosses into the tech-geek world but worth checking out if you want to maximize your training sessions.

This month, I'm looking forward to:

  • Bike refit
  • Riding one loop of the Lake Placid bike course
  • Replacing old running shoes
  • Trying new (to me, but really $40 off craigslist) aero helmet
  • Challenging myself to train more in the mornings as opposed to evenings
  • Group rides and open water swims with the triathlon team

Less than 2.5 months until Ironman 70.3 Eagleman and less than 4 months away until Ironman Lake Placid! Excited to be fundraising for a worthy cause as I train for Lake Placid -- an extra 30 seconds to visit my Crowdrise page will help explain further: https://tinyurl.com/ironrnandez

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