Final IMFLA Training

I’ve put in a lot of hard miles this season. Florida will be my final race of the season, and potentially may also be the hardest race of the season (and my life!). It is with these thoughts in mind that I decided to give myself a bit of extra recovery after my block of training in Kona. It should be noted that Kona was actually the third week straight of hard training, so my body was really starting to crave some recovery. As well, travelling home from Kona took 18 straight hours, which is the longest I’ve ever travelled for, so the next day I was feeling super fatigued and super jet-lagged. Thus, I decided to listen to the body and take a few days very easy. This meant taking some recovery from Thursday October 16th all the way to Sunday October 19th. In that time I did one swim and one run, both nice and easy. By Monday October 20th I was feeling better and getting the itch to train again, so I decided to put in one more week of training, at a moderate volume and intensity. In a comment on a previous blog post someone asked me to speak about my taper. I would consider this week of training to be the beginning of my taper. Whereas I would usually swim about 20 kilometers, bike the equivalent of 600 kilometers and run about 140 kilometers in a week, this week I swam 15 kilometers, biked the equivalent of 400 kilometers, and ran 110 kilometers. But, volume isn’t the only thing I change during the taper. As well, I reduce the intensity. I don’t reduce the intensity of my quality intervals to anything below race pace, but I do eliminate all Vo2Max and higher intervals at this time. In this week I did a bit of stuff at race pace, and slightly higher, but nothing significantly higher. I find the higher intensity intervals to be quite taxing, and since in Ironman racing you really have no business spending time at or around Vo2Max, I feel no insecurity eliminating them at this time, in order to give the body a better chance at recovering. Other than that, that’s about all I change. It’s business as usual in terms of two interval workouts per week in each sport, as well as a weekly brick workout. Additionally, being a big believer in rhythm and muscle recruitment patters, I still will run and bike every single day.

I should also make a comment about volume. My volumes from week to week, as well as during the taper may seem rather high. I would imagine in the entire long-distance triathlon spectrum I would probably be nearing the high end. But, I don’t just pull these numbers out of thin air. I have logged every workout I have done since I got back into running after a several year hiatus; in other words, every workout since November 5th, 2009. Over time, patterns have emerged as to when I perform best in each discipline. I have come to find that there are corresponding volumes, intensities, workouts, etc. to these performances. Here is one analysis I conducted after St. George 70.3, when confidence and motivation were very low, and I was searching for answers. If I can offer you any tip for your own training, it is: LOG EVERYTHING! If you log everything, and change little bits and pieces of your training from build to build, patterns will begin to emerge and you will be able to isolate them and utilize them to your advantage. It was after my St. George 70.3 training analysis that I really started to realize that I respond well to high-volume training, and that is why my current training may appear that way. But, just because it works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. Only through LOGGING EVERYTHING will you be able to ascertain what works best for you.

On Thursday October 23rd I started the day off with a moderate length bike workout. It was:

  • 15 minutes warmup
  • 30 minutes @300w with 10 minutes recovery
  • 20 minutes @305w with 10 minutes recovery
  • 10 minutes @310w with 10 minutes recovery

The total duration was 2 hours. Here is a graph of the data:

Bike Workout 1

The workout felt very easy, as I would imagine it should if you intend on pushing comparable wattages for over four hours. A few hours later I did this run workout:

  • 4k warmup
  • 5k@3:40/km with 600 meters recovery @5:40/km
  • 5k@3:40/km with 600 meters recovery @5:40/km
  • 5k@3:40/km with 600 meters recovery @5:40/km
  • 2k@3:40/km with 400m recovery @5:40/km
  • 2k@3:40/km with 400m recovery @5:40/km

The total distance was 26 kilometers, and it took 1 hour 43 minutes and 8 seconds. Once again, it felt very easy. It was difficult to cap this one off here, as in the past few weeks I have been running 10-15 kilometers more. But the taper is a time to walk away from workouts feeling good and fresh.

On Saturday I did my final brick workout before Ironman Florida. I wanted to do something that would give me confidence in my current fitness, but that wouldn’t be too taxing. I decided I was going to do a 15 minute warmup on the bike straight to 2 hours and 15 minutes continuous at my intended Ironman bike wattage, then I would hop off the bike and run a half-marathon at a pace that felt honest, but not as if racing in practice. Here is the data from the bike portion of the workout (Note, I tried to get heart rate on this one, but it copped out about 25 minutes in. All I can say is that my heart rate after 15 minutes at 305w, was 123BPM. Note 2: I have a large heart):

Bike Portion of Brick

One other thing I wanted to do in this workout was run in my racing flats. I haven’t run in them since Barrelman on September 21st, so I wanted to make it sure it wasn’t a complete shock to my feet this Saturday. I hopped off the bike and was able to transition in two minutes i.e. washroom break, new socks, shoes, hat, etc. and then I settled in at 10.3mph on the treadmill (3:37/km). I knew this pace was a bit ambitious, but it felt good. I wasn’t going to hesitate to reduce the pace if it started to hurt. Additionally, I wanted to use this workout to work on my aid-station skills. Before the workout I went to the convenience store next door and bought some paper cups. I then filled them with sports drink and Coca-Cola, and then lined them up on the ledge next to my treadmill along with some gels. The pace started to get a bit taxing around 10 miles, but not so taxing that I felt the need to reduce the pace. I ended up running the half-marathon in 1:16:34. Afterwards I cooled down for 3 kilometers, for a total of 15 miles (24 kilometers) in 1:29:43. Overall, I was happy with the workout, and it gave me just the boost of confidence I needed to take an even more pronounced taper next week.

Today (Sunday) I wanted to do an over-distance swim just to make sure my endurance is up to par (not that it would matter now!). So, I swam 5000 meters continuous at a decent output. It took me 1 hour 15 minutes and 35 seconds. Considering it was 1200 meters long then I will have to swim, I am happy with how it felt. I am really hoping to improve upon my swim time from my last Ironman!

Overall, I’m happy with how this training block has gone (70.3 Worlds until now). It certainly didn’t go as good or as smoothly as I imagined it, but given the circumstances, I think it went well. I am excited to get out there and see what happens. Since this is a very momentous occasion for me (on many different levels) I will do a separate post sometime this week on the significance of this race for me, as well as where my headspace is at going into it.

Thanks for reading and following along!