Sunday, March 4, 2012

20-week Out Season Ironman Training Wrap-up

Ironman Training Update
March 4, 2012

End of 20 week Out Season Ironman Training Plan

Whew!  This adventure ride officially started way back on October 17, 2011.  That was right after returning from the Big Island of Hawaii and experiencing the Ironman World Championships.  A memorable experience that I will never forget. 

Training for an Ironman is a long road.  People must be dedicated to the training and make time for it.  Especially when trying to train over the winter.  The darkness, the cold weather, the rain, the snow, the wind can all prove challenging to getting your butt out there just to suffer.

During Ironman CDA 2010, I identified that my weakest discipline of the three was the bike.  Even though my marathon time was well over 6 hours, it was my poor bike fitness that contributed to the poor run.  I needed to focus on the bike.  So that became my #1 priority. 

Ironman Training Day 1 Bike Test Video

Run Test #1 Video

As my training started I was scheduled to be on the road travelling for work.  So for the first time, I brought my bike along.  I got to enjoy some great training rides along the Oregon Coast and even rode my bike all the way to the California Border (well, from Brookings, anyway).  Taking my bike to Seattle for Fish Expo week sounded like a good idea, but Seattle is not a great place to bike train.  Too many stops, pot holes, weird routes and such.  I spent most of my time, just figuring out where to go.  And then I got a flat tire while crossing the Ballard Bridge.  That pretty much did it for me and didn’t ride anymore in Seattle.

I set up the bike trainer in my bedroom so I could train indoors and watch TV.  This should be pretty good.  I despise the bike trainer.  Don’t know what it is about it, but I find it too boring and it is pretty noisy for the apartments.  So in December I joined LA Fitness so I could get in on their spin classes.

I enjoyed the spin classes.  They were high energy and I like working out with other people.  I seem to feed off of their energy.  When I see someone else pushing it and giving a lot of effort, I want to do the same.  I liked the puddles of sweat that would pour off of me and seeing the mirrors steam up during the sessions.

Week 4 Update--First Swim Workout

December Bike Test #2 Video

January Bike Test #3 Video

During the out season my coaches don’t recommend we spend any time in the pool.  The return on investment is very little when it comes to spending countless hours in the pool just to improve your Ironman swim time by a couple of minutes.  That’s why they focus so much on the bike and run.  But, I did have an opportunity to take an Adult Swim Clinic at Lacamas Heath Club that was taught by triathlon coach Denise.  OMG!  She basically re-taught us how to swim.  First, we swam only on our backs to get our head position right and to kick properly using fins.  Then we rotated to our sides and then with our heads down, then strokes.  Drill after drill after drill, building upon what we had just learned.  It was amazing.

January Swim Lessons Video

After about 7 weeks we got to have a swim meet with the Masters swimming class.  This was so much fun.  I had never done a swim meet before.  This was the real deal with timing boards, announcer, big reader board and everything.  We were entered in the 50 meter freestyle and the 50 meter back stroke.  I was in Heat 1 against two other swimmers.  I had never done a swim platform start, so I chose to start from the side.  I took off and swam as hard as I could finishing second in 35 seconds.

Then came time for the backstroke.  I had never done a swim start for the backstroke.  I lined up with my feet on the wall and my hands on the bottom of the swim platform.  I pictured in my mind what I had seen during the Olympics.  Swimmers would lurch backwards with their arms straight out over their heads, back arched and dolphin kick while underwater until surfacing and then doing the backstroke.  That wasn’t what happened.  I lurched backwards with my arms over my head, but I arched my back too far and ended up doing a somersault underwater!  I came up staring at the swim platform and everyone else 15 meters down the pool!  I laughed and then proceeded to do my back stroke.  Crazy times.  I finished, but placed 5th out of 6.

Our class was technically done, but I asked if I could race the 100 meter freestyle with the Masters.  The coach got me into the first heat.  This time I was going to do the start on top of the swim platform.  I would be racing against 5 other swimmers.  I was ready, I was going to rock it!  The horn sounded and I dove in.  My goggles slid down my face a bit, I could still see and they weren’t leaking, but it was a bit uncomfortable, but I didn’t let it bother me.  Glide-stroke-glide-stroke-glide-stroke.  I was on a tear.  I tried to focus on smooth strokes and proper form.  I hit the 50 meter mark and it looked like I was in the lead, but I was only half way.  I started getting tired just before hitting the wall at 75 meters.  I remember taking an extra gasp for air at the wall, but then got my head down and kept going.  I was going to go for broke and leave nothing behind.  I was really tired and could feel my form starting to slip.  I just visualized good form and powerful strokes, soon it would be over and I could rest.  I dug hard the last several strokes, skipping my breathing stroke and powered to the wall.  FIRST PLACE!!!  My time was an impressive 1’11”.  As I got out of the pool, still dizzy from the effort, the Masters swim coach came running over from the other side of the pool and gave me a high five, “dude! That was killer!  I thought you were wearing fins!”  That was pretty cool!

For one of my long runs on Sunday, I did it as part of a running event.  I was slated to run for 90 minutes with 2x1 mile at 8:12 threshold pace and 2xhalf-mile at 8:12 pace and the remaining time at about 8:45 pace.  I decided to enter the Heartbreaker 10K, but that would only last about 55 minutes.  Just so happened they had a 5K that started 30 minutes prior so I did that event first, finishing in about 29 minutes, then I lined up for the 10K.  Wouldn’t you know it, I finished that event just one minute from my personal best!  Pretty amazing if you ask me.

I did my final bike test during the Jack Frost Time Trial.  A 12 mile all out effort at Vancouver Lake.  Just so happens that that is where I do all of my bike tests.  It was a cold and wet day, but I finished and improved my lactate threshold heart rate from 138 in October to 144 in February. 

The final running event I chose to do during the Ft. Vancouver 10K.  I hadn’t been feeling too well leading up to the race.  I think I was coming down with a cold or something nasty.  As of Saturday afternoon I was resolved to walking the 6K, but after a good night’s rest I decided to stick to the 10K and give a good performance. 

I kept things pretty steady and was always pushing throughout the run.  The first 5K was a 26:30.  I had to walk up the land bridge just a bit, but quickly got back to running when I reached the top.  Towards the end I poured it on strong and hustled in to finish in 54:16.  Not a PR, but still very respectable.

This is the first time I have completed an out season training plan.  The training has been intense at times.  Each session the coaches have us pushing ourselves in our various training zones.  Then every 4 weeks we doing a fitness test to measure improvements, but the downside is that it then boosts your training zones for the next sessions.  I did not shirk my tests and even when I didn’t want to, I tried very hard to keep with the training zones.  During the 2010 training season I didn’t do that.

My nutrition has been taking a hit though and that is something I really need to dial in during the 12 week build up.  I have eaten way too many Kit Kats and drank too much Pepsi and Coke.  I have also reacquainted myself with the McDonald’s drive thru opting for the Egg McMuffin and Hashbrown in the morning and the McChicken meal at other times of the day.  Plus Taco Bell seems to be a favorite.  I have to remember that food is fuel and I must do a better job of fueling my body with the good stuff. 

At the end of this training plan I purchased a Kestrel TT aero bike that I hope will improve my bike performance.  I am anxious to get out on the road with it, but first I am going to invest some money into a professional bike fit so I can utilize optimum body position for optimum power and aerodynamics.

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