Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ironman Training: Week 1.857

Welp, I'm in it.  I've been "loosely" training for my Ironman for months now, just building up a base and working on my skill in swimming and cycling.  But now, I'm officially in it.  I'm in "the plan".  My plan is a 20 week somewhat minimalist plan that I absolutely love.  I love the structure, the simplicity, predictability.  It's a thing of beauty.  After tomorrow, I'll have finished the first two weeks of the plan.  

During my self-designed base building winter/spring training, I was doing 2 bikes, 2 swims, and 2 runs each week, plus 4 short strength training workouts.  Most of my bike rides at that time were on the trainer.  One ride would be short, during the week, at 30 minutes to one hour.  The other would be longer, at 1.5 to 3 hours.  Same idea with my runs.  One short one (4-6 miles) during the week, and one long one (10-13 miles, usually), on the weekend.  Swimming, I had been doing almost exclusively at Master's, usually two weekdays in the mornings at 5:45 am, usually at about 3000-3500 yds each day.  I do the strength training from  I consistently do Bia (hip), Athena (leg circuit), Poseidon (general strength bodyweight), and Apollo (dynamic core).  The others I only dabble with here and there for variety, and not very often.

Before getting into the plan, I was a little bit dreading the official training.  I wasn't loving the biking, especially.  It was uncomfortable, I didn't enjoy it, and it took a lot of time.  I kept thinking about what my "ideal" training schedule would look like.  This is what I came up with:  3 run days, 2 swim days, strength training as I've been doing, after my workouts, and biking only for commuting/leisure/fun.  I would have one designated rest day, and one "fun" workout day for rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, or a group social bike ride.  I still think that sounds fabulous, and may very well do that for a while when I'm done with this thing.

BUT, I no longer dread the Ironman training.  I really like it.  And....hopefully....maybe....I'm going to start actually enjoying the biking!  I'm not getting my hopes up too far yet, but I think it's looking good.  The thing is, I still don't like triathlons.  I like triathlon TRAINING, but not triathlons.  I like doing triathlon training for running races, and the occasional swim or bike only event.  But I don't particularly enjoy doing all three in one day.  Part of that is just that the events themselves are so dang expensive, and the people are so.....gear heavy and a little snobby (overgeneralization, I know,, I have some awesome triathlete friends, but runners are still the coolest people around! :)

Anyway, my training right now is, like I said, fairly consistent.  Here's my week:

Mon: rest, work either 7a-3p or 11a-7p.
Tues: interval swim (5:45am), interval ride (7:30am), work 11a-7p.
Wed: easy run, Bia (hip), Athena (leg circuit).  Work either 7a-3p or 11a-7p.
Thur: interval swim (5:45 am), easy bike (7:30am), work 11a-7p.
Fri: easy run, Apollo (core), Poseidon (arms).  Work either 7a-3p or 11a-7p.
Sat: Long bike ride.
Sun:  Open water swim, long run.
Or, written another way:

Swim: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday.
Bike: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
Run: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
Strength: Wednesday, Friday.
Rest: Monday

As always, you can keep tabs on my training log at
I do make some modifications as needed.  I have already, and will again, flop my Wednesday/Friday interval and easy runs, usually to accommodate social group runs falling on an easy day.  I didn't have time to do my strength training with my run yesterday, so I did it today.  Tomorrow is supposed to rain so I'm doing a pool swim instead of open water.  But mostly.  I plan to follow it basically as written!

Let's talk now about gear.



I like swimming now, a lot.  But I didn't have a wetsuit and didn't particularly want or feel the need for one.  But, I guess it's a competitive disadvantage to NOT have one, due to their buoyancy.  Plus, IM MD apparently has a small jellyfish issue.  So.

I am however, fairly cheap, so I went on Ebay to track one down.  After some research, I decided I wanted the DeSoto two piece style wetsuit.  I got the tops and bottoms separately, used for about $40 each.  The top was a "black pearl", or lower end model, while the bottoms are the "first wave" or higher end model.  I bought them several months ago and finally had the chance to try them out in my first open water swim of the season last weekend.

I swam with a girl I met through the Ann Arbor Triathlon Club at Silver Lake in Pinckney.  We then went on a 7 mile trail run afterward.  ANYWAY, yeah, the wetsuit SUCKED.  The bottoms were fine, but the top was horribly constricting, especially around the neck/chest.  I made it all of 300 yards before heading over to the beach to take it off.  The good news is, I have a pretty good tolerance for cold water when swimming (not unlike my excellent tolerance of cold weather while running).  (Biking in the cold is a different story entirely though.....)  After doing some more research, I think that the "Black Pearl" line of wetsuits is just too stiff.  I should have waited for a "First Wave" line in the top, or gone for a larger size in the top, because it just doesn't have enough give.  I will keep an eye on either of those options on Ebay.



So, what changed with biking?  Yesterday, I went to the Bike and Tri Shop in Livonia, and got a fitting done.  I had REALLY wanted to go to Jess Bratus (Fit Mi!), but I discovered that the Tri Shop offers a 50% discount for Ann Arbor Triathlon Club members so I just couldn't justify the extra cost to not use that discount.  (If I had read the discount list earlier, I actually could have gotten the fitting completely free in the off season!!  DAMNIT!!!)  I decided I needed to go fairly urgently, because I had developed some pretty decent pain in my right posterior tibial tendon (medial ankle area) that seemed to be exacerbated by hard cycling, and I though something might be wrong with my cleat setup (I was right).

At the fitting, mostly, I had a blast.  It was so cool.  I took some photos and videos (below).  I was surprised at how "subjective" to my preferences Tom let the fitting be, but I think that is the right way to go.  If I'm not comfortable, it doesn't matter how fast or ergonomic the position is.  I was really impressed with his knowledge and passion for biking too.  I would definitely recommend doing it!  We ended up moving my saddle forward and up, and rotating the nose down a bit, rotating my handlebars toward me a bit, and adjusting my cleats to a more neutral (vs. toed-in) position.


While I was there, I ended up trying on and buying a sleeveless wetsuit.  I got this one.  It felt much better than my DeSoto Black Pearl top in the store, but I haven't gotten the chance to try swimming in it yet.  I won't until next Sunday probably, because it's supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow.  I like the idea of sleeveless right now anyway, because I'm a strong enough swimmer to not need that buoyancy in the arms (I'll still have plenty in the body and the legs), and I tend to run pretty hot while working out, and the water will be on the warm side most likely at my race, and I was very very worried about shoulder fatigue swimming with a full sleeve wetsuit for such a long distance.  I'm excited to try it out next week.  I am still on the lookout for a different DeSoto top to have available for colder swims, but for now, I'm happy.  

Also at the Tri Shop,  I picked up a trainer mat for my bike, and some Chamois Butt'r.  (I hate that that stuff is necessary.  There's another strike against cycling!).  All in all, I swiped a pretty big credit card purchase yesterday, but no buyer's remorse so far.  I got a better deal than most places online, had a great time, met some great people, and got my bike a lot more comfortable and ridable than it was!

I rode it for about 30 miles today and it felt great!  I actually enjoyed the ride a lot, and put up some better speed numbers than my usual.  I went at 7am with two other ladies, stopped for coffee at the turnaround point, and made it back in time to beat the thunderstorms.  All in all a great ride.

On that note, I want to add that I love love love my friends and the endurance athlete community in Ann Arbor.  I don't have to choose between Ironman training and a social life, because here, Ironman training IS my social life.

Last Saturday I rode with the AABTS.  Last Sunday I swam and ran with Laurie from the Tri Club.  Tuesdays and Thursdays I swim with the Masters Club.  This past Wednesday I ran at 5:45 with Ashley and Lina.  Friday, Ashley met at me at 5:15am (!!) to run intervals with me before I went to work at 7am, even though she didn't have to be at work until 9.  Today I biked with Darleen and Jill (who has done 5 full Ironmans!).  Tomorrow I'm swimming with Alex, and running with Lina.

The ONLY thing I'm struggling with so far (aside from the ankle pain, which is improving/gone), is nutrition.  I am not going to open that can of worms in this post, but let's just say I haven't quite mastered fueling for this level of activity yet.

Game on.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the training. Your plan makes it sound somewhat manageable. I'd still be most intimidated by the time on the bike, as 35 miles has been my max. I hope you'll keep updating as your training goes on, and I'll be curious to hear if you think the minimalist plan is a good one.

    I finally tried using a wetsuit for the first time a couple weekends ago too. I ordered online and finally settled on my third attempt at getting the appropriate size, but it's still awfully tight. I struggle way more than I should to get it on, but luckily I had no issues while swimming in it. Still, if my first triathlon isn't until the end of June, maybe the water will be warm enough that I won't bother with it. Just one more thing to slow me down in transition, and probably more time wasted than I'd gain from any buoyancy!

    I'll be curious to hear how you work out nutrition as well.


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