Ironman Training Weeks 19-21 – Going Long
Ironman training weeks 19-21 were a build period after my recovery week post Half Ironman. It was actually my second to last build period before Ironman Coeur d’Alene! How is it possible that the race is already less than 8 weeks away?! These past three weeks gave me more confidence in my ability to complete the race than ever before, so that was encouraging. I’m still nervous because it’s going to be here SO soon!
Monday I slept in and only did a 30 minute run in the morning. The highlight of the day was in the evening at the season opener of the Triathlon Club of San Diego La Jolla Shores 1 mile ocean swim! Every Monday at 6pm, TCSD members meet for a 1 mile swim out towards La Jolla Cove, stopping after 1/2 mile, regrouping, and heading back. There is also a beginner group that swims a shorter distance parallel to the beach. I’m proud to say that this was my first successful mile swim in the ocean! I had planned to do the beginner’s group because I’m not 100% confident in the open water, but a couple of girls asked if I would swim with them in the regular group since we are at a similar pace (aka slower than the rest). It was very choppy and colder than usual (definitely sub 55 degrees f), so one of the girls turned back, and I was left with 1 swim buddy, but we stayed close together. There was a strong current that drastically slowed us down on our way back in, and we lost the majority of the group, but we made it back in safe and sound! I felt very accomplished for getting over my fear of swimming that far out into the open water, even though I was a little bit scared when I got stuck in the current heading back towards shore. I’ve done bay swims, harbor swims and shorter distances in the ocean, but I have never swam that long in the ocean. In case you’re wondering, the waves and currents are what scare me the most; not the sharks.
Tuesday: 1.5 hour Sufferfest Local Hero indoor spin on my road bike in the morning, Solana Beach Masters Swim in the evening
Wednesday: I recently started going to YMCA Masters Swim in Encinitas, and it has been a good challenge for me. Swimming is definitely my weakest of the 3 sports in triathlon, so I need to focus on my technique, endurance, and speed more than the other people I train with. My base is somewhere between 2:00-2:05, but the lanes at YMCA are usually 1:50 or faster. You can see how that would be a problem for someone like me. Luckily, there are some 2:00 min base swimmers that come on Wednesdays occasionally, but it’s not consistent, and I’ve caught them going faster than 2:00 before. I try not to let it get to me, but it definitely beats me up a little bit mentally. I HATE being slow. The only comfort I can give myself is when I do races, I’m never in the last group to finish. I guess the really slow people just don’t come to masters swim? That night I went to Group Strength which is always one of my favorite parts of the week. I heart strength training.
Thursday: Nicole and I went on a 70 minute run in the morning, and a did a 1.5 hour spin at home after work that night. Normally I try to go to Masters Swim Thursday nights too, but I’ve been really tired lately with this volume. It’s hard to fit everything in!
Friday: Rest day! My family went out for pizza for my sister Skye’s birthday dinner and I was in bed before 9pm! I’m always so tired by Thursday that I love to get lots of sleep on Fridays.
Saturday: Due to rain and high wind gusts, we postponed our long bike ride to Sunday and swapped the two sessions. Nicole and I set out for our 1:50 long run which equated to about 12 miles, and then we finished off the workout with a 45 minute spin on the trainer. That night, my family and I went out to sushi for my sister Aden’s birthday dinner. It was a fun-filled weekend of celebrations!
Sunday: This was probably the most difficult bike ride I’ve ever done. Mike, Nicole, and I mapped out a new route and went 75 miles with 3,700 ft climbing. Jeremy couldn’t join us unfortunately because he had knee pain. Some of the hills were SO STEEP! You can read more about the ride that we nicknamed “The Beast” in Nicole’s blog post. Let’s just say I was compelled to take my first ice bath that night! I have a fun post on that particular experience here. It was a great way to round out a high volume week of training, and I’d like to do more of them. Jeremy and I also went to a dinner discussion on Over-training and Recovery put on by Energy Lab Training which was super informative. Plus we got to eat at Urban Plates which is one of my new favorite places to dine!
Monday: I slept-in and did 20 minutes of mobility and stretching in the morning, and then a 30 min run + 30 min spin brick workout at night. Big mistake. I felt like I could conquer anything during this workout, but about 1 hour later, I had crazy knee pain. I was slightly limping and scared that I really hurt myself. Luckily the pain eventually went away over the course of the week, but I learned my lesson not to do too much leg work the Monday after a hard IM training weekend. I will be better served resting, swimming, or stretching!
Tuesday: I rested my knee in the morning and went to a coached spin/run brick workout at night so he could help me with my knee. Then I did Masters Swim.
Wednesday: My knee was feeling better so I did 45 minutes of easy spin in the morning and went to Group Strength at night.
Thursday: Back to my usual self again, I did a 1:25 run (8.3 miles) with Nicole nice and early in the morning, and then Masters Swim at night.
Friday: I had my weekly/bi-weekly swim lesson with Coach Trevor and made some great progress on my technique. He thinks my stroke is really coming along! Now I just need the speed and endurance to follow.
Saturday morning I woke up very nervous for an 85 mile bike. This was starting to sound serious!! I ended up doing 82 miles on the bike, and then a 3 mile run afterwards. The four us that train together on the weekends have different speeds, so we started doing slightly different mileage on these beastly long rides and runs. Afterwards we ate. A lot. I’m not proud to say this, but I’m pretty sure I consumed over 4,000 calories that day!
Sunday: Nicole and I went out for a 2:15 run, and it took us both at least 5-6 miles to warm-up. My legs felt very heavy, but it wasn’t the slowest run I’ve ever done which gives me hope for the IM, and I had no problem completing the distance. At 2pm we met up with TCSD for a 1 mile ocean swim in Fletcher Cove to remember one of the tri club members who was attacked and killed by a shark there a few years ago – Dave Martin. It was a very special event, and the local news came by to do a story on it. I wasn’t doing triathlons when he was attacked, but I was living in San Diego and remembered hearing about the attack. I never thought that I would be doing long ocean swims just like him one day. This 1 mile swim was much easier than the one I did on week 19. The water was in the high 50s and the conditions were very smooth. I felt more comfortable out there too because we had life guards on paddle boards by us the entire time, so I never felt like I was alone out there. I also drank pickle juice beforehand and didn’t cramp! It’s a direct correlation for me. If I don’t drink pickle juice before any kind of swim (ocean, pool, short lesson), I will get a calf cramp. If I drink it, I don’t cramp. Guess I need to fit that in on race day!
Monday: Since I really like doing mobility work and stretches on Mondays, I started going to Coach Trevor’s mobility class this day. I could only stay for 45 minutes due to my work schedule, but lucky for me, he changed the class time to 5:30am so I can make it now! Thanks, Trevor! I decided to rest that night. These high volume weekends warrant rest, don’t you think?
Tuesday morning I felt refreshed and took on 5 miles of Yasso 800s in the morning (speed work), and finished off my day with a 2 hour spin at night. Jeremy bought a trainer so now we have 2 and can spin at the same time! We watched Mad Men to keep us sane.
Wednesday: YMCA Masters Swim in the morning, and Group Strength class at night
Thursday: 90 min run with Nicole, and Masters Swim at night
Friday: Rest! Team WODS also went to happy hour together that night. I only needed 1 Delirium Tremens to get a good buzz!
Saturday I did my longest ride to date!! 88 mile bike ride with a 2 mile run afterwards for good measure. It was also a hilly course which made me feel more confident about IM CDA. I didn’t feel nearly as tired afterwards as I thought I would. Granted, I was ready to fall asleep at the dinner party I was attending, but I couldn’t help that side effect of 90 miles of training.
Sunday was the big test. How would my legs respond to running the morning after such a high volume of training? Nicole and I went out for our 2:30 minute run, and it probably took me about the same time to warmup. I felt a little odd, like running was just something my body was supposed to do. Maybe I was in the zone. Maybe I was just out of it. But my 16 mile run went by quickly, and I even saw WHALES and dolphins along the way!! When I get home I immediately did a 45 minute spin. Then I went to Trek and made a BIG decision. I traded in my road bike for a tri bike!! I am the proud owner of the Speed Concept 7.0! More on that later, but I think the switch was definitely for the better.