11 Weeks of Ironman Training: Progress When Life Gets In The Way

UPDATE:
The full 1 year Ironman training plan that I followed is now available!

I know what you’re thinking… 11 weeks? What happened to a post after 10 weeks?! There was such a nice pattern!

Yeah well, it’s been a wild few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been training.

There will always be something in the way of what you want to achieve. Your progress depends on your ability to persevere through resistance.

 

Let’s do a quick recap shall we?

3 weeks ago on 1/14/18, I ran my first 10k on some pretty tired legs. The week following was, for all intents and purposes, pretty normal. I ran 4 times (14.7mi), biked twice (28.7mi), and swam twice (just under 6k yards).

The last 2 weeks, however, have been quite a doozy. Last week, I had a “short” week, only running 3 times and biking only once. Predominantly because I spent the entire weekend in King of Prussia, PA taking my CrossFit Level 2 coaching certification course (post coming on that experience soon). This past week also was a “short week” (3 runs, 1 bike, 2 swim) because my wife & I have a small little thing going on (we’re buying a total renovation project as a house instead of something move-in ready and that hasn’t been the least bit stressful at all).

So, why am I a week behind in this post? Just that little thing called life.

That said, I’m still making progress ever day.

A new “furthest responsible” run PR (x2)

I mentioned earlier I spent last weekend in King of Prussia at CrossFit KOP, undergoing a 2 day seminar for my newest CrossFit coaching certification. Each day (Saturday & Sunday), our seminar started around 8:30am, and ran until some time between 5-6pm.

I wouldn’t call these “relaxing” either. They were very active, lots of moving, working out, time under tension, etc.

Compartmentalizing that though, I knew I had to find time to run 7 miles (the furthest I had run in this program to date) sometime during that weekend.

Luckily, a good friend of mine lives in the area, and was stupid kind enough to join me at 7am on Sunday for a jog in beautiful, ~50ish degree rain.

Thankful for the company (because I probably would have found a way out of it had he not joined me), we embarked on a 7mi run that took 53:56 and covered a measly 141ft of elevation.

It was exciting because it was the furthest I had run to date (responsibly: referencing my stupid 10mi run) and I felt “relatively” fresh afterwards to the point where I was still able to work up to some 250lb clean/front-squat complexes during the seminar later that day.

Today, one week after that, I needed to run 7 miles again (recall I’m doing 1mi increases every 2 weeks). Back home in Catonsville, though, life isn’t so “flat”. The exciting piece of today was, however, that I completed 7 miles in 53:01 (55 seconds faster than last week) while enduring 505ft of elevation (364ft more than last week).

Best part? Felt even fresher upon finishing than last time.

Next week I get to extend to 8miles (which will be the exact distance I need to run at the end of week 1 of official Ironman training) for the first time.

For 10 straight weeks the pool tricked me…

I had always found it strange that I would record my swim in terms of 25 meters at a time (pool length), and when my Garmin would sync to my Strava account, it would convert the metric into yards. Didn’t make much sense to me. Why on earth measure a pool in meters and have one of the most popular tracking apps out there, do something completely different.

Welp, after having shrugged that off for 10 weeks or so, I finally asked a woman in my lane why people always talked in yards when the pool was measured in meters.

Then it happened. My entire swimming career (all 2 months of it) came crashing down).

“This is a 25yd pool, not a 25m pool”.

WTF IS THAT?

So you mean to tell me that ALL THIS TIME, when I’ve been shooting for a minimum of 3,200x because I thought it was meters and it would be equal to 2 miles, that it actually wasn’t? It was actually 3,200yds which is only 1.82 miles?

Well shit.

So that was a major bummer. I had thought I had been swimming about 2 miles per session all the time to realize that I had only ever really hit 2 miles once. Oh well. Swimming is still feeling easier every day I go, so that’s a positive. Sure was a huge debby-downer to realize I hadn’t been covering quite as much distance as I once thought.

Biking = Netflix bonanza

I’ve been trying to push a little further on the bike consistently for the last few weeks. Trying to make 1 hour sessions a regular thing because A.) 1.5 & 2hr sessions come up quickly on the official training program, and B.) No Netflix shows are 45 minutes.

The longer these sessions get, the more I can crush through on tv. And the list isn’t getting any shorter:

  • Ozark
  • Peeky blinders
  • All the documentaries
  • A bunch of crap that hasn’t even come out yet

Looking forward to spring when I can start playing around outside, but for now, when it’s dark and freezing after work.. Netflix it is.

Strength maintenance: Just keep squatting

Something I haven’t talked much about in the last few weeks is doing some maintenance to retain a lot of the strength I gained doing 6 months of CrossFit Weightlifting.

All this aerobic training is great for working for long periods of time at moderate heart rates, but it’s not exactly the best for strength (in fact, it’s actually counter productive).

Because of that, I’m going to go back and repeat one of the squat cycles from the first 3 months of CrossFit weightlifting. Essentially performing 5×3 back/front squats at ascending weights each week for 12 week increments.

I don’t really anticipate that I’ll set any new back or front squat PRs doing this. However, it’s important to do at least some designated time under a heavy bar to keep the muscles in the legs working hard through a full range of motion, not just thousands of quarter squats at a time (i.e running).

I’m also ditching weight lifting shoes for this and doing all my squatting in “flats” or, in other words, very low heel-toe drop shoes (my Nike Metcon’s are 4mm). All to help increase some of the dorsiflexion in my ankles to better strengthen and mimic what I’ll experience running.

The real thing is almost here

At the time of this writing, I have 29 days until my official ironman training starts. When I first set out on this adventure, the countdown was roughly 120 days until the start of “official training”. It’s come up a lot faster than expected.

I’ve made a handful of excuses when missing days during “pre-training” and backed them with silly sentences like:

  • Well it doesn’t really matter yet, I’ll be better come March
  • I’m just trying to get into some habits, It’ll be there by March
  • [insert some other silly excuse and rational that it’ll be better in March]

The truth of it all is, I won’t be perfect come March.

This house renovation will cause some missed days. So will work. So will life. And that’s ok. So long as I lose the battle of training to things outside of my control.

As long as I can mentally will myself to do what I need to do, when I don’t actually have an excuse to not do it, that’s what’s important. That’s the challenge I’ll have for 30 straight weeks.

But if this was easy, everyone would do it.

Until next time.