2 Weeks of Ironman Training Complete: My Findings

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

I’m used to volume, but not quite like this (and I’ve barely even begun…).

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve run 27.7 miles, Biked for 4+ hours at over 100 RPM, and swam nearly 10,000 meters. This is the most of any of these things that I’ve ever done in such a time period (probably still true if you even double it to a month). That’s not even including the 7 CrossFit classes I’ve attended during that time.

In total, I’ve exercised for 20.5 hours over 12 days (+ 2 rest days).

What’s crazy.. is towards the end of my 30 week program that I talked about previously, I’ll be doing that type of volume in half the time.

This truly is just the beginning.

The easy stuff so far…

Breathing

CrossFit has given me plenty of “engine” (CF code for endurance) making my cardiovascular endurance not much of a problem at the low time domain/mileages I’ve been working in thus far. The longest run in my first 2 weeks was 5 miles (roughly 35 minutes), my longest (indoor) bike ride has been 40 minutes, and even with swim practices running about 1.5 hours, there’s enough stopping to rest that I can catch my breath easily.

Time Management

Life is busy, always has been, always will be. Something I’ve always excelled in is making time for what needs it. By forcing myself to do 5 “two-a-days” and one long solo day, I don’t exactly have a ton of free time outside of my 1 rest day (which also happens to be a work day).

What’s that all mean? More early alarms, and quick to start exercises after work.

On any typical day, I’m waking up between 4-5am for my morning workout (always either Swimming or CrossFit since they’re defined time limits), eating and heading to work. Then immediately upon returning home grabbing my running/biking shoes and hitting the road/pedals fast enough that I can still be done before my wife gets home for dinner.

That won’t be quite as easy as the distances get longer (and thus so does the time), but for now, it’s working out nicely.

Eating

God I love eating. The best part about all this working out? I get to eat more!

I’m going to begin working with a nutritionist here in the coming weeks, but for now, I’m just upping the calories. I’m keeping it simple by doubling up on lunch (now eating around 10am and 2pm, instead of once at noon), and adding in some overnight oats, fruit and blackstrap molasses first thing in the morning (plus coffee.. cause duh).

All that and a protein shake right before bed have been doing the trick so far. But the good news is, the further and longer I have to go, the more food I get to eat! (RIP wallet, you belong to the grocery store now).

The hard stuff so far…

Swimming

Not really sure I even need to elaborate here. We’re humans, not fish. That becomes pretty obvious when you hop in the pool for the first time in 15 years and flail around for 90 minutes.

There are a lot of immediate questions:

  • How often do you breathe?
  • How deep
  • Do you hold your breath? Or exhale under water?
  • How is this 90yo woman torpedoing past me?
  • etc.

To make matters more interesting, since I generally ‘look’ like I’m in shape, I was thrown in the “fast lanes” on my first day. Let’s just say that lasted about 30 seconds before being asked to exit that lane and move on down to a lane full of retirees for the time being.

Soreness & injury

Obviously, this is a lot of activity. A whole lot. All in a very short period of time.

Over time, I’m sure I’ll develop all those little muscles that are involved in these 3 (pretty much) brand new sports, but they’re not quite there yet.

Immediate ailments include:

  • Tight hamstring/it-band (left leg/knee)
  • Tight calf/foot (right foot)

Both of these just got dry-needled (it hurt oh-so-good) today, to free me up to continue running/biking.

Where I am now

Beginning week 3 of my pre-lim training starting tomorrow the 27th (with a rest day), which is technically a week behind. With some nagging muscles and the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to be smart (for a change) this early in the process and take it easy/get some treatment because just like it will be on Sept 29th, it’s all a marathon (pun intended), not a sprint.

My 10 mile milestone

As of today, I’m keeping my goals small, and trying to tackle them one by one. A little progress in each aspect of this sport will all add up to one big win at the end. That said, the day circled on my calendar next is 1/7/18. That’s the day that I’ll be programmed to run 10 miles.

10 miles isn’t even half of what I’ll have to run in September, but it’s significant none the less. When deciding if I thought I could train for an Ironman in a year or not, I decided to test myself. I said, if I can go out and just run 10 miles, with no training, then I can do it. And so I did.. I left work, got home, threw on 6 year old running shoes and ran 10 miles. Not well, not quickly (8 minute mile 1, 14 minute mile 10), but I did it in 1:37:26 (and paid for it for about a week afterwards).

6 weeks from now, I get to try again, and see some (hopefully) serious progress in time, pace, recovery, etc. I’m shooting for under 1:20:00 this next time around, and when that happens, I’ll really feel like I’m taking strides (more puns) in the right direction.

Happy training! (Runs to finish pumpkin pie…)