41 Weeks of Ironman Training: Peaking Is Hard

Well, I’m finally ready to be calling this the “home stretch”. With only 5 weeks left of my one year Ironman training plan, I can see the end in sight.

While it feels like I’m just about there, it also feels like I’m miles (pun intended) away all at the same time.

That, is in thanks to the sheer volume of activities I’ve been working with in the Peak Phase of the program.

From the beginning, all the way through the build phase, there was a slow, steady, multi-week progression of mileage/time making the difference between 6-8-10-14 mile runs feel seamless, and the same with 2-3-4 hour bike rides. When it came time to begin peaking after Ironman Ohio 70.3, that slow steady grade of gradual increase, suddenly became a steep ascent.

From 0-100, real quick

The first 10, and second 10 weeks of the 30 week training program had 2 micro-phases within them. The first half of the 10 weeks, you slowly increased to a new plateau of distance (8-10 mile runs, 2-3 hour bikes in Phase 1 – 10-12 mile runs, 3-4 hour bikes in Phase 2), and then held several weeks in a row at distances within those ranges.

All this to serve the purpose of acclimating to a new plateau before increasing volume in the next phase.

Phase 3 took this approach, and basically hurled it out the window of a moving train car.

Beginning phase 3, was my Ironman 70.3: 1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run. Within the 4 weeks after that, those numbers have climbed to 2.2mi swim, 90mi bike, 18mi run.

The craziest part? There are still 2 more weeks of straight increasing, before we hit the 3 week taper.

Needless to say, I’m tired.

For 41 straight weeks, I’ve woken up before the sun on both weekend days, and biked and ran. The difference in the last few weeks though, was that both days now take basically half of the day to complete and recover the given activity.

This has been by far, the hardest stretch

I knew this was going to be hard. Hell, it’s what I signed up for. That said, I’m not entirely sure I quite realized just how relentless this schedule was going to be, in this phase of training.

A typical week day looks like the following:

  • 4:30am: Wake up
  • 5:00am: Stretch
  • 6:00am: Exercise (Either Swim, or CrossFit)
  • 8:30am: Go to work
  • 5:00pm: Head home
  • 5:30pm: Stretch
  • 6:00pm: Exercise (Either Bike or Run)
  • 7:00pm: Shower
  • 7:30pm: Eat, check on the house rehab (going well, thanks for asking), prep for the next day
  • 9:30pm: Sleep

Every day but Monday resembles such a schedule, only to then be complimented on Saturday and Sunday like this:


  • 4:30am: Wake up
  • 5:00am: Eat breakfast
  • 6:00am: Begin biking
  • 11:30am: End biking
  • 12:00pm: Make it home
  • 12:00pm-9:00pm: I get to have a social life (though it’s usually full of errands)


  • 4:30am: Wake up
  • 5:00am: Eat breakfast
  • 6:00am: Begin running
  • 8:30am: End running
  • 11:00am: Finally feel recovered
  • 11:00pm-9:00pm: I get to have a social life (though it’s usually full of errands)

Needless to say, I don’t seem to get much done. If it doesn’t happen on Monday evenings or weekend afternoons, it doesn’t happen.

The desire to quit, at times, has been very real

This is tough to admit. I generally believe in my persistent nature, and to me, the “Q” word is as taboo as they come.

There have been times, however, where I’ve cursed this commitment. Why on earth did I think this was a good idea? Is it even healthy at this point? I can’t sleep (well), I never seem to eat enough, I’m tired 100% of the time, and I’ve been known to be more grumpy than usual (sorry everyone).

It’s been really easy to consider the thought of “this just isn’t worth it”, or “you’ve done enough, just hang ’em up and get back to something you enjoy”.

Thankfully, my support crew of friends and family have kept me sane, grounded, and encouraged. With 5 weeks left, all of my focus is now on the end. We haven’t come 41 weeks into this last year, to give up in the final 5. I haven’t done almost 400 workouts, to skip out on the last few, even when I really want to.

It’s been tough, it’s been hard, and in the end, all I hope is that it’s worth it.

We’re almost there.

Until next time.