This little stream by our house feeds into the Mississippi, which after hundreds of miles flows into the ocean. If I want to tame the ocean, I need to start with the stream. I have a decent base of training now, so I am ready to begin the long slow build to Ironman. I have the advantage of meeting IronJenny through my local tri club. She is awesome. She ranks 111 in her age group for USATF and is competing at the the world championship. She is doing Ironman Brazil, and is contemplating Florida. I couldn't ask for a better training partner/coach. Particularly because she just defines "nice" She has the greatest attitude of any athlete I know. So, I asked her how she trained for IMAZ, since she is a mom with 2 young kids. She gave me the following advice:
Gosh, I doubt you want my training regimen... I am the classic under-trainer. I have only done one of these things, but here is my program: I shot for 2 bikes, 2 runs, and 2 swims per week. I know others do a lot more than that. I have a copy of the training manual, but didn't use it. You can borrow it if you want... I can bring it on Wednesday.
Sunday - bike long and semi-leisurely at least 2or 3 hours (on a
trainer if the weather was bad)
Monday - run 1 hour - extra credit if it's some kind of drill/speed workout
Tuesday - swim 50 minutes with Masters group (not the full hour because we have coffee afterward and don't want to be late)
Wednesday - bike with the GW group 70 minutes(?), add a run afterward if you want
Thursday - swim 50 minutes
Friday - off
Saturday - long run (up to 20 miles) with Marathon Training Group
Three weeks before IM - I did a 1/2 IM in California. That was my last long training day. (6:18:00)
I ended up with a 12:51:03, which was 18 or 19 places away from Hawaii ( I didn't plan to qualify anyway), and I was happy with my time. These sports are so personal... it seems everybody is getting something different
from the experience and there are those who want to do really well and qualify for something, and those who just like the cameraderie and chance to
get away from their fighting and screaming kids and those mounds of laundry that need folding. (that would be me). And of course accomplish what so very few will ever even attempt and know you can do it. (the best part)
I found that the above routine left me feeling no more fatigued than after a marathon. I felt strong enough for my steady-not-fast pace all day long; jumped about 5 feet in the air for my finish photo, and then rode my bike back to the hotel afterward.
I did get coaching from Matt Haugen 2 years ago, and took 2 or 3 x 10-week courses through Tri-Endurance, but didn't think I was the type of athlete who needed a coach... I wasn't as "plugged into it" as most of my teammates.
I thought the biggest thing was the nutrition. I ate 4000 calories by the time the race was over: 8 gatorades on the bike; about 4 or 5 clif bars on the bike, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (not all at once), and several bites of powerbars, orange slices, banana halves, etc., as the volunteers were handing them out. On the run there is an aid station at every mile. I had gatorade, water and a bite or two of something at each one. (pretzel sticks, chicken broth, power bar bites, coke, you name
it - there is a BUFFET). It works out to be about 300 calories per hour, but I felt GREAT the whole day. It was strange to be on the run and passing up all these other athletes who are lying on the ground, walking hunched over, just bonked. I really believe eating all day (and drinking gatorade) was the trick for me.
I also recommend taking 2 or 3 salt tablets 3 or 4 times during the day... but I am a sweat-er, so I don't know if everybody needs that much. Finally, I did a lot of walking on the marathon from the very first mile. My split was 4:54, (which is not exactly fast, but it was good enough for me, considering I usually do at or around 4 hours). I took short walking breaks from the very first mile -- I ran 200 steps, then walked until my heart rate dropped below 140 - sometimes that was 6 steps, sometimes it was 80. I passed all those hunched-over people during the entire run. I understand that once you bonk, you don't recover until you sleep it off.
My final thought is: this distance is not for "racing" unless you are a pro or are trying to qualify for something. Enjoy your day - if you feel like going a little faster next time, then OK. But for your first one, take it at the slower end of "strong-but-steady". I'd like to do another one.
So, that seems very manageable to me. I plan to throw in some century rides next summer and bump up to the international distance in racing. I am going to do an Iron 70.3 in September and then on to Florida.