Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ironman Training

I have fielded many questions on how I trained for 2 Ironmans Triathlons in a week. Let me preface my answer by saying that I am not new to endurance sports and did my first triathlon in 1996. My first marathon was several years ago and my first Ironman was in 2005.

I say this because there are many beginner triathletes (defined as someone who has been doing triathlons consistently for less than 5 years) that want to do an Ironman Triathlon because....well, their friends did it so they want to also.

While this is GREAT for the sport, I caution those beginners who are reading this not to follow in my training footsteps as my training volume worked for me and may very well not work for you. Consult a trained professional if you decide to do 2 Ironman Triathlons in a week (I consulted one at Endurance Sports Institute and it proved invaluable).

So, with that "disclaimer" out of the way, the idea to get me ready to undertake what I considered a daunting task was to get my Training Stress Score (as calculated by my coach and not some on-line generic calculation) so high that when I actually completed the first Ironman of the week on August 31, 2008 (Ironman Louisville 2008) it would not be a shock to my system, but would rather feel like a long training day.

Please feel free to peruse my training logs, which are all open access to view. Just click on the lefthand side of the webpage to view the logs, week by week.

In summary, here is what my total weekly volume looked like from January 1, 2008 up to the first Ironman of the week. (click on graph below to enlarge)

As you can see, I didn't do a ton of volume. Having a coach that knows you well allows you to train SMART and not to train HARD. Being successful at endurance training is just like being successful at endurance racing; you need to become highly efficient and "saddle time" is a "waste of time" if there is no purpose to the workout other than just "being on the bike". If you find yourself needing to just get "saddle time" to get used to the high mileage, then it may be a good idea to not attempt to do 2 Ironmans in a week, as injury may result.

Every single ride I did over 100 miles (about 5-6 times) there was a purpose and a focused heart rate zone I needed to be in. This allowed my body to continue to increase its endurance capacity and therefore had a "purpose".

Below is a pie chart that breaks down the mileage I did in each discipline from January 1 2008 including BOTH Ironman races. The distance/volume for both Ironman races are what make up the "281.20 miles, 7.453% race" portion of the chart. The pie chart below includes biking and running distances within "brick" workouts; which were a bike ride then a run immediately following. Sometimes they were single bricks and sometimes they were double bricks. I mention this because the bike distance and run distances are slightly lower than what I actually did because of this. (click on the chart below to enlarge)

Please help make a difference -


Tony said...

Congrats Steve! You freaking ROCK!

I hope to follow in your footsteps by attempting this myself some day in the future. To that end I want to ask, and perhaps I'm just space cadeting here, but I can't find links to your workouts on the left hand side of your blog. Am I just completing having a brain freeze?

Tony said...

Never mind! I am indeed an idiot! :)