For many Ironman races, you convince yourself this feat is possible, get excited, and sign up for the race a year in advance. Then you wait. Sure, you can (and should) keep up with some of the swim/bike/run routine and maybe run a few races. But twelve months is too long to wake up day-in and day-out and say, “Today I am training for Ironman.” (Though I have kept in mind that this is an important year to not get hurt from pushing too hard before Ironman training even starts.) Instead you can plan your season with mesocycles and macrocycles (this book covers a lot), focusing on shorter races and eventually building toward Ironman. Typical training plans I’ve seen are 12-20 weeks, or 3 to 5 months, and those plans assume varying amounts of fitness in all three sports going into the formal training cycle. I’ll follow a 20 week plan, but since my half ironman is two weeks into the plan, I’ll complete my half ironman plan, rest a bit the week after, and pick up the Ironman plan there.
Six months out from race day feels like a pretty significant milestone, if only for the fact that this week I finally switched from buying 20-visit passes to the pool to a 6 month unlimited pass.
Taking a moment the check-in with where my head is right now…
Since January, I’ve gotten lucky and had some weekends that warmed up enough to do my longer rides outside. I’ve certainly kept up with my running. And swimming is still an unknown – I feel like I’m doing just fine, but the swims in my half ironman training plan seem short, and who knows how good my form is – but it’s a relatively short part of the race, and I’m trying to trust that my plan will be sufficient. All that is to say, I’ve been doing the training that should get me across the finish line of my half Ironman in May, but it has not felt intense (I guess they don’t call it super simple for nothing…). (Once again I regret not entering last fall’s training data somewhere so I could easily compare the volume this time around).
I am so overwhelmingly eager to get into the thick of Ironman training. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I’m in the midst of if, but right now I can’t believe that. I can’t wait to dedicate myself to this cycle of training, to push myself each week, to see what kind of meltdown(s) I’ll have, to see where I’ll find my strength.
Plus, there is a list of questions to answer for race day, including but definitely not limited to: What will I wear (yes, a very real consideration – 140.6 miles allow for lots of chafing)? How will I pace myself? What will be my nutrition strategy? Do I prefer goos or gummies or protein bars? Liquid nutrition (new to me)? Real foods like dates? A mixture of all of the above?
I’ve heard enough horror stories to know that dialing in your nutrition is a huge component of how well your race will go. I spent the run of my fall half ironman feeling sick and unable to take in any calories. I had stomach pain the majority of my marathon last weekend, probably due to eating a Gu Roctane for the first time in a long while. So these small brushes with nutrition issues have me worried about reaching a whole new level of digestive pain and discomfort during Ironman.
For now, I’m resisting the temptation to order a box or canister of every product ever created, but I’m compiling a list of things to try. I have a bunch of gu’s and other assorted items in my cabinets to work through, but I welcome any and all suggestions for different products and strategies.
So how am I feeling? Super excited (and maybe a little impatient) to start official training in a few
weeks months. Bring it on, Ironman Wisconsin!