Ironman training hasn’t ”officially” started, but I’m already feeling the rewards. If I hadn’t committed myself to Ironman Florida, I never would have taken the time for heart rate training. I decided to take four weeks to concentrate on the bike. My fat burning was poor on the bike, and it would be difficult to stay fueled for 112 miles and avoid GI issues. How much could I accomplish in only 4 weeks?
As it turns out, a lot. For 4 weeks, I rode in zones 1 and 2 and I changed what I ate. I cut down on carbs and concentrated on eating protein and fat. I had my retest on Thursday and was thrilled with the results. Now, I should be able to get the watts I’m going to need to bike the course in zones 1 & 2. This will dramatically cut down on the amount of food I’m going to need to choke down during the bike leg. I can utilize the gels and fluids that my stomach is already used to and hopefully get off the bike in good shape. I’m sure I’ll be tired or maybe I won’t even make it, but I think I’m in a better position to do it without puking or bonking.
Now my attention turns to actually putting out the power I need. Biking in zones 1 and 2 for a month has put me where I want to be from a metabolic and cardiovascular position, but my legs need to be more conditioned. That’s okay. I have plenty of time to develop. I’m excited about mixing in some threshold work and getting my power to improve and to build my endurance.
Running? I’m back to running and loving it. My new run zones mean I have to push a lot harder to get in zone 2. My mind isn’t used to pushing that hard after so many weeks of slow miles followed by a couple of weeks of no running. It’s coming back, though. I had a strong 6 mile run yesterday with an average pace of 9:40 and a heart rate safely in zone 1. I’m looking forward to doing some interval running, pushing into zone 2 and then returning to zone 1.
Swimming is also going well. I’m glad to be back in the pool on a regular basis. I started swimming some longer workouts and I’m getting through them with no problem. If the weather stays as warm as it has been, I’ll be able to get in the lakes and practice open water swimming well before I was able to last year. Maybe I can get Mike and some friends to beat and kick me in the water so I can get the feel of what it’s really going to be like in the race. I have a lot of work to do but I’m ready to get started.
Even though this will be my fourth season of triathlon, I’ve always felt like I was a runner. This is the first season I feel more like a triathlete. I’m getting used to doing double workouts and I’m anxious to start training for real. The first couple of weeks, the workouts will be shorter than what I’m doing now but I’ll be getting used to the schedule. There is no strength training on the schedule, so I’ll be figuring out how to work that in without compromising any of the other workouts. I’m committed to my lower carb diet and think it’s worth the effort. I think I’m a little leaner and I have more consistent energy throughout the day. My diet is still far from perfect and bread and cookies are still a part of it, but I’ve definitely cut down the number of servings. I don’t know if I’ll make it through to the end of the season in one piece, but that’s okay. Just starting has made me happy that I’m giving it a try.