With no further ado, I introduce you to the 13 weeks of Ironman specific training. It has arrived! The last three months were designed to build a strong base of fitness so as to survive the demands on the next 13 weeks of race specific training. During this time the duration and intensity of my workouts will sky rocket. The structure of each week is designed to get the most out of each session. No garbage mileage, no meaningless workouts, everything has a purpose and is designed to maximize my efforts and ‘destroy’ my weaknesses. To help you understand what that looks like, I believe it is best to outline what a base training week compared to a week during the race specific build looks like.
Training week comparison:
December training week in the middle of base training:
Swim 2x / week Weekly Average 3800m
Bike 3-4x / week Weekly Average 110-175km
Run 3x / week Weekly Average 42km
Strength 2x / week Weekly Average 30min
TOTAL: ~8 hours /week
Week 1 of 13 of my race specific build (1:13weeks)
Swim 2x / week Weekly Average 5200m
(Sustained Time Trial efforts)
Bike 3x / week Weekly Average 205km
(~5 hours of intervals and sustained efforts)
Run 3x / week Weekly Average 60km
(Sustained tempo. AKA ‘hurt for as long as you can’)
Strength 2x / week Weekly Average 1 hour
(Therapy based exercises and treatment)
TOTAL: ~12 hours /week
The above schedule will continue to build over the next 3 months. It is individualized and carefully designed by my coach to suit me. My coach and I have been working together for six years now, and he is the main reason I am able to do what I do. He understands my personality and how to maximize my training efforts. He knows what works well for me and what doesn’t. This relationship is extremely important to ensure proper build and recovery when needed, when to peak and when you are simply too ‘burnt out’ to keep pushing. Our relationship is based on open communication, constant collaboration, honesty, and trust. My sole responsibility as an athlete is to do the training and take care of my body in the process. That’s the only way it works!
The last point is about recovery. After every three week build I have one week of recovery where the volume decreases by ~40% but the intensity remains high. If I didn’t have a coach I would be training myself into the ground, constantly. Having Erik coach me has really helped me understand the importance of making every workout count. Garbage miles, extra bike session or run intervals can actually hinder your progress if done improperly, at the wrong time, within the wrong week, or too often. Doing more is not always best. Your success will be greater if you work 100% at what you are required to do, rather then tacking on extra session or intervals at random. Adding a recovery week allows your body to rebuild, repair and re-energize in preparation to push more and harder for the next build phase.
WELCOME to the 13 weeks… I should say 12 weeks now, of Ironman build.