Ironman Training: January Recap

Hey guys!  Glad you liked the post on Diana Nyad, such an inspiring person isn’t she?  I keep thinking about her “don’t leave anything on the field” mantra during my training, it comes in handy near the end of hard workouts.

January flew by so fast that I didn’t get to give you a real recap of my training for the month.   My main race for 2014 is Ironman Texas as most of you know.  I’ve been building up to this race for some time in a sense – working my way up to  longer distance triathlons and completing my second half ironman in October of 2013.  My Ironman specific 12-week training plan won’t start until the end of February (yikes, only 12 weeks!), but I’ve been doing one-on-one training with Marni since December, and I have no doubt in she will have me ready in time and without any burn-out. 

I’ve gotten questions on how far I’m going and so far my volume is less than I expected, but each minute or mile sure does count!  It’s definitely pushing me, but I don’t feel overwhelmed yet and I still have time for family, work, etc.  There is a lot of emphasis on quality miles/minutes and every workout is challenging, in a good way.  Each workout has a warm up and cool down and in the middle is the main set.  I really enjoy the more structured workouts, the time flies, even on the trainer.  I haven’t done that many two-a-days yet, but I’m sure these will ramp up in the next couple of months.

Swimming: So many 3000 yd swims!  I was actually quite surprised at the caliber of these swims so early in the program, it’s been NO joke.  I get a little nervous on some of the swim sets but also somewhat love the big challenge they present (is this sick?).  I never thought I’d say that a 2500yd day is a “short” swim set.   I was so proud of myself for completing a 3600yd hard set last Friday, that was definitely a milestone in my [short] swimming career.  I still have a lot that could be done to make my stroke more efficient, but the endurance is getting there.

I have seen a lot of improvement after switching to bilateral breathing every 3 strokes, which seems to balance my body better.  Most of my swims are normally done at 5:30 AM, two to three times a week.  It’s been a very cold winter for us in Texas, so I’m really used to jumping in the water when it’s 30 or 40 degrees out.  Actually, you can’t wait to jump in since it’s warmer in the water than outside.  I love Dad’s Club – it’s outside, quiet, I get my own lane, and my favorite part is after a tough workout doing just a length or two of backstroke to cool down and looking at the trees, the dark sky with the sun is rising, and water splashing around me – bliss.

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Bike:  Biking is what got me into endurance sports and is normally my favorite form of working out.  Sadly, biking hasn’t been all sunshine and flowers lately.  In fact there’s been a lot of tears shed over some major saddle problems I’ve had lately.  I’ll dedicate a whole post to women & bike saddles at some point, but it’s definitely been an issue for me.  I made it through Oilman uncomfortably on the Adamo Road saddle last year, and ever since that have been trying to re-fit my bike and now have started trying new saddles.  The past two weekends I had an absolutely terrible time on the bike while trying out different saddles, and I came home in lots of pain and very emotional.  The pain was so much and I felt that I wondered if I’d ever ride my tri bike happily or ever find anything comfortable.  It was making my training not fun and making me a really grouchy person to be around.

Luckily, both my local bike shop and Marni and her husband Karel have been working with me a lot (they are great people and have gone so far above and beyond what I expect!), and they assured me we would figure out a way, even if I had to use my road bike for ironman.  Anyway, after trying no less than six saddles I think I’ve finally found one that fits my body: the Adamo Attack.  Fingers crossed!  I rode it this morning and couldn’t get over how comfortable it was, which is just awesome news.

During all this, Hubby knew how frustrated I was, so last weekend he whisked me off to the park later that day for a picnic lunch and game time – complete with hummus wraps, an avocado-pistachio-lemon kale salad, and berries.  I’m one lucky girl for such a supporter!  It was a great reminder that triathlon isn’t everything and not to get down on myself.  He has been really great during my training and has been doing lots of extra errands and such without asking.

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As far as training goes, long rides have been around 2-2.5 hours max.  During the week I ride an hour or a little more, but a lot of it has been on the trainer due to the cold weather.  The low bike volume has been my biggest surprise, but I really trust in Marni’s plan and know she’s preparing me.  Plus the rides are never “ride easy for X hours” – there’s lots of zones and intervals.

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{ Either trainer rides or into the cold! }

Run: Lots of running – running has been a happy place!  Intervals, tempo runs and lots of bricks.  Most runs during the week are about an hour long.  It’s also amazing that 6-7 miles in the morning doesn’t seem that bad anymore.  I’ve had to run on the treadmill more than I like, but I found out that it actually paces you really nicely – with the help of Pandora they go by pretty quickly!  David will occasionally join me for runs, which pushes me more if anything.  I’ve seen my paces decreasing which is really exciting; my lungs are feeling great.

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Other than that I’m keeping up with yoga (at home), stretching, and lots of core & strength training.  I love that Marni adds these to my schedule so that I remember to do them.  I can’t wait to tell you guys more, especially about some foods I’m liking lately and what helps me save time during training.  Have a great rest of your weekend and the Olympics!

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5 thoughts on “Ironman Training: January Recap

  1. Great post. Glad to hear your training is going well. I can’t wrap my head around an outdoor pool, especially in the winter. What a treat to be able to swim outdoors all year long!

    1. Thanks Dave! Yeah, some days it is still hard to jump in, but once you’re in you forget how cold it is outside 🙂 It is definitely a treat, I loathe swimming indoors now – so spoiled!

  2. Love this post! Great recap Brittany! I love Marni’s coaching style. It is refreshing for Ironman training. I’m glad you figured out the saddle issue too. 🙂

  3. Glad to hear training is going well! We’re on the same page… regular (and often!) 3,000+ swims, bike rides no longer than 2-2.5 hours. I’m just starting back up with running, but I know my coach will have me doing similar 🙂 I need to find a better saddle, too, so looking forward to your post!

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