Ironman: What I’d Do Differently Next Time

Hey guys!  I just posted my top tips for ironman, and it also got me thinking, what would I do differently next time around?  Each race or event is a learning process, and there are always a few things to take away.  Plus these are a few intentions I can bring into 2015.

Consciously dedicate more time to friends/family.  Ironman [or any endurance] training is sometimes an easy distraction from life.  Like many triathletes, I’m very routine oriented and love structure, so it grew into a routine to wake up, workout, work [eat lots], possibly workout again, go home eat, cook & pack for the next day and sleep.  Then repeat!   While my training program was focused on efficiency and not high volume, it was still a lot to do with 9-10 hours per day also dedicated to work.  It got too easy for me to make everything training related a “have to” instead of taking a step back and unplugging every so often.  Even though we occasionally ran together, my husband and I were on largely different schedules and I wasn’t dedicating the time to him I should have (I blogged about it here).  It really wasn’t fair to prioritize training so highly.  We’re trying to do a better job this year of making sure we schedule date nights each month and pick something fun to do – or do weekend getaways here and there.  And I want to do a better job of organizing more social things or meeting friends up for training when possible.

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Listen to my body.  I was fairly good at this in 2014, but I was SO dedicated to my plan that I was afraid to miss anything.  I recall only one time when I really should have taken the day off; I had a Thursday night 3-hour ride followed by a 5:30 AM Friday swim.  By Friday mid morning I could tell I was spent.  I even closed my office door and laid on my yoga mat for 15 mins during lunch that day, but despite being tired I was just unable to sleep; my eye just twitched.  Next time, I might back off a little before this occurs.  With experience I’m getting to know my body and when I need to rest.  Plus, I realized that taking a day off here or there will not kill me or put me behind.  In fact, I had to take two weeks off of training in October (for medical reasons) with only very light walks, and I was still able to bounce back and run a strong ten miler just two weeks after.  Your body might surprise you and a little rest never hurts!

Dedicate 5-10 minutes here and there for stretching/foam rolling.  I know, I know, every triathlete says this, right?  It’s really so easy and we just don’t take the time.  I had some hip agitation (my TFL and sciatic area) during the tail end of ironman training, and I think stretching would have helped a little.  Hips are so complex and we sit so much in life anyway.  I’ve gotten better at putting my yoga mat in front of the TV when we start watching so that I am urged to do some stretching mid-way through a show.  I truly think my body feels better the more I stretch (even simple back / hamstring / chest stretches before bed) and I think the foam roller increases circulation.  Nothing to back this claim up, it’s just what I think [hubby rolling eyes as he reads this].

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Along with more yoga, one of the other things I want to do this year is meditate more often.  While I find I have the time lately, I find I am not making the time.  I don’t really have a “spot” in our apartment or a time of day that is working for me yet.  Any tips for this?

Do you have any changes you are making in your training this year?

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8 thoughts on “Ironman: What I’d Do Differently Next Time

  1. I’m with ya… finding a balance and committing time to your significant other and family is so important! Nick and I do a fair amount of training together (and spending time together outside of it), but I definitely need to make more time for the other important people in my life during IM training this year. Priorities, right?! Functional strength is also high on my list… three days a week per my coach. I, too, need to make the time for meditation. Why is that so hard?! I’ve heard good things about the Head Space app… need to download!

  2. It really is helpful to learn about this stuff from others experiences. One of the things I promised to myself was that I would not let Ironman training dominate my life and relationships. I am grateful that I have a flexible schedule and can work around social events and my husband’s schedule. One of the things I have started doing is training more with friends and my husband. This helps because it is quality time and training that I would otherwise be doing alone anyway. I hear you on the stretching/foam rolling… I always tell myself I can do it in the evening while watching TV, but them my coach is just WAAAY more comfortable. That has to change. 🙂

    1. You seem like you are ahead of the game Kirsten 🙂 I hear you about the couch. After eating dinner then getting comfy it is so hard to leave! But I always feel good if I get on my mat even for 5 mins.

  3. We are working hard on finding balance. Since the Iron Hippie and I train together we see lots of each other, making sure to make time for more family and friend time is definitely a bigger priority this time around. I also want to remain injury free this time around, so listening to my body and making sure to incorporate more flexibility and functional strength training into my plan is important to me. Another change we are making this time around is making sure to have a rest day every 7-10 days. This is not something we have been good at incorporating into our training plan for the last 2 Ironmans and that could be part of the injury proneness that tends to come my way. We are also looking at having a 2 week training cycle where every third week is a recovery week, hoping that this also helps us stay injury free. Great list and thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  4. It seems you have very clear goals, and a plan on how to achieve them. I’m just starting an exercise routine, so my only goal is to maintain it and be more active. I eat very healthy, but I am not exercising regularly. I’ll be following you for tips and motivation. I wish you a happy and successful 2015.
    http://8to5healthy.blogspot.com/

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