“Ironman training is not sexy”
It’s been a while since I checked in with a training update, and that’s because I was boring myself with the weekly updates. Truth be told, most weeks are pretty similar. Some of the workout details change, like the duration of efforts on the bike, but nothing drastic yet. My coach told us early on that Ironman training is not sexy.
Me: “But I’ll be sexy by the end of it, right?”… Me again: “only if you stop eating like every meal is your last!”
Endurance sports = massive appetite. Seriously. If you have leftovers, call me.
Anyway, back to training. It’s a lot of time trudging through workouts. Coach was right about the unsexy-ness of this sport. Luckily, I’ve come to believe that it’s the little efforts day by day that build on one another and eventually will get me to the start (and finish) of my Ironman. When I think of the race in its entirety, I feel overwhelmed so I focus on one week at a time, maximize. Some days, I just focus on the next workout or the next 25 feet. Breaking it all down helps.
More on why I’m not posting training updates weekly: I truly lack selfie skills. In fact, I can’t take a mildly attractive selfie without looking like a complete goof. It’s almost as bad as my “sexy dancing” skills. But at least that’s fun(ny) to watch after you stop cringing. Selfies are far less amusing and far more cringe-worthy. So I’m going to spare you too many of those. Maybe Cal and Elin will be able to school me on it in a few years. Ahh, did I just think/say/write that??! Ugh.
Here’s what’s been happening for the last few weeks: I’m still training with a group, and there are quite a few people who I like who are around my pace (big win!). I am incredibly thankful for such a mild winter. We just kicked off the last phase (3) of the base period. The base period has been chock full of zone 2 efforts. Training averages about 10 hours a week. I’m expecting that number to jump up a bit in the next phase.
Honestly, if you ever told me I’d be sick of running at a conversational pace, I would have laughed. But I’m almost there! Early on we did a run field test that we used to calculate our heart rate zones. For the first time, I know approximately what my heart rate zones are. I usually trained on relative perceived effort (RPE), and I’ve come to the realization that what I thought was zone 2 from a RPE perspective was likely low zone 3. Currently, the high end of my zone 2 is 146 bpm. It has been really hard to keep my heart rate there while running, especially on hills! I keep telling myself, like a mantra, “trust the training” and “trust your coaches” and “stay in the zone”. Ultimately it feels quite strange to be moving so slowly 90% of the time.
My quads are starting to develop nicely from all the biking. I haven’t ventured outdoors on my bike yet this year – all of the training to date has been on a spin bike or on my bike on the CompuTrainer. I’m in the process of shopping for a new, less painful saddle and I hope to be ready to ride outdoors as soon as spring arrives. To be completely honest, I’m nervous about getting outside on this bike. I transitioned to a tri bike (Michael’s) and the thing is squirrelly as can be! I know I just need to practice, but as of yet, I’m unwilling to bundle up in 30 degree temps to do it.
Swimming is probably where I’ve made the most progress. It’s my weakest sport. I think the best thing about being a beginner in anything is how fast you can progress if you really put your mind to it. My coach is awesome – he learned to swim as an adult and he has this wonderful way of breaking down your stroke through drills, enabling you to fix it, and then putting it all back together to become more efficient. I’ve had several breakthrough workouts I the pool. Last night was one. I finally felt it in my back. I’m reaching and pulling and getting power from my torso. After practice last night, my coach asked my how I felt. “Good!”… He was asking because he thought I looked great. It will be interesting to see what happens when I get into open water and we throw sighting into the mix.
So that’s it. Ima keep on keepin’ on.