Friday, December 14, 2007

the big weeks (training notes 12-15-07)

this is it. crunch time. Ironman New Zealand is roughly 9 weeks away. meaning that whatever i do during this time is pretty much whatever i'm going to do on race day.

generally, at least for amateurs, the 3-4 weeks before Ironman are treated as taper, when workouts are gradually reduced in volume and intensity to allow the body to recharge and heal in time to be fully prepared for race day. this means that if you don't have the training foundation by this time (the start of the taper), you pretty much aren't going to get it in time for race day.

the result is that fitness gains and physical performance have to be built prior to this time. given the lead-up required to even get the base fitness required to get to a level where you can begin Ironman training, this pretty much leaves an 8-week block before the 3-4 week taper period to get all the Ironman-distance (read: really long) workouts in and taken care of.

which is what i'm in now.

going on the 3-week cycle this training iteration, i'm going on 2 weeks of build (heavier workloads in terms of volume or intensity) and 1 week of recovery (lighter workloads). the 1st week of this month was recovery. i just did the 1st week of build, and have another before a recovery week of Christmas break.

it's been brutal.

you can see what i've been doing on my Google Training calendar:

i started the build cycle with a 2:45 run covering 16 miles. tired of the monotony of running alone, i used the Rose Bowl Half Marathon to get some company--besides, it was using a good portion of the trail i use, so i figured i might as well have some company (and aid stations). i ran 3 miles before the race, then ran the race itself. i would have run faster, but my legs were still sore from a lower body weight-training session 2 days before (i know, pretty stupid, but i figured that's pretty much how your legs are going to feel on race day, so you might as well get used to it).

i followed that up with a 4200 yds. swim (hey, i prefer metric too, but the freakin' pool at school is only measured in yards...boooooooooo!!!) that went surprisingly well, considering i was still beat from the run. the day after that i went ahead and had a stationary bike session with another round of lower body weight-training.

i've been told it usually takes about a week to recovery from a 3-hour run. i can believe it. i'm still pretty beat up even now, and it's just getting to the end of the week after the race.

a coach told me that by this point of the training schedule you pretty much expect to be sore all the time. at times it's bad enough that all you want to do is whimper. at times that's all you can do.

that's Ironman. it's just pretty much the way things are. all you can do is suck it up and go on.

what's funny is that i still have another build week to go (at least until January, when things get even harder). oh joy. i've got a long swim (the full 2.4 miles, or 4400 yds.), a solid simulated 90-minute hill session on the stationary bike with immediately following lower-body weight training, and then an 8-10 mile run. i expect to be good and tired by the time the next recovery week comes.

of course, it'll be Christmas by that time. which is good...even though i'll be alone.

but that's a story for another time.

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