Board Certified Sport Dietitian, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, 23-year Vegetarian, Writer/Speaker, 11x Ironman finisher including 4x IM Kona finisher, Doggy-mommy, Wife to an amazing Czech cyclist turned Ironman Kona finisher, Triathlon Coach.
I am always excited to share my knowledge and experience with others, especially to the newbie triathletes who are about to train for (or race in) their first triathlon.
If this is you (or someone you know), you are about to step inside a fun, rewarding, inspiring, active lifestyle with a wonderful community of passionate, like-minded, multi-thinking, time management experts who love to challenge the body and mind to reach goals and to push physiological limits.
A big thanks to Oakley Women for letting me share my triathlon training tips with you all!
To read more about my trip to Laguna beach with Oakley Women this past spring, click HERE.
My 9th Ironman journey is coming to an end and in two weeks, on September 7th, 2014 I get the privilege to take my body on another 140.6 mile journey to reach the Ironman Wisconsin finish line.
My dad will get a front row seat from above and I will be sharing the race course (my 2nd time racing IMWI) with my best friend, coach, training partner and hubby.
I often hear athletes talk about feeling undertrained. That's a very difficult word for an athlete to have in his/her vocabulary because it is often used in the context of not being physically prepared.
When I think about my last 4 Ironman journies, I have intentionally and unintentionally taken different routes to prepare my body and mind for race day.
In the past 15 months, I have crossed 3 Ironman finish lines and have felt unprepared for 2 of them.
But amazingly, the two that I felt unprepared for, I did amazingly well. I qualified for 2013 IM World Championship at IM Lake Placid with a roll down slot and at IM Austria, I had a PR of 10:17. At Kona, I felt the most prepared out of any IM and had a great day. But surprisingly, the two IM's before and after Kona that I felt unprepared for, I still managed to find success on race day.
I feel extremely ready for IMWI as I go into this race with 15 months of injury-free, consistent training. I have experience from starting and finishing 8 x Ironmans and I know that my race day performance comes down to how I take my trained, well-fueled and mentally strong body/mind over 140.6 miles all while overcoming the obstacles that I experience on race day (and yes, there will be plenty of them for every IM I experience something new that happens to my body/mind/gear/gadgets).
So as I have been extremely careful to save my best performance for race day (and not waste it in training), I believe that I am prepared and absolutely not overtrained.
I think that it is normal for any athlete to look at those around them (other athletes on social media, race results, training partners) and compare training schedules. It's easy to think in your head before, during and after any workout "am I doing enough?"
I realize that we always can do more for if we aren't injured, sick or burnout, there is still room for improvement. But it is a careful line to cross for it's really hard to have that great race performance that you have worked so hard for if you use all your physical and mental strengths in training and overdo it in training.
So how do you now if you have done enough?
From my experience, it is just something you feel inside. It's this itch that you can not wait to race but still have waves of anxiety or nervousness coupled with excitement.
To trust yourself that you have done enough, you can't doubt your fitness. The only thing you can do is race with your current level of fitness and have a plan that allows you to put all that training to good use.
You have to feel confident in your training session. I realize there is a learning curve for newbie endurance athletes to gain confidence with each longer workout but if you have one opportunity to prove you can do "it", save it for race day. If your body and mind are in a good healthy place, I promise you that you can do "it" on race day.
If you are nearing your upcoming race or have a race on the horizon in the next 6-12 months, it's a very special thing to feel prepared. Overtrained is something that has significant symptoms that will negatively affect performance whereas underprepared is something that may be objective to the athlete in reference to not completing assigned workouts, cutting workouts short, not feeling successful with fueling/mental focus, etc. You can certainly race underpreared but your pacing strategy will need to be carefully constructed. You do not want to race overtrained for it only creates a spiral of issues with your health and motivation to follow.
So endurance athletes, let us all meet somewhere in the middle.
If you train smart, you will constantly find yourself improving in some way, as an athlete. You may get faster and/or stronger, more powerful or just find yourself racing smarter.
Within every journey that you take your body on, create a plan that allows you to make progress so that by race day, you feel prepared. Although every athlete wants to peak appropriately in his/her season, keep in mind that peaking is relative to current level of fitness. Every season you have the opportunity to train in a way that allows you to discover new limits. That is, so long as you do enough but do not overtrain.
Preparation is not limited to physical fitness but it also has to do with nutrition, mental focus, calming nervous and silencing self-doubt, understand gear-related issues and knowing how to execute on race day.
Your plan should give your body steady, consistent progress so that you find yourself motivated to train and put in the work to become someone that you were not when you started training but not too much progress, too quickly that find yourself hitting a plateau or not enjoying your journey.
I am sure there have been times in life when you have not felt prepared and you have done just fine.
Trust yourself that when it comes to race day, somehow, someway, you will use 3,6,9,12 months of training for good use and finish your dream in the making.
After our mile-repeater workouts on Thursday morning, we did our first group ride in Greenville at 5:30pm at Hotel Domestique. Although our legs were a bit tired from the morning run, we both looked forward to not only spinning our legs with a group on our road bikes but biking with George Hincapie!!
On Friday morning, I gave us a great swim set.It was fun to push a bit and we enjoyed the recovery in between intervals to keep the form good. This is really important for Karel for as a newer swimmer, when his form goes he gets really tired (and vice versa). We do not swim side by side or on the same interval but I try to give him workouts that will help him build endurance and confidence in the water.
400, 300, 200, 100 - mix it up 6 x 50's w/ fins (Odd: 25 right arm only, 25 left arm only. Even: build to fast), rest 10 sec
3 x 200's @ 80% (or IM distance effort) w/ 30 sec rest 100 EZ (pull/paddles active recovery)
4 hour bike + 30 min run - bike focused race day prep brick
Bike: Warm-up 47 minutes (this is our typical warm-up time as we ride from our house and this is when we hit our country roads. This includes about 1100 feet of climbing - talk about an easy way to get warmed up!)
4 x 30 minutes at IM effort w/ 4 min EZ in bettwen
Total stats: 3:43, 66.43 miles, 17.8 mph average, 3753 elevation gain
Although we have no flat roads to ride on, I also made sure to ride on bumpy roads similar to IMWI, technical sections and of course, lots of rollers. I had 4 bottles on my bike of INFINIT nutrition (Custom blend) so I not only practiced my pacing strategy but also my nutrition which has been perfected in every workout. I also had my race wheels on as well as my race day outfit.
Steady run, no main set. Walk 30 sec after each mile.
It was very hot so not only did I go through my two flasks that I brought with me (with nutrition in them) but I refilled after 2 miles at a nearby hotel.
Campy loves training for an Ironman!!
Yummy fuel for Sunday's run focused brick!!
Homemade pizza with Trader Joe's herb dough. Toppings: Yellow pepper, arugula, mushrooms and leeks along with marinara sauce and cheese.
Too cute not to share.
2 hour bike + 2 hour run - run focused brick
1:20, 22 miles, 1234 (how cool!) elevation gain. All at IM effort on rolling hills. Took about 40 minutes for my legs to get warmed up, which is typical after a hard workout the day before.
2.5 mile warm-up (rest 20 sec after each mile and 1 minute before main set)
3 x 1 miles at max sustainable endurance effort w/ 30 sec rest in between
Rest 2 minutes, repeat set 1 more time
Cool down with Campy
Total stats: 1:11 total time, 9.02 miles, 7:56 min/mile average (this includes walk breaks but I stopped my watch at my 2 minute break and used my recovery HR 2 min warning as my "timer")
The weather was perfect for this run - cloudy and even a mist of rain. However, I still went through all my flasks and brought extra nutrition with me. I ended up consuming 6 ounces of water w/ Napalm (80-100 calories) every 30 minutes of running so a total of 24 ounces of fluid (+ extra at water fountains when I refilled at my mile interval walk breaks) + around 220-250 calories for 9 miles of running. I felt strong and really light on my feet. Talk about a great run to finish off my IM training!
I ran a big loop so my course was not flat. I purposely tried to finish each round (last mile of three) on a net incline since IMWI finishes slightly uphill into town. I focused on a pace that felt good and made sure to rest in my walk breaks (or cool myself at water fountains to reduce core temp and to refill my flasks). I do not plan to run this fast on race day but we do not believe in running "slow" which can affect form so instead, finding a pace that feels comfortable but sustainable and using walk breaks to postpone fatigue. My longest run for IMWI (and probably since IM Kona in October 13th, not counting an IM race) was 16 miles so I had nothing to prove here in terms of miles, I just wanted to feel good and to dial in my nutrition and work on mental focus and form.