Essential Sports Nutrition


4 weeks until Ironman Austria!

With my mind and body in a good place, I'm itching to get on the plane to travel to Europe for our 5-week European race-cation. While I'm already getting sad about leaving Campy for over a month, I know he will be in great hands between my good friend Christie in North Carolina and my mom. This weekend concluded another big week of training which was sprinkled with some lighter sessions to rejuvenate the body and mind. 

This weekend included:
21 running miles
5:20 hours riding
(I was suppose to swim on Sunday afternoon but decided to go for an easy spin with my mom instead)

Now you may be thinking that these are "long" workouts and you are correct. But in reality, these were my weekend totals as the training that I do is much less than most Ironman athletes in training. It's also more about specificity than quantity. I'll admit that I do have years of endurance in my body but I still believe most Ironman athletes overtrain and get way to caught up in chasing miles over what's happening within those miles.

Here's the weekend training breakdown, which was done solo since my other half was in Raleigh for last minute decision to race the half ironman (spoiler alert - Karel won his age group and placed second overall amateur and ran a personal best of 1:22 off the bike. Wahoo!):

AM workouts
~4 hour bike (outside) as:
Warm-up on rolling hills
Main set: 
6 x 10 minutes (build by 2 starting at Ironman effort) w/ 7 min EZ spin between
2 x 20 min at Ironman effort w/ 7 min EZ spin

47 minute brick run (in the pouring rain - yippee!) as:
10 min form focused running
30 sec walk
20 min Ironman effort
30 sec walk
10 min above Ironman effort
30 sec walk
Cruise home with good form

PM run:
41 minute form focused (podcast listening), happy, easy running w/ 30 sec walk break each mile

SundayAM workouts
1:43 run (which includes stops/recovery breaks) as:
Warm-up to my "loop" behind Furman (it's a .62 mile loop with 2 right turns per loop. Each loop starts with a gradual downhill, gradual uphill with a kicker at the end, gradual downhill, false flat and then downhill to finish the loop):
MS: 8 loops (each loop takes me around 4:50-5 minutes) - all sustainable-strong but build each loop so that #8 is my best.
90 sec rest between

Easy 80 min spin with my mom immediately after the run. 

With 12 years of endurance triathlon racing, I've tried many different approaches to Ironman training. While I believe some amount of endurance training is necessary to build aerobic fitness, I sadly see far too many athletes spending weekend after weekend training slow (or way too hard) with long miles. While there's a time and place for certain "extreme" workouts, these should not be the norm when training for an Ironman as the body becomes stale, exhausted and burntout. Recognizing that a key requisite to Ironman success is being able to resist fatigue for as long as possible, an important component of planning Ironman training is designing a program that helps build resilience and strength while also building aerobic fitness. Knowing that intense training, strength training and frequency training can all help build aerobic fitness, there is much more "bang for the buck" with low-er volume training that includes specificity, often at a higher than race-pace effort. This training also puts the mind and body into different situations that require good fueling and hydration as well as mental and pacing techniques that can be employed on race day. While I'm not saying that other approaches are wrong, we have had great success in this lower volume/higher frequency approach and I can't wait to see how it pays off in less than a month!