Over the next six years, I made a lot of mistakes with my training. I was still able to race but I was always frustrated that I couldn't stay consistent with training. My body never felt strong enough to handle the volume and intensity of training that I felt I should be doing to improve as an Ironman triathlete. It was disappointing to feel like I was constantly rehabing myself to get well enough to race, instead of putting my energy and time (and money) into training.
Thankfully, lessons were learned. I changed my perspective on endurance triathlon training. It was not an easy change or one that came naturally. Rather than trying to go longer or to get faster, my focus was on getting stronger. This required a new methodology of training that did not look like the training of other Ironman athletes. I kept worrying that I wouldn't be ready without all the volume. I was doing much less volume and the results were very slow to come. I was hesitant at first but with Karel as my guide (coach), I knew something had to change if I wanted to stay in this sport and not destroy my body.
Overtime, I improved. And continued to improve. And I'm still improving. As I got stronger, my confidence grew. A lot of this happened over the last 4 years. I have been racing more often and I'm racing better than ever before. And with this new style of training, my body is staying healthy.
Because I had spent so many years frustrated with my body, I finally felt what it was like to have a healthy and resilient body. This made me love the sport even more for I felt like I wasn't destroying my body but actually making it stronger with an appropriate style of training. We didn't want to keep this training a secret so we began to apply these new methods to our coaching athletes. While some athletes needed a learning curve to trust this higher-frequency/intensity, lower volume Ironman training, we can confidently say that this style of training works for us and our athletes.
Of course, the definition of "works" is all relative to our coaching philosophy which is focused on helping our athletes reach performance goals without compromising health.
While my 2018 IMWI training stats may not be all that impressive in terms of volume, I'm very proud of what my body was able to do with my training this summer. More so, I'm so thankful to my body and I hope that my health stats reflect why this style of training works so well for me.
Number of Ironman starts: 13
Number of Ironman finishes: 13
Kona qualifying: 5 times
IMKona finisher: 4 times
Races completed this year: 1 Ironman (IM Austria, 2nd AG), 3 half Ironmans (IM 70.3 FL 1st AG, IM 70.3 St. George tied for 2nd AG, Challenge Prague 1st AG)
Longest swim (8/29)
Longest bike hours (8/11)
5:20 (88 miles, ~6200 feet elevation gained) - Trimarni training camp
Longest bike miles (5/12)
91 miles (4:56)
Longest run (8/19)
1:58, 14 miles
Mentally toughest weekend of training (8/17-8/19)
Friday: AM 5100 yard swim
Sat: AM 3:56 bike + 1:01 (7.7 mile) brick run, PM 25 minute (2.5 mile) run
Sun: AM 1:58 run (14 miles), PM 2600 yard swim
Biggest week of training (6/4-6/10)
12 hours swim
11:36 hours bike
5:46 hours run
15 sessions completed over the week
Biggest weekend of training (6/8-6/10)
Friday: AM 4200 yard swim, PM 1:22 bike
Sat: AM 4:20 bike (78 miles) + 1 hour brick run (7.48 miles), PM 45 min run (4.76 miles)
Sun: AM 1:56 run (13.5 miles), PM 3000 yard swim
Number of workouts to "test" to establish training zones:
None this year
Last sickness (cold/flu) - June 2007
Last time taking antibiotics - ? Maybe 10+ years ago
Menstrual cycle - regular each month since Sept 2007 (naturally)
Stress fractures - Never
Broken bones - Never
Last injury - Spring 2013 (hip/back)
Average sleep - 8-9 hours/night
Food allergies - none
Health issues - none
Daily supplements consumed: Iron
Diet: Lacto-ovo vegetarian for 26 years