Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 12 Ironman Training Update - a 13 hour training week

I just finished week 12 of my 30 week Ironman training (110 miles in total).  Overall, I feel great and 100% healthy.  My legs feel great, I rarely have twinges in my knees, IT bands, and shins, and my recovery has been great.  No doubt my new, softer, custom made orthotics have also helped me a ton.  I've only been running 3 days a week and definitely feel fresher as a result.  I've been trying to balance my workouts by doing 3 runs, 3 swims, and 3 bikes a week, with 2-3 strength resistance workouts thrown in.  This cross training really helps my legs to recover.  Plus, I've been running mostly on the Bridal Path in Central Park, which is a much softer surface than running on the Central Park loop pavement (although the Bridal Path is tougher to run fast on  - sometimes it feels like running on sand).  I also have been doing a lot of Epsom salt baths (and did my first ice bath this year after my 13.1 mile run over the weekend which definitely helps recovery).

I've had some time to reflect on my Miami Olympic tri and (what I consider to be) my weak swim performance.  When I finished the race, my first reaction was that having a bad swim was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, as I will work and train harder to improve this huge weakness.  I still feel this way today.  Given that it was only my third open water swim ever, I have room to improve.  Last week, I swam 3 times (between 2,500 - 3,000 yards each time (between 62-68 minutes, or 1.5 - 1.75 miles each time).  I feel stronger.  Where I need the experience is sighting in open water (meaning how to look up and swim straight).  That saps energy out of me, so hopefully as my fitness progresses this will become easier and less tiring.

I decided after my Miami race to find some local open water swims of at least 0.9 miles long.  I found a half ironman in New Jersey called Bassman and I decided to sign up.  The race is this Sunday 5/1 and the distances are 1.2 mile swim (in a cold, less choppy lake with a low 60 degree temperature - perfect for a wetsuit and not too dissimilar from the 68 degree water for Ironman Canada), a 58 mile bike (flat), and a 13.1 mile run (also flat).  I've only been training for 12 weeks, so one might question whether I'm ready fitness wise, but I'll use it as a training race and will listen to my body about how hard (or easy) to go.  I'm not at all concerned about my time or about dropping out of the race (if I have to).  I'm excited for a shot at redemption for my swimming and also realize that there is a chance that I won't make the 1 hour and 10 minute cutoff.  If that happens, I'll know where I stand.  If I'm going to fail, I'd rather fail now than a month from now.   My next race after this one is on 6/5, another half ironman in Middlebury, CT (the Rev 3 Quassy half).  This race is extremely hilly, so I'll need to get out to New Jersey on 9W and River Road for the rest of May.

A week after my Miami tri, I ran a 4 mile race in Central Park, my first running race since January.  I rode my bike for a bit before the race (my plan was to ride for 2 hours before and run an easy brick).  However, I got a flat tire (which I am glad about as I need the experience changing my tires), but that killed my workout.  I didn't bring enough CO2 (only 1) and ended up needing more.  Live and learn.  I got another flat tire in my apartment 2 days later and felt much more comfortable changing my tire (and faster too).  So, I decided to run the 4 mile race at 80% effort (pushing but not all out).  After mile 1, my split was 7:21 (a hard uphill mile), so I knew that the next mile was relatively flat, so I decided to keep pushing and ran a 6:59 second mile (6:50 for most of the mile).  Then I got to the west side hills (very hilly and tough) and struggled a bit - 7:42 mile 3 and finished with a 7:08 mile 4.  Very happy with my overall pace of 7:16 per mile.  I didn't go all out, definitely room to improve.  Best of all, no knee pain at all during or after the race!!!

Last week, I had a great week of training - 13 hours in total (11 workouts)
Runs - 3 runs (total 28 miles - 7 miles, 8 miles, and 13.1 miles).  Garmin Files:

4/19 - 7 mile run - 8:42 pace, avg heart rate 155

4/21 - 8 mile run - 7:40 pace, average heart rate 152 (my Garmin satellites were off for a bit, my actual pace was probably 7:50-8:00 per mile, still great for me given my heart rate)

4/23 - 13.1 mile run - 8:50 pace, avg heart rate 153.  43 degrees, pouring rain the entire run and very windy.  Ran negative splits, was running 8:20-8:30 pace during last 3 miles or so.

Bike - 3 bike rides (all on the trainer)  - total 77 miles - 60 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours 30 minutes.  I decided to ride the trainer this week (Sunday night) so I could be home on Easter morning when my kids woke up, which was awesome!  We had a great time watching them find their baskets and Easter eggs!

4/24 2 hour 30 minute trainer - avg heart rate 135, average cadence 87. 

Swim  - 3 swims - 5 miles - 62 minutes (1.57 miles), 62 minutes (1.63 miles), and 68 minutes (1.74 miles)

Strength - 2 resistance/strength leg workouts.  Feel more stable in my legs than ever.  No question improving my leg strength has helped me stay healthy.

Also found out today that I'll be able to do the Nautica NYC Olympic triathlon on 8/7, which is a perfect tune-up for Ironman Canada.  I'll likely add a few other races in between too!

Just got my 6 month cholesterol tests back (I started taking 2.5mg of Crestor about 6 months ago to get my cholesterol down a little).  My HDL (good cholesterol) improved up to 59 (from 43 in my last test).  My doctor said that 60 is "heart protective", so hopefully I continue to improve.  My LDL (bad cholesterol) was 88 (down from 124), a significant improvement (my doctor would like to see this below 70).  My overall cholesterol was 157 (down from 181).  I'm excited that the results are better.  My c-diff result (measures inflammation) was 0.6, also a great result.


  1. Jim, you are doing all the right things. I don't know if there is a Masters swim program in your area but if there is I highly suggest you check it out. Very good swimmers and coaching, lots of triathletes and it will humble you but make you a much better swimmer. Also do as much open water swims as you can, it really is different how you sight.