Ironman Texas Is In 95 Days……what?
Ironman Texas is now officially less than 100 days away and I am not sure where the time went or what that means in regards to my training. The day snuck up on me and shocked me when there was a post in the Ironman Texas 2013 Group on Facebook last week that it was 100 days away. Does my lack of knowledge as to when the race is mean that I am so focused on my training and outside life that I failed to pay attention? Does it mean that I am being cavalier toward the race seeing as it will be my third full Ironman in a calendar year?
I thought long and hard about what my lack of focus about the day that Ironman Texas will take place and have come to a single conclusion. I am having a blast in this training cycle that the race does not faze me. In the lead up to Ironman Texas and Ironman Arizona in 2012 I was so focused on my performance in the race that I lost sight of the fun that training brings. This cycle has been quite the opposite and there are a few reasons:
- Coaching change. Just after Ironman Arizona was over I switched over from Claudia to Maria and John of No Limits Endurance coaching. The switch brought with it an excitement and renewed passion for training.
- I have been doing all of my long weekend rides with two different groups. Both groups bring a great sense of camaraderie at different speeds. There is the Dallas Athletes Racing group which is very fast and forces me to chase them all over North Texas thus elevating my heart rate beyond Z3 sometimes. The other group is a bunch of friends I swam with last summer that is at a little bit (not much) more casual in terms of the banter back and forth and allows me to pull every now and again. Both groups have been beneficial to my cycling.
- Diet change. I have been fueling my workouts and then tapering off throughout the day. I haven noticed an uptick in energy and my workouts are not at all sluggish. That, and Instagram provides a lot of inspiration and motivation for creating good-looking, great tasting dishes.
Here is how I would evaluate my Ironman Texas 2013 Month of January 10-February 10:
I couldn’t be happier with the progress that has been made. If you recall from last month’s post Maria, John and I have a goal for the Ironman Texas swim of 1:15. Fearful at first of what that meant I can now say that it is more than feasible.
Yesterday I had a swim set that was supposed to be in the steady range based on the last 800 yard TT I had done. That time was anywhere from 1:55-2:00/100y. The main set finished with an average of ~ 1:45/100y and I wound up negative splitting the set and to my wonder I was not fatigued in the slightest during the swim. There will have to be a new 800 yard TT to re-evaluate my zones since my EZ and cool down swims are now bordering on what was once steady to mod-hard.
It is hard for me to gauge my progress here because more than anything else I had an epiphany during a 4 hour ride that the long rides should be treated like long runs. On your weekend long run you don’t run them as if they are at race pace. Maybe an interval here and there but not the entire run. Last year for both Ironman Texas and Arizona nearly all the rides were trying to mimic race pace. In hindsight that was foolish and didn’t help my chances of having great rides for the races.
This go around I am pulling back more on the heart rate and following Maria’s plan to a T (except for 1 ride where she gave me a talking too!) and I feel good about it. Instead of getting off the bike and feeling wiped out to the point that a 30 minute transition run seemed like it would take forever I now have a good idea of what my legs are going to feel like for the first two miles of the run and those times are in sync with where my easy runs have been in terms of pace and heart rate.
As mentioned previously I am not running as much in this cycle as I have in the past but there is still progress being made. My plan has moved my long runs to Wednesday and I have noticed that my HR is staying the same and there are some increases in speed. This could be because of the variation or the improved efficiency of my body from cycling as much as I am meaning less wear and tear from running. Either way I will take it.
There is a goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon at Ironman Texas and I know I have it in me but this training cycle is giving me heightened confidence that it can be done.
As of yesterday morning I am down 13 pounds and 3.5% body fat from my return home from Ironman Arizona. In the past month I have lost nearly 7 pounds and approximately 0.5% body fat. With about 5 weeks to go before 70.3 San Juan I am near what I had previously perceived to be my ideal race weight. I say perceived because in reading Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight book (if I did the math correctly) I would be at my optimal race weight at 139 pounds.
This process of getting leaner has been ‘easy’ because of the fact that I am eating very, very, very clean. I thank Instagram for that in part but also have been living by my three tips for a healthy lifestyle: consistency, change and cheat.
Life Outside Of Triathlon:
I am happy with where I am at outside of triathlon. I have been going out to meet friends for dinner, riding with new friends has created some great memories and the fact that Karen and I are about to put our house up for sale does not have me a nervous wreck like in the past.
I am a creature of habit and Karen and I have found our footing when it comes to training for Ironman (me) and ultra-marathons (her). Our routine consists of me early morning training and home in time to take the little one to school with Karen picking him up. On the weekends when the little guy is with us Karen runs on Saturday and I watch him and will take him to the gym while I swim and then I ride long on Sunday and Karen has time with him. On weekend’s we don’t have him we both train long on Saturday morning and have the evening to spend time with each other. We have finally figured this whole thing out.
In the past month training has intensified but it has been gradual and not to the point of breaking me and I like that. I have been able to find time to focus on growing my web design and digital marketing agency while also building a bigger and better Cook Train Eat Race brand. In addition to that I have been able to take on a monthly blog writing opportunity with TriDigest as well as adding another monthly writing for Fitblogger. I have been asked to do a couple of other articles for which I am grateful.
Ironman Texas is less than 100 days away and I am comfortable with that.