One week away and I wish I was racing right now. After all of the training, dreaming, sweating, and a little bleeding, I am ready.
The base period (starting in late January) was fascinating as I took my distances and overall training volume up higher than ever before. The period was concluded with the Ironman 70.3 in St. Croix, which served as a preparation race, for my big one.
Upon returning from the US Virgin Islands, it was time to enter the build phase where I increased the distances on my long workouts, added time to the tempo workouts, and enhanced the interval workouts with either more intervals, shorter rests, and/or more intensity.
Finally, I peaked my training to where I took the volume to its highest and kept the speed I had earned in the base and build phases from the faster tempo and interval workouts. I peaked in volume around two weeks ago to give me around three weeks to recover and reap the wonderful rewards from those last couple “epic” workouts.
It’s funny how much your perspective changes after building up your work capacity. What use to be a “gut checking” training session is now more like a recovery workout.
It’s also interesting how the body reacts to increased training volume and/or intensity; at first you wake up the next day and feel like your legs weigh about 150lbs each and it’s a chore just to walk upstairs. But then you give it a couple days and wake up, hit the road and you feel supercharged, like you went from a V-4 to a V-12. This cycle happens over and over again, and each time, your engine gets a little bigger, a little louder.
I was pleasantly surprised by the improved training times in my latest long workouts. There were periods of time when my performance was dropping due to the extra load and demand I was putting on my body. But, I stuck to the plan and kept asking my body to recover and come back stronger, and it did.
For example, the first time I ran over three hours and attempted intervals a few days later, I had no juice and “no gears” to shift up too. But now, I was able to run even further and come back two days later and fly on the intervals.
It takes a couple jolts to the system to be able to do this, but once it kicks in, it works like magic. My experience with the biking and swimming are very similar; you keep upping the ante and let the rewards naturally happen.
The body is an amazing adapting organism, all you have to do is give it a reason to get better at something and it will.
Now, I am tapering, where I cut back the volume and still do speed work without taxing my recovery ability. I certainly feel a new zest, with the reduced volume, but I have developed a craving for the long and intense workouts. While training on my big workouts I kept thinking to myself, “There is nothing else I would rather be doing.”
Going into the Ironman, I plan to race my plan and “have fun going for it.” After all of the visualization I feel like I already ran it.
I intend on keeping a “childlike enthusiasm” where I give it my all with complete focus on the present moment and a feeling of excitement and wonder as I go beyond where I have ever been.
I am grateful for the thrill, enjoyment, and growth that I have already experienced with the preparation. The training taught me invaluable lessons about myself, and life in general. Plus, I have met many wonderful people and had the opportunity to help others take action and go for their goals in triathlon, running, or other.
I love the combination of a journey filled with passion, joy, and adventure as one goes for a meaningful goal with their whole heart and soul. When one does this, they already win.
It’s time to pack for Louisville and experience the dream.