Road to the Louisville Ironman Part 1

It’s been well over a month since the Ironman 70.3 and the adjustments to training have been paying off. I changed up the approach for the running, biking, swimming, and strength training to prepare for 140.6 miles.

My program now emphasizes the Long Run, Long Bike, and the Bike-Run Combo Workouts.  The long run started at 13 miles and will build to 20-22 with a back off run every 3rd week. The Long Bike will average 60-70 miles per workout with a 100-mile plus workout every 3-4 weeks. The Bike-Run workouts will happen every week either being a shorter fast ride (most likely on the trainer) and fast run, or a long ride and run at race pace. The runs will last 30-50 minutes.

For skill training, at I will do technique, and cadence drills for the run and bike (on the trainer) as well as total immersion drills for the swimming. You will also see plenty of high intensity interval workouts for the bike and run as well as functional strength training. Swimming workouts will focus on technical practice first to include interval, tempo, and long distance workouts with open water swimming and instruction.

Workouts are either going to be intervals, tempos, distance, or “Epic Workouts”
I define Epic workouts as workouts that take you to a new distance, simulating race pace. They can be long rides, long runs or long ride/run combo workouts. I have included my goal distances to hit before the big day in Louisville. I am building to hit each of them before the 2-week mark to allow for proper taper and recovery. From weeks 4-2 out, I should hit all four (The big run, big bike, big combo workout, and the big swim).

Sample Week

Monday     A.M. Run 6-8 Mile Tempo Run
P.M.  Strength Training (Upper Body or Lower)
Tuesday     A.M. Indoor Bike Trainer 5 mile repeats (Holding previous 2 mile repeat          speed)
(On alternate weeks I’ll do a fast run, or high cadence spin session after)
P. M. Swim Skills Practice plus 500m repeats
Wednesday     A.M. Run 1 mile repeats (holding the old 800m repeat speed)
P.M. Strength Training (Upper or Lower)
Thursday     A.M. Long Run (up to 20-22 miles)
P.M. Swim Skills Practice plus Tempo Swim (1500m-2000m)
Or rest
Friday     A.M. Indoor Bike Trainer Tempo Ride (20-30 miles) faster than the week before
(On alternate weeks I’ll do a fast run, or high cadence spin session after)
P.M. Strength Training Upper or Lower
Saturday     A.M. Run 2-3 Mile Repeats (holding old 1 mile repeat speed)
P.M. Swim Long Distance (up to two hours)
Sunday       A.M. Bike Long (up to 112 miles)
Or Bike with Run Brick (up to 100 miles with 6 mile run)

Sample Week (Following an Epic Sunday Workout)
Monday     A.M. Strength Training (Upper Body and Lower)
P.M.  Swim, or second half of strength training
Tuesday     A.M. Run 1 mile repeats (holding the old 800m speed)
P. M. Swim Skills Practice plus 500m repeats
Wednesday     A.M. Indoor Bike Trainer Tempo Ride (20-30 miles) faster than before
(On alternate weeks I’ll do a fast run, or high cadence spin session after)
P.M. Strength Training (Upper)
Thursday     A.M. Long Run (up to 20-22 miles)

P.M. Swim Skills Practice plus Tempo Swim (1500m-2000m)
Or rest
Friday     A.M. Indoor Bike Trainer Tempo Ride (5 mile repeats) (holding the old 2 mile repeat speed)
(On alternate weeks I’ll do a fast run, or high cadence spin session after)
P.M. Strength Training Lower
Saturday     A.M. Run 2-3 Mile Repeats (holding old 1 mile repeat speed)
P.M. Swim Long Distance (up to two hours)
Sunday       A.M. Bike Long (up to 112 miles)
Or Bike with Run Brick (up to 100 miles with 6 mile run)

Keeping up a schedule like this calls for extra attention on proper nutrition, sleep, and supplementation. In a later blog, I will address the newest supplementation strategies. For now, just know that I am living on and loving the No7Rage prior to training and the Amino Boost, Muscle Defender, and Recover and Build before, during, and after training.

THE RUN

First, for the run training, which is now geared for covering 26.2 miles after a swim and bike, I needed to add volume and sustainability.
I have increased the distance of most of my interval workouts (1 to 3 mile repeats and 6-8 mile tempo runs) and added a treadmill workout at a 12% incline to improve my performance on the hills. The goal of the interval workouts is to be able to sustain longer intervals at high speeds. What I could keep for 800m, I now want to be able to hold for 1 mile and then up to 2-3 miles. My objective with the tempo run is to be able to perform them faster than before, and then I will increase the distance.

My long runs have become longer (once a week) and I have moved from the streets to the trails in the mountains, where it’s just the coyotes, various reptiles and me. The trails give my long runs built-in intervals with the sloping hills. In addition, the off-road running ads great variety and I don’t have to be concerned with timing all the street lights and avoiding Mr. Jones who is speeding through the intersection to punch in on time.

I also moved my long run to Thursdays to give me fresher, faster legs. I was cranking out back-to-back long bike rides on Saturday followed by long runs on Sunday. But now the rides and runs are longer, requiring more fuel and more recovery.

Finally, I went back to the basics of pose running and added focus to running and cadence drills and diligently watching videos of some of the best pose runners.  Again, the best runners regardless of height have a cadence of over 180 steps per minute.

My goal is to increase my cadence (steps per minute), maintain a more direct heel pull straight toward my glutes on each stride, and run smoother. I like to think of the “The Man With The Golden Shoes” Michael Johnson and his style of running. He is the prime example of a quick heel pull and lightning fast cadence.

The overall plan is to take my long run up to 20-22 miles within 2-3 weeks of the Ironman.

As an added bonus, I may add some 10k races for speed work, and/or half marathons for distance work. Races are great for getting in the “competition mode” and dealing with all the variables. Plus you have to love the added boost you get when others challenge you, and last but not least I enjoy devouring the free food at the end before the complimentary massages.

To me the run is the best part of the Ironman; I cannot wait to slip into my running shoes and go for it, that is where the fun escalates big time.

Hey, if World Record holder Jim Finlayson can drink four beers and run a mile on the track in 5:09:00 (according to beermile.com), I can surely improve my speed and efficiency.

Stay in touch for the next blog, which will break down the bike and swim workouts.

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