Ironwoman Wednesday – Training Load

Today’s topic for Ironwoman Wednesday is Training Load! A very fitting topic for me since I just finished my two big PEAK training weeks!


Ironman training load equals one word: VOLUME (and lots of it)

My official IMMT training began a week after the Boston Marathon, on April 28th. Throughout the brutal Boston winter, while training for for the marathon, I kept up with my swimming and biking (indoors), so I never lost fitness in the two other sports. My training cycle for IMMT is 16 weeks long and totals approximately 208 hours.

208 hours equals… 8.6 FULL (24 hour) days

208 hours equals… 26 work (8 hour) days.  That’s almost a month of work in training! And to think I have been working 40 hour work weeks through out my training.

Dream. Desire. Determination @m_osnaghi @newlifeAcoach @Lisa Phillips-Barton Ann Edwards

I have not taken a vacation day since the day after the Marathon in April, which means I have worked every week day during my training, while swimming/biking/running like a machine. I can honestly say I have not missed a SINGLE workout, with the exception of one brick workout where I decided to hike instead of bike & run. Completely serious.

July 28 2014 037

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I post my training week recaps on Mondays. I started my recaps when I was just one week away from the Boston Marathon. It’s crazy to think I started the recaps when I was 19 weeks away from IMMT and now I am less than 3 weeks away, time flies when you’re having fun!

July 28 2014 120

If you want to know what peak Ironman weeks look like, you can read about my experiences here:

Week 4 and Week 3.

It literally took blood, sweat and tears for me to get through these last couple of weeks. There were days when I just wanted to sleep, wanted to cry, wanted to just get off the damn bike… just for a minute. But I pushed through it, all of it, and I feel so READY for this race!

Throughout this whole process, I have been monitoring and tracking my progress through an online training log, linked to my coach.  My coach gave me the plan in April and I have been following it like it’s my job. I check off the workouts each week, but never really adding all of the mileage… for one I hate math and two, I just don’t have the time. The cool part about my online program though, is it tallies the swim, bike, run hours for each week. I also have this giant IMMT ‘Histogram’ which shows on a big graph all of my training hours and estimated mileage for those hours.  The histogram is great for me, being a visual learner, because I see what what training weeks are base, build, peak and taper weeks. Here’s an example of what a histogram looks like (this is not my personal one):

To give an approximate count from my training histogram, by race day, August 17th I will have racked up the following:

  • Swimming: 63 miles
  • Biking: 2,000 miles
  • Running 374 miles

These miles are not exact, but I’m sure they are really close to what I will achieve by IMMT. Today is the first time in a while that I’ve looked at the totals, and it’s so crazy to think I have done the bulk of these miles. Also, I must add that I have done the bulk of my training alone.  All of my runs and rides have been alone.  Most of my swims in the beginning were done with my Master’s swim team, but are now being done alone (which the exception of open water).  That’s A LOT of alone time.  As someone who loves being alone, it works out well, but it can get lonely! In a way I think it works to my advantage, especially for the bike course, since you can’t draft during a race. Let’s just say I’ve perfected the whole ‘getting a song stuck in my head’ thing.

Ironman training = Consuming and incredible at the same time.

Kristin Lawhorn 7.7.14 213

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, Ironman training is CONSUMING. It consumes your personal life, your work life, your weekend life, your pets life, your everything life. For the past four months, my life has been Ironman training and not much else. Is it crazy? Yes, did I love every second of every minute of every hour, yes! I haven’t even raced my Ironman yet and I can’t wait to do another one!  I love this sport and I love the confidence it has given me.

When IMMT is all said and done, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with all of my free time. I honestly get really sad thinking about the day when this training is over. I think I will be suffering a serious case of the post race blues and I might not know what to do with myself! When I get sad about it, I like to think of the things I’m looking forward to: hiking in New Hampshire, fall camping, our trip to Utah in September, starting CrossFit again (lifting heavy weights!), going for a run and not worrying about my heart rate, having the energy (and time) to bake desserts… and I know my husband and puppy are looking forward to spending more time with me!

What does training load mean to you? How do you balance it all?

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  • Reply Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead July 31, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Your training volume is amazing and inspiring! To me, balance is all about prioritizing. Making workouts a priority means they’ll almost always get done, but they also can’t be my first priority — there are more important things sometimes, like being there for a friend who needs you.

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks Cassie! I agree with you, there are sometimes where you need to step away from training (like when someone needs you). good point!

  • Reply Kecia July 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Great post!! Training load is really important for people to grasp if they are going to sign up for an Ironman 🙂 You are so prepared and ready for race day!! I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds for you on race day!!

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Agreed! People need to know what they are signing up for:) Thank you so much, so close now!!

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats August 3, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Ironman load is no joke!! It is a huge amount of time especially when you are working full time!! I think that it is great that you have trained on your own for this because you will have a huge mental toughness advantage on everyone else (unless you were using music while you were training)!!
    I think that you will be happy when the race is over and you can “train” when you want to train. I have loved not working out for the last 6 days but I have also been on vacation. I think once the route starts back up on Monday I will be antsy to just start working out again but nothing too structured!! 🙂

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Absolutely NO joke! I agree with you on the mental toughness aspect, I honestly think I have an advantage. As nice as it would be to train with others, I think training alone all this time gives me an edge:) Oh and I only used music while on the indoor trainer, or watched tv… no music while running! I am looking forward to working out after the race… doing what I want whenever I want!

  • Reply ig February 27, 2017 at 2:18 am

    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue. I love all of
    the points you’ve made.

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