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