Friday, March 4, 2016

Ironman Lake Placid Training: February, 2016

Properly preparing for an Ironman is a long process that occurs over a period of months, not weeks. The work that is necessary is not really the most exciting stuff. After going through this process in 2006 I came to the conclusion that you could take a look at what I would do on almost any day or week and not be overly impressed. There is nothing spectacular about an 8 mile aerobic run before work or a Wednesday night group ride. Even the interval work doesn't come off as being of the rip-your-face-off variety. No, training for an Ironman is more about the day-to-day building of fitness with occasional bouts of speed.

Bethlehem, PA
Will be spending much time on one of my favorite trails
Right now I am in the base building phase. The major goal for this month was to continue to build on what I did in January.Base is not just about putting in time/miles. After more than a decade of training for long course events I have a descent aerobic base but need work on my strength and speed. After a good start to the year in January I was looking for a solid follow up month in February.

Here's how things broke down for the month:

Swim:  February started out with a solid few weeks of training, but ended up being not exactly what I had hoped. Sometimes life gets in the way of training. Sometimes the weather gets in the way. And sometimes the space between the ears is the problem. As good as the weather has been in Eastern Pennsylvania this winter I don't have that as an excuse, so I have to go with schedule and mental.

With a number of evening work appointments over the second half of the month my available time to train became limited. Add in my lack of desire to swim in the early morning hours I missed a few sessions in the pool. So while I did continue to work on my kick I didn't make as much progress and I wanted. My longer swims were a tiny bit longer than in January, but not nearly enough. March will be better.

Bike: I feel rather fortunate this year as the weekend weather has been relatively mild, allowing me to get outside three out of four weekends this month. And unlike getting in the pool I have no hang ups keeping me from riding. Inside I have continued to focus on interval work with short, concentrated workouts. Power numbers are up, right where I was at the end of the 2015 riding season. Overall volume is good, not great, but nothing unusual. When I can get outside I have been riding in the 1 1/2 to 2 hour range, just getting in base miles. My goals for them month were successfully reached.

Run: As I enter March I am starting to feel more confident in my run. My 2015 was dedicated to low run volume as I worked to strengthen up the musculature around my right knee. December and January were about adding volume, getting back to comfortably running many more miles than I have done in a few years. February was a it of a hybrid in that my overall volume increased slightly, but I began to add training stress via hill work. Over the four weeks I did 3 hill workouts, two on the treadmill and one out on the roads. Hill sessions have me feeling stronger. The consistent training miles have enabled me to be consistent and feel good while doing it.

Strength and Mobility: Nothing new here. I have been very consistent making sure I get a good combination of traditional strength work (squats, deadlifts, chins, etc.) and functional strength work. I continue to get stronger on the major lifts. Mobility training has been positive as well.

Racing: Once again there was no racing this month.

Overall: Other than my bad week in the pool things are going well. I continue to get stronger, back where I was at the end of 2015 on the bike and far better in many ways than I was last year on the run. My swim is doing just fine. With the start of March, however, things start to get a little more real.

What's Happening in February? After not racing since early December I will be racing the Warm Hearts 5k on March 26th again. Hopefully we get better weather than last year. As for my training March is a transition month which will see a noticeable increase in total volume. In the pool I will continue to focus on developing my kick and increasing the long swims to the level I want to maintain during my Ironman specific raining. On the bike I really need the weather on my side as the plan is to start cranking out some good miles on the weekends to compliment the short, hard stuff I do during the week. If all goes right my FTP numbers will be up as will my endurance. On the run I am adding in a speed component. Yes, that's right, I will be back on the track again. Not my favorite place to run but I understand the benefits.

Thanks for reading.

Train hard. Stay focused.

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