14 Days Before Ironman

Here I sit in the middle of taper now. Feelin’ pretty good this year. Some highlights as I approach Ironman:
1. Yesterday I weighed myself on the scale at only 145 lbs! This is midday, after I’ve eaten breakfast, had fluids to drink, etc. I think I may be as low as 143 lbs on race morning. Well, less to carry with me on the race, hopefully that means more speed.
2. Last year, I was able to go up a combination of Old La Honda and Kings Mountain repetitions of up to 4 times. But I didn’t do anything special; I just was happy to make it up those hills 4x on my peaking rides.
This year, I was able to do 4 laps but I used intervals to increase their ability to make me stronger. I didn’t want to do just do the same thing I did last year. I wanted to improve on my cycling time and strength and I shouldn’t be doing the same thing as last year; I need to keep hitting my body differently. So I began doing intervals the entire way up either Old La Honda or Kings, and doing them such that I would increase effort by the last lap.
I survived this and I believe this has made me stronger on the bike.
3. Mostly I have been relatively injury free this year. I do have a tightness in my right glute and hip, which has extended down my outer hamstring. I also have tight flexor hallicuses on both legs, probably due to my constant negative splits on my long runs. Both have been managed effectively through ART and Graston technique.
4. This year, I extensively trained my neuromuscular system in all 3 disciplines. For swimming, my form hasn’t been all that great and I’ve rediscovered Total Immersion swimming to help with this. In cycling, I’ve really tuned my muscles to keep my legs cycling fast especially when I crest hills instead of slowing down. This is also true after all my interval training where I am really tired but I still can cycle my legs fast by relaxing my legs but my nerves can continue to fire. In running, I used a treadmill to train my legs to keep working at fast paces, and also in getting used to powering up grades at faster speeds. Thus now I feel pretty good at keeping my leg muscles firing even when they are really tired.
5. My recovery lengthened by almost an extra day from 3 days to 4. I did not know why at first and it was very concerning. I did know that I had increased my intensity year over year and each time, I had added almost an extra day of recovery and now I was at 4 days. This means I was left with only 3 days of working out at effective wattages or paces, which isn’t enough to stress all disciplines enough. I needed to find how to recover faster or else I wouldn’t be able to train to my max potential.
I read Dara Torres’s book, “Age is Just a Number” and she, being of similar age as me, told of how training for the Olympics at her age meant that she would intersperse more recovery workouts with high intensity workouts, rather than doing a constant string of high intensity workouts which can be withstood by younger athletes. This did not mean that she wouldn’t improve or be faster – she did set some world records after all.
So I tried this and this did help. But I was still perplexed by my lengthened recovery time. Then I got a Normatec MVP and that really helped my leg recovery. But my heart/lungs still felt very stretched well into the 3rd day, and almost the 4th. Something more had to be done. I was sure of it.
It was then I got my first clue from my physical therapist who talked about nutrition in recovery. Then I got some help from a tweet and another buddy of mine who took Glutamine to help recover.
I then began trying protein powder, BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acid), and Glutamine, on the theory that my body was passing food too quickly and not absorbing enough nutrients from each meal. The results were astounding; I was able to pull in recovery almost a full 2 days!
Still some workouts did stress my body too much. I normally do a workouts in the peaking phase that incorporate mile (and longer) repeats. This season, I started with some long repeats that had some short, fast sprints intermixed. These workouts were too much for my system and lengthened my recovery by an extra day mid-week. I had to pull back and just do more simpler mile repeats.
Other gadgets that I used this year was vibration, via a Port-A-Vibe, and Gua Sha tools which are similar to Graston tools. I am also lusting after a Direct Muscle Stimulator which is able to cause tight muscles to release, but this is really expensive and haven’t made the leap yet. Maybe next year.
7. I had the pleasure of guiding two of my friends on their triathlon journeys, one to her first half Iroman and the other to his first Ironman.
The days are passing quickly and my anticipation grows. I have increased my intensity this year but do not know how I will do. I hope for better than my performance last year at IM FL, but my ultimate goal is now to break 11 hours. It may be too much of a jump from last year as IM FL is a faster course then IM CDA, but you never know until you get out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts