Journey To Ironman WA Begins
My Journey to Ironman WA Begins…
Hi I’m Andrew, the Exercise Physiologist at Fieldwork… welcome to my road to Ironman WA! I thought documenting this would be a great opportunity to share my experience and a chance to show and teach people about the highs and lows of training for big events, especially endurance events.
I also see it as a great chance to share some knowledge around training, recovering and everything around it. Some of the things I will discuss throughout the experience will be training misconceptions (resistance especially), stress management, injury management and probably many other topics along this unpredictable path.
Busso 70.3 Half Ironman done… it’s Ironman time
The time has come, after a few easy weeks post Busselton 70.3 then a few weeks lighter and lower intensity training including no days off! It is time to dive headfirst into my build towards Ironman WA. Giving myself 6 months to build on a solid base and put it all together for race day.
A different kind of build up
This years build is going to be very different to last year; working full time, buying a house and planning a wedding, adult life hey…
Coming from training as an honours student being able to put in countless hours to train then study (procrastinate) on the couch like a zombie with very few commitments is something that I won't be able to do anymore.
Quality vs Quantity
Time efficiency and quality of training over quantity is going to be one of the keys this year, I have already shown to myself that less time at better quality can still pay off with a huge personal best (PB) at Busselton 70.3.
Manage That Stress
Stress management is going to play a key role this year, our bodies can’t differentiate stressors. Physical and mental stress add together and need to be accounted for as a cumulative total.
Adjusting to full time work at the start of this year was the first step, having a reduced training load to allow for increased mental stress that comes with work.
Not to say that working is horrible and burns you out, just that it takes more energy than sitting on the couch. It is also just like training in the sense that our bodies will adapt to it over time and we will then be able to tolerate more.
What Stress Looks Like
Understanding the signs of stress can also help during times of increased load. Especially things like changes in:
These are a few of the early signs that you cannot miss.
Being aware of these signs can be very helpful to avoid over-training and possible burnout. Then also comes the tricky part of understanding when you are fatigued and when you are just feeling sorry for yourself.
This one is very personal and only you know your body, if you are training for a big endurance event especially if you are going to have to learn to love the early mornings or late night sessions when you really don’t feel like training.
First 4 weeks Of Training Recap
I have just wrapped up my first 4 weeks of training. For this first block of training, my coach has placed a strong emphasis on swim, with bike and run staying reasonably steady and on the lower intensity side of things.
At the moment my total training load per week is sitting around 15 hours broken up around 5 hours in the pool, 5 hours on the bike, 3 hours running and 2.5 hours in the gym.
Swimming…. Not everyone's cup of tea.
Coming from a field sport background swimming is certainly not my strong suit and although it takes up such a small portion of an Ironman, being able to shave a few minutes off and come out of the water more relaxed and without using as many tickets will pay off.
Is Resistance Training Really That Important?
Resistance training is also of vital importance and one thing that many endurance athletes put on the bottom of the importance list so it far to often gets left out.
Either that or strength work is treated similar to swim, bike and run sessions, more endurance based with a desire to be out of breath by the end, so you feel you had a good workout.
Endurance athletes need massive amounts of strength and therefore strength training needs to be strength focussed. Losing form at the back end of a race isn’t a result of a lack of fitness it is 9 times out of 10 a lack of strength, leading to fatigue, loss of form then injury.
My Approach To Strength Training
For my strength training, it’s nothing special or fancy just the basics, squat pattern, lunge pattern, hinge pattern, vertical press, vertical pull, horizontal press, horizontal pull and trunk stability.
“It’s nothing fancy, Just the basics”
Sets and reps
Higher volume of sets, lower reps, heavy loading and long rests to really push the emphasis on strength. My swim bike and run sessions are for getting “fit” and my gym sessions are for getting strong therefore they need vastly different approaches.
Strategic Recovery, Life Happens
I would normally be going into a recovery week now but I’m moving into my first house in 2 weeks so my coach and I have decided to extend this block and use that week as recovery as there will definitely be a few days off there.
Stay tuned for my next block of training in my next blog! The swim focus will continue but there will also be an interruption of moving house and how I work training and resting around that. Pray for me!