Journey To Ironman WA: Part 2
My Extended Block of Training
With just under 2 weeks till settlement and moving into our first house, my coach and I agreed to extend this block out, and use the days off for moving house as a recovery week rather than going into recovery like normal.
In the first week, my coach smashed me with 9.5 hours of brutal threshold and above on the bike, and a total week of around 17 hours. This meant early starts and late finishes most days. My tip from this,
Don’t mention to your coach that training is feeling pretty cruisy unless you are a sucker for punishment!
The following week I trained Monday to Thursday before moving on Friday, with my time cut short on Wednesday having to work an extra shift. We pushed out a solid 9.5 hours training, capping it off with a brutal 3 hour session on Thursday afternoon before hitting IKEA all night, bringing out my best interior design expertise.
The next 3 days were spent flat out moving house; loading and unloading trucks, carrying furniture and building flat packs. Not a single minute of training, which for me is a long time to go without doing any but with how busy we were, time just flew by!
Getting Back Into It
Following the move I transitioned into a proper recovery week, allowing my body to get some active recovery and also giving me some spare time to get things done around the house. Having my training volume and intensity dialed back for 10 days was a great opportunity to really freshen up and prepare myself for the next big block of training.
Time To Get Serious
When I opened up my training plan to see what the first week holds, I was faced with an FTP test first thing Monday morning- urgh! For those who don’t know what an FTP test is or haven’t done one before, it’s a 20-minute absolute max effort, with the goal of pushing as high an average wattage as possible across the full 20-minutes of the test. So not blowing up early but also hanging on for dear life through the last few minutes.
For anyone who hasn’t done one of these before they are absolutely horrific! The test went really well, although disgustingly painful, I pushed my FTP from 261 watts all the way to 286 watts.
Even though the test is not so enjoyable, it is vitally important to do tests like these regularly to ensure training sessions are as specific as possible. Using old scores can be very detrimental to your training.
If the number is too low your sessions aren’t going to push you hard enough to get enough growth from each session. Further, if you’re using an old score that is much higher than your current level of fitness, using this number won’t push you harder to get back to your old fitness levels quickly, it will actually push you too hard, pushing you into zones that the session is not designed for. In turn placing extra stress on the body, increasing recovery time and increasing risk of injury.
Finishing Up the Block
This block was 3 weeks long and a very heavy 3 weeks, clocking up 166km of running, averaging around 8 hours a week on the bike, 12-14km in the pool and 1.5 hours in the gym. Finishing this block off with a 5 hour brick session, 4.5 hours on the bike then straight into a 30min run off.
I find big blocks through winter build huge amounts of mental strength, with many hours spent inside on the trainer, treadmill and freezing cold mornings in the pool. As tough as it can be getting up on cold dark mornings, there is always a great feeling of achievement when you tick the sessions off!
Plus… empty swimming pools and glorious sunrises are always a bonus!
I am heading into a recovery week now to absorb the training, rest the body and reset the mind to push on into my next block.