Back in 2011 when Colin and I signed up for the Augusta Ironman 70.3 we had no training plan. Our training went a little something like this: swim a lot, bike a lot and run a lot. Not much rhyme or reason to each workout other than getting in the mileage. We were very busy at that time. Both of us were in grad school getting our masters and we were working. Most mornings we were at the pool, most evenings we were running and every weekend was spent on our bikes. We both finished the race with decent times, and both loved every second. (once it was over, maybe not in that moment!) Could we have done better with a proper training plan? Maybe. Over the course of 70.3 miles there are a lot of variables that even the most prepared athlete has to face. Speaking of face, this is my I just swam/bike/ran 70.3 miles and I’m too tired to smile face:
When 2012 rolled around we knew we would wanted to do the race again, but this time to be better prepared. WELL I got pregnant so that didn’t happen for me, but it did for Colin. Through a friend, he got a coach who gave him his workouts. This helped him know exactly what he needed to be doing and when. It also helped that he had one race under his belt so he knew what to expect come race day. Following the training plan allowed him to take 10 minutes off the bike and 15 minutes off the run from the previous year. Outside of training, Colin was able to fine tune his nutrition which helped him out immensely.
Due to prior commitments, Colin wasn’t able to race at August in 2013. He also won’t be racing at Augusta this year because it is the same weekend at the Chattanooga 140.6!! Side note- I think it was very silly to schedule these two events on the same weekend. The two cities are only 4 hours apart so I’m sure they are pulling from the same group of triathletes as participants. I’m sure Ironman thought about this and there is a valid reason for the schedule, I just think it’s not very smart. That is why Colin picked Haines City 70.3 for his half Ironman this year. Originally, this race was not on the books but we thought it would be a good for him to do a half as he prepares for the full. Also, the timing was perfect that it’s the week before we’re leaving and it’s only a 3.5 hour drive away from us!
We decided to forgo a coach for the half as he has a wealth of knowledge from prior experience, and he can use his training plans from prior years. After much discussion and shopping around I’m very happy to say he has a coach for the full Ironman, and this guy is amazing. (He currently holds the World Record for the Ultraman!!!) Colin’s half Ironman training started in mid-January and he really picked things up in February. Last December, Colin hurt his knee and wasn’t allowed to run for a while. He took things pretty easy and would cycle and swim a bit to stay active. A little insight on Colin, he doesn’t take things easy. He is 90 mph all day long. Not being able to run was pretty much torture for him. Luckily cycling and swimming didn’t irritate his knee or we all would have gone crazy!
So, what does it take to properly train for a half Ironman? A lot of time and dedication, by everyone involved. I’m not even touching on all the gear in this post, that’s a whole different story. In the last 11 weeks Colin has spent just under 96 hours actively training. I say actively training because that doesn’t count the time spent driving to and from the pool, getting his bike set up on the trainer or driving out to a safe place to ride, or getting prepared for his run. This amount of training on top of working a full-time job, being a husband, a father, and a friend takes a big commitment. I’ve told Colin several times before that if I had never done a triathlon and experienced how amazing it is, then I doubt I would have fully understood his desire to compete. Training from week to week varies. Typically there will be 2-3 swim sessions, 3-4 bike sessions, and 3-4 runs. When Colin swims the workouts are usually between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what type of workout he’s going for. This gets him in the range of 1,800 to 3,200 yards each time. When cycles it is never less than 45 minutes but the typical range is between 1:15 – 2:30 going up to 3 hours. Many of these have been on the indoor trainer due to time constraints, not having someone to ride with, or the weather. Spending that long a trainer really gives a mental workout as well as a physical one. Runs will vary. 3, 5, 7, 10, 15 miles – just depends what’s on the schedule for the day! He mixes up some speed work with tempo and long runs.
Even though it is the individual out there on race day swimming, biking and running all those miles, it takes a whole team to get them there. Whether it is a coach, a spouse, friends, family, whomever! A good support crew makes all the difference in the world. I know for me, while being out there on the course, knowing that I had my supporters waiting for me at the finish line kept me pushing on. You don’t have to be the fastest or have all the fanciest gear, but if you have determination and dedication then you too can become an (half) Ironman.!
Anyone completed a half or full Ironman? Or, any distance triathlon?
Who wants to???