Ironman CdA ’11 Training

Ironman Coeur d’Alene… it was the race I was building up for since my Boston qualification at the Phoenix Rock and Roll Marathon last January.  My run fitness was at its highest level ever and I was coming off a strong 12th place age group finish at Ironman Arizona in November 2010.  I was very excited to improve my speeds in all three disciplines in 2011.

I told my coach, Nick Goodman of DURAPULSE Performance Company, that I wanted to podium in my age group at Coeur d’Alene.  Nick and I both believed it was possible.  After my marathon in January, he sent me an email: “Elliot, your training for IM CDA will be much different than IM AZ with a focus of winning. I hope you are ready.”  This fired me up. I went into Ironman training healthy and confident. Training was much more intense for this Ironman.

My typical training week:

Mondays: Typically a rest day or short recovery swim

Tuesdays: 30-40 mile bike followed by a run in AM, swim (~4k) in PM.

Wednesdays: Swim AM (4-5k), track PM

Thursdays: Swim AM (4-5k), 2.5-3.5 hour aerobic bike ride

Fridays: Long swim (4000-5000m), 60-70min run

Saturdays: Long bike (4-7 hours)

Sundays: Long run

Averaging 20-25 hours of training per week was a difficult task while working full-time. I never made excuses and rarely skipped a workout.  I made significant improvements throughout the year, especially my swim and run.  I went to Masters 3-4 times a week and had one-on-one swim coaching.  My run fitness from PF Chang’s Marathon carried over well and I was able to maintain my run form throughout the season.

Signing up for Ironman is always a tough decision for me.  If I sign up for one, I will bust my ass to do the best I can. I see too many people sign up for Ironman “just to do it.”  I think it’s disrespectful to the sport to show up to these prominent events unprepared and under-trained. To me, Ironman isn’t about the number of iron-distance races you’ve completed… it’s all about the quality of your races.  I signed up Ironman Coeur d’Alene knowing that I would be able to train for this race properly.

I had some epic training days. I did a 140-mile ride with 8000+ feet of climbing, a 161-mile ride (completely solo), and consistent 18-23 mile runs on Sundays.  Nick’s training plan also incorporated longer, higher intensity training efforts on the weekdays.

Ironman training is tough.  There is a fine line between training fatigued (good) and burning out (very bad).  There was one point of the year where I wanted to quit. I was exhausted and had no motivation or energy. I took nearly a week off just weeks away from my big day. Nick emphasized to take these days completely off.  I am the type of individual who absolutely dreads missing workouts, to the point I can get depressed if I miss consecutive days. It was a vital lesson that I have finally learned in the 2.5 years I’ve been in this sport.  Rest is crucial. It MUST be taken to allow your body to recover.

The first half of my race season has been quite successful, podium finishing in my age group at most of the local triathlons, biathlons, and duathlons (nine podium finishes in total).  It was a big confidence boost for IM CdA as I was becoming much more recognized and respected among the local triathletes. I was ready to CRUSH Ironman Coeur d’Alene.

2011 totals from January – IM CdA
Bike: 160h 29m 49s  – 3242.29 Mi
Run: 104h 22m 48s  – 834.61 Mi
Swim: 75h 06m 32s  – 246274.4 Yd
Strength: 7h 40m
A.R.T.: 6h 25m
Massage: 15h 15m
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Categories: Training

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