2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 9

WEEK 9 – February 22, 2016 – February 28, 2016

feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity, or job; wholeheartedly dedicated.

On Friday I was doing my planned run on my normal route through the nature preserve when I saw the following written in sidewalk chalk on the trail spaced apart by about 100 feet:







Well, I guess the sidewalk chalk proposal was not as successful as the proposer had hoped. But it got me thinking about the commitment involved in being married and how lucky I am to have someone that I am committed to and to share our lives together.

But marriage isn’t the only commitment in my life, for I am surely committed to running, triathlon and this current Ironman pursuit.  If you have the strength to right click on the application submit button, you have certainly become committed.

Commitment seemed to be a theme this week as a friend from my high school class and friend on Facebook pondered whether or not to sign up for the Chicago Marathon.  She has had some experience as a runner, but the marathon distance is very much new territory for her.  She had lots of doubt about being able to run the distance.  I responded that I believe anyone can do it if they put forth the effort and train with purpose.  Everyone always fears the distance the first time, and I would be lying if I didn’t get nervous race day eve, and morning.  But when you put in the work, the light at the end of the tunnel gets closer and closer.  She committed.

As I learned from finishing my first Ironman in 2013, the hard work was done in the 29 weeks, six days leading up to the race.  The race was a complete joy.  If you commit to the work you can reap the reward.

For Week 9, the commitment was certainly evident for me.  The weather was up and down, with a few outdoor runs that were damp and cold, and a cold and windy ride of almost three hours on Saturday.  Balance all of that with the family obligations and commitments as well.  But when the week ends and the last workout is in the books, I can look back and know that I did the work.

I am committed.


Swims: 2 total, 1.75 hours, 5000 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 4.5 hours, 68 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4.5 hours, 34 miles

Week 9 was FINE!


2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 8

WEEK 8 – February 15, 2016 – February 21, 2016

Week 8 seemed like another dial back week in training, but a good week for me overall.  The only issue I had was that I had some left leg discomfort on Thursday night.  It almost felt like sciatica, with pain somewhat the entire length of my leg.  It made for some restless sleep until I finally got up and took some ibuprofen.  I made sure I did some stretching on Friday, and as a result of my concern, I dialed back my 60 minute run to a four miler in just over 3o minutes.  There was no lingering issue with the pain after that.

The two swims went well this week.  The Tuesday swim was a straight 2500 yard swim in which I kept the intensity back a little.  On Thursday, it was back to the drills and workout. The workout consisted of 12X100 yards with a 20 second rest.  Normally I can swim 100 yards in about 2:05 to 2:10 at a comfortable pace.  I pushed the effort as directed and was surprised to average about 1:53 for all 12 repeats.  After seven weeks of swimming (I missed the swims in Week 1), I guess I am getting a little stronger in my pulls.  Overall, this swim took me 50:22 to finish, a personal best.  I am usually around 56 to 60 minutes with most 2500 yard swim workouts.

Biking was done indoors, but Illinois was treated to another beautiful day on Saturday with a 60 degree temperature day, so I headed outside.  Another plus to this sunny ride was getting to ride with another cyclist friend from the area.  He’s a good rider and would have no problem doing an Ironman, if he wanted to put forth an effort to swim and run.  He has no interest in those two dumb disciplines!  I don’t blame him.  Our ride was problematic however, when he kept having his rear tire go down.  It was a slow leak, and we think that the tube and it’s valve stem were the issue.  Watching him pull the tire off the bike, pull out the tube and get all back on quickly is a treat.  He may not know it, but I really study his method so I can be better at it myself.  But it took us 2:45 to do a 2 hour ride!  Oh well, he is good company, and it beats having to ride alone.

On to Week 9 and more of the same as I get closer to the build phase of the training plan.  I hope it warms up some more because I really need to be outside!


Swims: 2 total, 2 hours, 5000 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 4 hours, approx. 58 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4 hours, approx. 28.5 miles

Week 8 done!


2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 7

WEEK 7 – February 8, 2016 – February 14, 2016

If you are at all curious about what a typical training week would like for someone training for an Ironman, I thought I would show you a day by day example of this week.  I think you will see that it isn’t all that bad.  It’s just daily exercise of about an hour that is preparing you for a goal.  I really believe anybody can build to this.

Monday – A rest day!  But since I have a running streak going, I did a two mile run on the treadmill.

Tuesday’s are swim and run workouts.  For the swim, here is the workout that I did:

  • 300 w/u = 300 yards of swimming to warm up
  • 8X50 drills  = This means you do 8 reps of 50 yards each.  For my drills in the first set I did a high elbow drill that emphasizes getting my elbow high, and a drill that emphasizes glide and kicking.
  • 16X25 @ 10 secs = This is a set of 16 total 25 yard swims at a high intensity, with a 10 second rest between each rep
  • 1X400 @ 60 secs = A set of one 400 yard swim with a minute rest at the end
  • 16X25 @10 secs = same as above
  • 8X50 drills = another set of drills, this time I did 4X50 fist drill, where you use your fist instead of an open hand to make sure you are using your arm fully to move you through the water.  And a 4X50 of fingertip drag, a drill to essentially teach you hand position in and out of the water.
  • 200 c/d = 200 yards of easy swimming to cool down

The swim took me just under an hour to complete.

The run for Tuesday was a 60 minute comfortable run, which I did on the treadmill and was able to cover 7 miles.

Wednesday is brick day.  A brick is where you do a back-to-back workout, typically a bike and then run.  The plan called for 45 minutes on the bike and then a quick change to a 15 minute run.

Back to the pool for Thursday.  The workout is as follows:

  • 300 w/u, 8X50 drills (fists, and finger drag for drills)
  • 1X300 @40 secs, 3X200 @30 secs, 1X300 @40 secs
  • 8X50 drills (high elbow, glide/kick and kick board drills)
  • 200 c/d

The Thursday swim was done in 55 minutes and was followed up with a 60 minute 100 rpm bike spin, and a slow 1 mile treadmill run once I got home.

Friday called for 1 hour and 15 minutes of Zone 2 running.  There are four zones based on heart rate, with Z1 being easy, Z2 having normal effort, Z3 pushing it somewhat, and Z4 reserved for race effort or in some cases all out.  Z2 is what I do most of my runs at, but they usually end up being Z3 because I can never hold back, especially when I am outside and in control of the pace.

I planned my run on a route that is about 8.5 miles long, but I needed some extra running to hit the 75 minutes.  So I went a little farther.  A little too much farther I guess, and ended up running 9.85 miles in 1 hour and 22 minutes.  No big deal, except it was brutally cold out.

Saturday was a day I dreaded all week, because I knew it was going to be too cold to ride outside, and the plan called for a 2.5 hour Z2 ride.  To the basement I went and did the ride on the trainer.  Thanks to my iPad, with the Facebook and Scrabble apps, and the Kentucky vs. South Carolina basketball game (Go Cats!), the time flew by much quicker than I anticipated.  I got in an estimated 35 miles, and then did a quick 1 mile run on the treadmill.

Suffering away in the Pain Cave

Sunday was a repeat of Friday, only much colder.  It was about 12 degrees out when I left the house.  A couple of my fellow Gunners always run outside, so I felt some inspiration to run outside too.  Had it been that cold in December, I probably would have stayed inside.  But living in the midwest, I always seem to get acclimated to the cold by February.  I’m starting to get the hang of layering my clothes well, and wasn’t really bothered by the temp.  My right eye really starts watering as soon as I get into the wind and cold, and that is bothersome, as the tears stream down my cheek and almost give me frostbite.  I have some issue going on with that eye, and I am planning a trip to the eye doctor this week.

So there you have it.  A typical week of swimming, biking, and running in 30-week plan that will prepare me for the Ironman distance.


Swims: 2 total, 2 hours, 5000 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 4:15 hours, approx. 60 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4.5 hours, approx. 33 miles


Week 7 Done!  Only 23 more weeks of this!





2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 6

WEEK 6 – February 1, 2016 – February 7, 2016

This week was your typical meat and potatoes week of training.  I think this would be an ideal workout week for training for an Olympic distance race.  It’s just a good mixture of two quality hour long swims, two easy bikes with a longer two hour Saturday ride, and three, one hour long runs and a 15 minute brick.  Play with a little less and a little more distance, add some speed work to both the bike and run, and Week 6 is a great training week to build an Olympic distance plan from.

I once again had a pretty good effort this week in the pool.  I find that a combination of improving my kick a little, and the fact that after 6 weeks in the pool I am starting to gain a little more arm strength, and speed and confidence in the water.

The bike again was an outdoor ride on Saturday for two hours.  It was a little colder than last week, but the sun was shining brightly, and the wind was gentle.  I stayed on the Old Plank Trail instead of venturing onto the back roads of southern Will County.  Very little ice left on the trail, so there was nothing really to worry about.

As far as what I am wearing on these cold rides, I better note it down because I can’t remember this stuff for some reason.  I start with a trisuit, a onesie as I call them.  Then add calf compression sleeves.  Over that I add a long sock that covers the calf, and cover that with a thin cycling ankle sock.  On top I do a thermal compression long sleeve shirt on top of arm warmers.  I add a long sleeve tech shirt over that, and a long sleeve cycling jersey over that.  Then comes a regular cycling jersey on top to show off what kind of dumb things I am into.  I wear a Headsweats head band under a balaclava, and add a thin beanie-type hat over that.  For gloves I use a thin pair of running gloves under my Windstopper thick gloves.  A pair of cycling booties cover my cycling shoes.  And a thin layer of Vaseline on my exposed face, a trick that makes a big difference for my cheeks and nose.

After finishing the two hour long ride, I added an hour long brick run after it due to being busy on Sunday.  I bonked a little after that three hour effort, which is a mistake that I consistently have to relearn every time I train for a race.  Makes me realize that I need to also focus on nutrition and not wing it in training.  I can’t afford those mistakes on race day, so learn from it now!

I also used my heart rate monitor for the bike ride on the long ride.  I had not used it since starting the plan because I forget about it, and by the time I glance and see no reading on the bike computer for heart rate, there is no way I’m going to shed all the above clothing and put the damn thing on.  But it was nice to see that for a Zone 2 ride, I was comfortably riding in that zone with not much extra effort.  I think I pushed into Z3 about 6 times, only to dial it back to Z2 when the computer’s alarm sounded.  A fairly easy pace at this point in the plan.  I replaced the battery in the strap, as it had been in there for a while, and I will try to use it more on rides.


Swims: 2 total, 2 hours, 5000 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 3:45 hours, approx. 58 miles

Runs: 7 total, 3.5 hours, approx. 28 miles

Week 6 = Done!



2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 5

WEEK 5 – January 25, 2016 – January 31, 2016

The participant list for Ironman Lake Placid came out this week, and of course I had to ensure my name was on it.  For many triathletes, in particular newbies, seeing their name listed as a participant is a moment that drives home the point that you are committed to the race – a life just got real moment.

For me, after checking that my name and the names of my buddies were indeed there, seeing the number 53 in the age column was the real eye opener.  When did I get old?  USA Triathlon sets the rules for most triathlons in the US, and one of the age group rules is that you participate at the age you will be at the end of the year.  So that makes this 52 year old already 53 before my fall birthday!


And there it was – 53.
Turning 40 wasn’t that bad, and last year just a week before turning 52, I set a personal best in the marathon, running a 3:28 at Chicago.  So I never really thought I was getting old.  But seeing that 53 gave me some pause.  And with all the recent celebrity deaths at ages in their 60’s, I have become more aware of mortality.

But as I peruse the above list, I can see that I am not alone in vintage.  Plenty of company in the over 50 group.  The 50-54 age group alone has 428 athletes.  I guess it isn’t too surprising that the over 40 crowd makes up a big chunk of the race.  Announcer Mike Reilly always jokes that it’s the biggest group because we have disposable income.  True.

So I guess I should just live in the age I am and make the most out of it, and do the same in 10 or 20 years.  But 53, I am coming for you.

Swim – I had a sort of revelation in regard to my swim this week.  Someone on one of the Ironman Facebook pages I follow posted a response to a post about trying to improve but was getting nowhere.  I am in the same boat.  I just can’t seem to get that swim speed down.  But the response was a suggestion for a drill that I had not heard mentioned before, the vertical kick/deep water drill.  After Googling the drill, I found a really interesting video:  Sea Hiker Swimming

In the video, I could really see for the first time how to move my legs in the water.  It will take some time to learn it well, but I could see an improvement in my 2500 yard straight swim.  My splits went from an average of 2:18 per 100 yards to under 2:10 consistently.  I hope to continue to improve on the kick aspect.  In reality, I may save 5 minutes on the 2.4 mile swim, so it may not be worth it as getting faster may tire me out more for the latter parts of the race.  I will see how training goes.

Bike – The bike went well this week, with my long Saturday ride outside for a change!  Illinois weather sucked much less this week than usual and I took my road bike out for a turn.  Riding outside is so much more enjoyable, even if it is only 46 degrees out.

Run – I am still feeling a little sore in the high hamstring area, and need to implement some more stretching.  But overall, my tempo has been good, and feeling happy about the trail being ice-free so I can get out and run on the trail.


Swims: 2, 2 hours, 5000 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 3 hours, approx. 46 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4 hours, approx. 30 miles

Week 5(3) is DONE!