Competing for the Iron Man Race is no laughing matter. As the name suggests you must be strong and durable to last the gruelling competition. Not many people make it past the finish line, since the triathlon is too overwhelming. Some do complete the race with glory; however, there are many who struggle and have a long road to recovery afterwards.
Ironman Training Plan
So, here is the situation. You have enthusiastically signed up for the Ironman France competition that’s happening in six months’ time. Now what? You might have done it on a dare, to woo the love of your life or something to cross off your bucket list. It really doesn’t matter what made you sell your soul to the toughest athletic competition, it’s time to get down to brass tacks ASAP! Here are the top 5 suggestions for fool-proof victory.
Train and Recover Like the Iron Man Pros
Do You Really Need To Train Constantly?
YES! This is pretty much a no brainer, but it’s amazing how many athletes forget this key point. Do your best to get as many training sessions in every week. When this happens, improvement is consistently steady. It doesn’t matter if you go for five bike rides, runs or swims per week or a specific number of hours or miles, keeping a regular training session is vital to improvement. When the number of sessions, hours and mileage fluctuates greatly, athletes are really asking for more injuries and setting themselves up for failure.
Test Yourself Before Every IRONMAN Race
The more you test yourself, the more you get to discover where you stand. For instance, if you do a fitness assessment and notice that there isn’t any improvement, you know that it’s time to step up your fitness regime.
Here are tests you can use:
- Straight swim 1000 or 2000 meters. If you can do 1000 meters, like a hot knife cuts through butter, then go ahead and push for 2000.
- Bike ride for 12 miles or 30 minutes with no interruptions.
- Run like your life depended on it for 30 minutes or 10,000 meters. If that was easy peasy, run for an hour after a long bike run. Keep in mind that the longer you test yourself, the more you come closer to stimulating the actual race.
Diversify Intensities in Your Workouts
Don’t forget that the iron man challenge is one that focuses its participants to stay aerobic for 112 miles. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to train every part of your body thoroughly. Also, the more the race date creeps closer, the more specific your workouts must be.
After 24 weeks of training, give yourself a shot of VO2 with threshold and tempo workouts. As soon as you start to make strides in VO2, you will see improvements in your lactate threshold. Sooner, rather than later, once you improve your lactate threshold, you’ll find that your speed and power will get better as well.
Here are essential workouts For The IRONMAN Race:
Swimming – Do two longer sets of 200s or 500s. Go for a set of 20 x 200s with a brief rest is a good way to work on momentum and perseverance. Continually, doing a set of 8 x 500 is harder mentally, and much more realistic to Ironman’s tempo.
Biking – Essential workouts to consider doing are longer intervals like 4 x 12 minutes, alongside 8 minutes at tempo effort (IRONMAN 70.3 tempo of motion) and 4 minutes at threshold (Olympic attempt). Additionally, another ideal Ironman training plan is to ride for 2 to 3 hours with a steady intensity and finish at a tempo effort during the last 20 to 30 miles.
Running - Aim for tempo runs and complete long runs with tempo finishes, as on the bike. For instance, if you do a 90-minute-long run, finish it off with 30 minutes of tempo. An alternative is including 3 x 15 minutes at tempo and stretching it into a longer 90 minutes to two-hour run.
Train for Your Requirements NOT Needs
How much training you do per week depends on you and how much time you have free for your ironman schedule. However, keep in mind that if you have about 24 weeks before the ultimate Iron Man race and find that running on a treadmill indoors for a few months is responsible for your lack of running fitness, just focus on running for the next four to eight weeks. In that event, running will take up most of your time (about 60 to 75 percent).
Most athletes who work full-time with a family and other outside commitments/interests, might do 1.5 hours of training per day on weekdays and 3 – 5 hours on weekends.
To sum it up, you will have ten to twelve hours per week for training. Be that as it may, it isn’t how much time you have, but what you do with the time you have. Therefore, make every workout count, consistent and focus on running strong after a tough bike ride workout can take you on leaps and bounds compared to lots of workouts that don’t target on your weaknesses.
Repeat the Week
Don’t freak out! It’s not Groundhog Day and Bill Murray isn’t making a cameo appearance. Although, you will find repetition is key to winning the iron man challenge. Here is a week-long ironman schedule for athletes that are 6 months out from the ironman triathlon.
Monday: Long swim and weights
Tuesday: Excellent bike session and run off the bike
Wednesday: Tempo swim, plus weights
Thursday: Superior run session, then recovery bike
Friday: Recovery swim or take it off
Saturday: Quality bike with tempo workout, run off the bike with specific HR and pacing targets
Sunday: Long run, with specific pace and HR targets. Then recovery bike
Total of Time Dedicated to Exercising for the week:
Swimming (3 to 4 swims): 3 hours
Bike (4 rides): 4.5 to 7 hours
Run (4 runs): 3 to 4.5 hours
Strength (2 sessions): 1.5 hours
Total Time: 10.5 to 16 hours
Ways to Prevent Overtraining
With all your enthusiasm and pressure about the ironman triathlon distances, it’s easy to train too long and for too hard. Professional triathletes try to seek out every bit of performance for their mind and body. No doubt you have to be dedicated for ironman distances, but sometimes too much of anything can be bad for you. At some point, all triathletes will experience overtraining. Once you reach this point, you will encounter fatigue, hit a plateau in strength and have less motivation. Below are the most common ways to overstrain yourself and how to avoid this.
This is usually the first stage of overtraining and is what most triathlons aim for in training. All serious athletes have been there - grinding training sessions and pushing yourself to greater levels of fitness that follows with higher levels of fatigue. Eventually the body adapts to these workouts, and you get stronger and faster. Common symptoms of an overreached state are decreased motivation, irritability and difficulty getting heart rate past 60% -70% - bpm. Recovery from overtraining usually takes 7 – 14 days. Find out what it takes to push your body to this state, and at the same time keeping your recovery time short.
This occurs when you push yourself slightly too hard with training and the symptoms can hang around for more than two weeks. It is the second phase of overtraining and has the same symptoms of the first phase. For instance, lack of energy, irritability and can’t finish workouts without feeling high levels of exertion. Expect recovery to be two to four weeks before you regain motivation and productivity again.
This is when high levels of fatigue can knock you out for over a month. If you are experiencing the symptoms of stage one for longer than a one month, you may be experiencing an over trained state. Another symptom is no motivation to race or train. If you reach that state, expect recovery to take months, or even years.
Although competing for the France triathlon is a hard shell to crack to say the least, you need to have downtime for your body to fuel better. If you want to set Ironman world records, try to do the following so you are always ready to swim, cycle or run.
Eat breakfast – Remember that your body is fasting while you sleep, hence the word “break” the “fast”. The best way to get your metabolism going is to eat slow releasing carbs like porridge on training days. When you are in recovery mode aim for high protein options like eggs during rest days.
Lose weight carefully – When trying to lose weight for ironman triathlon distances, do it prudently with a 500kcal/day deficit. A larger calorie shortfall will end in a drop in your sporting performance.
Time your feeding – Chow down on high glycemic foods just one hour before and during training when the body is looking for it to use as a fuel source.
Get into a recovery window – Get into recovery mode as soon as you finish your training session. Eating a recovery meal or drinking a recovery shake within 30 minutes of ending a session can help your muscles repair and keep you away from sugar cravings before your next meal.
Get a few z’s – Sleep as much as you can, since research shows that lack of a good snoozing session can lead to cravings. Sleep helps the mind and body recover.
Keep a food diary - Sticking to an Ironman diet is tough. If you keep a journal for seven days, you will become more aware of what you really are eating. Giving you the chance to change your food choices and habits.
The Upcoming Ironman Schedule
The ironman de nice takes a lot of effort, but the good news is you have a whole year to prepare. IRONMAN France Nice registration takes place on Monday, 2 July 2018, 4:00 pm CET. The race date is June 30, 2019, so don’t delay any further!
There is a “je ne sais que” about competing for Ironman. The whole build-up to the entire event, pushing yourself to limits you never knew you could reach, the sunny seaside location where it’s held and the adrenaline of achieving victory. It all adds up to a remarkable and memorable experience for any die-hard athlete out there!