January 30, 2012

Ironman Week 4


am: conditioning / 1:00
This was my first class in two weeks and my body was well aware of the break! My legs and arms fatigued noticeably faster, although I know my legs are still recovering from the marathon, too. While we sweated it out inside the studio, a storm raged outside and for a moment made me question the swim I had planned directly after. But then I reminded myself that I do, in fact, enjoy swimming in the rain, so off I went!

am: swim / 1,800 yds / 0:43
My arms were a little tired from the workout just before but other than that it was a pretty good swim. The focus was on endurance with 400s as the main set, but they actually seemed to go by pretty quickly. The storm actually calmed down a bit as I was swimming so the water was actually quite pleasant. With a long day ahead of me it was nice to have both workouts done by 8am!
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 6x50 fast on 1:30
  • main: 3x400 @ 2:05 on 9:00
  • cool-down: 100
pm: bike / 15 mi / 0:55 / avg 16.2 mph
My schedule called for 30 minutes of rolling hills so I thought I might drive somwhere with more appropriate terrain, but then the day got carried away and I just didn't have the time. So it was off to the bike trail instead. There are a few small hills on the route I took, but I also just switched to a harder gear on the flats to simulate more vertical terrain. I also spent some time in my drop bars, which for some reason I've never really done before. The lower body positioning actually felt a bit more comfortable and my legs seemed to feel more efficient, too. I'm hoping these are some of the benefits I'll get from a triathlon bike as soon as I get the nerve to buy one!
beautiful afternoon

pm: run / 4 mi / 0:36 / avg 9:10
I took a 30 minute break after my ride then set out for an easy run. I took my pup and decided to run on the roads since it would be dark by the time I finished. This was also my first run with prescribed heart rate zones. The plan called for a 10 minute warm up in zone 2 (154-163) then 3x5 minutes in zone 3 (165-173) with rest in between. I actually felt great as I started and tried to focus on effort as well as heart rate. I was comfortably running just under 9:00 pace for the warm-up and then picked it up for the first 5 minute set. I still felt good and the pace felt manageable, but my heart rate was pushing the upper limits of zone 3. When the 5 minutes were up I slowed back down but my heart rate had a harder time doing the same.

It kept up this way until after the final pick up when I was slowing way down in an effort to lower my heart rate. It was frustrating because I felt good running faster, and it was actually harder to slow down so much. I know other things can contribute to heart rate, and I know it can be very beneficial for training purposed, but I think for running, I need to focus more on my effort. Ironically, I think just knowing my heart rate when I run stresses me out a little, which in turn just makes it higher! The saving grace of the run was the glorious sunset I was treated to on my way back. I so wish I had a camera to capture that one!

am: conditioning / 1:00
Another killer workout to kick off the day! It did kind of suck to get up so early on a day off, but that just meant I got to take a lovely nap later in the day : )
one good thing that comes with waking up early!

pm: bike / 14 mi / 0:52 / avg 16.1 mph
Later in the day (after my nap!) I headed out for a short ride. The focus was on technique with a few drills in the mix. After a warm-up I did 6x30 seconds of single leg drills with 30 seconds of regular spinning between each one. The last time I did single leg drills it was on the trainer and they were not very successful. I was worried it would be the same on the road. I envisoned jerky movements that had me swerving all over the bike path and crashing. But when it came time to unclip the first leg, I was surprised to find that it worked! I just kept up the cadence and moved right along with the other leg dangling on the side. Happy to have these out of the way, next up was 3x6 minutes focusing on pulling horizontally on the downstroke. This felt a little awkward at first but soon I could tell how much more efficient it made me. It did, however, give my hamstrings a nice little workout which I would go on to feel for the rest of the week!

am: run / 5 mi / 0:45 / avg 9:10
Easy morning run on the levy with my pup. And boy oh boy were my hamstrings sore! Once I got moving they were ok but wow. I chose not to wear my heart rate after my experience on my last run and felt much more relaxed. In the middle I had 4x20 second pick ups. Other than that not very exciting!

pm: swim / 1,700 yds / 0:40
I was really tired during this workout for some reason. I found myself slowing at the tail end of the 250s so I had to remind myself to keep up the pace. I also find that when I'm tired my form sucks (which is probably true for a lot of things, like running). The workout finished up with another round of swim golf, and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I was able to reduce my stroke count with each 50, although my time basically stayed the same.
  • warm-up:
    • 200
    • 200 kick
  • main: 4x250 @ 2:00 on 5:30
  • cool-down: 6x50 swim golf  

am: run / 10 mi / 1:31 / avg 9:06
I was actually nervous about this run for some reason. It would be my first double digit run since Houston and I was anxious to get back in to it and not be in recovery mode anymore. It ended up being a fantastice run, too. It was a beautiful, crisp morning so the bike trail was crowded with a lot of friendly faces. Once again I went sans HR but forced myself to keep it at a comfortable effort. My left knee was a little tight toward the end but otherwise I kept my pace in the low 9s and felt really good. As I was finishing up it was a nice boost of confidence to feel like I could keep going. But as soon as I stopped, the warm fuzzies disappeared as I noticed some pain in my left ankle moving down into my foot. I didn't think too much of it as I hurried to get ready for work, and figured it was probably just a product of tight muscles/tendons that needed to be worked out.

am: bike / 28 mi / 1:50 / avg 15.3 mph
I headed out on another beautiful morning for my long ride of the week. I rode toward Lake Natoma and passed a seemingly endless number of runners. I hadn't been so far in this direction on the bike trail in a while so it was nice to see some familiar sights. The first half of the ride kind of sucked though. I was struggling to maintain a decent speed and my legs just didn't seem to have much in them. Luckily the second half was much better and I actually increased my speed quite a bit for a little negative split : ) I know with more time and practice my cycling will improve, but it still frustrates me now to feel like such a beginner. Part of me feels like I just need to get stronger on the bike, and the other part of me feels like I'm just not doing it right or my bike/fit is not very good. Hopefully I can improve both of these things in the near future. My ankle felt fine on the bike, but it was actually really sore the rest of the day at work on my feet : / 
halfway at Hazel Ave.

pm: swim / 1,500 / 0:35
Tonight's swim focused on technique with a series of different drills. I was in a rush since I had plans later that evening so I was glad it was a shorter workout. I never did drills when I was training on my own but I'm finding that they're a welcome addition. I like to think they've made a difference so far, if only by making me more aware of proper form.
  • warm-up:
    • 300
    • 4x50 kick on side
  • main:
    • 200 as 25 side-to-side/25 swim
    • 200 as 25 one arm/25 swim
    • 200 as 25 catch up/25 swim
    • 200 as 25 fist/25 swim
  • cool-down: 200
nice to still have some light!

swim: 5,000 yards
bike: 57 miles
run: 19 miles
other: 2 hours
total time: 10.4 hours


  1. sounds like you're starting to get some good training in. You must be elated about the weather judging from those pics. Keep on it while the sun continues to shine!

  2. Great week! I'm always impressed when people consistently fit in double workouts. Just one of many reasons I don't see an Ironman in my future!

  3. Nice week! Random question: Do you do double days that often as part of your training plan? Are you going to continue doing that many?

  4. Nice week. I am tired just reading about it :) I have thought of maybe incorporating some sort of heart rate training into my life but struggle with the idea of what you experienced on your run.