Weeks 8-9 – 30 Day Countdown {Steven’s Ironman Experience}

I had a rough time getting my workouts in a couple weeks ago, but things really turned around last week. I was able to use the long 3 day Easter weekend to get in a 60 mile bike ride as well as a 16 mile run. Both of those distances are the furthest I have made it so far. I still need to add some mileage on to my bike but I don’t really plan on going too much farther with my run before the actual race. It seems a little weird to say it but at this point there is not really much of a difference in a 16 mile run vs. a 26 mile run.

This past weekend, I started my last recovery week before I go into a taper the last couple of weeks before the race. Saturday was another brick workout with an hour and a half ride followed by a 45 minute run. Every time I do one of these I feel more comfortable running after getting off the bike (hopefully that continues through the race). I actually have to force myself to slow down because my legs want to keep moving at the speed they were on the bike. When I checked what was on the plan for Sunday I was amazed at what I saw. Nothing planned for Sunday or Monday. TWO DAYS IN A ROW OFF!!! I have not had 2 days in a row with absolutely nothing on the schedule since I started this plan 2 months ago. While it was great to get some time to just sit at home and relax, it didn’t last long as I ended up playing volleyball on Monday to fill in with my old team after they lost a player. After being worried the whole time about getting hurt, I decided I was too close to race day and I just couldn’t risk any injuries so I told them I couldn’t finish out the last week of their season with them.

Tuesday, I had a breakthrough in the pool. I finished 2 miles of swimming without any breaks. It may have been slightly longer but somewhere around the 1900 meter mark I was so bored from swimming laps that I lost count. Based on my average speed up to that point I should have at least completed 3200 meters (if I slowed down a bit) and potentially even more. Other than my race a few weeks ago, I had not managed to swim more than about 1000m before I needed to take a break. The last few weeks I had really been struggling with my swimming which had me a little frustrated as the first 5 weeks I felt better every time I got in the pool. I came to two conclusions about what was going wrong. First, I had lost body fat (which is buoyant) and therefore I had to spend more energy staying afloat. Second, since I have lost about 15 pounds since I began my training; my swimsuit has gotten a little baggy and is catching more water and creating drag. I never thought that losing weight would cause my training to become harder.

The rest of the week is pretty easy. 15 minute run on Wednesday followed by a 30 minute bike and 30 minute run on Thursday. Friday I get ANOTHER day off before I head into the weekend with a 4 hour bike ride and an hour of swimming Saturday and then a 2+ hour run on Sunday. I’m not adding a whole lot physically from what I have been doing, but pushing just a little on the weekends while using the rest of the week to recover.

Steven Harben
Recreation Programmer
City of Wylie