Hindsight offers the best insight to what I would do differently next time. I’m proud and extremely happy with my 2019 results, but there are a few tweaks I can make to finish a little stronger next time.
A typical week looked like this:
Monday – Yoga, core, light strength, foam roll, stretch.
Tuesday – AM open water swim and sometimes leg strength: wall-sits, lunges, squats, etc. PM usually bike 60-90 minutes, sometimes I’d go to a team run for hill repeats.
Wednesday – Usually a brick: 60-90 minute bike, 40-60 minute run. If not a brick, it would be at least a six mile run. I incorporated speed work into those brick runs, making them a progression run and really pushed myself.
Thursday – AM open water swim. PM hill repeats on MidTown with the team, followed by socializing until 9:00pm with pizza and beer–I switched to water early August and stopped beer consumption.
Friday – Sleep in. Rest.
Saturday – Long bike ride, 75% of the time followed by a 3-4 mile run.
Sunday – Long run. I tried to put purpose and intention behind the long runs with a few miles of tempo incorporated in, or stick to a pace range that was a hair out of long run comfort zone.
The total hours of training each week ranged from seven to fifteen hours.
Things I would tweak:
Swap out one open water swim for a pool swim each week, or, add a pool swim to my two open water swims. By early August I noticed my swim pace had dropped. I think it was due to swims being done more as a recovery workout, especially on Tuesdays. I personally would rather be out in open water and enjoying the sunrise but I’m not pushing myself out there. The pool is a place for work.
Skip the pizza and beer part on Thursday hill repeat nights. I love, love, love this night of the week, but it did not serve my training. On Thursdays I would leave my house around 6:45am and not get home until 9:30/10:00pm, which resulted in me needing to sleep in on Fridays and take a rest day before weekend long workouts. It was a long day to be away from home. If I would have skipped the social part and got home at a reasonable time I could have woken up early on Fridays to get in another structured run, or even the pool swim mentioned above!
Summer racing. I participated in Door County 70.3 as an angel for myTeam Triumph July 14, and then raced Ironman 70.3 Ohio July 28. Door County was for a good cause, and I’ll never know if it served my longterm training in a productive way or not. It was a cool experience that I’m glad I was a part of. Two weeks later I raced a 70.3 in Ohio that I didn’t technically taper for, but it did result in some needed rest and recovery days. In the future I need to choose one or the other.
A race day adjustment I need to remember for the future is to put Gas-X in my T2 bag. I finally felt like I had my nutrition nailed down and still battled uncomfortable gas pain during the second half of the run. I’ve experienced gas trouble in past Ironman runs as well and always thought it was the Coke I took in as fuel. This time I didn’t take coke until after I already had gas discomfort.
For my poor memory, I’m going to list below all of the food I took in the day before and during race day so that I can analyze it again in the future:
Breakfast: 3 eggs. Smoothie with almond milk, Costco protein powder, 1 small boiled beet, frozen mango.
Lunch: Colectivo Coffee iced chai latte made with almond milk, quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes & raisins (there were brussels sprouts in it that I did not eat), and 1/2 cowboy cookie.
Snack: A couple of Oreos. Honey glazed almonds.
Dinner: Crostini (local deli, have eaten dinner here every Friday!) Californication wrap with chicken, avocado, bacon, lettuce, cucumber. Pickle. A couple bites of chili, but it was too spicy and I didn’t finish it.
Sunday, race day
AM cup of coffee & coconut Bai water, 1/2 banana.
Granola and almond milk before the start.
1 Gu, 1/4 banana, 5 Kings Hawaiian roll with peanut butter, Honey Stinger gummies. (on the bike)
2 bottles of TailWind (on the bike)
Bai water coming out of T2, held onto through 13 miles.
Approximately 4 salted watermelon Gu, became increasingly difficult to choke down.
Base Salt during the second half of the run, can’t remember when it was taken to be honest.
A few chips from aid stations in the later miles when I was hungry, did not go down easily.
Chicken broth twice when available, not until the second loop.
Tried a sip of Coke when broth wasn’t available. Didn’t go down easily.
Water at every aid station.
I hope it’s as simple as a dose of Gas-X the next time. Looking at my day-before and race day nutrition I don’t see anything obvious. Nutrition is so tricky and so personal, but one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.
I’m interested to read in what works and what doesn’t work for others. If you have any experience or insight to race day gas, please comment below!