Week 4 Ironman Louisville Training: Recovery from Setbacks, Ordinary Training Days

140.6 miles. I think about it every day when I’m in the pool or on the bike. I also think about how I’ll feel on race day, who will be there, how hot it will be. I think about the time cutoffs and I think about race recaps and I wonder if I’ll be better served skipping a formal half-Ironman for big training days instead. I think about if my swimming and biking and running will ever come in handy for something, like a natural disaster or a lazy Sunday by the lake if/when someone who can’t swim accidentally falls in. I think about my friends and family a whole lot — what are they doing right now? How are they feeling? I hope that my absence doesn’t offend or anger them. I think about work and my career evolution and my co-workers, and generally, when I run out of things to think about, I’ll start thinking about food.

When those thoughts come creeping up, I try to do what my meditation teacher taught me to do: acknowledge the thoughts, and then push them away. Focusing on the moment and task at hand will help serve me in the long run. Instead of thinking about the week ahead in the pool, I should be focused on my kick and stroke arm placement. Instead of fretting over my scheduling, I should be working out the dead spot in my pedaling. I only get one shot at a first Ironman training season. The swims and rides and runs here and there seem insignificant when considered singularly, but I need to look at the bigger picture.

Even though I like to consider an Ironman as 2-1.2 mile swims, 4 28-mile rides, and 2 half-marathons, I should sometimes reassemble that into the full distance and just let that sink in a bit. 140.6 miles. That’s a lot of miles. Eep!

“In the midst of an ordinary training day, I try to remind myself that I am preparing for the extraordinary.” -Shalane Flanagan

Week 4 Ironman Louisville training:

11.9 hours training; Swim: 6864 yards (3.9 miles); Bike: 44.8 miles; Run: 11.13 miles. Total mileage: 59.83 miles.

Monday, March 18: Bikram yoga in the morning, swimming in the evening. It was my first time at bikram yoga and I had a great time! Now if only I can keep waking up early enough to make it to the 6am class…

Tuesday, March 19: Morning run on the treadmill and ride on the trainer. I think my bike fit is horribly off because I’m pretty much sidelined due to my hip flexor being thrown out of whack. I also get up in the middle of the night to check in on destructive kitty and throw out my good shoulder. Bahumbug!

Wednesday, March 20: Went for a morning adjustment at the chiro. It felt better, but still sore. I try to swim in the evening anyways and only make it about 15 minutes before calling it quits for the night.

Thursday, March 21: I take the entire day off and I’m pretty frustrated. Training was going so well! I thought I was finally getting stronger. Why does it seem like everything is falling apart? My friend was able to release my cleat from my pedal today too. Mixed feelings all around about training.

Friday, March 22: I wake up feeling better. My shoulder is not sore so I head to early morning training. I’m the only one who showed up, so I got a really good upper body (mostly shoulder) workout thanks to my coach. After work I drag myself to the pool for a quick swim, about 25 minutes, before my shoulder gets tired and I bow out for the night.

Saturday, March 23: This is where the fun begins. I swim in the morning and get 40 laps in after an hour and fifteen minutes. Yay! (40 laps = 1.2 miles). I head home and nap and do all of the things that lazy people do, and then watch some YouTube videos on bike fit. After making a few adjustments (again) and getting my pedals on my bike (again) AND tightening my cleats (again!!) I hop on. It starts of a bit creaky — my hip flexors, not my bike — and after a few minutes I get settled in and it’s a pretty comfy ride. It’s so comfy that I stay for an hour and a half (18.3 miles). I still wish I had a better saddle though. Maybe that’s April’s big ticket item.

Sunday, March 24: I wake up the next morning and decide to tackle my workload in chunks. I eat breakfast, and about an hour later, I start off with a one hour ride on the bike. I refuel with an english muffin and some jam and orange juice, and after an hour I head to the gym. I run for about an hour and a half, spend about a half hour recovering and downing some Gu, and then head into the pool for another swim. Biggest win of the week was getting my 1.2 mile swim in 1 hour and 5 minutes. If I can keep up the pace, it will mean that I can actually stand a chance at making the 2:20 swim cutoff!

Things I learned this week:
1. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
2. Taking time off for recovery feels bad, but it’s really good in the long run.
3. Don’t be an idiot and try to ramp up your miles too much too soon.
4. Sleep is completely underrated.
5. Work hard, but know when to back off. And know when to get a massage.

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