Monday: Swim—3000 yards; Strength—15 minutes; 8-minute abs
I went to Masters swim team in the morning. We did a distance day which was probably good for me. It was one of those workouts that looked easier on the board than it ended up being which is really the best of both worlds. I get the physical benefit of a hard workout with the mental anguish of seeing what looks like an impossible set written up on the board:
4 x 50 (distance per stroke)
50 (closed fist)
3 x (100 build
I always do the pace intervals faster than I should. Every time I think, “Hey, I’ll just practice my Ironman pace! That’ll be easy!” And then I end up practicing a way faster pace. This time, I was probably swimming at my 1000 yard pace. Still, that made the workout tough, and tough workouts are a good thing. I had a surprisingly busy evening after work. I had to go pick up a few things at the grocery store and go get my bike adjusted a bit. After that, I squeezed in some strength and core work, ate dinner, went home, showered, got everything ready for the next day and then collapsed into bed, pretty exhausted.
Tuesday: Swim—3000 yards; Bike—2:00.05 (36.16 miles); 8-minute abs
I had another early morning at the pool. I did some longer, low-intensity sets. Despite the fact that it was my fourth day in the water in a row, I felt fairly strong throughout the workout.
2 x 250
3 x 750 (12:40, 12:28, 12:21)
2 x 125
I swam my main set at pretty much an even effort, so I suspect the slightly slower time for the first 750 is because I wasn’t really warmed up yet. I felt like I was just cruising even though my pace was around 1:40/100yds. A year ago, I never would have thought that pace could feel easy and sustainable for me. Heck, even a couple of months ago, I didn’t think I could hold 1:40/100 over a set of ten 100s. (I totally could, but I was still so used to my previous times that I didn’t think I could.)
I rode home from work. I took the multi-use trail instead of the roads to avoid rush hour traffic. I also hoped the trail would be a little cooler because it was in the mid-90s when I left. Fortunately, the heat kept the trail pretty empty, and some clouds rolled in not long into my ride and kept the sun from beating down on me. It was a surprisingly pleasant ride. My water got warm but not hot. I didn’t get overheated on the bike. And it had been a while since I rode that path, so it was nice to get back on it. I was also flying. The ride back from work has a net elevation loss, and I think I had a light tailwind for most of the ride, so I was cruising. I worked pretty hard as well, trying to keep the pace up. I ended up averaging over 18mph on this ride, which is the fastest I’ve ever gone on a ride that long. When I got home, I did some core work before heading off to bed.
Wednesday: Bike—1:32:10 (25.38 miles); Run—1:00:00 (7.27 miles)
In the morning, I headed off to work on my bike. Because this ride was supposed to be shorter, I took the roads to work instead of the path. I ride to work so early that traffic is never an issue. Of course, going to work has a net elevation gain, so the ride wasn’t nearly as fast. In addition, I had a stiff headwind climbing over the Point of the Mountain. However, instead of just hating my life today, I acknowledged that there is a very real possibility I will be climbing into the wind at Coeur d’Alene and welcomed the chance to practice in race conditions. I still managed to have a fairly strong ride, especially considering I worked pretty hard on Tuesday.
My run after work was not nearly as encouraging. It was hot outside, though less so than it has been recently at 91°. Instead of doing a few flat and mostly shaded loops around the park, I decided to do my “regular” hour long route with more climbing, more asphalt, and less shade. I was hydrated, but I still struggled. I think the process of driving home with no air conditioning wipes me out. About half way through my run, I stopped at a water fountain and covered my face, neck, and arms with water. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made (for, you know, three minutes). But I pushed through the run and ended up finishing with an 8:22/mile pace. It took a while for me to recover, though. After downing two bottles of water (I think I have a drinking problem…), I took a shower and then had to sit around for another hour or so until I felt up to eating.
Thursday: Strength—30 minutes; 8-minute abs
I had a very light day on Thursday, and my body appreciated it. I slept in (until nearly 6:00am!) and just did some strength and core work during lunch. I returned to my longer strength routine this week because I had the extra time. I was surprised at how good it felt considering I’ve been doing lighter strength work for the past few weeks.
Come Friday, I was surprised at how sore I was from my strength work the day before. I am always a little sore after my longer strength routine, but my time off from the (relatively) more intense exercises killed me. I was waddling around all day. I made the executive decision to only do lighter strength work next week and to abstain from my strength work for the entire week before the Ironman. There’s no sense in risking unnecessary soreness or muscle fatigue when I won’t be gaining any extra strength in a week anyway.
Saturday: Bike—4:04:37 (68.98 miles); Run—20:00 (2.27 miles)
I woke up still embarrassingly sore from my strength work on Thursday, and I headed out not long after waking up and before I had a chance to work out the stiffness from my legs. As such, the first half of the ride was a bit of a struggle. I wasn’t exactly sure where my legs were, and I started to worry that my last long ride before the race was going to be very discouraging. However, partway through, I started feeling better. My only guess is that my legs started to warm up and stretch out. I felt quite strong the last half of the ride, and I ended up averaging 16.9mph over course of the ride when I had guessed I’d average around 16.5mph. I made sure to ride a relatively hilly route as well, covering around 88% of the elevation gain in Coeur d’Alene in about 62% of the distance. After hopping off my bike, I threw on my running shoes for a quick transition run. I felt great on the run and, for the first time in months, actually accidentally went significantly too fast, hitting an 8:48/mile pace instead of the 9:15-9:30/mile pace I try to run off the bike. The shorter workout was quite nice, and I got to spend the rest of the day relaxing and recovering (and watching the Olympics).
Sunday: Bike—1:00:18 (16.14 miles); Run—2:00:00 (13.44 miles); Strength—15 minutes
I didn’t know what to expect for my short bike, long run brick on Sunday. I was doing the workout from Rob’s parents’ house because I was puppy-sitting for them, so my routes would be different than usual. Plus, I stayed up way too late watching the Olympics, and the puppy ended up getting me up a little earlier than planned. In other words, I didn’t obsess about this workout beforehand. I got on the bike a little later than planned, but it went relatively well. It was slow (uphill) to start and fast (downhill) to finish. I had a fairly quick transition and headed out for my run. The first four miles of my run were uphill, and then I ran downhill back and added on some distance going the other direction after passing Rob’s parents’ house. I mapped out my general route, but I didn’t take note of any mile markers or pace checks, so I was just running by feel. However, based on what I did see when I mapped out the course, I thought I was running relatively slow, somewhere between a 9:30-9:50/mile pace. I wasn’t sure why I didn’t have more energy, but since this was a run based on effort, I didn’t push too hard, despite what I thought was a slower pace. I just accepted that I felt more fatigued than I expected and went with it. However, once I got back and mapped out my exact route, I found out I had run longer and faster than I thought and had finished my run with about an 8:56/mile pace. With the hills, my ride yesterday, and a bike ride before the run, I was very excited about running that pace (though I will need to make sure not to go out that fast during the race!). Later on in the afternoon, I did some light strength work.