Ironman Race Day Simulation #2 – Much Better. Much!

Hard to believe I only have 61 days left.  Check it out if you don’t believe me:

In the past several weeks, the length of my workouts has sky-rocketed.  This week I’m doing my first 160k ride. Last week I completed a 140k ride. The week before 120k and the week before that 100k. In addition to this biking, I’m getting off and running. Then there are my long runs and bike after on other days.  In between all that I have my speed/hill work on the bike, tempo swims and shorter runs.  The run after my long bike is usually between 8-12 km.  Last week, I did my longest ride of my life – 140km.  I only had enough energy left to pump out a 2km slow-ass run at the end. That’s okay thou, I’m happy with that. This week I will do 160k ride and aiming to run 5km immediately after. I’m excited about it, I will do it, even if I have to walk it (I’m pretty sure my marathon during the actual race isn’t going to be all running).  My weekly long rides from then on in will be 160k+ but my plan is to increase the running distance with each one.  There is one big “micro ironman” that I’ll be doing around the end of May.  No worries, you’ll be hearing all about it.  But as you can see, volume has increased and I’m loving it.  My new plan is working for me. Finally got the right fit!

An overdue recap on my second race day simulation (which happened over 2 weeks ago).  I personally think it went fantastic! I did a 1.1 km swim + 100km ride + 5km run.  I felt incredible during the entire thing. Not one cramp, didn’t get tired, and had lots of energy left over, never got hungry or thirsty. I actually got cleaned up and then went hiking with friends, socialized that evening. So all was good.  Here is what I think I  did right and what I need to work on:

Did right:

1) Hydrated the entire day before and during the ride. Yes, I had to pee more on the ride but I think hydration, for me, is key to keeping my energy levels up.

2) Had the right mixture of fluids. I used a mix that had potassium and sodium, water, and some green tea. It works for me!

3) Had the right kind of fuel.  I ate bananas, dates and Organic Stinger Waffles that Al at the Lunenburg Bike Barn sells:  I love them and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be using this as my main food on the bike along with my liquid food. They melt in your mouth and at 160cal a waffle, seem to give me just enough of what I need.  I used them on my 120k ride and 8k run, felt like I had tons of energy, and so I’m going to try them again on my 160k ride coming up this week.

4) Slept well the night before. I went to bed an extra hour early (9pm) and I found I had a good sleep, ready to go at 6am when my alarm went off.

5) Transition from swim to bike was much better. I made sure that I was dry before I got on the bike so I wasn’t cold.  From the bike to the run was much faster than last time. Just a quick switch of a few items, including running shoes (ha) and off I went.  There was no sitting down thinking “WTF am I doing?” either.  It was just go-go-GO GIRL!  Pretty awesome!  I think being properly fuelled on the bike makes for a great run after.

Needs improvement:

1) Be careful what I eat the day before.  I have to remember to keep the fibre to a minimum the day before – chili or spinach are not good ideas. Ha!

2) Still haven’t bought new running shoes.  Matt Keith, my physiotherapist, recommends that I see Luke at Aerobics First in Halifax for a proper fitting.  I have the weirdest feet. Awful!  I wish I could just do this in my Bikilas but that would wreck me. No where am I ready to take on something like this in my bare feet…not yet (future goal?).

3) Do not forget water bottles.  When I got out of the swim and onto the bike, I realized my water bottles were still sitting at home. Ha! Well, at least I was heading in that direction to meet Steve anyway. So I stopped at the house and quickly grabbed them.

Surprises – I did an 18km run and 1 hour swim the day before. I was quite surprised to see that this work had no ill effect on the long session.  I’ve had other positive experiences with this back to back volume work too.  The day before my 140k ride, I did hill training on the bike in the morning and run intervals in the evening. However, I think that I’d perform much stronger on my long rides if I were to either rest the day before or just stick to an active recovery workout. That’s what I’m planning this week to do anyway, as I’ve never ridden 160k before.  On the other hand, it’s good to know that I have the strength to still pump out this kind of volume without a complete recovery day before hand.  This means come race day, I’ll be extra strong as I’ll have a nice 3 week taper.  Right?

Comparing this RDS to the first one, major improvements have happened.  I think most of it has to do with being properly fuelled and hydrated as well as the arrangement of my new plan.  I basically went back over my logs from 2010 when I was having some fantastic training rides and looked at what I was eating and drinking, how I was recovering/preparing, and went “ooooooh yeaaaaah, that’s right.” I simply forgot!  Now I understand why some cyclists and runners have specific foods/rituals that work for them and they always practice that…even 20 years later.  It just works for them.  I will admit tho, I’m one for trying stuff out thou because if you don’t try other things, you may miss out on something that works better.  For example, last week I tried pure orange juice added to my mix instead of my normal mix.  It didn’t work as well for me, I had a sodium imbalance, I felt it in various ways (slight headache, a little dizzy).  This week I’ll go back to my regular stuff and see if I feel better.

Overall, very pleased with my training these last few weeks and my New Plan is working way better.  I think that I built a great base for myself these last few months but when I reached the competitive stage, I was expecting too much from myself. Giving myself an extra recovery day while at the same time increasing my volume on my long days is making a huge difference for me.  I still have my speed and hill work for my bike, my tempo swims, but I took out the speed work for the running. All my running is basically done at a slow easy pace except for the runs I do immediately after the bike. They are generally shorter so I go at them much harder.  It’s working for me, really well!

Right now, I’m a happy camper, and that’s all that really matters at the moment.

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