The Big Suck Strikes Back!

Posted: July 27, 2012 in The Plan
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“Time to nut up or shut up…”

Time to nut up or shut up or, as my coach delicately puts it:

This is the period where the men are separated from the boys, where you pull up your socks, where you grin and bear it… I think you get the picture.

I am currently entering into my final period of my Ironman training, otherwise known as the ‘Preparing to Race’ period that I similarly described last year.  Of course, I’ve come to know it now by a different name:  ‘The Big Suck’  (for the last phase of ‘Suck’ click HERE).  Or, perhaps it should more aptly be known this time around as: ‘The Big Suck Strikes Back’.  After the months (and years) of training, it’s all coming down to the final month or so prior to the big event.  While Ironman Wales will be no walk through the tea garden, the next month and a half before I begin my final taper is going to suck large (hence its name).   Yes, it’s ‘maximum suckage’ to be sure.  The biggest limiting factor now is my mind in being able to push my boundaries to willfully propel my body forward…endlessly forward.  Always forward…

So without further ado, here is the final weekly schedule for my summer’s training:

Monday:  Swim / Easy Run / Yoga

This is my easy “recovery day”.  Big whoop.  Nothing has changed much here from my last schedule.  I’m still cranking out the distance each morning in the pool and working on my kicking.  In fact, I am kicking anywhere now between 800m – 1.2k  at a time in my warm-up alone before I start my main set.  I am banking on this to improve my efficiency in the water and, therefore, my overall time in it.  Already, I am feeling stronger and more efficient in the water as is evident with my time in last weekend’s Toronto Triathlon Festival.

My runs on Monday afternoon/evening are all at an easy pace just to flush out whatever stiffness and lactose sludge is still sloshing around in my legs after the weekends big training days. There is no distance or pace expectations on these runs.  Just me, some good tunes and all the positive thoughts I can muster.

I am still perfecting my yoga home practice and I now have a few convenient locations nearby in which to sneak out (time permitting) and stretch along the shore of Lake Erie.

Tuesday:  Hill, Tempo or Fartlek Run / Easy Bike

Tuesday is still a double-duty day focusing on an easy, yet semi-lengthy ride which I usually complete in the evenings and then a specific run workout in the afternoon, be it a hill, tempo or Fartlek run.  I’ve ditched the Speed workouts for the time being in order to more focus more on building over all leg strength to cope with the four rigors of the challenging Ironman Wales run course.  And, yes, I’m still breaking out the tire drag every so often as a means of accomplishing this.

Wednesday:  Swim / Tempo or Easy Run

It’s back in the pool in the morning for more laps on Wednesday as per usual, typically focusing on Musculature Endurance specific drills.  Later, it’s a 60  minute easy run with the odd tempo run through in their for good measure, depending on what kind of run workout I did the day before.

I consider Wednesday to be a fairly easy day in anticipation of the overall suckiness of the days and workouts still to come.

Thursday:  Tempo Bike / Brick Run

Thursdays – as they have been for some time – are my designated Brick days.  Usually, the bike is 90-120  minutes at pace followed by a long(ish) 60  minute run (also at pace).  However, this formula is beginning to change a bit as I’m preparing to start incorporating certain ‘Mega Days’ on the weekend that will encompass long swims, bikes and runs all in the same day to begin getting used to the consecutive distances as well as practice my race nutrition strategy that I am still experimenting with.  Yes, ‘maximum suck’ will certainly be had.

Friday:  Open Water Swim / Long Run / Yoga

“And on the fifth day the triathlons god brought forth the pain…”, or at least it currently is in my world.  My open water swimming workout at the Welland International Flatwater Center  is fun and I look forward to it, but after that it’s all bid’ness as Friday also means long run day, where time, rather than distance, is the overall focus.  These runs will span anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5  hours depending on the week.  At least once or twice in the next month these long runs will be completed on the weekend instead after a swim and bike session to simulate the wear and tear I can expect on ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning come race day.

This is also a day to begin formalizing a successful race day fuel strategy.  Currently, I have been relying on dried dates to get me through the long runs but I will want to begin switching to and using the same nutrition plan I will use on race day.  This plan will need to take in account approximately 60-90g  of simple carbs, (at least) 1L  of water and energy drink, as well as up to 1000g  of sodium per hour.  Let me tell you, that’s a lot to remember and continuously take in when all that’s going through your head is how much this sucks and how much time you still have to go.  Now I have to also be conscientiously monitoring my body’s performance throughout and then taking in the necessary fuel in a timely fashion to be able to keep up the pace beyond the normal limits I’ve managed before.

Hopefully, providing I haven’t experienced a cardiac arrest, I’ll also have a long yoga stretch by the lake to heal my sore, aching muscles.

Saturday:  Rest Day

Considering what might be coming the next day, I plan on doing as little as possible on Saturdays.  It’s still important to me though to make sure I am doing something fun and productive with the family whether it be necessary errands, visiting with family members, garage sale-ing, or whatever.  Let me tell you, after Friday’s long run and what may be coming tomorrow, I absolutely LOVE  me my Saturdays.

Sunday:  Long Bike (or ‘Mega Day’)

Sunday is still about being long on the bike, in excess of 4-5  hours at a time (I may even Brick run afterwards for 5-10 minutes if I’m feeling really crazy).

However, the coach has now also through in the odd ‘Mega Day’  workout where I will complete three long workouts with minimal rest in between.  Either way, this is another opportunity to get used to a few things:  1) practice race day nutrition plan, 2) simulate raced day stress, 3) get used to having my ass plopped in the saddle for 5+  hours which, let me tell you, is the absolute hardest part of the long bike…never mind the fact you have to run afterwards.  My ass usually feels like a marble slab by the time I get of the bike.  These ‘Mega Days’  will compromise of approximately 8+  hours of nearly continuous perpetual motion.  Fuck me.

Also of importance on Sunday is one, titan-sized meal at the end of the day.  And I’m not talking about no salad here, no; I’m talking about steak, burgers, potatoes, what have you…and lots of it.  Heck, I might even put mashed potatoes on a burger and then place that burger beneath two juicy steaks and just eat it like a huge ass sandwich.

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