Feels Like It Should

With the first week down, I am starting to remember what it feels like to train for the Ironman. When training specifically for any type of sporting event, brings on certain sensations that specific to each event. Short course racing has moments of intense but short lived pain combined with moments of uncoordinated movements as I try to run faster than my body is capable of. 10,000m running is about the deep, strong burn that turns your legs into heavy stumps that somehow still give a feeling of being fast right towards the end of a race. Many of these aspects cross over between events, but I find Ironman is unique. This is one reason I enjoy it so much.

The main focus of training at the moment is to develop the ability to just keep going. At the moment speed takes a back seat. Being able to set an upper limit on the intensity in order to be able to sustain an effort for hours is a skill. This skill is practiced a few days a week. Therefore training sessions that last for a few hours also should not have such a recovery cost that the session cannot be repeated within a couple of days. In other words, I should be ready to run a 3 hour run 2-3 days after a 6 hour bike ride and vice versa. This is simply achieved by keeping the intensity down.

So what are the unique sensations of Ironman training? What does training to just keep going feel like? One aspect I love is I find myself entering a zone during a long training day. My head feels clear of stress or pressure. My thoughts are minimal, but clear. Hours can feel like minutes. I read the term somewhere else, but I think it describes the sensation best:

Moving Meditation

The other key sensation is the one that highlights to me that my body is going through adaptation. It lets me know that I am extending my boundaries and extending my envelop of endurance. It is not so much a feel of pain. Yes there are aches, stiffness, muscle twitches and the like, but these are not what I find stands out in Ironman training. What stands out is a constant feeling of fatigue deeps inside my legs. It is a different type of fatigue. It feels like it is deep down inside both muscle and bone. Untouchable by massage or physiotherapy. You know it is there, but it doesn't limit what you can do. It doesn't take energy away from the rest of your life. It doesn't take away from your speed or strength. In a strange way, I find this fatigue somehow encourages me to go further. Maybe ensuring that I retain this feeling up until the taper. I simply this sensation as:

Ironman Fatigue

When experiencing both Moving Meditation and Ironman Fatigue I know my training is heading in the right direction.


  1. I agree with your statement "I find this fatigue somehow encourages me". I remember during that period of time, being at the end-of-my-rope but feeling like -- Yes, this is what it is all about. Pushing your body to the limits in order to extend those limits. It would knock me out, but I knew that I was doing what I needed to do.

    Enjoy your day...

  2. The moving meditation is the best bit, I call it Zen Running, it is when I feel like I am running in the clouds because my feet feel so light and my mind is totally clear.

    I described it to a running mate once and he said it was my mind telling me I was "ready", it usually happens in the week or 2 before a big race like a Half Marathon.

    I guess some might call it the runners high.

  3. You said it perfectly! I love those terms.


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