Having been influenced by an absolutely awesome set by Rage Against The Machine at the Big Day Out it is now time to start the second part of Ironman specific training. This phase I have labelled IM II which I know is extremely creative. Anyway, IM II will cover about 6 weeks, it doesn't have an exact end point, as my taper for each discipline will start at a different time. So there is a bit of overlap between this phase and the taper.
I feel that I now have a reasonably solid endurance base in me. I know I am capable of covering the race distance, it is now just a matter of how quickly. The focus will be on being able to complete the Ironman distance in less time than I am capable of today. For a recap on the initial plan check out It's Ironman (training) Time.
Naturally there are a few minor changes to make since I first set down the plan. So here it is:
The training cycles will start off as 9 day affairs before reducing down to 7 days in the last couple of weeks. Each cycle will include the following sessions:
- Long Run: this will alternate between two types. The first being about 2:30-2:45 run at a steady pace (about race pace) which finishes at speeds faster than race pace. The second will cover 3:00-3:30 at an easy aerobic pace interspersed with sprints of about 10 seconds every 20-30 minutes.
- Long Bike: 160+km, most covering close to 200km. These will be steady efforts over a mix of terrain. I will use these rides to test out possible pacing guidelines for race day. Therefore these rides will always be somewhere near race pace.
- Long Swim: 4000-6000m. Broken into intervals, mix of strokes, paddles, varying speeds all simply with the aim to get through the swim comfortably in under 65 minutes on race day.
- SBR: A day of about 8 hours worth of continuous swimming, cycling and running. It's still about just covering the distance, but hopefully at a slightly faster rate each time.
- Run Speed: I still don't feel comfortable with the term speed for this kind of session, but for want of better terminology I'll save that for another post. The idea here is fast, hard, high intensity, short efforts working around and above VO2max. There isn't a standard set as each week will be different, incorporating hills, track, trails or a combination. Variety will add to the fitness gains.
- Bike Speed: Exactly the same description as for Run Speed.
The above are the key sessions, added to the mix will be 2 strength sessions and a few easy efforts in the different disciplines as they fit in. You may notice that I haven't given heart rate zones or more specific guidelines other than around race pace. The basic reason is so that I am not limited by some arbitrary number. The next few weeks are for going long and hard to get a good training effect, plus to experiment to work out how fast (or slow) I should actually attempt to travel come race day. Yes I will have some heart rate guidelines on race day, but they will be developed from the next few weeks of training.