At the moment it feels like I’m getting stronger almost every time I train and that the body is really starting to handle and absorb the training load. I’ve hit almost 40 hours training in the last 10 days including some hard sessions and even with the increased training load I’m still feeling good. There has been a marked improvement over the last 2 weeks. I’ve gotten a new antihistamine which seems to have made a big difference. I’ve also had some time off work which is helping hugely with recovery between sessions.
As age group triathletes we have a lot to work on. Three sports to train for, usually a job and possibly a family too. Often the first thing to go while trying to fit everything in is strength and conditioning. I’m regularly asked if an athlete should do gym work, yoga or Pilates as part of Ironman training program and I usually advise to train the main sports first and only if there is time or more importantly a specific need for strength sessions should they do them. But there are a couple of important exceptions to this.
I incorporate strength and conditioning into my training for a couple of reasons.
It’s got to be one of the hardest things to do. To learn how to race an event that’s at least twice as long as any you have ever done before and even if you have done it before you often only get to do it once or maybe twice a year if you’re lucky. I have been fortunate enough to work with a number of excellent coaches since I started racing Ironman and what I’ve learned in that time is that the best of them not only gave me a program to do but they also taught me how to train and more importantly how to race Ironman. Sometimes they’d tell me something, sometimes they’d show me. My favourite lessons were the ones that taught me a skill that I could use on race day. Peter Kern my first Ironman coach regularly got into the open water with me and showed me how to draft both on his feet and on his hip, he taught me to swim in close proximity with another swimmer and not freak out. Another time he ran my long intervals with me telling me to speed up or slow down based on my breathing, telling me to be aware of it at the correct effort. He was big on training and racing on percieved effort. He was the first coach I worked with and through specific sessions and one on one coaching he taught me my first lessons in racing Ironman.