Road to Ironman South Africa – 20 Weeks To Go

A brief training update here…

Ironman South Africa is just about 20 weeks away now, and life is good.  Weekend rides are sitting at about 3 hours on the indoor trainer, and I’m keeping things around an average of 125-135 BPM depending on variances in intensity.  I’m happy with the way things are going this far out – I’m just developing my base on the bike, which even at 135 BPM average is carrying me 56 miles in 3 hours, which feels very comfortable.

One annoyance has been getting back into calculated nutrition.  I do wish I had kept closer notes on what was working in my IM Louisville prep, because now I’m working from memory – and not always a great one.  I’ve got the basic components – remembering past numbers while responding to my current body composition, and using the longer rides to narrow in on combinations of products and timings that work.  The product elements will remain constant – Gu gels (always Strawberry-Banana…so good), Ironman Perform in 3x concentration for 3 hr bottles, and water.  This is for the bike segment, but things obviously get more complex off the bike and as I begin focusing on the broader race.  I have concepts and memories of the past, but it will take a few trips to Dubai and some long rides in the heat to really zone in.  It’s the need for patience in this regard, though, that has me slightly stressed…I’m just not good at waiting.

My run is coming along nicely, as you may have read that I’ve switched from heel striking to fore/midfoot striking.  So far so good, just with minor complications.  Achilles stress is par for the course in this transition, and that’s just an issue to manage and be cautious of (at least that’s how I’m envisioning it right now).  There is still some soreness around the stress fracture/bone bruise on my left leg, but MUCH less than I had with heel striking – I just don’t think it’s going to go away completely before IMSA, and I’ve come to terms with managing it.  The run just doesn’t concern me for my first Ironman, regardless of difficulties caused by missing workouts due to bone strain.  At the end of the day, I can hobble if needed.  If I die on the bike, though, I’m done.  I have no question of my ability, with a solid foundation in endurance fitness, to gut out the run.

The swim – well, that’s coming along as well as it can on dry land.  I had one swim in a real pool in Afghanistan, and the water was around 55 degrees – RIDICULOUS.  My ears hurt for 2 days after even with a thick swim cap, and I just won’t do it again (especially since the 1 pool has since been closed…).  So I’m stuck to dry land and am on a swim-focused lifting routine – 60 intense minutes 2x/week.  Also 2x/week, I’m doing a swim-immitative resistance band workout that is meant to mimic the water resistance and the exact movements, and I can feel that I’m hitting all the right muscles.  I’m happy with it, but nervous to hit the real pool in December when I’m out of Afghanistan for a few days to see how it translates.

Time will tell!  So 20 weeks away and I’m on 7-8 workouts a week and feeling pretty good.  And the biggest positive of all – which came WAAAAY out of left field and was completely unexpected – is that I have absolutely loved every trainer ride! (see previous post about this same phenomenon).  Strangely enough, I just can’t wait to hop on in the evenings and on weekends…good thing to, because I really don’t have a choice!



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One Response

  1. I can feel the excitement building! You’re going to do great.

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