You might or might not know that I completed my first triathlon last July. It was a long time coming and has been a dream for quite a number of years. The bug caught (the good kind) and pretty much 50% of the conversations between me and roaring runner are about triathlon or training or future plans for triathlon and training.
It is so great that our kids are older, independent and we can juggle their schedules and pursue some of the passions we have, that time did not allow for before. Everything has a time and season so if you are a mom with young children reading this and feel like you will never see the end of full-time mom duties, I can tell you it changes. Kids do learn to feed themselves, get their homework done independently and when they can drive, it does change your schedule a lot. It gets complicated in other ways as you have a little teenage attitude or pms to deal with but it is so nice to be there to see the change in maturity and growth in your child.
SO, with anything new, there is a steep learning curve. Our second triathlon was in Aug and from there we set our sights past the sprint and olympic distances to the half ironman and ironman. Nothing like jumping in the deep end with both feet huh.
We did base training using the Maffetone method from Nov to Jan then started a 20 week super simple half ironman training plan by Matt Fitzgerald. Now, don't be deceived by the title "super simple" because it certainly had it's share of tough workouts and long miles. The plan covered more than the required miles for a half ironman and in peak weeks, I was logging more than 125 miles of training, which I think is pretty good. The thing about it is that you are never really sure how well a plan is preparing you for an event distance until race day.
After completing the 70.3 Galveston Texas half ironman the beginning of April, I know I was sufficiently prepared for the distances. However, some clarification of that statement is needed. I was NOT prepared for the less than ideal swim conditions. I think this is a two part thing, one being lack of experience in rough water. The other was the lack of swim training that could be done due to lack of pool facility. I will be better prepared for the distance of the next swim but to be better prepared for the conditions, I just need more experience. I was very prepared for the biking 56 miles though the course was very flat. I would certainly have had a harder time with a hilly course. The run went well and I don't think anything would make that more challenging that I couldn't deal with well. The course was mostly flat with a few hills but the high humidity added a very challenging element.
Now, with my goals set to complete another 70.3 the beginning of July, I am following a mix between the same plan and the super simple Ironman plan also by Matt Fitzgerald. I have decided to follow the distances of each long ride and long run on the weekends from the Ironman plan but use the half ironman plan as reference for when things are really busy or I feel my body can't handle something. Roaring runner aka hubby is training for the full ironman at the end of July, so it is ideal for us to be following the same workout. I really like the Ironman plan as it has more specific speed work during the week day rides and runs. I think it is easy to train slower during the winter months (for me anyway) and I want to really aim to get quicker, more specific weekday workouts with track workouts, hills and tempo runs. The challenge is to build this kind of training plan myself using the 2 plans and adding some extra elements without injury.
I really took it easy for the week after the half ironman. Getting a couple short runs in and a bike ride. The week after that I had a cold so I have not had the energy to really nail the workouts. But I have noticed that allowing myself that recovery time has seemed to make me stronger. My legs feel good. As an example, I recently ran 7 miles one day, biked 42 the next and then ran almost 9 the day after and feel fantastic. To some, this is no big deal but for me, it IS. A few years ago, too many miles would have had me hurting somewhere. It sure pays to do core work as well as strengthening exercises and weights.
Typical to me, food is a very important component in this training plan. I follow no specific plan nor have I adopted a specific "style" of eating. I eat what I think my body needs to keep it healthy. Sometimes that includes lots of meats with little carbs and sometimes I am eating meatless for a while. I try to avoid gluten but don't freak if I do have some. I try to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits each day, usually a huge salad once a day that's been dragged through the garden. I also love salmon and try to eat it 1-2 x a week. The one thing I can say I avoid like the plague is sugar. And the one thing I am NUTS about is coconut everything. I usually have a can of coconut milk/cream mixed with a bit of vanilla and stevia in a container in my fridge to put on my baked oatmeal in the mornings and have been known to sneak in a spoonful (or two) throughout the day. I CAN"T SEEM TO GET ENOUGH.
I have struggled with my diet in the past with worry of consuming fats (everything was low fat in my fridge) and gaining weight. My opinions are different now and I try to fuel for success. No matter how tough some workouts are, the mental battles I face or the constant bowel issues I can't get away from- my body does well. I am appreciative. Everyday we take SO much for granted. I try to treat my body well and show appreciation for the many things it does for me. That's why I eat to fuel success and that includes many different eating plans and styles. I do not need to belong to a certain group or follow the leader- I play my own game.
Wishing you success in your game!