Ironman Training 2.0

The initial jubilation at securing my entry for IM Australia 2012 was short lived. It was replaced by a sense of trepidation for the challenge that lies ahead. I’m not looking to break any records, in fact I often joke that my best chance of qualifying for Hawaii will be to keep racing into my 90’s so I can be in an age group of 1! Jokes aside I want to get myself to the start line in the best possible shape. Time is against me in that I work a minimum of 50 hours a week and rarely have the option to train at lunch. Last season was a bit of a disappointment as I felt my race times were well below my potential so I know something needs to change.

I often see parallels between leadership within the corporate and sporting world and as a leader in my corporate life I participate in a range of leadership development activities and events. It was at one of these events, hosted by the incredible Vaughan Felton http://www.vf.com.au/, where the concept of Thinking, Behaviours, Outcomes was introduced. Essentially we all have goals in life be it weight loss, job satisfaction, relationship satisfaction or completing an Ironman. For the most part we know what behaviours are required to achieve these outcomes but we don’t change our thinking e.g I know I need to eat healthy food to lose weight but I still buy junk when I’m at the supermarket. The point is it’s hard to change routines and to think differently, as human beings we are reluctant to change. This applied to my training approach over the past 12 months and it made me realise if I want a different outcome I need to think and behave differently.

I’m now one month into a new look training plan and the results so far have been encouraging. This plan has been compiled mostly from information freely available on the internet and I wanted to share this in case any other athletes are looking for some encouragement to change their approach. Firstly I want to pay tribute to the folks at http://www.active.com, their site is an absolute goldmine of information and a great place to start if you are looking for some fresh ideas.

My training strategy is based on four key themes 1) quality over quantity – race pace and high intensity sessions are king 2) join the gym – weights and core strength to maximise power and technique 3) Get the most from the day – early morning sessions to maximise training 4) invest in recovery – extended rest periods, lots of stretching and massage

Here are some resources that form part of my new look plan –

Strength training
http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Mark_Allen_s_12_Best_Strength_Exercises.htm

Core strength
http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Stability-Ball_Exercises_to_Build_Strength_and_Flexibility.htm 

Shoulder strength
http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/4-Exercises-to-Improve-Your-Aero-Position.htm

Cycling stretches
http://www.active.com/cycling/Articles/Improve_your_aero_positioning_with_these_five_stretches.htm

My biggest weakness has been my run so I invested in some training sessions with Mark Howard, check out his website at http://www.runningcoachmelbourne.com/. Mark helped improve my run technique and designed a track session to build endurance and speed. In case you’re not aware Melbourne Olympic park is in the process of being knocked down and can be used for free until the diggers move in towards the end of the year. It’s a great track and a beautiful venue for an early morning session.

One thing completely new that I’m trying is a rest and recovery period every fourth week. This is a total ‘down tools’ week with maybe one swim or a run but no weights and no biking. My logic here is recovery is vital and I have plenty of time before the season starts. Time will tell if this adds value, I’m in my first rest week now so will see how I bounce back next week.

I’ll continue to post any other useful resources I come across and, as always, welcome feedback.

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