3) Reduce risk for injury
4) Focus speed, endurance, power and strength - not volume
5) Save my best effort for race day
Through these 5 goals, I reduce the chance for illness/sickness, I welcome my 2 week taper without feeling overtrained and I arrive to the starting line ready to put my training to the test.
While last Monday may have been the first day of my Kona training, there were no crazy workouts like 5+ hour rides or 2+ hour runs. Karel (who designs my weekly schedule as well as giving me bike-specific sets...I coach myself for swim and run workouts) is always careful to work backward from race day and progress in a way that allows me to adapt to the physiological demands placed on my body. So while the winter and spring were designed to build a good endurance base and develop power, sets are specific to where my HR and Power is TO DATE.
I find that many athletes have a start date to long distance training and jump right into it way too soon. I believe that IM training should be between 9-12 weeks (depending on your endurance base) with those 9-12 weeks specific to the IM (build, peak and taper). However, as athletes we are always training (building our base) so it isn't likely that most athletes will go from doing nothing for months and then jump in to long distance training with only 3 months to go. With a well-designed plan, athletes should assess where they want to be on race day and where they are at this moment in time. Thus, a carefully designed training plan will be easy to execute thus allowing gradual performance gains without added stress on the body (as well as reducing the risk for injury during the peak of IM training). While an IM does require a good base or endurance foundation, I don't believe that high volume training will allow athletes to feel better prepared to race or finish an Ironman. Most triathletes have the drive and motivation to train for an IM. However, the smart athletes will focus on all areas of their life (not just training) in order to maintain balance throughout the entire IM journey.
Although my training is now structured and specific (in contrast to the last few months) my diet has not changed very much. I focus on balance, keeping a healthy relationship with food and I prioritize nutrient timing. The biggest change in that I focus more on my pre and post training nutrition. I always emphasize quality nutrition in my diet so I don't find it hard to transition from fitness enthusiast to Ironman athlete. I don't train and eat for a body composition goal but I know that when my body receives quality nutrition, it feels better and becomes much stronger.
I made the most delicious dinner last night for both Karel and myself. I made a delicious garlic butter glaze for Karel's fish and hard-boiled some eggs for my protein choice.
As part of my balanced diet, I strive for whole grains both for the vitamins and for a healthy dose of carbohydrates (good for my brain, muscles and heart). Now a days, it is a lot easier to choose whole grains as many packaged foods are labeled "good or excellent source" of whole grains. But in my opinion, let's emphasize the most wholesome nutrients so that we can get the most bang for our buck.
Check out some great whole grains:
bulgur (cracked wheat)
popcorn (YES..popcorn is a whole grain!!)
What's your favorite whole grain??
Whole grains (which include the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran and germ are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats) are a great source of B vitamins and help us meet our 25-35 grams of recommended daily fiber. Long-term studies have showed a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as demonstrating positive outcomes for those with diabetes and obesity. Whole grains are not just for athletes as they are also beneficial in helping all individuals lose and maintain weight. Plus, they are a perfect component of a balanced diet. Just like any food, portion control is important as too much of any one thing is not a good thing for our balanced lifestyle. We like to eat a little of everything (balance) rather than a lot of one thing.
Hope you enjoy my latest recipe..YUM!
Basil and Garlic tomato stir-fry and brown basmati rice
1. Steam broccoli, mushrooms and green peppers for 3-5 minutes (until soft).
2. In a large skillet on low heat, cook tomatoes, garlic and chives for 10 minutes (stir occasionally) in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add chopped basil at the end of cooking and toss lightly.
3. Prepare your choice of protein (for the butter garlic glaze I melted 1 tbsp butter and added chopped garlic and a splash of olive oil. Soaked the fish in the glaze and cooked on medium heat to a minimum temp of 145 degrees. Topped with parsley).
4. Mix together tomatoes and broccoli and serve with your choice of whole grain (I cooked the basmati rice for 45 minutes according to the bag).