People have often asked why I do this crazy sport and I can honestly say that it has been a great way to emotionally deal with life. It has taught me SO much about who I am and who I want to be, but that is for another post coming soon.
After having crossed 7 Ironman finish lines, I thought I’d try to shed some light on the stages that the athlete (and often the people who live with the athlete) experience. These are what I believe to be the stages of Ironman training:
- Base Fun: Everything is all rainbows and unicorns! After all, I just signed up for an Ironman and I am going to do epic sh!t! I haven’t started “officially” training yet, so I have free time and energy to be fun and do things! Who wants to go to a show or play games/cards at the brewery?! I am training, but nothing serious yet!
- Build Phase: We’re having fun now! My volume is increasing, so I’m finding that I turn into a pumpkin at 7 pm most nights. Who wants to come swim/ride/run with me?! Love me a good recovery week with reduced training so I can catch up with family and friends!
- Peak Training: Who has time to see anyone unless they are swimming/biking/running with me?! I work 40 hours a week, workout 16-20+ hours a week, and am still trying to maintain a happy/healthy relationship at home. Oh…and if you come to visit our house, you will likely see chamois butter in place of lotion in the bathroom, tires and spare tubes hanging from the hall tree, Body Glide and Skin Slick on the dining room table where it can be easily accessed, the Roomba vacuuming (who has time to vacuum?!), and ALL. THE. TECH. CLOTHES. Hanging on drying racks around the house (who has time to fold them and put them away?! Just pull them off and wear them so they can be washed again in a few days). This is also where I live in a constant state of hangry. Thankfully before peak training begins, we stock our freezer with food that simply needs to be heated up so we don’t have to spend much time preparing and cooking food.
- Taper Crazies: Where is my race belt?! Where is my favorite race temporary tattoos?! Where is my extra Skin Slick?! Where is my swim skin?! Where are those new goggles I purchased last week?! Trying to organize and pack for race day while still working 40 hours a week and exercising 10-14 hours a week to maintain the fitness gained without over doing it is a fine line. My race plan says I should go for X power output for the bike, but I was thinking Y might be better. Stop overthinking and roll with it!
- Race Week Whirlwind: Stalking and obsessing over the weather has become normal. Making sure I have packed EVERYTHING (including the kitchen sink) for ANY possible race day weather. Should I put this in my transition bag?! How easy should my shake out run be?! Oh…I forgot to order more bike nutrition. How quickly can I have this shipped to me?!
- Post Race High: I am an Ironman (insert happy dance and HUGE grin). I did epic sh!t!
- Ironman Blues: Now what?! I have all of this spare time on my hands and I don’t know what to do with myself. What races should I sign up for?! Maybe I’ll sign up for another Ironman. 😉
For those that live the Ironman lifestyle, or live with someone who does, what stages do you go through? Anything you would add?!