[caption id="attachment_1207" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Siphiwe and son TaNihisi"][/caption]
Greetings EFRT Teammates and fans! It's been awhile since I've written and that's mostly because my son TaNihisi Anu Siphiwe Baleka (pronounced Ta-knee-see) was born on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 8:09 am at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN. 8 lbs and 13 oz.! He and mom had a rough time so it has been a very intense and exhausting last three weeks. I've been taking care of mom and baby (they are amazing!) and training as best I can. Thus, "Week #2 update" turned into "Week #2 and Week#3 update", which turned into "Weeks, #2,#3 and #4 update!" LOL
So first, let me begin by congratulating all of my EFRT team members who have raced recently. Sounds like our San Diego group has the most fun, ITU Long Course Worlds was bizarre, and then we have our marathon ladies as well as our newest Colorado Transplant! Woo Hoo! I finally had a chance to read all of your blog updates. Great job everyone!
So now I am going to go into some detail about my Ironman training in the hopes that it may help or inspire someone.
Having only one season of triathlon under my belt and never going beyond the Olympic distance, my major concern besides finishing the 140.6 miles was staying injury-free during my increased training volume. Since I am 40 years old and have read enough triathlon books and articles, I know how important rest and recovery is. So I decided to organize my 25-week training program with a Recovery Week every 3rd week instead of the every 4th week cycle which I used this season. Since my training week ends with a long ride and short brick run on Saturday mornings, I have a half day rest on Saturday and a full day of rest on Sunday each week, so I think this is a safe plan with adequate R&R built in.
I've also started to use my foam roller on a daily basis as part of my injury prevention plan. At the end of last season, I started to suffer some pain in the front of my right shoulder. Nothing too serious to stop me from training, but enough "tenderness" that I worried about it becoming serious. At the Rev 3 race I stopped at the A R T (active release therapy) tent and this guy started to work on my shoulder. He never even touched the front and explained to me that because the back of my shoulder was so "tight", it pulls my shoulder back in the socket, causing an "impingement". This was the pain I was feeling. I figured it was on the right side since that is the arm I am always using when shifting gears in the truck. By using pressure on the right spot in the back and on the side of my shoulder, he explained and demonstrated, it would cause the "active release" and the pain would disappear. It worked and it did. I now use a tennis ball while standing against a wall to self ART my shoulder and it is working. I've also added a "Swimmers Shoulder Strength Protocol" using resistance bands to strengthen all of the internal muscles of my shoulders.
For the record, on MONDAYS I like to do a short swim, a short bike, and a short run to get everything loosened up for the rest of the week. This includes some short but fast swim and bike intervals. Since I am at the YMCA on that day, I like to run barefoot on the indoor track to strengthen my foot muscles and work on my run form (Im switching to Newton Distance shoes for the Ironman). I've scheduled my long run on TUESDAY mornings since this is my least favorite workout. Its an important workout, though, so I like to get it done and out of the way early in the week on fresh legs. After the run is the first of two strength/weight workouts for the week. On WEDNESDAY its a medium swim and a medium bike. On THURSDAY its a medium bike and a medium run, preferably a brick run if the schedule permits. FRIDAY is my long swim day followed by the second strength/weight session. This gives my legs a chance to recover for SATURDAY which is the long bike followed by a short brick run. So thats my training week.
After my two week break and cleanse, I had three weeks of prep. Following Joel Friel's training method outlined in The Triathlete's Training Bible and Your Best Triathlon, I performed tests to find out my lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) and establish my heart rate training zones for the Base 1 block bike and run and swim pace. For the bike and run, the test consisted of a 20 minute warmup followed by a 30 minute hard, race effort. Using my Garmin and heartrate monitor, I take my average heart rate for the last 20 minutes. This average heartrate is a good approximation of one's LTHR or "Zone 5a Superthreshold." All other training zones will be based off of this.
It is recommended that these tests be done on the road or track, but because consistency and controlling conditions is so important, I decided to do the tests indoors on a spin bike and treadmill since winter weather conditions create drastically variable testing conditions. The test for the swim is a 1,000yd time trial to establish the Base 1 100 yd swim paces. My test results were as follows:
RUN: After my warmup, I started the 30 minute test at a 6:30 mile pace and dropped to 6:15 pace after 10 minutes. I increased the pace a little every 5 minutes until the last 5 minutes where I increased the pace every minute. The machine gave out when I hit 5:30 pace or so. Anyway, I ran a 5k in 18:30 and my average heart rate for the last 20 minutes was 186. Based on this result, my run training zones/paces are as follows:
|1 - Recovery
||HR 123 - 158
|2 - Extensive Endurance
||HR 159 - 169
||8:22 - 7:24
|3 - Intensive Endurance
||HR 170 - 178
||7:23 - 6:53
|4 - Sub-Threshold
||HR 179 - 185
||6:52 - 6:30
|5a - SuperThreshold
||HR 186 - 190
|5b - Anaerobic Endurance
||HR 191 - 196
|| 6:16 - 5:50
|5c - Power
||HR 197 - 206
There was no meter on the bike so I don't know my distance, watts, cadence or anything. The only measurement that mattered was heart rate, and the last 20 minute average was 160. Based on that result, my bike training zones are as follows:
Zone 1 Recovery HR 105 - 129
Zone 2 Extensive endurance HR 130-143
Zone 3 Intensive Endurance HR 144 - 148
Zone 4 Subthreshold HR 149 - 159
Zone 5A Superthreshold HR 160 -163
Zone 5B Anaerobic Capacity HR 164 - 169
Zone 5C Power HR 170 - 175
My 1,000 yd freestyle time was 12:26. That's a 1:14 pace. Based on that my swim training zones/paces are as follows:
Zone 1 1:33+
Zone 2 1:32 - 1:28
Zone 3 1:27 -1:22
Zone 4 1:21 - 1:17
Zone 5A 1:16 - 1:14
Zone 5B 1:13 - 1:08
Zone 5C sub-1:07
I just finished Week #4 which is the first week of three Base training blocks, which is then followed by three Build training blocks, a Peak week, and two weeks of taper leading to Race week.
I've made the change to the Paleo Diet for Athletes and I feel awesome. Since I have been at home a lot, Chadonicka has been able to cook for me (bless her heart!) She gets me grass fed, cage-free buffalo, beef, chicken, turkey and eggs. When I am on the truck, I carry grass fed beef and buffalo jerky which I eat raw or add to soup. I am also eating tons of fruit cups (watermelon, canteloupe, honeydew and pineapple). I use a Tanita Ironman scale to keep tabs on weight, body fat, water and muscle mass, etc. My average pre workout weight has been 141 lbs and post workout weight is 138.8 and my body fat range has stayed between 5% and 7.2%
I feel great. I am swimming smooth and fast, and yesterday I did a set of 4x200 on 3:00, 3x200 on 2:50, 2x200 on 2:40, and 1x200 on 2:30 with additional rest between sets. Swimming at about 80% effort I went 2:15, 2:17 and 2:12 on the last three. Not bad for early season.
My total training volume for weeks 1-4:
BIKE 753.46 minutes
Zone 1 Recovery: 687.48 minutes (91%)
Zone 2 Extensive Endurance: 11.73 minutes (1.5%)
Zone 3 Intensive Endurance: 43.83 minutes (5.8%)
Zone 4 Sub Threshold: 10.42 minutes (1.4%)
RUN 639.83 minutes
Zone 1 Recovery: 435.15 minutes (68%)
Zone 2 Extensive Endurance: 172.13 minutes (27%)
Zone 3 Intensive Endurance: 9.05 minutes (1.4%)
Zone 4 Sub Threshold: 10.13 (1.6%)
Zone 5A Superthreshold: 13.37 (2.1%)
SWIM: 451.43 minutes
So I am off to a great start and I am following a detailed training, rest, recovery, and nutrition plan. My limiters
at this point are sleep (lack of) and biking (muscular endurance). As far as sleep goes, when I am on the truck I get at most 6 hrs of sleep. When I'm at home, its about the same. However, I feel guilty making Chadonicka get up for TaNihisi throughout the night so I accept that my sleep will be broken at night. This won't be a problem after I finish my lease Dec 24th since I will be at home full time for the remainder of my training and can take naps during the day. I expect my hours of sleep to increase from 5-6 to 8-11.
As far as my bike limiter (muscular endurance), I purchased a set of powercranks the other day and they came in the mail. I am having them installed next week. This will improve both my pedalling efficiency and leg strength. I also got a Cyclops Supermagneto trainer for indoor riding. So I have a convenient set up for long and focused bike training once I get home (It's now ME and TaNihisi's room....I've kinda colonized it and Chadonicka has very graciously allowed it after all her hard work painting and what not!). I decided not to get a powermeter now and instead to wait for the Garmin Vector (pedal-based) powermeter which comes out (hopefully) in early March.
So having covered all my bases, I have allowed myself to think ahead to Ironman South Africa. Of course, my main goal is to finish. However, based on my training thus far, I believe that a conservative estimate is:
Swim: 1:25 pace (very, very comfortable pace for me) = 60 minutes
Bike: 18.6 mph pace (reasonable?) = 6 hours
Run: 9:09 pace (reasonable?) = 4 hours
Add an additional 30 minutes for transitions, feeding, bathroom, mishaps, etc and that's 11 hours and 30 minutes
. This, I feel, is a conservative estimate. However, in training I am running 7:30 pace at the low end of Zone 2. Perhaps I could run 8:00 pace during the race. That would bring my run time down to 3:30 or 3:45 if I run an 8:35 pace. That would make an 11:00 to 11:15 Ironman finish. Of course, If my bike focus and powercranks can cause a 1 to 2 mph improvement, perhaps I could ride a 20.3 mph pace which would give me a 5:30 bike spit. That could bring my time down to 10:30 to 10:45. Finally, if all goes well and I spend only 15 minutes in transition with no other mishaps or stops, I believe that a 10:15 Ironman finish is possible
(though highly unlikely). Ironman South Africa is considered a relatively fast course. The bike is 3 loops with only one hill on the loop, and the run is a very flat 3 loop course. The salt water makes for a fast swim, and the air temp is mild. Last year, in the men's 40-44 age group it took a 9:30 to qualify for Kona, so I think that is out of the question. In my dreams, however I am finishing under 11 hours . . .