My 10 Week Training Block Prior to Ironman Cozumel - Getting to Sub-9 Ironman Fitness

Here's a look at my 10-week build prior to Cozumel. Before this 10-week stretch, I was in good shape but wasn't ready for an Ironman yet.

My bike fitness was pretty strong -- while moving from LA to NYC had me relying on a stationary gym bike for all of July, I had spent pretty much every Saturday of the two years prior doing long rides with friends. (Ken, Jack - Thanks for kicking my ass up and down Malibu & Calabasas.). I also did a couple 100 milers in NYC in August with EMJ teammates which helped me maintain a good base. (Thanks Colin, Stefan.)

My run and swim were OK, but not great. My race at 70.3 Worlds in September showed both those were lacking.

Anyway, here's how Justin Daerr got me into race shape.

WEEK 1 through WEEK 5 (12-15hrs/week Training)

MONDAY -> Swim (90min) + Run (30min)
A couple typical Monday swims below. Run was just 30 minutes by feel, keeping HR below 160.

Mon Swim Weeks 1 thru 5.jpg

TUESDAY -> AM Trainer Ride (45-60min) + PM Trainer Ride (45-65min) + OTB 2 Mile Run
First trainer ride focused on lots of 30" hard efforts with 60" recoveries. Each week the number of 30" efforts increased and/or the 60" recoveries were reduced to 45" or 30". See below.
Second trainer ride focused on 1' efforts with 2' recoveries. Each week the number of 1' efforts increased or the 2' recovery time was reduced to 1'. See below.
The off-the-bike run was always 2 miles by feel, sub 160 HR. Sometimes I'd hit it hard, but mostly I'd run the first mile as a gradual build from 7:30/mi to 7:00/mi and then hold that for the second mile. (My goal IM pace was 7:00-6:50/mile.)

tuesday rides week 1 thru 5.jpg

WEDNESDAY -> Swim (75min) + Run (30min)
A couple typical Wednesday swims below. This was typically the really hard swim for the week. Run was just 30 minutes by feel, keeping HR below 160.

wed swim 1 5.jpg

THURSDAY -> Trainer Ride (75min) + OTB 2 Mile Run
Trainer ride was a mix of 30"on/60"off efforts along with longer 2-8' efforts with 1-2' easy between. See below. The OTB run was again 2 miles by feel, sub 160 HR.

thurs bike 1 5.jpg

FRIDAY -> Swim (75min)
A few Friday swims below. Not quite as hard as the Wednesday swims.

Friday Swim 1 5.jpg

SATURDAY -> Long Ride (5 Hours)
Got lucky with a warm end of September and early October in NYC, so was able to do these outside without trouble. Waaayyy better than hitting them on the trainer. No real structure to the ride, but the first hour would be very easy while getting out of the city. From there I typically rode at about IM watts (give or take 5%) for 3 hours, with another easy hour reentering the city.

SUNDAY -> Long Run (Starting at 13 miles, building to 16 miles)
Here's a look at the structure of a few of these runs...

WEEK 6 and WEEK 7 (25hrs/week Training)

These two weeks provided a huge boost in fitness. With weather in NYC getting cold, I fled to Tucson for two weeks of training with Justin Daerr and Chris Leiferman. The motivation of training with these two beasts pushed me to new levels, not to mention the benefit of the hot temps (high 80s, low 90s) and long outdoor rides and runs. Being away from NYC also allowed me to really focus on just training and work, with training really being a big priority.

MONDAY -> Swim (75min) + Ride (90min)
Two swims from the week below. Focus was holding a good pace for a slightly longer distance on a 30” or so rest. The ride was just a chill spin for 90 mins.

TUESDAY -> Run (80min) + Swim (75min)
Run done in the AM on a trail. Going by feel. Not easy but not pushing. Brain-off type of run. For me, this came out to 10.5 miles, and just under an 8:00min/mi pace. This was at 3k ft altitude on a trail where we gained 630 feet, so av HR (143bpm) showed that it wasn’t particularly easy.

Midday swim. Limbo set. Tough, esp. on tired legs. Limbo set looks like...

5 x 175 on 2:45, 2:40, 2:35, 2:30, 2:25
5 x 150 on 2:20, 2:15, 2:10, 2:05, 2:00

WEDNESDAY -> Ride (3.5hrs) + OTB Run 6mi
Challenging brick workout. Big efforts on the bike and a hard temp rung on the track. Lucky to have EMJ teammate Conrad Sanders join in on the fun for this session one Wednesday.  Ride + run description below.

Ride: 4 ROUNDS of 15' @ HIM Watts (5' easy) 5' @ Oly Watts (5' easy)

OTB Run: 9 x 1km @ HIM Run Pace (60" easy)

THURSDAY -> Run (80mins) + Swim (60mins) + Bike (2.5hrs)
Run was at the track. Lots of 800s & 400s on ~90” rest. Full description below.

2 Rounds - 4x800 on 90" rest - 400 easy between rounds
2 Rounds - 3x400 on 65" rest - 400 easy between rounds

Swim and bike weren’t super challenging; more like recovery sessions. 30x75 for the swim with 10-15” rest — first 10 with fins, next 10 with paddles/buoy, final 10 just swim with no gear. Ride was just a chill 2.5hrs to flush out the legs.

FRIDAY -> Swim (75min) + Run (30min)
Hard AM swim - a look at the two workouts below - followed by a chill 30 minute run in the afternoon.

SATURDAY -> Long Ride (5.5hrs)
105+ miler. Looking for some good chunks of IM watts, along with HIM watts, in the mix.

I was looking for 5 rounds of 20’ at IM to HIM watts. I was pretty much just trying to hang on to the wheel of Justin or Chris for as long as possible. That usually meant 2 x 20’ @ HIM with 10’ chill in between, then a few 20’ at IM watts with 10’ chill in between (20’ chill between the last two).

Normally Justin would have me build power across the set, but since I was doing this with him and Chris I went harder with the first 2x20’ at the start just to hang on. From there, I then looked to build power across the 3x20’ @ IM watts.

SUNDAY -> Long Run (2hrs) + “Lounge” Swim (45min)
Sunday #1 was a 18 miler; Sunday #2 was a 20 miler. A look at the specifics of the run workouts below.

Sunday Run #1 - 18 Miles Total - 5k Warm Up (2' Easy), 10k @ IM pace (2' easy), 2 x 5k @ HIM pace (2'easy), 5' Cool Down

Sunday Run #2 - 20 Miles Total - 2 miles Warm Up, 8 miles @ IM pace, 9 x 1 mile @ IM building to HIM (30" easy), 5' Cool Down

The Lounge Swims were super chill. Just flushing the legs out, proceeded and followed by lounging on the pool deck, catching rays.

WEEK 8 and WEEK 9

These two weeks were structured much like Weeks 1-5, but intensity and volume were increased.

MONDAY -> Swim (75min) + Run (30min)
Strong swim, chill run. Sample swim workouts below. Run was just 30 minutes, sub 160 hr, which came out to 4 miles.

Main Set: 12 rounds of 100 solid on 1:20, 2 x 25 easy on :40

Main Set: 5 x 100 on 1:35, 5 x 100 on 1:40, 5 x 100 on 1:45, 5 x 100 on 1:50 --- building speed from one set to the next as rest increases

TUESDAY -> AM Trainer Ride (45-60min) + PM Trainer Ride (45-65min) + OTB 2 Mile Run
A look at the structure of the AM trainer rides & PM trainer rides below.

AM Ride -- 15' easy, 30'@IM Watts, 15'@HIM Watts, 5' Easy
PM Ride -- 30' easy, then 30 x 30" /30" as 300-350/easy

2 Miles OTB were much like before, with first mile building to goal IM race pace more or less (~6:50/mile), then holding that for the second mile.

WEDNESDAY -> Swim (75min) + Trainer Ride (45mins) + OTB 2 Mile Run
Very hard swim in AM, with a chill trainer ride and steady OTB 2 miler in the PM. A look at the two swim sets below. Trainer ride was easy, sub IM watts. 2 miles in PM was by feel, typically averaging out to 7:00/mi.

Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 2.56.46 PM.png

THURSDAY -> Run 10-13.5 miles
Strong run with a good bit of tempo work mixed in. A look at these two workouts below.

Run #1 - 4 mi @ 7:30, 3 mi @ 6:45-7:00, 2 mi @ 6:30-45, 1 mi easy

Run #2 - 15' easy, 6 x 30" on /60" off ramp up, 2-3 minutes easy
Main Set - 3 x 3 miles @ 6:45-50, then 6:25-6:40 on 2+3, no need to drop down much below that. Looking to just run what you already have done in training. 2-3 minutes chill between sets.

FRIDAY -> Swim (75min) + Trainer Ride (45min)
Strong swim with a very chill trainer ride in the PM. Swim was focused on longer distance sets. A look at the specifics of these two below.

Trainer ride was a causal 45 mins at sub IM watts while watching Narcos. (It’s impossible to read subtitles while pushing decent watts on the bike. #Fact)

SATURDAY -> Trainer Ride + OTB Run
Back in NYC in November means back on the trainer. Here’s a look at the trainer workouts Justin had me doing. (These helped me survive: What to Watch While Biking Indoors / Riding on the Trainer.)

These were followed up by tough OTB runs. I did the runs on the treadmill since it was cold AF outside.

SUNDAY -> Swim

Speed work with short distance. Main set below.

30 x 25 on :35 holding 16-17
4 x 25 easy on 30" rest
20 x 25 on :35 same pacing


Standard Race Week Taper...

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