First Two Ironman Races plus Collegiate Nats in One Year...How?!?

author : mikericci
comments : 0

My question is how do I train for the second Ironman race and continue to improve without "peaking" way too early, becoming stagnant or any of the other training bad words?

Question from MBabiash 

"Next year I am competing in my first full-IM event (Coeur d'Alene) in June and I am using one of the 20-week Ironman training plans here on BT to prepare for it. However, I am also planning on throwing in Beach 2 Battleship (B2B FULL) in next November also. My question is how do I train for the second race and continue to improve without "peaking" way too early, becoming stagnant or any of the other training 'bad words'?

The wrinkle in all this is that the only problem now is that my most important goal is a top 10 finish at the 2011 Collegiate National Championships in August, so I'm not entirely sure what to do after CDA."

Answer from Coach Mike Ricci
Head Coach D3

Congrats on taking the Ironman plunge! Using the Beginner 20 Week Ironman Plan would be a great start. Once your race has ended it’s important to get FULL recovery before you start training again. For some people this may mean taking four weeks completely off and for others it may mean taking six to eight weeks off from training.

My recommendation would be to take at least a week off with no training whatsoever, and then on the second week you could start to ride your bike and swim easy. Do this for at least two weeks before attempting to run. The harder you race the Ironman the longer your recovery will take. If you end up walking a bit in CDA, then you may not be as sore as if you ran the marathon as hard as you could. How hard you race will determine how long you have to recover for. Once you have recovered from Ironman #1 and you feel as though you can start training at a regular level again, then you can plan out the rest of the season.

My other suggestion would be to add in a few half Ironmans over the summer and fall going into the B2B race in November. I would space out the half Ironmans so that they are a good two months after the first Ironman and the second one another six weeks later.
The road to improvement comes from keeping the training fresh and staying motivated. Many times, repeating the same workouts leads to burn out. This is why I suggested the half Ironmans in the plan – these will change the focus of your plan a bit but if you can get faster at a HIM, it will definitely help you go faster at your second Ironman in 2011. In training for the HIM, you’ll have some higher intensity workouts in the plan and this will definitely be a change from training for the Ironman early in the season. Another addition to your training can be adding in some sprint and Olympic distance races. These races will allow you to go fast and push hard while you are still fatigued from the long distance training.
Once you are about 12 weeks out from B2B you should start focusing on Ironman specific training again. This means going a bit longer on the bike and run, but also riding and running at Ironman effort and pace as you get closer to the race. Dialing in nutrition and pace are the two most important factors in Ironman training.
Having said all that and with Collegiate Nats your most important goal for the season, I wouldn’t change anything above. Once you are done with Collegiate Nats on April 9th, you can easily transition to Ironman training. You’ll have a solid 10 weeks of training for CDA and it won’t take you long to get your endurance ready for that distance since you have a solid base for Collegiate Nats. You will be tempted to do some long runs and rides prior to Collegiate Nats, but you don’t need anything longer than say 2-3 hours on the bike and 90 minutes on the run. Build your speed (intensity) first and then adding distance (endurance) will be a piece of cake. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions, as I’d be happy to help!
Mike Ricci
USAT Level 3 Elite Coach
Head Coach, University of CO Tri Team 2010 Collegiate National Champs


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date: December 27, 2010