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2011-11-14 2:41 PM

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Subject: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

So, both the hubby and i are signed up for Ironman Mont-Tremblant next year and we've been talking about getting at least somewhat organized so that life and training are manageable. It's a tall order and i fully expect things to be hairy - such as cleaning not getting done, the occassional missed workout, the social life taking a backseat ... but what can we do to keep sane and still enjoy the process?

So my question is about the things you do to keep yourself as on top of everything as possible (or within reason)  including training during the training.  Did you cook in batches or one day of the week? did you hire a cleaning person? how did you make sure you got enough sleep? etc, etc, etc.

What worked well? What didn't?



Edited by juniperjen 2011-11-14 2:43 PM


2011-11-14 3:15 PM
in reply to: #3901656

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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
My situation has been a bit different in years past: I have no family/kids so it is really me balancing out work and social life with training. My friends are like family to me, so i did catch a lot of flack in the beginning of not being able to hang out, but eventually they learned how important it was to me and began to support a bit more.

When it comes to balancing out everything, it boils down to priorities. How important is watching your sitcoms or the big game on Saturday? What about those house chores you have been neglecting? Eventually, things will boil over, but you have to keep things in focus for when it does. I like cooking in batches, a ton on Sunday while I watch tv (cooking is relaxing to me). I don't let chores pile up and stay on top of minor things to keep them from becoming big inconveniences. If push comes to shove, you very likely will have to sacrifice sleep to get in those key workouts. But think about it: all the refocusing of priorities and hard work will make the finish line that much sweeter.

Just make sure you plan out everything far in advance, schedule it out and use your time wisely. We could get into a crazy discussion on how many IM training hours you should do (I hardly ever go over 15 a week) and how to focus training (long and steady vs short and intense) but that is something you have to decide on your own to how well your body can handle it.

Good luck and remember, above all, have fun with it!

Edited by 15step 2011-11-14 3:16 PM
2011-11-14 3:19 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
2011-11-14 3:33 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
It's why I liked Be Iron Fit. Every week is structured the same, which made it easier to plan everything else around the training.

I was pretty good until the final third of the training...then things started to slide. The sleep was a tough one. Mondays were a rest day and man, did those days go by so quickly.

You sound like you got a jump start on the planning just by realizing that you can't do it all. Accept that some stuff will get put on the backburner.

2011-11-14 4:27 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
Communication - be upfront and honest about time commitments with everyone.
Planning - grocery/meal/nutrition planning, laundry planning (don't wait till 5 min before your run to realize you have no clean shorts), rearrange workouts for social activities, etc. Know what you're up against every week.
Execution - life will get in the way so do every workout you can, when you say you will. 
2011-11-14 4:52 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

People are going to rip me for this but I found the #1 most important thing in Ironman training is a rut.  

Every day I would do the same exercises at the same times, they just got longer through the weeks.  Wednesday was my long run day, Saturday was my long bike day, and I alway ran at a certain time.  My wife knew my schedule, and I didn't have to work around it because everyone knew what it was and there was no compromise. 

Try to spend your off time wisely so you don't neglect other aspects, which is easier said than done though...

Treat training like work or brushing your teeth; its not something you can miss, your friends and family know what the boundaries are. 



2011-11-14 5:57 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

runnerx - 2011-11-14 4:33 PM It's why I liked Be Iron Fit. Every week is structured the same, which made it easier to plan everything else around the training. I was pretty good until the final third of the training...then things started to slide. The sleep was a tough one. Mondays were a rest day and man, did those days go by so quickly. You sound like you got a jump start on the planning just by realizing that you can't do it all. Accept that some stuff will get put on the backburner.

X2.  The Be Iron-Fit plan rocks.  The intermediate plan has you pretty much doing 10 hour weeks consistently for the first half of the training program, and the amazing thing about this is: I quickly acclimated to 10 hours a week; meaning, I didn't feel fatigued and I was able to get all my normal "life stuff" done without too much extra effort.  Granted the first few weeks were a little rough but then I just got into a groove.  It's crazy but true.  And if you establish a 6 to 8 hour week base two months prior to starting the plan, it's very doable.  However, around two and a half months out from your Ironman, the volume starts climbing and then eventually around six weeks out I was in the Peak Phase, and everything pretty much has to go on hold except for 1. Family 2. Work 3. Triathlon.  

And for me, life is like that even still today.  Actually it's 1. Family 2. Triathlon 3. Everything else.  All my friends are now pretty much triathletes, too   It's a fantastic life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  THIS IS A LIFESTYLE SPORT.  If you make it your lifestyle, it's very-very doable.  I don't drink, I don't gamble, I don't spend six hours walking around a golf course.  All my extra time (minus Family time and work time) is Training Time!!

During your Peak Training, when five and six hour bike rides are the norm, just make sure to start EARLY in the morning.  Make that commitment.  Join a tri team or meet other triathletes.  Riding in the morning ensure less traffic, and leaves you at least half the day to run errands and do housework.  That would be my best advice.  Finishing a long Bike or Long Run before noon and then knowing you have the rest of your day to yourself is a very satisfying feeling.     



Edited by Dream Chaser 2011-11-14 6:01 PM
2011-11-14 6:02 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
Oh, and once you start averaging 10 hours+ a week, you will have no problems sleeping.
2011-11-14 7:18 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

Just did my 1st IM last mo & (also) followed Fink Plan (Intermediate). Didn't need to make any radical lifestyle changes (batch cooking, etc.), just organize my time better.  No kids & supportive DW helped a lot. And I did burn some vacation time for training & event itself (inc. travel).  IMHO Fink Plan prepared me well to finish MOP (see my race report for details if you like).

Lots of good organization advice here, but don't forget that real life interferes with the most organized of training schedules.  Do not get discouraged that you miss (or modify) a session here or there. Set your main training priorities (i.e. your quality S/B/R's) & defend those during each week.  Let those slide a day either way, but if real life causes a missed session make sure it is NOT one of the quality workouts.  For example I used Fink Intermediate & if life made me miss a long S/B/R's one day I would do it next day instead (i.e. dropping that next day's scheduled shorter WO).  Common opinion  seems to be if you generally meet the weekly training volume targets of any proven IM training plan you should do fine. But trying to ave 15hrs/wk during peak phase by doing 5hrs one wk & 25hrs the next is begging for trouble (injury, burn-out, etc.).

Good luck on your IM journey!!!

2011-11-14 7:57 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

Take it one day at a time.

Some things will derail some of your work outs and that's okay. As said before, try not to miss the long ones. The shorter weekly volume is to prepare you to do the longer ones as the days progress. Don't skimp on the bike/run bricks as this really gives you quality race preparation.

If I'm being honest, and this won't resonate well--I put together my own training plan based on Hidgon's 3 day marathon plan (modified with swim and bike) and I had to miss a lot due to work commitments and a vacation to visit family in the middle of my training. My longest weeks were 17 hours max. Never ran over 40 miles per week or biked over 600 per month.

I survived and still had a very good IM. Prepare, be consistent, but don't fret what you can't control. Enjoy the journey, after all, no one is paying us to race. Wink

Since you and your husband (I am assuming) will train together--the issue of lost time with the spouse is a non-issue for you and may make life smoother! Less time at home means less mess! 



Edited by TriFlorida 2011-11-14 8:04 PM
2011-11-14 9:01 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

My boyfriend and I just finished IMFL so I can give a bit of insight into the home life part of things.

I tried to cook in batches as much as possible.  He was gone one weekend and I spent literally 2 days cooking full meals and freezing them as well as putting pieces of meals (cooked and shredded chicken, pork barbeque etc) in the freezer so if we were out of food or too tired to cook we always had something to fall back on.  If you have one of those meal assembly places in your area where you go and spend 2 hours and prep 12 meals, do that also.  Less time and you don't have to clean up though it can be pricey.  I got a Groupon for one place so it ended up being much cheaper then eating out. Planning meals for the week will be helpful as well but our moods changed so often this got tricky.

I had to learn to deal with the mess of the house.  Not that the place was a pig pen but sometimes the laundry just didn't get put away and the water bottles from the long ride would just have to stay on the counter until the next ride. I spent many Friday nights cleaning the house because I knew I would be too tired to do it after a long workout. Divide and conquer will be your best bet with cleaning and laundry.

I also got very good at using every minute of the day to get things done.  We live close to work so if I really had to I could run to the grocery store and drop it off at the house during my lunch break.

Finally, emotionally things can get interesting.  I got very cranky at times and I had to try to not take it out on him because I know he was tired and cranky too. Allow yourself to take an extra day off, go out for date night and be "normal." It's worth it for your sanity and your significant other's.



2011-11-15 8:03 AM
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Master
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
Interesting...I thought my preference for a structured week wouldn't be the norm since alot of people say Iron Fit is boring. But, after reading some of the comments, sounds like a structured week is high on people's lists if you want to stay organized and not let too many things slide. And of course by scheduling your training, you can also schedule all your other things to ensure they get done too.

x2 on the getting up early and getting your long workouts in before noon on the weekends!
2011-11-15 12:07 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

Last time we didn't have a cleaning company.  This time we do and I am very much looking forward to not having to clean the house on my sunday afternoon this summer!!!

Other things I am going to do

1) cook and freeze a bunch of stuff over the winter.  I will have instructions for what my hubby is to do to prepare the dinner.  He isn't much of a cook, but if I have pre-marinated chicken that he just has to throw in the oven and cook some rice he should be able to do that.  (He is persian, so he definitely knows how to cook rice )  I'm also considering making my meal plans ahead with grocery shopping lists (on like a 1 month rotation) so that I don't have to spend a hour planning out the meals for the week.

2)  during my biggest three weeks, I'm going to take Fridays off and shift my schedule so that my rest day is on Sunday - this will give me Saturday afternoon and Sunday to get stuff done around the house and get organized for the week ahead.

3) run errands during lunch hour.  I even went grocery shopping at lunch a few times - make sure you have a cooler and buy ice to keep the perishables cold/cool.

I'm sure there are more, I will post if I can think of them.  I am trying to be more cognizant of what I am eating this time round, so I am going to have to reserve time to prepare my lunches in advance.  the PC brocolli in a bag is a life saver for me.

2011-11-15 12:28 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
Buy enough workout gear so you don't have to wash clothes every couple of days. You will be using more of it during the week. The less washing you need to do, the better.

Have a gear bag for running/swimming and gear bag for cycling. I always have two gear bags so I don't have pack/repack items... such as face wash to wash off my makeup.

Get a maid if you can. We keep one all the time. It's worth the money. Plus, I'd always rather be running/swimming/biking, versus cleaning!

Stock up on nutrition. Keep on top of your gels, etc.

Cook once a week. Store servings in plasticware. Grab and go.

2011-11-15 7:08 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
The key to Ironman training and balancing home and work is organization.

1. Hire a coach
2. We had 3 weekly menus that rotated. Each menu had a set grocery list to go with it. I cooked as many meals as possible on Sunday nights. Lunches, salads, fruit, veggies were also pre-packed on Sunday nights. The first Ironman was cooked a lot of meals in the crock pot.
3. Buy socks and underwear for several weeks. People don't seem to complain as much about laundry if they have clean socks and undies! lol
4. Have enough workout clothes that you don't have to do laundry every day. x2 for towels, socks etc.,
5. When you go to the store (if you can afford it) buy double of everything that you normally use. Dog food, paper goods etc., Why go to the store every week when you can go once a month.
6. If you're traveling back and forth to gym/pool for workouts keep several changes of clothes, underwear, makeup, shoes etc., in your car. I also kept snacks and gels in the car.
7. Meet once a week with your spouse to discuss the family calendar. Plan your schedule AROUND the family schedule. Make your family a priority.
8. Train when everyone else is asleep. Learn to love your trainer, the dark, rain, cold or heat.
9. Lower your standards on housecleaning and obligations
10. Lay out your clothes, shoes etc, the night before. Pack your car the night before for after work activities. It is easy to waste time looking for clothes, shoes etc.,
11. Go to bed early. Get up early. Nap when you can.
12. Learn to multi-task.
13. Pay your kids to do household tasks.
14. Pick and IM race that fits well with your work or family schedule.
15. Enjoy training.

2011-11-16 12:33 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

Catwoman - 2011-11-15 8:08 PM The key to Ironman training and balancing home and work is organization. 1. Hire a coach 

9. Lower your standards on housecleaning and obligations 

I just realized something!

 

Which is more bang for the buck:

Paying for house cleaning or coaching?



2011-11-16 1:26 PM
in reply to: #3904354

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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

If you have kids, you and spouse will need to get on a rigid schedule.  DH made both of our plans, so he was the keeper of the Google calendar with all of our workouts, work obligations, social events, etc on it.  We each get alerted for events on the calendar, and if something did not go on the calendar, we did not do it.  I find it easier to have a regular weekly schedule but DH took care of the kids all summer, so his varied more.  Neither of us planned off-days because life hands you enough anyway with weather, work commitments, family stuff, etc.

Also if you have kids, you will need to tag-team your training.  On weekends, DH would run long in the dark while I got ready for my ride or even started riding the trainer.  Then, when DH finished, I would leave for my long ride.  This allows no room for error.  If you get up too late to do your whole long run, too bad.  On the following day, we did exactly the opposite.  This helped us (a) avoid the hottest part of the day, and (b) get to do stuff with the kids and each other.

We let house-cleaning and other chores slip A LOT and tried to fit training into extra corners of time.  I bike commuted and even run commuted a couple of times.  I also ran a lot in the dark.  DH was religious about going to the farmer's market and keeping good food in the house so that we didn't get hungry and eat junk.  However, many weekends we ended up at Taco Mac because we were too tired to cook.  I do at least one load of laundry every night and that helps also.  The kids are learning to fold and put away, which also helps.

This year, we have hired a cleaning service, so hopefully that will help.

2011-11-16 1:35 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training


I skimmed so apologize if this was mentioned, but in addition to many things already listed, for me combining workouts with commuting was a HUGE part of fitting all the training in.  Likewise, doing my long run during the week (had to wake up REALLY early one day a week) was helpful.

2011-11-16 3:03 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

Who ever said "know what youre up against each week" TOTALLY KEY. Become a planner!

I always had workout clothes in my car just in case I got the opportunity to workout when I didnt think i was going to.  Also a shaker with some recovery/protein mix.

Get extra water bottles so you dont clean the same 3 every other day.

Also- find a group to ride with esp. for your long rides. I would ride to the LBS , join in for the ride which was 30-50 miles, and then ride home, so the before and after i was alone but the middle i was with people, and it broke up the really long rides nicely.

Learn to ignore the messes in your house. The dishes can get done another day, and the stuff laying around can be put away another day. (i was fortunate enough to have my SO clean up many many times, and also do the gardening/yard work while i was out SBRing  

Invest in a trainer, and training DVDs.

2011-11-16 4:36 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
brown_dog_us - 2011-11-16 12:33 PM

Catwoman - 2011-11-15 8:08 PM The key to Ironman training and balancing home and work is organization. 1. Hire a coach 

9. Lower your standards on housecleaning and obligations 

I just realized something!

 

Which is more bang for the buck:

Paying for house cleaning or coaching?



COACH ! A good coach will help you more than anything else when training for an Ironman.
2011-11-16 5:27 PM
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Elite
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training

But what is a happy home life worth? 

 

I never realized until I read your post above how many of us pick one of those two services to help out with the load.  I would rather read up on the stuff and make the plans.  Heck, I probably do that why others are cleaning. 



2011-11-16 6:41 PM
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
A good coach will help you organize your training AROUND your life so you can be happy. How you choose to use that free time is up to you.
2011-11-24 12:08 PM
in reply to: #3901656

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Master
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Subject: RE: How did you organize yourself to tackle Ironman training
Thanks for the input - lots of good things to consider!
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