Ironman training adapted


By Dana Stetson


I am currently participating in an 18-week Ironman training program. Several other area triathletes, Felton Wright and Lisa Purul are also in various stages of the same program (due to different dates for their individual races).

This training plan is designed by one of those famous California triathlete guys. (I’m not sure of his name since I don’t own the book that contains the training program). I’m having the workouts faxed to me from my friend who does own the book.) It’s a program developed for full-time working people that help them do well in an Ironman triathlon.

After seven weeks of this plan I now know that it’s much more like joining the Borg (we will assimilate you into our collective) than a regular exercise plan. If you work forty hours and follow this plan to the letter, you’re actually enrolled in an “18 weeks to your divorce plan”. So, I naturally adjusted the workouts to my personal situation to avoid some of these problems.

The first adaptation I made in this master plan was to take all the workouts labeled weight-lifting and change them to handball. I decided life is too short to life weights. I next combined all the long workouts during any week into one really long workout. If you want endurance, that seems like a more efficient way to achieve it. One ten-hour bike ride has got to beat two five hour rides any day and this leaves you with days off which you can spend trying to develop a real life.

I next added Reid Vanoy’s off-road speed torture sessions. I know these have got to make you iron-tough, although I can’t ever recall having to run this fast in any Ironman. What would summer be without Summer Grand Prix? So, I was forced to add track workouts to this carefully balanced program.

The final adjustments were to fine-tune the swimming drills. I only know one stroke and I don’t do flip turns, so that essentially left long slow and short fast pool swims, and long lake swims, as the only alternatives. Due to my minor adjustments this impersonal fitness plan, designed for no one, is now custom designed for my schedule, preferences, and is actually kind of fun. And, if it doesn’t make me much faster, Mr. California is going to hear about it.