Smart tips for a long weekend of training, BBQ’s and the beach.
by AJ Johnson
Training for an IRONMAN race at any time of the year creates stress. Fitting workouts in around work, family, friends and life in general takes a lot of planning and the ability to adapt. However, during the summer months when the kids are home, the beach is calling, and social engagements are on the rise, that level of stress can increase unexpectedly. Here’s how to cope.
First, realize that consistency over time is what counts the most. While you don’t want to get in the habit of cutting every workout short, missing 30 minutes of a ride or skipping the occasional swim isn’t the end of the world. If you can put in a solid body of work, say 10 hours or more, for several months before race day you’ll be just fine. The only caveat, however, is the long IRONMAN training days, typically done on the weekends, which serve as the best way to test your fitness, refine your nutrition and build your endurance. These sessions are crucial and should be completed to the full length that is scheduled. Cutting your long ride and run down consistently will have major consequences come race-day.
This applies to the year as a whole, but it is particularly key during the summer racing season. Planning your training, races and vacations form the framework for keeping the stress down. Nothing adds stress to a vacation like worrying about an upcoming race. If you can, try to time your vacation so it can be a post-race celebration where you can fully relax and enjoy yourself. This is the beauty of destination races, where you can relax immediately afterwards and reap the rewards of your hard work.
Planning also applies to other areas of life. If you are taking on a big project like painting the house or building a new one, don’t try to do it during a major build week in your training. Either get the project done well before or afterwards, or consider the cost of having a professional do the project to relieve you of the physical labor.
When it comes to your family’s schedule, if your kids are of the age to attend a day camp or week-away camp, it can be a great time to get some extra training hours in while they’re off learning and making new friends.
If you can’t time things perfectly and end up on a vacation during a big training block, all is not lost. Typically running is the easiest workout to fit in while on the road, so use that to your advantage. Get up early and get in your run, along with some core exercises, and you can feel good the rest of the day. If you’ve been consistent with your bike and swim you won’t lose much fitness over a week’s time.
If you’re desperate to continue riding and swimming, do a search for a local pool to see if they have open hours. One or two easy swims in the lake or ocean will help you keep your feel for the water. For those that want to ride, a spin class at a local gym or finding a bike to rent or borrow can help out a lot. (Typically this is more work than it’s worth since you would need to bring or rent shoes, pedals and a helmet as well.)
AJ Johnson is Editor of the Training Peaks blog.