An Anticlimactic Beginning

Feb 13: Day 1

Planned workout(s): off-day

Weight: 174

Yep, I start my journey by not working out at all.  What a great workout plan, eh?  -.^

There is a method to this madness. Saturdays and Sundays tend to be longer days, since they are days I am not working.  I do shorter, more intense stuff during the week and then long endurance stuff on the weekends.  Each week I’ll do 8-9 workouts Tuesday-Sunday, so Monday is a planned day off for recovery.  If you don’t have at least one off-day to rest and recover, you can get fatigued and it will impact how well you workout the next week.  Over time, you can really screw it up, so off-day Mondays are really, really important.

But they feel kind of silly when you start on one.  >_>

With no workout, I figure this is a good time to describe what the journey will look like.  The event I am training for is Ironman Louisville, which is almost exactly 8 months away on October 14.  I will be following what is called an 80/20 plan, which basically means you spend 80% of your time in low intensity training, and 20% in high intensity training.  There is some good science which indicates that this is an optimal mix for endurance athletes, enabling them to do enough hard training to increase fitness without overtraining and over-stressing the body.

If you’ve never experienced overtraining, it’s bad news.  You can develop chronic aches and pains, lose mental motivation, and end up getting sick really easily because you’ve worn your body down.  If you try to push through it, often you can risk severe injury which will short-circuit your training real fast.  Once, while marathon training, I developed a problem in my piriformis (it’s a butt muscle) that caused me severe pain down the whole leg.  If I stood for more than a few minutes, I would get that tingling sensation like my whole leg was asleep, the bad kind.  It actually felt like my leg had gotten a few inches shorter than the other one.  I couldn’t walk or run effectively for several weeks, and had to spend a lot of time rehabilitating the leg.

I can’t afford stuff like that to happen, so, I have to make sure I spend enough time resting and in low intensity training to allow recovery.

My training will come in a few phases.  This first phase is a 12 week plan designed to get me back into the swing of training.  It will be lower intensity and distance than the main phase, which will be 22 weeks and lead me right into the IM.  I will take a week off to recover in-between the two plans.

The first 12 weeks has a second goal–to help me get to my goal racing weight.  I’ll talk more about weight in other posts I am sure, but I want to get to 168 for this IM.  I need to get as close to 168 as possible during this 12 week period because I need to be really, really on point with my fueling during the second 22 week portion.  If I try to diet during that part, I can hurt my development by not giving my body enough nutrients to recover, to build muscle, etc.  I have to fuel properly, which basically translates to maintaining weight and working more on changing my body composition (less fat, more muscle, but same weight).  However, during this 12 week prep period it’s OK to diet slowly, at no more than 1 pound/week loss.  I only need to get half of that, but to keep myself honest I’ll be posting my daily weight right here on the blog.

If I have to post it on the internet, hopefully I’ll think twice about that burger or pizza.  Lol.

Why 168?  Well, a few reasons.  First, I’ve done this for many years and know I’ve just plain felt better when racing and training around that weight.  I want every mental edge I can get, so coming in at that weight means I have one less distraction to worry about.  Second, there’s a practical advantage to endurance athletes by losing a few pounds.  Have you ever walked or exercised with light weights, like say 1/2 pound dumbbells?  When you pick them up, it feels like nothing.  Not a big deal.  Then you work out with them for a while, and when you put them down, wow!  What a difference!  Now imagine carrying them 140.6 miles…wouldn’t it be great to never have to lug those extra few pounds that far?

The last reason is pure vanity.  I have to do this thing in a spandex full-body suit.  I want to feel good in it.  -.^

As I go along, if you know someone who might feel inspired or interested in my musings, feel free to send them the link.  If you have questions or comments, post them and I will try to answer as best I can.  Tomorrow I start with an actual running workout.

Let the journey begin!