I am frequently asked “How in the world do you train for an Ironman?” Periodized training is the answer. This was invented by the Greeks in 200BC!! It was “re-invented” by the Germans in the early 1900’s, leading to their domination in the 1936 Olympics. The idea is to progressively increase the training load over a few weeks, then follow with a week of significantly reduced training. This allows the body to recover and prepare itself for another cycle of increased training, either in time or intensity. In a stair step fashion each cycle increases, providing greater gains over time than could possibly occur by just slowly increasing the time or intensity.
The training plan I am following has 6 cycles of build and taper. I am currently in my first cycle which is a short 2 week build, followed by one week recovery. The first two weeks went very well, and are considered a base building period, in preparation for the insanity that comes in a few months.
Next week, I will be testing my heart rate progression with increased cycling load on a bike trainer, so that I can determine my “training zones”. I will be following my heart rate when I bike and run, to make sure that I am working hard enough, but not too hard. I can’t wait for warmer weather, so I can start riding outside again!!