Okay, so I have one window to train for and one race to qualify for Kona. I've read through many of the training threads, and think I have a plan. Would love to hear everyone's advice and will keep updating this to keep up the motivation.
Backstory: Just got married, got clearance from wife for one shot at reaching this goal. Any energy wasted on why, how, etc, is silly. This is it, folks! Think Eminem when he was still angry. Haven't done a triathlon since 2011 but have dreamed about one many times.
THE race: IM Los Cabos. March, 2014 (gives me 9 months to train).
Why I think (hope?) this is possible: recent 2:40 open marathon, under 30, ultramarathons have taught me nutrition needs, pulled a 2:33 bike leg at Timberman with 2 mechanical stops, penchant for suffering, analytical nerd
Why this will be hard: 10 hours/week of training and no swimming until September, poor swimmer (10x100 @ 1:40), honeymoon in Asia during Christmas, no powertap or coach (again, let's not worry about why)
Gameplan: 1:10 swim w/ wetsuit, 5:20 bike, 3:00 run, 5min transition gets me to 9:35 and a shot
Phase 1 (5 months, peak at 70.3 late this year, Miamiman? Or something early Dec even better... thoughts?)
- July-August: Get running up to 70-80mi/week (Hansen's philosophy), Cycle on spinner in gym (best use of time, not enough space for trainer at home) 3x/week (2x20', 5x6', 40-45' temp)
- Sept-Oct: running 5K in mid-16's, half in ~1:15; cycling: 4x/week with a longer ride in there; swim 3x/week
- November: peak for half-ironman. Goal of 4:25ish. Dial in nutrition.
- December: Honeymoon... maintenance runs, maybe swims in ocean, little biking opportunity
Phase 2 (3 months, peaking at Los Cabos)
- Jan-Feb: big bike focus. In Boston so will be all indoors (fun!), but hope to build ginormous thighs. Maintain running fitness. Get swim down to 10x100@1:35 through brute force.
- March: get swim technique coaching, drills, get swim down
- Race day: beg/borrow/steal fancy wheels, aerohelmet. Pray my hamstrings don't cramp.
Without a powermeter is there any way I can get a gauge on how my bike fitness is progressing? Like what metric should I use to be able to be comfortable riding a 5-hour bike split? I do have a HRM if that'd be helpful.
Anyways - thanks for reading my self-serving manifesto. My body is also up for sale - happy to borrow/wear anyone's kit for coaching advice. (low odds but thought I'd throw it out there). All advice/criticism welcome!
Wow, this is a head scratcher. You've set up so many constraints that you will really have an uphill battle. Not even sure where to start. One big question is what AG will you be?
To successfully KQ, you need a combination of the following: time, money, smarts, luck, experience, and determination. Not all are necessarily required, but if you are lacking in more than one, it will be next to impossible. I'll expand on each and explain further.
Time: W/ only 10hrs you are seriously limiting your potential. Look at it this way: 3x 45:00 swims (2:15), 4x 1hr runs (4:00), and that leaves you 3:45 per week to bike. There is no way in god's green earth 3:45 biking per week will get you KQ. Plus, since you are so heavily run focused, you'll be running far more than the 4:00 I estimated which leaves even less time to swim and bike. As many KQ'ers and high level coaches will tell you, the key to a fast run and great overall result in an IM is great bike training and race execution on the bike. That means more, smart bike training. But time is limited. See where I'm going w/ this?
Money: This can buy you free (or cheap or expensive) speed. E.g. deep section front wheel, disk or at least a wheel cover for the rear, aero helmet, BTA drink set up, single bottle rear, aero front brake, clean cabling/wires, etc. Also means coaching, indoor trainer, gas/bus/cab costs to and from practices, better nutrition for meals, training, racing, and recovery, and on and on. Again, you don't need all of that, but the more, the better. Look at many of the KQ'ers at any WTC race, and I bet you they have nearly all those things I mention. Doesn't mean you can't get there, but odds are reducing more and more. Also, racing practice and experience. It is good you'll do an end of season 1/2, but can you do any other races for a gauge of fitness and progress? Do not bother w/ an open 1/2 or full marathon; they are different beasts and NOT the same training prep. The only exception would be if you can find a 1/2 marathon that starts mid to late morning in which you can bike (brick) before it and great race simulation.
Smarts: Sounds like you will be mostly self-coached. Very risky/dangerous endeavor for a big dream like KQ. Read every stinkin' thread on this website. But before you believe it all, take notes on who appears to be the most knowledgeable. Not who posts the most or who has the biggest signature line, but who appears to be the most credible/successful/etc at either racing or coaching or both. Smarts does NOT mean high IQ or PhD or MD, but really rather common sense. Will you be training sensibly? Will you know how to stay injury-free and if injured, what to do? Can you learn proper training, do that, and execute in (your limited) racing schedule? IM nutrition can be quite different than ultra nutrition too. You won't get to learn what AP, NP, TSS, IF, VI are...so you will have to be a disciplined student of HR in all aspects of your training.
Luck: Almost all WTC KQ events nowadays have many KQ studs that show up. Look at IMCDA this year M30-34 as an example and who was shut out and their time. My time from IMAZ in '11 (9:21, 3rd in AG, M35-39) would not have even KQ'd in '12. Their are countless other examples as well. Plus, you are hitting an earlier WTC event where there are likely to be zero roll downs at that point in the year. Also, w/ Lake Tahoe being a later summer event, you are hitting the only west coast WTC event in the 1st 7+ months of the year if you don't count CDA.
Experience: Every race, especially of similar distance, climate, etc is a learning experience. Ask anyone on here, even multi KQ'ers. Every Kona, every IM, every race I learn something (or screw something up). That's why it's so important to, if not do races, simulate races. No trainer, in Boston, w/ limited funds makes that really really tough. Find a way to simulate racing if you cannot participate.
Determination: I will give you this...at least on paper. I'd suggest holding yourself accountable in some manner. Report back here every month. Hire an "advisor" (coach w/ some exchange of services) to keep you honest. Reporting in August that you ran 300 miles is not really taking steps towards KQ. Remember, an IM is not a free, open marathon...but a difficult run after a LONG bike ride that you are racing at a goal of 21mph. I bet no more than 5-10 AG men in all WTC North American events in the last year have run 3:00 or faster. How many of them KQ'd? Probably most and it's b/c they biked a 4:40-5:00. Like others said, get that swim coach as early as possible. Also, you have to shoot for far more than 10x 100 @ whatever. You have to be able to swim 4000 straight, 4x 1000 descend 1-4, 2x 2000 for time, 10x 400 desc 1-3 (3x) and #10 all out, etc.
A good start is to set up a more definitive plan, get a good bike fit or at least show us pics, and sit down w/ your wife NOW and tell her what will really be involved. Possibly look for free online IM plans too. But remember, you are not a run of the mill, bucket lister w/ your goal. You have a goal of basically being FOP which is a very small subset of triathletes.
I hope my tone did not come across as too harsh...but honest and frank. Take this from a self-coached multi-KQ'er.
Best of luck and use the search function on these forums for a wealth of knowledge.
Sub-9 IM. Navy SeaBee deep sea diver. Can Do!