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Building a base (or are you training yet?)

December 21, 2011

When people hear that I am registered for Ironman Arizona, the first response is typically something about how insane that is. After that, a lot of people ask “so are you training yet?” And my answer is “well, sort of, yes and no.” I’m not following a specific training plan yet. That will start probably around March of next year. But I am building up my base strength and endurance.

Building a base means making sure I’m working out five or six days a week, no excuses. It means yesterday when it was cold and threatening freezing rain, I still made it in to the gym. It means keeping my workouts varied. It means yesterday I tried “rowing bootcamp” at my gym for the first time (our workout included rowing plus max reps of situps, wall ball shots, lunges, air squats, and other exercises). It means a lot of rowing and crossfit (basically a combination of high-intensity cardio, olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and other bootcamp style exercise). It actually means I’m not doing much running, swimming, or cycling right now. Some people include those in base training, but I’m not. Time enough to specialize later.

A lot of Ironman training plans are almost exclusively running, swimming, and cycling, with no weights or other work. Even though I’ll try to leave some crossfit in my training, I’ll almost surely have to cutback some to make time for all the running, swimming, and cycling I’ll need to do. So building a broad strength base now will support my specific training later. Which means “yes and no,” I’m sort of training for the Ironman already. Fortunately, I think this is the first holiday season that I have not let my training slip at all. Not a single workout.

I feel like “building a base” is like the “everything else” of being a grad student, besides writing the dissertation itself. When people ask how my dissertation is going, sometimes I might be working on a fellowship application, or reading articles, or working on a conference presentation, or teaching a class, etc. All of those other things are not directly part of the dissertation. But they are the critical base, both for the dissertation and for my future career. Without doing those other things, I could not write as strong of a dissertation, and I would not be ready for the job market. And sometimes it feels like I spend more time on the “everything else” than on the dissertation itself.

I will start a swim class in January to improve my swim technique. I’ll start increasing my running and cycling volume in the spring next year. So I’m not specifically training for the Ironman yet. But I am building a base, and that is just as important.

333 days till Ironman Arizona.


From → erg, training

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