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Half ironman training

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  • Half ironman training

    After years of 'chronic cardio' - a lot of endurance exercise; I finally realised what it appears other people were quicker than me to realise - that it doesn't help me burn fat! In fact I think I've put on about 15 pounds whilst exercising a lot. So I discovered the paleo/primal approach about 6 weeks ago and have been giving it a go. After a few weeks of struggling with very low energy, I now feel better.
    My problem is, before discovering primal, I entered a half-ironman triathlon which is in September. I'm still really keen to do it, but want to stay primal if I can, and lose fat whilst training for it. So what are other people's experiences of training for events like this while staying primal?
    My plan is something like this:
    Crossfit 2 - 3 x week (I've just signed up for the intro course, start on Monday)
    Swimming - open water swim of approximately 30 min 1 x weekly; pool swim 1 - 2 x weekly (at heartrate under 140)
    Brick cycling/run session - 1 x weekly - the aim is to do this very slow, try to keep my heartrate down to avoid 'chronic cardio'
    interval session 1 - 2 x weekly (either bike or run)

    So my questions - is this enough training to complete a half-ironman? All the triathlon training plans involve a lot more hard sessions;
    Can I lose weight whilst doing this - I would like to lose about 20 pounds by the half-ironman?
    How do I fuel the exercise sessions and still lose fat?

    Any thoughts much appreciated

  • #2
    I could have written exactly the same post 3 months ago!!

    I've entered two half IMs this year, one in Aug and one in September, my training is:
    - lots of slow bikes, up to four hours at < 70% max
    - one long slow run / week, 70-90 mins at <75 or 80% max
    - one short sprint run / fortnight, normally straight after a long bike.
    - one hard bike / fortnight, normally 2 x 20mins or a 10 mile time trial
    - one steady swim a week, 45 minutes or so with a few faster lengths at the end. Nearer the race i'll do one or two hard swim sessions, at the moment I'm just making sure I can stay comfy for 45 mins.
    - one 'bodyweight' session a week, with pullups, pressups etc as per the book.

    I'm eating as primal as possible, the only time I cant do it is on the long bikes where I need an energy bar every couple of hours and eat some carbs when I get home (potato, normally). I've lost about 25lbs since the start of March which has done a massive amount for my cycling. I've found that by staying away from the kind of session I used to do (3 hours, as hard as possible), I dont need to eat the huge meals I used to.

    I'm quicker than I was last year too, probably partly because i'm lighter! Good luck


    • #3
      i'm doing my first HIM of the year on 6/12. i have 2 more this year in september in october, all in preparation for IM lake placid 2012. i started a primal diet in April and it hasnt really affected my training, aside from the fact that i have lost body fat while maintaining relatively consistent weight which has made me faster. I eat primal and supplement w/ hammer products during longer training only, which is basically only on weekends. i keep my workouts to 1hr or less during the week (although i sometimes do 2/day), so i dont need the carbs. i use a little gel and water for workouts between 1 to 2 hours and perpetuem for anything over 2 hrs (a little more than 1/2 the recommended dosage for someone my body weight per hour). I've found that since going primal, i really feel the jolt of energy to my system when i take the gels or drinks.

      here's a sample of a typical build period week for me:
      monday - off
      tuesday - am: body weight strength session followed by 45 minutes slow strides and sprints at the end (~1 hr total)
      pm: 1 hr easy cycling (usually on the stationary trainer)
      wednesday - 1 hr swim (either drills/repeats or just slow steady distance)
      thursday - about the same as tuesday
      friday - about the same as wednesday
      saturday - long brick (anywhere from 2 to 4 hours on the bike, followed by 5k to 10k run). on the bike i work in some hills, high cadence intervals, and sprints with long recovery intervals in between. i usually push the runs pretty hard, touching threshold HR for a fraction of the distance.
      sunday - open water swim, usually race distance at an easy pace or a long base building run (~1.5 hrs; HR zone 2)

      good luck training, just remeber its supposed to be fun. if its not, back off. i find most of the formal training plans are way too exhaustive for anyone with a job, family, life, etc. i've fallen into my routine from a few years trial and error and bastardizing training plans that i've purchased or have been given to me. my weekly time committment seems to be at about 75% of the recommended training time/volume from a low level intermediate HIM plan.

      Almost forgot the most important thing - i train in cycles of 3 weeks on followed by a full week recovery, no exceptions. i do some light workouts or nothing at all during the off weeks and love it. its the only way i can train consistently over the course of the year. December is also a zero month to recharge and recover.