A triathlete that I’ve coached for years (one-on-one personal training, then consulting/advising him on self-coaching questions) wondered what’s next after Ironman? He told me he needs a new drug. Maybe you need one too?
USA Cycling time trials in your area?
How about long distance cycling goals? (Bike tours or long-distance events.)
Q. I ran my first marathon last weekend. I’m thrilled that I finished and I had a decent time as well. I felt pretty good the day after the race, but two days later I’m exhausted. How long will it take before I’m back to normal? Should I be running now?
A. First, congratulations on your finish! For your questions, my preference is that athletes not run the first week after a marathon or an Ironman distance race. You can walk, swim or ride a bike. Give your body a chance to heal. You can pick up the running again after a week, but keep the runs short and easy. Running on soft surfaces such as dirt, grass or a treadmill might be easier on your body. Not knowing much about you, it’s tough for me to prescribe how much running you can do the second week. Your primary goal is to recover.
How long until you’re back to “normal?” I find it usually takes four weeks to recover and feel 100 percent after a marathon or an Ironman. You can find more information on recovery time in a column I wrote awhile back.
Q. I’m a triathlete trying to improve my swimming speed in the off-season. I use your Workouts in a Binder cards when I swim on my own and I also swim with a masters group. I’ve just moved up to a new lane in my masters group and I’m struggling. The lane typically swims on a 1:40 send-off time. Yesterday we had 6 x 100 on 1:40 as the first part of the main set. I made the first three (just barely) send-offs and came in on the 1:41 on number four. Should I have just pushed off and kept swimming what would amount to a steady 300 or should I rest a 50? What is better for me?
A. As a triathlete you do need the endurance to swim long distances at a steady pace. But…too many triathletes settle for slogging it out in all the main sets in a masters swim and they end up swimming continuously. If you are going to improve speed, over a long distance, you need both endurance workouts (working on continuous swimming or broken swims with minimal rest) and workouts intended to increase the speed you can average during long swims (these are sets where you get rest and swim a faster average pace).
So, the answer to the question of “What is better for me?” depends on what you’ve been doing in training and what you need to improve. If you’ve been doing long, continuous swims or broken swims with little rest – sit out a 50 and aim to keep the speed high during these sets. If you’ve been doing a good number of broken swims with plenty of rest, go ahead and aim to finish the main set even if you’re dangling at the end of the lane and doing a continuous swim.