As the mom of twin 3-year-olds, also a single mom 4 days per week now, the biggest challenge was getting time while the girls were being minded so that I was able to get in the workouts at all. This never seemed to happen on a regular schedule, so sticking to a huge pre-planned workout schedule or coach-assigned plan seemed nearly impossible for me. From time to time I could find work-arounds, but never on a consistent week-after-week basis. So I trained when I could, and didn't train when I couldn't. I could certainly have done more on the bike trainer, but perhaps not without becoming clinically insane. So there you have it. That's my reality.
The very BEST thing that I did this year in preparing for Ironman Florida was to set minimum weekly targets for workout distances and keep track of them every single day in my sidebar.
That gave me consistency and some accountability, which I greatly needed. Because, as we all know, I'm fundamentally a sedentary slacker at heart. I'm much more inclined to blow off workouts and sleep late than get them all done and to do all that I had planned each time, week after week after week.
There were a few weeks where I didn't get in much running, a few weeks where I didn't get in much cycling, a few weeks that I didn't swim at all, a couple weeks when I was sick, and a few weeks when I didn't watch my food intake closely. But they were exceptions. The rule was no-excuses consistency in doing at the very least a minimum amount in each discipline each week.
For the 42 weeks that we have had to train so far in 2006:
- Swim goal of 1500 meters or more met: 39 out of 42 weeks (132,500 meters total, over double my 2005 52-week total)
- Bike goal of 20 miles or more met: 39 out of 42 weeks (2494 miles total, nearly triple my 2005 52-week total)
- Run goal of 10 miles or more met: 36 out of 42 weeks (627 miles total, 86% of my 2005 52-week total)
- Food log goal of 5 days or more met: 32 out of 42 weeks
Average training time per week for the first 40 weeks of 2006 (before I got sick right after Chesapeakeman and had two very, very light weeks):
- Core: 0.7 hours
- Swim: 1.9 hours
- Bike: 4.0 hours
- Run: 3.3 hours
- Total: 10.0 hours
Longer stuff for the final 18 weeks before the taper began 2 weeks pre-race:
- 3/4 Ironman distance swim goal (2900 meters or more) met: 9 out of 18 weeks
- 3/4 Ironman distance bike goal (84 miles or more) met: 7 out of 18 weeks
- 3/4 Ironman distance running goal (19.6 miles or more) met: 7 out of 18 weeks
Is it ever enough? It will have to be enough, because it's too late for me to do more without messing up my big race day. The proof is in the pudding - the Ironman Florida finish line - and the pudding won't be done for another couple of weeks.
The point is that the tracking method that I used DID help my consistency enormously and kept me focused on getting in SOME distance in each discipline every week. Training for an Ironman is just too big of a monster not to break it down into manageable bite-sized weekly portions. Maybe it's a tool that you can use too.