Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 25 – Be Prepared

It’s easy to blow off training when life gets crazy, but the key to progress is consistency. Here’s how I’ve planned to continue training despite upcoming workshops and travel to Korea.

Click here to read other journal entries and articles by Andrew Read, and look for his new journal every Monday as he trains for Ironman Melbourne.

Journal Entry 25 – Be Prepared

When life bumps you off the wagon most people’s reaction is to just sit and wait for a little while instead of scrambling to get back on the wagon as fast as possible.

You see this all the time with diet – one bad meal becomes a day of poor eating which rapidly becomes blowing off the whole week. This is reconciled at the time with, “I’ll get back into it next week.” Next thing you know you’ve gained 5kg and haven’t eaten healthy in a month.

The same thing happens with training too. Work piles up, there are family commitments or illness. It’s easy to blow off training for a number of reasons and miss a session, but the key to progress is consistency.

This current two-week block I’m in the middle of is a great example. Right now I’m making sure that I’ve got my bag packed to head interstate tonight to run a series of workshops over the weekend. The following week I’m doing the same thing but this time in Korea. While some sessions, like running, can be done anywhere getting access to a pool or finding three or four hours to spend on a bike are just impossible. So what do you?

When I started my final plan for the Ironman I knew there would be three weekends in that time where I would not be able to train properly so the first thing I did was I added three weeks to my original twenty week plan to make it twenty-three. So lesson one is make sure to correctly count out how many weeks away from your event you are and adjust accordingly for known time off.

My plan for the extra weeks is simple: I do as much as I can before I need to leave and then repeat the week in the following week.

The second part to this is that I make sure to hit the key sessions for the week no matter what. The most important sessions of the week are the long ride/ run brick workout and the long run. My normal week looks like this:

  • Monday – Strength plus anaerobic swim intervals.
  • Tuesday – Bike anaerobic intervals.
  • Wednesday – Strength, long swim, escalating run.
  • Thursday – Longer bike intervals.
  • Friday – Strength, hard swim, easy run.
  • Saturday – Long run, easy swim.
  • Sunday – Long ride with run off bike.

But with travel plans limiting my training time on the weekend this is what I’m doing for the next two weeks:

  • Monday – As above.
  • Tuesday – As above.
  • Wednesday – As above.
  • Thursday – Long ride with run off the bike.
  • Friday – Long run, easy swim.

While I’m missing some of the sessions, I’m still sure to get both a mix of the shorter harder sessions I need to build pace and efficiency as well as the long sessions that are the real meat of the Ironman plan.

The two part lesson here is that the plan still works as long as you have prepared for these challenges early enough and you make sure to hit the key sessions for the week. With this plan taking place over the Christmas and New Year’s period people from the Northern Hemisphere could be mistaken for thinking I’d need to take time off then. But with our gym shutting for two weeks at that time and it being the middle of summer those two weeks will represent a fantastic training opportunity as well as an opportunity to get in much needed naps during the day between sessions. (Napping is quite possibly the most performance enhancing “trick” you can add into your training day).

If you miss a session, and there’s no way to recover it, just get straight back to the plan at the next session. Don’t try to make it up. It’s gone. Just go right back to where you should be and minimize the damage. If you’re really smart you’ll prepare and plan accordingly before starting your journey and actually be able to enjoy these little built-in breaks that life forces on you.

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