As I crawl my way out of hibernation, I want to take one last look behind me before I move forward. Below, are the details of my Ironman Canada training plan. I designed it myself, using the knowledge of my first Ironman, the many books I've read (my favorite is Joe Friel's Triathlete Training Bible), on-line training plans, and the help of TCSD (www.triclubsandiego.org). I then use the nerdy scientist in me to concoct a very customized training plan.
Note--If you have a hard time reading the script in the Excel snapshots, click on the image and it will get bigger in its own window.
First is the proposed plan (shown below):
Note that I've only shown my longest swim, bike and run for each week. Obviously, the total volume is much more. Basically, Ironman training can be divided into 4 phases: 1 the Prep phase, preparing your body for the Ironman training. 2, the Base phase, preparing your body for the distance, and 3, the Build phase--the most intense, highest volume (and therefore the shortest overall period because of the increased danger of damaging your body). The Build phase lasts only a total of 6-8 weeks (including ~2-3 recovery weeks) and should lead into the taper (the 4th phase). The Taper is often overlooked but definitely as critical.
Below, for the first time ever, I've shown the details of my "actual" training plan. Each block of 3-4 weeks (including a recovery week) had a specific purpose. At the end of each block, I went back to my proposed plan, and compared the 2 to see if I was on track. Then, I re-designed my next block, scaling back if I had done too much volume, or bringing up a sport that needed a little attention (adding running after a bike block, etc.). For Ironman Canada, I alternated between "run specific" and "bike specific" blocks to specialize in my skills in each sport (while maintaining the swim). For those blocks, I did the specialized sport 4x/week while doing the others 2-3x/week. In retrospect, this was probably too much. For future, if I'm doing one sport 4x, I will only do the other 2 twice to avoid overtraining. Keep in mind, I do weights 2x/week throughout (3x when the volume is lower) religiously to increase core and prevent injury (this allows me to delay fatigue and maintain better form on race day).
Take a look! Half of a training plan is documenting what you're doing and evaluating your progress! Hope this helps!