Can you complete/compete at the 140.6 distance w/ only 10 hrs of training per week?

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Ironman Mind

It is truly amazing how powerful the mind can be. One minute the glass is half full and then the next it is half empty. Back and forth it can go.

I am now about 1 week out from Ironman Louisville and I would be willing to bet there are several athletes out there wondering if they have 'done enough' for race day. Most do not want to admit it, but that tends to be the driving force behind each pedal stroke, swim stroke, and stride taken.

For some they will put in 40 to 60 hour weeks for this race. Some will do 20 hours. For this cat, I hit 6 hours/week from April 4 to July 30. Being a numbers person here are some relevant stats:

Swim = 17.68 hours
Bike = 51.32 hours
Run = 25.01 hours
Strength = 8.65 hours

Total = 102.66 hours / 17 weeks = 6.05 hours/week

Longest workout per mode:

Swim = 1 hr 12 min or 5200 yards (Nomad Aquatics & Fitness)
Bike = 3 hrs 40 min or 73 miles (CompuTrainer)
Run = 2 hrs 7 min or 18 miles (Highland Creek Parkway)

Longest week of training = 9 hours 43 minutes
Shortest week of training = 1 hour 46 minutes

This will be the third IM done using the "Ironman in 10" approach. Below is a roll down of those events including average training load and results:

IML 2009 = 7:54 hours/week = 10:09 finish
IMF 2010 = 7:35 hours/week = 9:49 finish
IML 2011 = 6:01 hours/week = TBD

I share these numbers simply to provide some insight on how this approach has served me.

Our minds have been trained to believe that more is better. I have been known to buy a dozen donuts and then eat em' up in about the time it takes me to run a 5K. Okay, not a good example. Most IM athletes will consider five 100 mile bike rides to be better then one. Most would lean toward 20 hours of training vs. 10 hours. I get this full well.

My point is simple. I could have trained 20 hrs/week. In fact, I could have trained 30. However, being where I am currently in life that does not fit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with 20, 30, 40 hrs of training per week. Heck, I have had the privilege to coach Meredith Dolhare who has consumed an Ironman Triplet (3 IMs in 3 weeks) this year, has Kona in her sights, and has the UK Ultraman to tackle as well in 2011 (for more on Mer check out her blog:

I get volume. I have consumed plenty of it in my 2o years of training and racing.

However, at this stage of my life I am able to tackle the bare minimum in terms of training. The "Ironman Mind" can lead you down many roads. One of those roads is the road of 'doubt'. I'll be the first to admit that I too wonder if I have done enough. Most would when eyeing 6 hrs/week of training. I know this though. If I had tried to tackle more I would have seen a whole lot less of Anne, Luke, and Grace. I would have been stretched thin in many departments and would not have been the person I wanted to be.

Two Sundays from now I will be able to test my methods yet again. I look forward to seeing where my mind will wonder. I can promise you that regardless of how the day goes down I will continue to see the glass as half full.

Train smart and think big,
Coach L


  1. Coach, it would be very cool to see your pre-race plan. Sort of how you visualize the race beforehand, and your plan for executing on race day. Good luck!

  2. Sure thing Nick. I will share some tid bits shortly.