It’s hard to believe that in less than a week I will be headed to the Big Island of Hawaii for the Ultraman World Championships. I feel fortunate to be taking on this race for the 3rd year in a row.
I’m in that state where I feel like I was just saying “Eight weeks to go? That’s so far away, I have plenty of time.” But as I sit here in the middle of packing with all my gear spread out in front of me (clothes, race clothes, shoes, spare shoes, water bottles, first aid kit, nutrition, wetsuit, goggles, spare goggles, etc. etc. etc. – the logistics of this race are almost as much of a killer as the distances!) and the weather outside is cold, wet, and gray, I really can’t believe this race is happening in less than 2 weeks. Have I done enough? Am I ready? If you talk to anyone doing this event, I don’t think you ever really feel ready for something like this.
It’s also the point where everyone else is smart ass and on a daily basis I get asked at least one of the following:
“How many hours are you swimming today? Eight?”
“Did you ride your bike here?”
“Are you running somewhere after this?”
It’s getting old people, come at me with something better than that!
On a serious note, the most frequent question I am asked is something like “Jeez, this is almost 2.5 times longer than an Ironman, how do you find time to train that much?” I usually tell people that it requires no more training than for an Ironman distance race. And then later in the conversation, I usually hear something like “ooh, oh! It’s split up into 3 days?” Suggesting that because you have time to sleep between stages, swimming 6.2 miles, biking 260, and running 52.4 is now easy. I would argue that it makes it harder.
Let me explain the training. I use this concept of stacking – where you do very large volumes of the same discipline on back-to-back or even back-to-back-to-back days and then give yourself a day or 2 off to recover (recovery is super important here). Of course you can’t get away with something like this unless you have a really good base – so I will only do stacking for the last 2 months of training. Most Ironman training plans are based on a 7 day schedule, but my Ultraman stacking rotation is 10 days.
Here’s what this year’s two biggest rotations included:
Day 1 Swim 2.5 hours
Day 2 Bike 3 hours
Day 3 Bike 5 hours
Day 4 Bike 4 hours
Day 5 Off
Day 6 Run 2 hours
Day 7 Run 4 hours
Day 8 Run 3 hours
Day 9 Off
Day 10 Off
Day 1 Swim 3 hours
Day 2 Off
Day 3 Bike 7 hours
Day 4 Bike 5 hours
Day 5 Bike 5 hours
Day 6 Off
Day 7 Off
Day 8 Run 2 hours
Day 9 Run 2 hours
Day 10 Off
So yes, for these 20 days, the training is my job. Trying to get this volume in with the rest of life happening… well, it’s been tough. But I think I’ve done a great job of holding it together and I feel strong.
I’m off in 5 days, get ready for an annoying amount of Facebook updates and tweets!