By Fred Maggiore

Part III - Committed

At this point there was nothing left holding me back from committing to my first Ironman. All my friends had declined my offer to join in the fun, and even the specter of racing to honor our departed friend and training partner, Steve Issaris, couldn't shake anyone loose. I know that in my heart I would have trained with and raced my first Ironman triathlon with Steve, so through all this he had been in my mind, offering inspiration and motivation. I signed up, gave them my cash, I was fully committed; now I just needed a training plan.

Using the book, Training Long, by Gordon Byrne and Joel Friel as a guide to building a training plan, I applied my marathon run training regime to the "run week", and my Vineman training to the two "bike weeks". Adding a recovery week, I created a four week cycle that would build on itself, four times, to race day, followed by a two week taper. I reviewed my plan with Mike Swan, and developed a program that I will use for every long distance race I train for from now on.

The first two training cycles were hard, very hard, as I struggled with the bike all the time, never as good as I wanted to be, getting dropped by the 7AM group, riding my own pace to finish the rides. But, when I started to do some runs off the bike, having ridden 4-5 hours, I wasn't that sore from riding and my pace was not that slow to start. It would eventually beat my marathon pace, how can that be? Plus, my heartrate was low, very low, and I could keep it there if I tried; wow, my running base and tempo were still there from the marathon!

After twelve weeks, I could finish a long workout and feel just very tired instead of totally beat up. The last three long weekends would be grueling: an 8.5 hour double brick (a 60 mile ride, 8 mile run, 40 mile ride, 8 mile run), my last long run, a 20 miler, and then the last long weekend, a 6.5 hour bike with a 30 minute run. I'd have one last recovery week, then a two week taper, to get ready for our trip to New Zealand, and hopefully acclimate to the time change and weather.