I KNOW this current training build went as well as it did because of my consistency of training this year. My coach has done an exceptional job preparing me for this time period and my race to come. No surprise there... that's why I keep him around !!! I also know that part of success is due to my (intentionally) having less on my plate overall: less stress + more sleep = happier healthier Kristen. I seem to have achieved a good rhythm and balance with things and am very much thankful of such. That said, everything about this year has very much been about a team effort and I am filled with gratitude for everyone that has offered their support and encouragement this year.
Peak Training Weeks
While I can't offer you a play by play of my peak training, I will say it offered up everything I expected in terms of challenge, fun and a roller coaster of emotions to top it off. That's ironman training for you!
Swim: Swimming lately has been phenomenal. Coming from the girl that used to hate swimming/the water: I am a happy, happy fish ! Lately it's been more longer endurance intervals and swims and then the whole get reacquainted with my wetsuit thing. Luckily it still fits, though definitely thinking next season it's time to invest in a new one.
Bike: This year I had the pleasure of enduring two rides > IM distance (120 miles, 115 miles). I say endure because as much as I love my "more miles, more smiles" outlook, these rides were mentally challenging to the max and I can't attest to maintaining a positive outlook throughout. While the word "quit" does not really exist in my vocabulary, I definitely was wishing it did at times during these rides. That said, grueling training days like these are the ones that help me to realize that I cannot accomplish any of this on my own, a humbling reminder before race day. My strength will only bring me so far and I must rely on my faith and my God to make up the difference.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- Philippians 4:13
Run: In ways I feel more fit than years past, and in other ways about the same. I know my running prep this year has been much greater than last year due to my injury. I think the majority of the "???" is mainly due to the heat and humidity we've experienced this summer that has made most runs feel much harder. I peaked out at 22 miles in what was a lovely, FLAT somewhat cooler-ish long run on the New River Trail a few weeks ago. During this run I finally (I think) nailed down my race day nutrition plan and afterward I enjoyed a lovely picnic and stretching session by the New River!
In regards to race day prep, I've been crossing my t's and dotting my i's and trying to accomplish as much as possible early on. A few weeks ago I picked up some clear plastic bins which I've been using since to organize my race gear. I'd say at this point I'm already 70% packed in that regard. Last week I printed the Ironman Louisville Athlete Guide and placed it in a binder along with my race strategy notes from a meeting with coach Jim a few weeks back. I also have been typing up notes/reminders for each leg of the race as a mental rehearsal of sorts... because I'm strange like that. YES race days like these definitely bring out the type A in me!
My bike is currently getting it's last major tune-up and I'm excited to be rocking race wheels for the first time. I've been training on them for several weeks now to ensure a high level of comfort in the difference in feel. I'm thankful to have a quality, trustworthy bike mechanic whom I can literally tell "do with it what you think is best and I won't touch it before race day." Seriously that is a huge weight lifted off my list of concerns! My race day attire is set, now finally embellished with my coach's logo, though I'm still awaiting a larger pair of tri shorts since I've outgrown my current pair in the quads.
In terms of things to do:
DREAM BIG. WORK HARD.
NEVER STOP BELIEVING THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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