Ironman Recovery

 

The past 2 weeks have been odd.  Post race, there's always a mix of emotions.  Having had a good day, thankfully the overriding feeling was satisfaction.  That being said, there's still a tendency to over analyse the race and focus on what didn't go so well.  There are a lot of positives to take away, but certainly I'll learn from the race and use the experience as another stepping stone moving forward.  The good thing about finishing Ironman is that I've had the opportunity to enjoy some food I wouldn't normally indulge in, namely litres of tiramisu ice cream and brownies!
After such a long race, I'm always really cautious about getting back into training, worried that overexerting myself too soon could lead to injury. When I crossed the finish line in Port Elizabeth, I was in the worst state I've ever been in at an Ironman finish.  After an hours stay in the massage tent I was able to gingerly walk around. In the process of getting food, transition bags , my bike and walking back to my accommodation, I walked for at least an hour post race.  Whilst I wasn't too happy about this at the time, it was arguably the best thing I could have done.  Combined with loading on Extreme Endurance during race week, I awoke on Monday feeling a whole lot better.  I wasn't about to go running, but I did manage a 30 minute spin in the evening - the first time I'd ever done anything active the day after an Ironman!
The first week post race was mainly just short sessions of less than an hour, all at a very easy pace.  I didn't run until the weekend, getting in 2.5 miles on Saturday and 3 miles on Sunday.  I had a slight niggle in my left foot during the week, but thankfully that seems to have gone.  During week 2 I was feeling good and ready to attack training, but I resisted, for a few days! I brought the effort on the bike up to Ironman intensity, but the run remained easy paced.  By Thursday I'd had enough of dilly-dallying around and decided to give myself a test - a FTP (functional threshold power) test! Probably not the best idea 11 days post Ironman, but I went for it.  30 minutes warm-up, 5 minutes all out, 10 minutes recovery, then 20 minutes all out, followed by a cool down.  This was the first time I'd attempted anything close to threshold watts since February in the UK.  Now, doing an indoor FTP test in the Seychelles is not very fun.  My room is hotter than outside, but hey, it's good training for the heat in Hawaii!  Despite a massive fan in my face, it was like being in a sauna.  I finished the test feeling as good as can be expected and was pleasantly surprised by the results, considering the timing and test conditions.  I'll use the figures as a baseline for the next few weeks, then repeat the testing process.  Swimming frequency has increased in the last few weeks, although the only way for frequency to go was up! Again, the sessions have been short, with a focus on technique.  
The next week and a half will remain relatively unstructured, with volume coming back up to 15-18 hours next week.  That takes us to 4 weeks post race, when the real training will begin.  That leaves a further 22 weeks until Kona.  I'll definitely be changing my approach to training slightly, specifically on the run.  Bike training will remain largely the same and hopefully I'll be able to get some swim coaching and work on my technique.