BEST RACE OF MY LIFE? You bet! Chasing a sub 12 hour ironman finish at my first Ironman in Mont-Tremblant 2013
Apparently there is a method to my Ironman Training madness: It’s called “Functional Over-Reaching” and it’s part of the reason I broke a 12 hour Ironman on my first attempt, with only 3-months of dedicated triathlon training. Sound impossible? Read on…
My general training strategy for triathlons is as follows: I procrastinate as long as possible…and try to do the least amount of total work as possible. No, I am not joking. I just am not your typical triathlete. In fact, based on my performance at sports in school, I am no type athlete what-so-ever. Getting picked last on the team for almost any sport I ever played helped clarify this reality. But what I lacked in talent I made up for in training. And when it comes to the Ironman Triathlon, its the training that matters most.
But I am not one of those crazy fitness nuts who loves to train. I love things like chocolate ice cream, and sitting on a deserted beach in my underwear drinking beer. What I cut in volume I more than make up for with intensity – and that part always hurts more.
In college I completed in my first Half Ironman race on the notoriously challenging Wildflower course near San Luis Obispo, California. I finished in a time of 5 hours and 14 mins after only 30-days of serious training. Possible, yes. Free, no.Those were the hardest 30 days of my life. and I had to battle my way through a number of near-mental breakdowns before I even got to the starting line. But in the end that is what prepared me for such a great performance. Crazy? Perhaps. But endurance sports tend to favor the crazy people. Thank goodness for that!
But more than crazy, here is something truly interesting: according to an article on Reacegrader.com, my approach resembles a training tactic some coaches call “functional overreaching”— a practice that forces your body to adapt and build fitness more quickly than the slow-and-steady approach.
So while it may, in fact, be possible to procrastinate and cut training volume at the same time… it will not be painless. personally, I find that high-Intensity training is much more demanding, both mentally and physically, than volume training. Sure it’s much quicker. But it’s much, much harder. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. In the end. there are no true shortcuts in Ironman training. Peak performance always has a price.
Could “Functional Over-Reaching” be the key to your next performance breakthrough? Or breaking a sub – 12 hour Ironman in your first race? You will never know until you try!