Training Check-in: Ironman Weeks 3 & 4

traning checkin Mdot134

Happy hump day! This week has just flown by. I’d hoped to get this post up on Monday, but you now how it is.

So weeks 3 & 4 of Ironman training are in the books! Boy, what a crazy couple of weeks that was! I don’t know what was wrong with me. I slept in more than I should and I just felt generally drained. It wasn’t really fatigue from over work either. It was that yucky kind of tired where your workouts feel harder, but they’re not….and then you’re yawning constantly.


I went to see my doctor before training ever started to get his blessing to begin training. (You can never be too safe when starting a training plan like this) I really just wanted to get a base line in case things start to go awry deeper into my training plan. I can always go back to my doctor and compare to my base line. Anyway, I went to see him and he recommended that I start a prenatal vitamin to keep my iron levels up as my blood work showed it was a tad low. I’m thinking this may be the cause of my fatigue. I sat down in week 3 and really tried to evaluate my diet to see what changes I could make and attempt to raise my energy levels. I was really suprised how much difference it made, especially after I started taking the supplements.
Here is the break down of the last two weeks:


Week 3

Monday – Rest day

Two-a-day-Tuesday: 1600m swim & 30 min run
I just couldn’t get up for my swim. I slept in until about 5:45am that morning, but still made it to the gym. My overall swim was horrible. I felt so slow in the pool and my arms were just so tired and heavy. I was only able to finish 1450m of the 1600m swim. I averaged a 2:29/100m pace which really shows something was off. The rest of the day I felt like I was being pulled to the ground by iron chains. I just didn’t have any strength. I managed to drag myself to the gym for my second workout of the day during my lunch break. It was awful as well. My heart rate spiked and I only made it 2.29 miles in my allotted 30 minutes. That’s a speedy 13:08 min/mile pace.

Wednesday – 30 minute trainer ride
I opted to sleep in again on Wednesday since Tuesday was so tuff. I figured I hadn’t recovered enough from the previous week and needed some extra rest. I took a spin class on my lunch break which left me feeling refreshed. I took it easy and tried to stay in Z2 and managed to have a little fun while I was at it.

Thursday – 30 minute trainer ride
Repeat of Wednesday. Instead of a spin class I did an easy ride in Z2, nothing fancy just focused on cadence/speed. Felt pretty good as the day went on. I seemed to be getting a little bit of energy back.

Friday – (two-a day-Friday) 1600m swim & 30 min run
The last few Fridays have also been two-a-day workouts although, I haven’t been doing the second workout of the day. In my last check-in I mentioned my local gym had been closed for renovations and it made it so difficult to get all  my workouts in. This week I was determined to get every single workout done! I woke up early Friday morning and got my swim done, I manged to get the full 1600m swim done with a 2:20/100m pace (getting closer to normal). I went home, showered, got dressed for the day and even packed my gym bag for a lunch run. Unfortunately, work got in the way I wasn’t able to take a lunch break and go run like I’d hoped. There goes my goal for the week!


Saturday – 30 min trainer ride
I woke up at the butt crack of dawn on Saturday to get my trainer ride done. We planned to take the kids hiking that morning so I wanted to get my ride done early enough so that we weren’t hiking in the heat. Mission accomplished! I was done by 9am and my ride felt great. We took the kids hiking for about an hour and a half and then my day went south. I’m not sure what happened, but my energy levels took a nose dive again! I was eating well and staying hydrated, but I felt like I was being pulled to the ground by those chains again. Its such and odd feeling! Went home for lunch and then headed to my brother-in-laws to check out his new farm. Luckily I was able to relax and rest out in the country for the day.

Sunday- 30 min run
I woke up Sunday feeling like I never went to sleep. I knew something was really wrong with me. I took the day off and skipped my workout. I spent this time evaluating my dietary intake and creating a meal plan for the week ahead. I went on a shopping haul and packed my pantry with energy & iron rich foods. I knew if week 4 was going to be a success, I needed to get back down to business. I started taking the vitamin my doctor recommended and prepped my meals for the week.


Week 4

Monday – rest day
Even though I took Sunday off, I let myself have Monday off as scheduled. I took my vitamin and was sure to eat well, stay hydrated and go to bed on time.

Two-a-day Tuesday – 1600m swim & 30 min run
back at the pool! Things felt great! I spent a little time doing some drills and then smashed out my main set. I could really tell my energy was high. I ate a good breakfast and took my vitamin. Later that day I headed out on a run on my lunch break only to, once again, be defeated by a high heart rate. This time I ran a 13:59 min/mile pace in order to stay in Z2 for the full 30 minute run. I practically had a breakdown after my run. I’ve been running in Z2 since late May and even in the dead heat of Texas summer, I was able to run faster than that while in Z2. Something is just not working for me. I decided to make some changes to my training plan. Going forward, I will be incorporating speed work even though my plan doesn’t call for it for another few weeks. Hopefully, the changes in my diet and the addition of my vitamins will also help bring that heart rate down as well as things begin to balance out.

Wednesday – 30 min trainer ride
Another spin class – I always have so much fun doing these. I know as the weeks pass I will have longer rides on the schedule and wont be able to continue doing these lunch spin classes but for now, they are really a treat as I find myself struggling emotionally on other days.

Thursday – 30 min trainer ride
Repeat of Wednesday – focused on cadence and speed

Friday – (two-a-day) take two!
Woke up early for my swim, felt GREAT! I’ve been taking my vitamins all week, ate great, slept like I was supposed to and it payed off! I did the full 1600m swim with an average 2:17min/100m pace. Felt so stinking awesome. I came home from the gym that morning, ate a good breakfast and packed my bag for a lunch run. The day was a bit stressful and I almost missed my run, but I was determined this time around. I decided to just run for a change. I set my Garmin and then never looked back down at it. I just ran and I needed it too. I was all over Z3 and Z4 the entire run, but I didnt care. I averaged a 9:46min/mile pace and I loved it. Good to know I can still run a bit fast if I want to.


Saturday – 30 minute trainer ride.
Oh. My. Gosh woke up Saturday with sore legs. I guess apparently 6 months of Z2 training makes for weak legs because my run Friday torched my legs. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but its true. This is all the more reason I want to begin incorporating speed work into my weekly plan. The purpose of the first 10 weeks of my plan is to build an aerobic base, but I have been doing that for 6 months. I’m going with my gut on this one…..and keeping my sanity. I used Saturdays ride as a bit of a shake out. Took it easy and just rode.

Sunday – 30 minute run
The weather has been cooling off a lot more here in Texas and it was a bit of a chilly run. It was refreshing to be honest. My heart rate seemed to be doing better. I found myself running in Z1, which is rare sight for me. After the halfway point in my run, I started reaching the upper limit of Z2 and was forced to slow down. I averaged a 12:43min/mile pace. Not the best pace ever, but still happy with it. Especially since I was able to run a while in Z1/Z2.

Well, like I said, its been an interesting couple of weeks. I think the introduction of the vitamin is really helping. As a nutritionist I really don’t like to admit that MY dietary intake is lacking, but the truth is, it has been. My iron levels have been low and my energy levels were even lower. Last week I focused on it and I was able to see improvement which tells me that I need to keep my head in the game and make sure I’m eating well and taking my supplements. Week 5 will be my last week of 30 minute workouts. My weekend rides and runs will start building in duration and I will begin brick workouts weekly. Things only go up from here so I know I need to stay focused. Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to keep your nutritional goals in check? Be sure to share them with me in the comments below. I know I need all the extra motivation I can get right now!

Happy Running,

Priscilla Askew, NDTR

Hi I’m Priscilla! Nutritionist, USA triathlon & RRCA run coach, fitness enthusiast, foodie, and owner of Askew Nutrition & Fitness.

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