IM Training and Racing 2020

It’s been nearly 4 months since my last post and I’m 4 weeks away from what should have been IRONMAN St. George. Under my normal preparations this week would have been my Big Day Out. (3.8k swim test, 5hr ride, 2hr run at IM Race pace). But we know COVID-19 has hit and IRONMAN St. George has been moved to September 19, 2020; I am 23 weeks out. Additionally, I’m 11 weeks out from what would have been IRONMAN Ireland but that was just rescheduled today with date TBD, (hoping it’s deferred to 2021). I’ll attempt this entry cap at 1,000 words. I’ll describe my training approach this season and what I’ve been up to.

Alcohol & Food

This season my plan was to #Waitfortheguiness challenge. An idea on Facebook I created which would see me not consume any alcohol starting on New Years Eve and lasting more than 6 months till June 21, 2020 in the land of my ancestors; County Cork, Ireland. I made it till last week March 27 when Fiona and I had our first drink on a training camp at Picacho State Park (Half way between Tucson and Phoenix). The first was a Guiness, Champagne, Wine, rounding up with some Scotch Sunday. I’ve also been 95% vegan. (just a rough estimate based on not buying any meat/milk/eggs/yoghurt/ice cream for home but eating meat and fish occasionally when going out to dinner as well as free food at work. Additionally, I’ve trained on average 17.8hrs per week for 13 weeks. The results are a weight loss from 184 pounds to 176 pounds which is the lowest I have weighed in since Freshman year of high school in 1998, 22 years ago and 7% body fat.

I am super excited about my weight loss and how fit I am looking. I know the alcohol helped probably with 2 of those pounds and the training with another 2 of those pounds but the extra 4 pounds is from one answer, the answer that I found when I gained 10 pounds on a cruise in 1 week back in 2008 and what changed my life. The answer to that question 34 pounds ago is RUNNING. Running is all you need.

Training

Ok so New Years I was on a cruise and got very sick for several days. So I took 5 days off and then built back into training. I’ve been self coached pretty much my entire triathlon journey using Joe Friel’s Your Best Triathlon as the basis for my plan for around 5 years. But this season I wanted to drastically improve my run. So I based the entire season around the Hansons Marathon Method book which would increase my mileage drastically from a maximum of 46.4 miles in one week on my way to my Kona Qualifier at Ironman Arizona 2018 and a 43 mile max week leading into Kona, to 61 miles so far in a max week that I hit 4 weeks ago. While the Ultimate Goal of 2020 is to finally break that illustrious 3 hour mark in an out-right marathon, I’ve subconsciously believed that starting early and building up my volume, I would get there in my 2 chances this year: October Wineglass Marathon where I went 3:08 in 2009 setting a BQ, and the Tucson Marathon (as a backup). I’m going against what most coaches advocate, instead now altering my approach to believe that If I want to get to the Ironman Marathon time of 3:20-3:30 again, I’ll have to drastically increase my volume, 1, and quality 2.

Swimming in the Oro Valley the day I saw Eric Lagerstrom and Paula Findlay

Caterpillar Dash 5K Race

Living in the shadow of the Copper Mines in Sahuarita, Arizona, Fiona saw an advert for a 5K race at a Caterpillar Proving Ground. So we ventured up and had an amazing time on a dirt and hilly course surrounded my multi-million dollar pieces of equipment. Opening mile 6:28 down hill, 7:00 around a bend with up and down, 7:32 finishing mile to finish in 21:57. I won the M35-39 A/G and was 4th out of a 100+. I won an amazing little 3D printed Cat which was the coolest award I’ve received in a while. This time was terrible for me but the course was tough. I had been training based off of 3:15-3:20 marathon fitness from Hansons book based off of a 1:33 half on 12/15/19 and using the VDOT Calculators online. Fiona also won her age group and also got the 3D printed Cat while wrapping up her studies as a Physical Therapist.

I am 6′ tall

Shamrock Half Marathon

This was the test on the same exact course 4 months later and I improved 4 minutes to 1:29:34 and not terribly far off my PB of 1:27 with only 10 weeks of training. I went out and behind with some super-fast 1:15 finishers and went 20:30 for the first 5K with some tail wind and slight down hill on the Loop River Path in Marana, AZ. I held a strong Sub-Threshold HR of 143 and was strong and consistent taking 2nd in my A/G. I was now in 3:06 marathon shape according to the VDOT Calculator at runsmartproject.com/calculator and then increased my training zones to accommodate the increased fitness levels.

FTP

In terms of the bike, I held 333 watts up Madera Canyon, only 8 minutes shy of my PB of 341. I accomplished this by doing a work out I like to call “The Peaks”. I basically look at my TrainingPeaks for 2020 and try and Beat 5, 10, 20, 60, and 90min Power PB’s. I hadn’t done many intervals in reality.

Bike

I have only ridden out a handful of times but over the last several weeks I did a 69mile ride up Mt Lemmon working on setting my own PB which was 4hr20min total, a 133mile loop of Tucson mostly on The Loop, a 105mile trip from Picacho to Oro Valley R/T, and last Saturday a 126mile trip to Sonoita.

Mt Lemmon via SNOW

Closing

I’ll finish this now because I’m crossing 1,000 words. All I can advise is that of any year, this is the year to STEP UP. I’ve done this in my running and I’m closing on in being in the best shape I have been in, ever. Remember, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and especially in this world and whats going on now, live like everyday is your last. 

Let me know if you liked this Report; I could easily have written another thousand words. Whatever feedback I get will determine the next post.

Kevin Coyle

Got my Kona tattoo at the start of the season before I needed to really pick up swimming.

Pre 19:56 5K as part of VR1 (Virtual Race #1)

BEFORE: January 4, 2020 Wayne, NJ 184ish pounds

AFTER: March 20, 2020 in our Training Room 173 pounds post 12mile run at 7:53/mile

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