Preparing For Your First Ironman

By Tom Piszkin

This series was originally written in preparation for Iroman USA in Lake Pacid, NY 1999.
1: Calling All IronPeople 2: The Road To Lake Placid 3: Bring on the Power 4: Jump to Warp
5: Cruise Control 6: The Need for Speed 7: At the Crest 8: The Two Week Tweak

Cruise Control
by Tom Piszkin

This is the fifth installment in a series of articles engineered to create a 
wonderful memory engram of your Lake Placid Ironman experience. If you've 
been with me from the start, you have a good handle on:
1. Flexibility and endurance strength conditioning
2. Aerobic base building
3. Developing raw power in the weight room
4. Transforming raw power into road performance through plyometrics

Now that all these constructs are dialed in, the next phase of your 
preparation is to simply amass mileage/smart heart beats. More of your
training should be performed at your goal pace, albeit in smaller servings. 

What's my goal pace, you ask. It's the pace you want hold on race day. It
should be formulated with equal amounts of ambition and common sense. My
general recommendation is to center on a 75% heart rate effort. Whereas your
aerobic base building workouts have been ceiling-ed at 70% HR effort, with a
good taper, come race day you'll be challenged to keep your heart rate UNDER
80% of max. For now, it's time to start practicing the peace and serenity 
you hope to experience on race day.

This mental dimension is very important. At 75% HR effort, you are not so
physically taxed to be devoid of cognitive function. The solid foundation of
positive self talk you lay now will bolster your race-day performance.
Throughout your Lake Placid day, you'll want to be able to recall how fun it
was on your bike, how enjoyable it was to be running, and how pleasant and
refreshing your swims were. 

Specifically, I suggest you:
1. Bump up the intensity of your long swim, bike and run workouts to 
   75% HR while continuing the duration progression. 
2. Back off on your weight lifting to two sessions per week...consisting of 
   just one set of 20 reps of the core exercises you started with in January
3. Hold the intensity and duration of your other workouts at their current 

Not much of a change. However, this conditioning will enable you to hold 
your goal pace for the entire race, come August 15th. 

Like the title implies, May is cruise control month. Next month we'll down
shift into a speed-sharpening phase.