IRONMAN training calls to mind a lot of things: long days of grinding on long rides or long runs or long rides followed by long runs, early bed times for early mornings at the pool, jam packed weekends of training, and of course weight gain. Wait, weight gain? That's right, weight gain. I know this from experience.
Before I started training for IRONMAN I didn't believe you could workout 15-20 hours per week and gain weight. But since IRONMAN races last all day long, one of the biggest challenges for an athlete is being able to take in and digest a days worth of nutrition while cycling and running.
Like all other facets of IRONMAN, this requires training. So unlike marathon training where I finish my workouts in a calorie deficit and once or twice a week in a large calorie deficit, I finished a lot of my IRONMAN workouts in a negligible deficit and I was always eating either in preparation for a workout or for recovery from a workout.
All that being said. I am up about 8 or 9 lbs from where I was when I started training for IRONMAN Louisville in May and about 12 lbs from my racing weight when I PR'ed the marathon in November or 2014.
Below are a couple of pictures that illustrate and where I need to get to and where I am. The first picture is right after my marathon PR at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2014 and the second picture is me before the same race just a couple of weeks ago.
Understand, this is not about body image. I have no problem with my current weight or the way I look. This is about performance and going after a big goal and doing the things it take to achieve that goal.
After all, my first goal for 2018 is a half-marathon PR. My current PR is no joke and this is a huge goal. I weighed in at 132 on race morning the day of my half-marathon PR which is a good 8-10 lbs from where I stand today. I was literally in the best shape of my life and I ran "outside of myself" meaning that I ran about a minute faster than I believe I was capable of. Even today, I still shake my head and wonder how I did it, you can read that race report here if you are interested. In order to beat that PR I'm going to have to really commit in several areas.
One of those areas will be to get back down to racing weight. It's a simple physics problem; the less weight I have to propel the faster I can propel it with a given force. Weight above racing weight costs a runner generically 2 seconds per mile. I'm not sure I buy that completely but I'll buy 1 second per mile. If I stay at my current weight, that could cost me over 2 minutes and with such a big goal, I need all the help I can get. So I am currently in weight loss mode.
I have about 3 weeks to make a really good run at dropping some weight during which I hope to get a head start by losing 4-5 lbs. Once my training plan starts, I plan to carry that momentum thru to finish off the weight loss at a reduced rate up to race day (3/24/2018). In order to accomplish that, I am not doing any designer or named diets. I'm simply refocusing on eating good foods at the right times for the right reasons. Food is fuel and whole foods are the best and 3 meals a day are a good way to divide it up.
I am really excited about this up coming training cycle and seeing just how fast I can get. It'll take hard work on the roads and focus at the dining table and I'm ready get at it.