My Training For Ironman Philippines 2018

The first thing I knew about Ironman training is that TIME is most essential. Time to train, time to recover, time for family and friends, time to work. For the 2018 Ironman Philippines I knew that I can schedule my workouts, particularly the long ones, and still be able to handle everything else comfortably. I simply had the luxury of time.

Brompton time at Mall Of Asia


IMPH was slated on June 3, 2018 and starting on January 2018 I had on my hands some 4 plus months to get myself ready to swim 3.8K, bike 180K and run 42K in Subic Bay Freeport Zone come race day.

I divided my training into 4 main phases.

My usual swim venue

1.  General Conditioning
My last swim was some 6 months ago during a 5150 Event hence swimming is the first order of business in preparation for my upcoming National Age Group Triathlon on the last Sunday of January 2018. For 2 weeks I swam and swam and swam, biked a little, and ran a little. When NAGT 2018 arrived, surprisingly I did well on the swim leg but suffered on the bike and run. I was more than 20 minutes off of my usual finish time. It was a revelation of my current fitness form and a good barometer in planning my succeeding training going forward to IMPH.
After NAGT I had to rest my aching body. My Achilles tendon was so sore and calves were aching. I had to rest, and rest for 10 days I did. I resumed my general body conditioning with light workouts on the swim and run, and some short but serious hammering on the bike. I thought speed workouts on my bike would give me better speed early and worry with my endurance later on.

Happy feet at Subic Waterfront Road

2.  Run Phase
In the middle of February 2018 I committed to improve my running endurance. For someone who never runs long during training this was probably the hardest part for me. I ran 3 times a week and all of them LONG. I discovered myself running long and not breaking apart. I was determined to have my running legs as early as Subic Bay International Triathlon 2018 which was about 6 weeks before IMPH. My bike training was also gathering serious weekly mileage going into SuBIT 2018 but never reached a hundred kilometers in a single ride. By the time SuBIT 2018 came on April 22, with still 6 weeks to go before IMPH, my running legs felt ready for a marathon. No aches were felt after the race but the thing that really pleased me was my speed on the bike. I was and still am a slow biker but a slight bump up on my average speed was an unexpected outcome of my training. I averaged 33 kilometers per hour. This may not be fast to a lot of triathletes but it surely was above my past records.

Leisure stroll at BGC

3.  Bike Phase
With my running legs seemingly ready, I shifted my focus on my time on the saddle. I had 4 rides that went north of 100 kilometers including a 150K ride with just 12 days to go. I heard a lot of advice about getting as much as 6 rides of 150K or more before the race but never listened anyway. It might surprise anyone to know that there was not a single brick workout all throughout my training as in Nada, Zip, Wala. Leg strength workouts such as leg raise supplemented my muscle endurance training. I firmly believed that when the race comes nearer I would eventually concentrate on bike and swim workouts out of panic; this was my underlying reason behind building strong running legs earlier than most training plans would offer.

Ironman Philippines training
#notoswimming lalalalala

4.  Taper
I had 12 days of taper after a test ride of 150 kilometers on a Tuesday morning. Had massages, lots of sleep, short fast runs, long swim, short swims, short rides, and most importantly night runs to condition my body for those hours when I’ll most likely run if ever I’d be lucky enough to still be on the course at night. My final workout was a 1.2K swim at 6pm on a Thursday night before packing my gears for travel.

Solo ride on a remote barangay - rice field view from this place is refreshing

Bits and Pieces – there was a time when I was sidelined for 10 days in the middle of training due to stiff neck, and when I came back I had to use my Brompton folding bike for the rides so I’d be sitting upright. The reason for the stiff neck was my wrong use of dumbbells, talking about dumbbells and being dumb right.

This place is currently the 'Weekly Bente Bente Road Race' starting line for 2019

In hindsight, would I do it again this way? Well, if it would work on race day chances are I'd stick to it. The simplicity of the plan which beckoned to run more early on and bike more as the event nears is probably more comfortable on my fragile body. It may not suit most IM aspirants but I would definitely recommend running endurance to be at the top of the list because on race day we would all be exercising caution on the bike leg anyway no matter how fit we are on the bike.

Orbea Aqua 10 speed aluminum road bike with Dura Ace SL wheelset

On my way to Subic Bay Freeport Zone, the venue of IMPH, I can't help but feel grateful for the journey I traveled and thankful for the the people who supported me. The memories of the hills I climbed, the seas I swam, the wind I sliced, the heat I endured were all etched in my mind. It was a long one but every step taken brought me nearer to my goal. To the many, I suggest you to take up a fitness routine... to the few, I encourage you to sign up for an Ironman. 'PROMISE'... you'll love it every step of the way.

MTB on a hanging bridge near my local bike shop

Race day, June 3, 2018 is a story for another time… thank you for reading ;0

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