Overcoming an Injury While Training For IRONMAN

overcoming

There’s no easy way to put it. Dealing with an injury sucks. Especially when you are training for an event such as IRONMAN.

Backstory: I am training for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene which is in June of this year. I signed up for a spring marathon to try and qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon. Long story short, I was diagnosed with a stress reaction in my 3rd metatarsal. A stress reaction is the precursor to a stress fracture, when the bone is very weak and agitated. Im out 4-6 weeks from running, but I’m motivated to make it back stronger and better then ever.

I recently read an article on Active.com about dealing with an injury. Based off the article here are the 5 stages of overcoming an injury along with my experience and narratives dealing with each stage.

Stage 1: Denial.

Listen to your body. At the first sign of a potential injury, be smart and back off

Stress Reaction Triathlon Injury | Ironman Injuries

MRI of stress reaction

My training was going great! I was all bundled up to do my 2nd 20-miler out on the snowy bike trails of Madison, WI. I was about 7 miles in when I had a sharp pain in my foot. This pain quicky increased over a 1/2 mile stretch to the point where even walking on my foot caused severe pain. After a few days of hobbling around I went to a Chiropractic/Running Specialist. They diagnosed it as muscle soreness and inflammation between the bones of my metatarsals. Over the course of the next 2 weeks I tried to run on it a few times, at one point doing a 10 miler with sharp pain almost the whole time. I was in denial. Finally I got an MRI and was diagnosed with a stress reaction. Sentenced to 4-6 weeks in a walking boot with crutches for the first week or so.


Stage 2: Anger.

Be angry for a few days, then look forward. Set rehab goals so you can celebrate small successes.

Ironman training bike ride

Enjoying my time on the bike

My marathon was 2 weeks away and I didn’t want to admit to myself I was going to miss it. I wanted to qualify for Boston so bad which I knew could do if only I was healthy. I became upset. Upset at my foot, upset at the first doctors who mis-diagnosed my injury, upset with people trying to support me, just upset at the world. It took me awhile to get over my anger, it wasn’t until even the day before my marathon that I finally admitted it wasn’t possible to run.


Stage 3: Bargaining.

Taking action to fix your problem is good, but don’t go overboard.

Bone Stimulator

Using my bone stimulator to help speed up recovery

I didn’t want to waste any of my fitness with my foot being injured, so in the first few weeks on my injury I was trying to compensate my lack of running by doing workouts on the elliptical. There was pain at times, which was a sign I shouldn’t continue. I was trying too hard to fix my problem. Rest was going to be the key. My coach and I started to develop a plan to take my training in a new direction. Our plan was to hammer the bike and the swim (which luckily I was still able to do with no pain). I’ve taken steps to help the process heal faster. These include eating a more protein rich diet, taking supplements (Vitamin D and Calcium), using a bone stimulator (thank you so much Kendra!), and staying off my foot as much as possible.


Stage 4: Depression.

Fill your newfound downtime with other activities that help fill the void of running. Schedule time consuming sports you enjoy but can’t fit in when you’re training.

Not letting this injury slow me down.

Not letting this injury slow me down.

Not being able to run really put me into a funk. I lost motivation for a lot of other things in my life. I would rather lay around and feel sorry for myself than do anything else. Running gives me such a rush of emotions and a high after completing hard and intense workouts. I missed that feeling. I’ve learned that I need to stay active and involve myself with other people. I’ve started to take advantage of my extra free time by trying to make more plans with friends, work more, and get things done around the house. Finding new hobbies or activities is a great way to keep your mind off the injury.


Stage 5: Acceptance.

Coming to this mindset is critical to recovery. Research shows a direct relationship between stress and injury. Anxiety can cause muscle tension and suppress immune function, which can delay how quickly you get better. In this stage, you have a peaceful mindset that encourages healing.

Making the best of an injury by relaxing in Phoenix

Making the best of an injury by relaxing in Phoenix

I’ve fully accepting my injury. I am trying to remain as positive about the situation as possible. For example, this injury has allowed to me focus a ton on the bike. If I would have run the marathon, my legs would have not fully recovered for 3-4 weeks anyways. This injury has given me the chance to really step up my game on the bike and impress some people on race day. Having positive support in your life is crucial as well. I am blessed to have great friends, family and a supportive girlfriend to keep me going.


Some people may read this post and not understand how a small injury like this could have such an impact on someone, but I think if you are really invested in the sport or have a passion like I do, this may ring true to some. Here’s to hoping for a quick recovery! Thank you all for reading and I’m excited to get back out on the trails in a few weeks!

Also, huge congrats to my girlfriend on running her first half marathon! 1:46 and change. Awesome job.

allison finish

Improving Yourself: One Day at a Time

IRONMAN Improvements

im·prove·ment

noun \im-ˈprüv-mənt\

: the act of improving something : the act or process of making something better
: the quality of being better than before

Whether big or small, any improvement is something to be proud of. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a one-day at a time approach. I’ve taken this mentality to heart during my training leading up to IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene. I’ve been able to look at the training as a whole and realize that I can’t accomplish all my goals today, it is best to stick to the plan and stayed motivated. I’ve been training for a few months now and here are my improvements so far.


SWIMMING IMPROVEMENTS: The swim has always been the love/hate discipline for me. Yes, I was a swimmer in high school, but I was a sprinter. I swam 50 and 100 yards at a time, not 4,200 yds (2.4 miles). My swim times at IRONMAN have stayed consistent each of the 3 times I’ve competed (1:06: 1:07, & 1:07). I’ve never really ‘raced’ an IRONMAN swim, just went out and survived. This year I’m looking to change that and really put in a good effort on my swim (closer to 1hr).

Nov 1st Swim Test (3 x 300yds with :20 sec rest between each)

1st 300 – 4:09
2nd 300 - 4:22
3rd 300 – 4:19

Jan 8th Swim Test (3 x 300yds with :20 sec rest between each)

1st 300 - 3:35
2nd 300 – 3:51
3rd 300 – 3:55

Improvement: In total my average dropped from a 1:26/yds to a 1:16/100yds. Dropped about 1:30 total.

BIKING IMPROVEMENTS: I haven’t been able to focus as much on the bike because my run volume has been so high. After my marathon on March 1st, I will begin my bike focus which will get me to where I want to be. I’ve begun using power on the bike and I can tell its already paying off. My bike times at IRONMAN over the past 3 years have been: 6:15 (2009), 5:45 (2011) and 5:18 (2013). One of the main metrics that I will be paying attention to this season is comparing my 60 min FTP output (in watts) to my weight (in kg). I will be doing threshold tests each month to see where I am at. The goal is to have my FTP power/weight ratio be above 4.0. My coach believes that anything in the range of 4.3-4.5 watt/kg can produce a top 10-15 bike split at IRONMAN.

November Bike Threshold Test Data (3.51)

November Bike Threshold Test Data (3.51)

November Threshold Test:

Weight: ~70.45
60 min FTP Power: 248
Ratio: 3.51

January Threshold Test:

Weight: ~70.45
60 min FTP Power: 270
Ratio: 3.7

Improvement: I’ve increased my power quite a bit for being in Marathon training mode. My plan is to drop a few pounds and build up my power to see if I can get it above 4.0 for IRONMAN.

RUNNING IMPROVEMENTS: My goal is to be able to run a sub-3 hour marathon next month at Phoenix and run a sub 3hr 20min marathon at IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene. My last 3 IRONMANs my run times were: 4:30 (2009), 4:15 (2011), and 3:38 (2013). Steady improvements.

My coached shared some running data with me yesterday.
Data from Novemeber

155 bpm-7:45 avg pace
177 bpm-7:13 avg pace

In the past 3 days some examples

 142 bpm-7:30 pace
178 bpm-5:56 pace–this was from your run today, every mile repeat you got right around that area.
Improvement: Pretty clearly there have been same very large changes in myphysiology over the past 3.5 months.  That is nearly a 22% improvement.

This week’s outlook: This week is pretty similar to last’s weeks plan. Still building up the run for the Phoenix Marathon. Wednesday’s workout calls for some 6×1 Threshold intervals (16.4 miles total) and Sunday’s long run is a 20+ miler.

IRONMAN Training Plan - Week 13

This Weeks Schedule


This Week's IRONMAN training breakdown

This Week’s IRONMAN training breakdown

Training volume last week ( 13 hrs, 20 min total):

  • Run: 49.77 miles (6 hrs 2 min)
  • Bike: ~46 miles (2 hrs 37 min)
  • Swim: 8700 yds (2 hrs, 32 min)
  • Lift: 2 sessions (1.5 hrs)
  • Core: (40 mins)

Total Training Volume (89 days):

  • Run: 408 miles (50 hrs, 56 min)
  • Bike: 337 miles (24 hrs, 51 min)
  • Swim: 77,800 yds (22 hrs, 47 min)
  • Lift: 16.5 hrs
  • Core: 6hrs 13 min

Thank you for reading my IRONMAN training blog. Follow my blog on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ironmandiary) or on Instagram (@ironmandiary)

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (My 2014 IRONMAN Outlook)

winter+running2

It’s only January 22nd and it’s already day 82 of my IRONMAN training plan. Wow, how time flies! I began training for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene on November 1st.

A lot has changed (my city, my job, my coach, my nutrition, and even my Facebook status) since my last race at IRONMAN Wisconsin, in which I finished in 10:15 and seven minutes outside of Kona qualifying. In my last post, I talked about how I struggled to stay motivated. Well that has long faded.

Even with the bone chilling temperatures (like -17 F yesterday morning), I have been highly motivated for what I believe will be my best triathlon race season yet. Before I get to those goals I want to talk about the changes I have experienced:

Lake Calhoun and Uptown

Picture above: Lake Calhoun during the winter.

My City: A week after IRONMAN Wisconsin, I packed up all my belongings (bikes included) and headed up to Minneapolis, MN. I live in an area called Uptown. This is a very trendy area situated near 4 lakes, delicious restaurants, and plenty of hipsters. This area couldn’t be more perfect for my run training. Having endless bike/run trails around the lakes has been awesome. The lakes here aren’t as big as the ones in Madison, so it is nice to be able to run around 2-3 lakes during a 1 hour run. I have started using LA Fitness (had my doubts at first), but it has been very convenient so far. There’s a location 4 blocks from my house (no pool) and also one on my way to/from work (with a pool). The weather has been very cold, with plenty of days dipping below 0 degrees. To offset this, I’ve had to do a lot of my runs indoors on a dreadmill, I mean treadmill.

My Job: I have now been working at TN Marketing for 4 months. I am a Digital Marketing Coordinator, which mainly involves doing SEO, Graphic Design, and Website Development. There’s even a fitness room on location with a couple treadmills that allows me to get some of my quick 30 minute runs in during lunch breaks. I feel like there’s a lot of room for advancement in my department and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

Triathlon Coach Joe Moyer

My new coach, Joe Moyer

My Coach: My former coach and IRONMAN Champion, Jackie Arendt, decided that it was best that I found a coach closer in proximity to me. After some research and recommendations, I began working with Joe Moyer. I’m so glad I made this decision. Joe focuses very much on the data behind the workouts. He loves the numbers and I like to see them as well. A big key for me as well has been training with Power on the bike. The data that I am able to give my coach is very useful in planning workouts and getting the most out of the trainer. If you haven’t trained with power yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.

My Nutrition: This past week, I have started to monitor my food intake. In the past I’ve “tried” to make healthy decisions, but that usually just ended up amounting to eating a salad once in awhile. To begin, I have just began counting the calories that I eat and the types (fat vs protein vs carbs). I’ve always been around 163lbs, but I’m looking to lean up a bit for the 2014 season.

Allison and I at IRONMAN Wisconsin 2009

Allison and I at IRONMAN Wisconsin 2009

My Facebook Status: I couldn’t be happier with the way things have worked out. My beautiful girlfriend helps keep me motivated and gives me encouragement whenever she can.

With all those changes, it could be easy to lose sight of my triathlon and IRONMAN goals, but not so fast! I’m motivated and ready to take on 2014 with a full head of steam.

My training goals for 2014:

  • Improve my run (I walked in my first 2 IRONMANs and fell short of my time goal in the 3rd one)
  • Improve my swim (I have always been a good swimmer, but it has never translated to IRONMAN (1:07, 1:07, 1:08), looking to drop a few minutes here)
  • Train smarter, not harder (Working with my new coach I am training smarter, for example in the past I would try to do all my training runs at a fast pace, but now I am doing a lot of runs at a slower pace to build volume/consistency).

My race specific goals for 2014:

  • Qualify for Boston Marathon (2015)
  • Top 3 AG Finish @ IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene
  • 1st place overall at a Triathlon (any distance)
  • Qualify for IRONMAN World Championships

Now each of these goals are very steep, but I want to set my goals high. It keeps me trying harder and wanting more.

My season will begin with a spring marathon in Phoenix. From my training so far, I believe I can run under 3 hrs. I really think if everything goes perfectly, I could even run about 2:55. Here’s to hoping to stay injury free. I’m excited to run without 3-4 layers and in warm weather. The Phoenix Marathon is a relatively fast course as well. This marathon will lay down the foundation for my IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene training. After the marathon, I’ll be in run maintenance mode and I can focus more of time/energy into the bike.

Phoenix Marathon Elevation

Phoenix Marathon Elevation Chart

Tentative Race Schedule:

Ironman Training Volume Day 82Training volume last week:

  • Run: 47 miles (5 hrs 36 min)
  • Bike: ~58 miles (3 hrs 15 min)
  • Swim: 7500 yds (2hrs, 13 min)
  • Lift: 2 sessions (1.5 hrs)

Total Training Volume (82 days):

  • Run: (44 hrs, 53 min)
  • Bike: (22 hrs, 13 min)
  • Swim: (20 hrs, 16 min)
  • Lift: 15 hrs
  • Core: 5.5 hrs

Thank you for reading my IRONMAN training blog. Follow my blog on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ironmandiary) or on Instagram (@ironmandiary)