Improving Yourself: One Day at a Time


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 ( or on Instagram (@ironmandiary)

2 responses to “Improving Yourself: One Day at a Time

  1. Eric, I commend you on your goals for the year. I too am racing IMCDA, so perhaps we will meet after all! I admire your sense of perspective and thoughts on incremental progress. Your numbers look great my friend and I wish you the best of luck in Phoenix. Bo

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