Ironman Winter Training

December 13, 2013 | Posted in Cross Training, General, Indoor Training, Injury Prevention, Training Plans | By

Winter is fast approaching and especially here over in the UK we have been promised one of the coldest winters in recent times. I have been pondering of the best way of dealing with this weather as I really want to pick up my ironman winter training during the months of January and February which have been the coldest the last few years.

Time for my usual google search in which I found quite a few interesting sites and articles around what training to do over the winter months and what to consider when planning your types of training to undertake. The initial site that I found A Simple Winter Training Plan from coach cox who has built a general plan with the aim of keeping consistency in all three sports putting a bias towards running to improve your running and at least maintaining bike fitness. I recommend checking out the article as a plan can be tailored to work indoors if the weather is as bad as promised it will be over the winter months.

Winter Roads

Winter Roads

Another article titled Winter Training for Ironman on starts by saying that “If you try to rush it and do too much too soon then chances are you’ll be injured, burned out, or past your best by the time you get to Ironman. So relax for now, keep training, but don’t over do it now.

5-10 hours total per week is plenty of training for now”. Working on technique for your Swim, plenty of hills on the Bike and making sure you don’t overdo the running and risk injury.’s 5 Ways to Maximize Your Winter Training says “it’s essential to include an offseason to reestablish a strong aerobic base” whilst ensuring that you devote time to rest and recovery. The five ways are listed as:

1. Assess the past season: Was it successful? If yes, it would appear you already have a great routine in place. Otherwise, things may need changing. This could include bike setup, training shoes and race nutrition, eating habits and overall training philosophy. Take time to honestly evaluate all factors.
2. Address any injuries: Barring a bike crash or other accident, knee pain, fatigue and depression are examples of physical, chemical and mental injuries. The causes of these problems should be found and corrected, which may require help from a professional.
3. Develop an endurance-based training plan: About 98 percent of the energy needs for triathlons come from the aerobic system, so re-establishing an aerobic base once (or twice) each year is vital. An important training “partner” and valuable asset for developing an aerobic base is a heart rate monitor.
4. Perform an endurance evaluation: You can ensure your endurance development is really taking place by performing ongoing, objective evaluations of your improvement. For example, if you established that your max aerobic training heart rate is 146, and you can run 8:00 minutes per mile at this rate, developing a better aerobic base should result in running at 7:30 pace at the same heart rate. Learn more about MAF Testing from Phil Maffetone here.
5. Strength train right: Triathletes can improve both bone and muscle strength with simple, short and non-stressful workouts. Correctly done, using higher weight and lower (5-7 reps) these should not impair endurance. Instead of isolating muscles, use whole body actions such as dead lifts and squats for more extensive strength gains.

The article finishes by stating that “Effective implementation and measurable results should be expected by midwinter and planning a spring-summer training and racing season will then be more tangible. With significant endurance and a balanced body, expect a great performance in your first race.”

One thing that has been a recurring theme during my research on winter training is the association of cold weather and joint injuries. Something that I am very interested in as I have previously had an ACL replacement and continue to struggle with my knees and back. Personally I think that a lot of my issues are due to gaining weight in the winter and losing flexibility. I found a pdf from LEMAK sports medicine & orthopaedics which althought is aimed at snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, or sledding the tips still apply.

Ankle Injury

Ankle Injury

Below is a exert from a titled Run With No Pain that I found online giving some good advice on different exercises you could be undertaking if you suffer from one of the four common injuries listed below:

1. Ankle & Foot Injuries
• Perform the following workout 3x/week, with 48 hours rest between each workout.
• Complete 15 repetitions for each exercise.
• Complete the two exercises back to back with minimal rest, then move on to the cardio booster.
• Complete 60 seconds for each cardio booster.
• Move 3-4x through these 3 stations (exercise 1 + exercise 2 + cardio booster)
• Then move on to the next triple set!
• Perform 30-60 minutes non-weight bearing cardio, like swimming or cycling, on the non-weight lifting days.
◦ Machine Leg Extensions + Machine Leg Curls + Bicycle Cardio Booster
◦ Incline Dumbbell Chest Press + Lat Pulldown + Rowing Machine or Elliptical Cardio Booster
◦ Stability Ball Push-Up + Single Arm Dumbbell Row + Bicycle Cardio Booster
◦ Weighted Crunches + Hanging Leg Raise + Bicycle Cardio Booster

2. Knee Injuries
• Complete the following series of exercises as a circuit, moving from one exercise to the next with minimal rest.
• Do the entire circuit 3-4x.
• Complete 10 repetitions for each exercise.
• Do Circuit 1 and Circuit 2 on alternating days
◦ Circuit 1:
▪ Seated Overhead Shoulder Press
▪ Pull-Up or Assisted Pull-Up
▪ Lying Dumbbell Chest Press
▪ Seated Row
▪ Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
▪ Lat Pulldown

◦ Circuit 2
▪ Seated Med Ball Torso Twist
▪ Med Ball Crunch
▪ Side Plank Raises
▪ Med Ball Push-Ups
▪ 5 Second Front Plank Hold
▪ Corkscrew Rotations in Push-Up Position

3. Shoulder Injuries
• Complete the following mini-circuits 5x through every day for three days. do #1 on Day 1, #2 on Day 2, #3 on Day 3. Take one day rest, then repeat.
◦ Mini-Circuit 1:
▪ 2 minute bicycle at 100%
▪ 20 Barbell Squats
▪ 20 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts

◦ Mini-Circuit 2:
▪ 2 minute elliptical at 100%
▪ 20 Incline Crunches
▪ 20 Low Back Extensions

◦ Mini-Circuit 3:
▪ 2 minute treadmill at 100%
▪ 20 Lunge Jumps
▪ 20 Horizontal Jumps

4. Low Back Injuries

• Complete the following circuit 3x during the week.
• Perform 30 seconds for each exercise, then rest 15 seconds and move on.
• Do the entire circuit 4-6x.
• Complete 30-60 minutes of non-weight bearing cardio on the non-weightlifting days.
◦ Machine Chest Press
◦ Lat Pulldown
◦ Machine Shoulder Press
◦ Seated Rows
◦ Stability Ball Squats
◦ Machine Leg Extensions
◦ Machine Leg Curls

Good luck running up to Xmas



Cross training – Concept2 Indoor Rower

December 3, 2013 | Posted in Cross Training, Indoor Training, Swimming, Uncategorized | By

I was having a discussion with a friend over the weekend that is also doing the Ironman UK in 2014 about the training that we are currently doing. My friend mentioned that she is not doing any swimming, cycling or running over the winter months and will only start to concentrate on these about 20 weeks out from the Ironman itself. This has obviously got me to thinking about my own training.

I am currently concentrating on running and swimming with the odd ride out on my mountain bike. This is due somewhat to my road bike currently being out of action as mentioned in my previous post but also due to running generally being the best way for me to keep the weight off over during the upcoming Xmas period. I am going to continue down this route in the short term anyway but I did find one article of interest after following up what my friend had said around using an indoor rower as part of her weekly training plan.

The article titled The Amazing Benefits Of Training For A Full Ironman On The Indoor Rowing Machine And Indoor Cycling Bike is from a website called which run indoor rowing classes in Long Beach, Los Angeles so, of course, if heavily biased toward rowing and its training benefits. However, within the article an US Olympic Rower, Jack Nuun (who also happens to own the owner of the fitness centre) describes his career from Olympic Rower to two-times Ironman finisher siting that 90% of his training was done on a Concept2 Rowing Machine and indoor cycle.

One of the big advantages that seem to be had by using the indoor rower, other than its cardio benefits and low impact nature, is that ‘the muscles used in rowing and the muscle endurance in the latissimus muscles from rowing Jack was never tired while swimming and pulled his way through the swim in just over an hour’. This is something that I have never considered before and something that I am going to take on board.

I current plan to undertaken two swimming sessions per week. One session which is a coached ‘drills’ session which incorporates warming up, followed by numerous drills and repeat sets of various distances as the weeks progress. The other session is usually one that is aimed at the endurance side of swimming in which longer intervals or one long distance swim is undertaken. I don’t think that I will totally replace the second endurance type session but if I am struggling for time to get to the gym to hit the pool I can substitute this by using the rowing machine in the local gym close by to work on my way home!

I will not be adapting the 90% use of indoor cycling or rowing but will definitely be doing a lot more of this over the winter months and will continue to use the rower right through the session to hopefully gain the endurance benefits in the water. Jack finishes the article with his three top indoor rowing sessions which I have summarised below.

Happy rowing


Top 3 indoor rowing workouts:

1) The ’30/30/30′ listed as :”30 / :30” on the custom list on the monitor. Described as rowing for 30 seconds on, then 30 seconds off, times 30 intervals. Row as hard as you can with the best technique you can at 28-32 stroke rate rating. Rest, drink, get ready and repeat!

2) The ‘Pryamid Workout’ listed as “V 1:00 1:00 … 7” is approx. a 32 minute workout. The machine is pre-programmed to begin with 1 min on and 1 min off of rowing going up to 4 min and then back down to one minute seeing how many meters you can row in each segment.

3) The ’140/20 Workout’ listed as “1:40 :20 … 9” is a rowing workout that provides a maximum amount of time to row with minimal rest in order to produce the ultimate effect in High Interval Training and give your heartrate and endurance an amazing challenge. This workout is 20 minutes and has 9 intervals with a 2:00 minute rest after 5 intervals. A good goal could be to hold an average Watt output of double your bodyweight.

You can find more on indoor rowing in The Complete Guide to Indoor Rowing.

Concept2 Indoor Rower

Concept2 Indoor Rower will be used weekly in preparation for IMUK 2014