Do you think you would get better at playing piano if you practiced 30 minutes every day, or for 4 straight hours once a week?
Ever since I started training for Ironman, I have been obsessed with figuring out the best way to prepare. This morning, that quest continued as I wrote blindly on the topic and my thoughts kept coming back to one thing: repetition.
Last year I went into Ironman Louisville severely undertrained by Ironman standards. My actual time was 12:40, but I honestly believe an 11:30 was well within my grasp if I would have hydrated better on the bike.
I didn’t follow a typical Ironman training plan. In fact, these were my longest training days for all of last year:
Swim – 3,000 meters
Bike – 4 hours
Run – 12 miles
For the last month, all I did was bike and swim . . . a lot. I swam around 1,500 at lunch, then biked for an hour or two in the afternoon. Nearly every single day.
Going into Louisville I felt very comfortable in the water and on the bike. And while I hadn’t run (do to an injury) much, I felt oddly at peace about the prospect of running a marathon.
My every-day swim and bike workouts were short, but very focused. I worked hard on my form in the pool and pushed myself with intervals and aero training on the bike.
Going into Louisville, swimming and biking were second nature (sort of like going to the coffee shop these days) and I had very little fear. I didn’t have long distances under me, but I had something more important, great command of my effort.
The run, of course, was ultimately my demise, but I refuse to believe it was about my legs or conditioning (over-heated core, soaking wet feet and blisters is another story). Endurance was never a part of my life growing up, but sports built running into my DNA. By nature, running’s not intimidating because I have a deep understanding of how to do it any day of the week.
And, I guess that is the entire point of this post. The more comfortable you are with swimming, biking, and running, the less effort it takes. For my money, shorter, good-form-repetition is far more valuable than bad-form and exhausting distances.