It is going to be my week of heat acclimation and schedule-building, next week will be proper Week 1 - I have just been sketching out a plan...
I had a lovely swim this morning. A straight hour-long swim, easy effort, broken up as follows (no rest, other than a few seconds after the third and fourth bits to check how much time I had left):
500 as 100 free, 4 x 100 as 25 stroke, 75 free in IM order (fly drill)
500 as freestyle drill-swim by 25 (by 100s: catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, 6-3-6, finger-drag, catch-up)
500 as 4 x 100 free, 25 back
500 as 4 x (25 fly, 25 breast, 75 free)
Longtime readers may recall that in Cayman my best bet for swimming in a 'real' i.e. non-kidney-bean-shaped pool is the beautiful 25-meter pool at Camana Bay. There is an arrangement whereby triathletes can swim - from 6-7am MWF! This is EARLY, but there is no way around it - it is well worth it - and then I think that means I will run outside at 6am on Tuesday and Thursday before it gets too hot.
So I have a coach! I'll be working out details myself, really I am pretty well suited to being a self-coached athlete (especially with advice from Wendy and Brent), but I had a distinctly inspiring meeting on Tuesday with Jim Bolster, who is going to help me out this summer - I'll email him every week to report on progress, and will meet with him again in July when I'm in New York. This is going to be good...
Thoughts re: Ironman swim training:
Notionally four swims a week, 3 at Camana Bay and one in the sea, but skip the fourth (either the Friday early one or the sea swim) as needed.
(I know this is a lot, but I am trying to think smart about what is suited to the climate and my circumstances here!)
Monday is an active recovery day on which I will swim easy for an hour and lift weights. The swim should be mostly freestyle, but mixed up with some other stuff for mental variety (I really enjoy it more when I am swimming a 'pattern,' not to mention it is far easier to keep track of laps).
Wednesday: intervals, something like 15 x 100 on 2:30, building up to 30 as the weeks progress (mixing it up, sometimes more rest and really hard effort and sometimes more like race pace with little rest - my race pace is going to be slow, so I actually don't think I'll be doing a lot of intervals slower than that pace).
(I note that really if I only have an hour, it will be impossible to reach 30! So this is perhaps more like start at 10 and build to 20 or 25, depending on whether I have a separate warmup.)
Friday: please myself (which means some stroke and IM stuff because it's more varied). If it's the fourth swim of the week, perhaps something like 15 x 100 concentrating on stroke count and trying to hold 15 per length (well, it is a meter pool, so it would probably be 18 - I never have a very low stroke count, it is something well worth working on!). I think sets like 10 x 200 are notionally good but in practice too boring to be worth my while - the time could be better or at least more enjoyably used swimming something else that I will find more mentally stimulating!
Mix up the open-water swimming to keep mental focus: do things like 15 minutes warm-up, then 15 minutes of counting strokes - or games like swimming faster on the 'back' leg than the 'out' (though times can be quite uneven because of currents, so perhaps effort is a better way of thinking of it). 500 strokes fast, 500 strokes easy: that sort of thing. Practice sighting. In short, make sure I have some kind of self-assigned task for the long swim so that I am not just mindlessly out there. All this is good.
It was interesting: the thing we spent by far the most time talking about was the need to stay mentally fresh. JB says top priority is to keep paying attention to how you're feeling and try and avert boredom/tedium/negative thoughts in whatever ways possible. Obviously you can't really cut corners on the long run/long ride pairing: but he suggested for instance thinking about training blocks of 5 hours where you might really mix things up, like ride indoors for 90 minutes, 'run' in the ocean or along the beach (since it really is too hot to run properly in middle of the day) for 30 minutes, swim for 30 minutes, then repeat the whole cycle. I think this is a really good idea! The Vibram five-fingered shoes are going to be called into action...
I'll do my long run on Saturday, my long ride on Sunday. Would prefer to run outside if possible, but it will mean starting very early indeed, especially once I'm up over 2.5hrs. or so (like, 5am at latest, I think), so I am not sure about that. Lift on Monday and Thursday. Days for double workouts (excluding strength training): Tuesday as run + indoor bike; Wednesday as swim + long indoor bike in afternoon; Friday as swim + indoor bike + 30 mins. run. Not sure where the long swim would fit in, but perhaps think of it as something for Sunday afternoon if I feel that I have survived the 2 higher-priority long weekend workouts?
I'm also going to look into yoga for Tuesday and Thursday evenings - there is a class from 8-9:15pm that sounds as though it might be a good way to end the day. I should try some of the different classes there, though; I haven't been yet and in my experience one ends up with a fairly strong preference for one style of teaching/yoga over another, so I shouldn't decide strictly based on scheduling...
And now - I might have to take a nap!