A Day in the Life of an Ironman Triathlete - 52 Weeks to Mont Tremblant - Week 26

Springtime is so close I can almost taste it. I can’t feel it quite yet because it’s still so damn cold in Upstate New York, but Spring is coming. As the calendar gets set to turn over to March Ironman training plans are starting to ramp up, volume and intensity are increasing, recovery is becoming a critical priority, and nutrition is being reigned in. That goes for me, and hopefully many other Ironman triathletes across the globe.

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I was reminded this week that triathlon can be an unforgiving sport. It requires dedication, physical and mental toughness, and patience. But above all else it requires consistency. This summer, the Ironman Mont Tremblant race course won’t care that it was sub-zero temperatures for a large chunk of winter. It won’t care that I had a slight niggle in my calf that I didn’t address properly. It won’t care that someone shit in the local pool preventing me from swimming for a week. Triathlon is unforgiving, but triathletes need to be flexible and must have the ability to adapt to the circumstances around them.

I was reminded of this fact on Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 4:00 AM (yes, on a Saturday) and it was 17F degrees outside. I had a 90 minute bike ride with an hour at or near threshold followed by a 20 minute brick run. My pain cave is the uninsulated garage and I forget to get the propane heater refilled, often. Alas, I was left to battle the workout plus the frozen temperatures. Good mental training, right? I rode in my sweats with a winter hat and gloves. Not glamorous, but certainly necessary. I adapted to the situation, saw it as an opportunity to practice my mental toughness rather than an obstacle to keep me from getting my workouts in.

My feet felt like ice blocks hitting the pavement during the brick run. But I got out there and did it. Again, it wasn’t glamorous, but the lives of 99.9% of age-group triathletes isn’t, despite what social media has you believe. My freezing cold workouts on Saturday left me wanting to pull back the curtain on the day-to-day of an Ironman triathlete (myself) who is also a father, husband, small business owner and coach with another day job. Here’s what a typical weekday (Tuesday, in this case) looks like for me:

4:30 AM - Wake up and check-in with my nutrition clients from the night before

4:45 AM - Pre-workout drink (5g BCAAs mixed with water)

4:50 AM - Walk out to the garage, set up my and my client’s bike on the trainers

5:00 AM - Cycling workout begins

Example workout

3 sets of 3x2-minute VO2max repeats each starting at 120% FTP and finishing at 110% FTP. I use TrainerRoad and this was “Mills.”

6:00 AM - Cycling workout ends, clean up bikes and trainers

6:10 AM - Strength session begins

Example workout

Perform 10 reps of each exercise with as little rest as possible. You can rest for up to 90 seconds after completing one round. Repeat each round three times. Perform strength routines immediately after main workout of the day.
Single leg deadlift w/ kettlebell
TRX Jump Squat
Paloff press
Pull ups
TRX hamstring curls
Theraband - monster walks side to side followed by forward walks then reverse

6:25 AM - Strength session ends, clean up the pain cave

6:30 AM - Post-workout recovery drink (1 scoop whey protein, plus carbohydrate to quickly replenish glycogen stores)

6:40 AM - Shower

7:00 AM - Breakfast

Example meal

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1 cup kefir

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tbs pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 tbs peanut butter

Greens drink and coffee

Multi-vitamin and fish oil

Calories: 580

Protein: 26g

Net Carbs: 53g

Fat: 24g

7:30 AM - Pack food for the day

8:00 AM - Check-in with nutrition clients following their first meals of the day and review workouts from my endurance athletes

8:30 AM - Leave for work

9:00 AM - Day job. I sit at a desk like many other triathletes. I’ll typically get in a 30 minute walk around lunch.

5:00 PM - Leave work

5:30 PM - Arrive home, change, and prepare the garage for personal training clients

5:45 PM - Clients go through the workout, typically it’s 1-on-1, but I’ve had as many as four clients at one time exercising together

6:45 PM - Record and share daily video with nutrition clients

7:00 PM - Pick up my daughter, Gia. She’s 16 months-old and adorable

7:05 PM - Eat dinner with Gia, then play around for two hours.

9:00 PM - Put Gia to sleep

9:15 PM - Read a book. I’m currently reading How to Be Better at (Almost) Everything by Pat Flynn

9:45 PM - Check-in with nutrition clients

10:00 PM - Lights out, bed time

I posted on Instagram earlier this week that triathlon for the every-day-man isn’t tropical training destinations, epic KOMs, and recovery boots. It’s long hours, cold weather, and an array of responsibilities. If you’re caught up with fancy photos on social media, know that for everyone one of those there are hundreds more just like me (and presumably you) making it happen day after day.

Here are my workouts from last week

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Upcoming week:

Swim: 6,150

Bike: 3:30

Run: 4:15

Strength: :15

Total: ~10:00