My Ironman Training Load – The Only Way is UP?

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ironman-logo-iconMy training so far has been quite intriguing. Firstly it hasn’t felt hard at all. A bit boring at times, perhaps, but generally fairly enjoyable with few aches & pains and no injuries. Nice.

I’m still at the base and early build stage so that’s not surprising, I suppose. I’m doing the same total duration of training as I have done for years, pretty much. It’s just easier Z1/Z2 work.

Or so I thought.

I was going through my bloated Sporttracks [3.1] database and decided to cull the data from 2012 and before. That’s it. Done. all the glory years have now officially gone. There is no proof that I once thought I was at least vaguely good at something. Obviously I have a backup just in case anyone doubts my embellished ‘glory days’ stories.

I could have been a contender you know? 😉

Anyway as part of the data cull I looked a bit closely at my TRAINING LOAD. Mine is based entirely on 3x different sport HR Zones with differing LTHRs; I record ‘nearly every sporting beat’ and I think it is pretty accurate. In the past it CERTAINLY has felt accurate and LTHRs are mostly based on lab tests not me-tests.

Here we go with a slightly simplified version of what I normally use for illustrative purposes:

, Sep 2015 was my running nadir

I was surprised that my ‘Fitness’ (Blue=CTL) and ‘Fatigue’ (Red=ATL) are both at near all-time highs. Well. They ARE at all time highs. BUT I don’t feel that tired really! At times in the past I have been REALLY, REALLY tired. Nor do I feel that fit either! At times in the past I have been quite speedy (notice I avoided saying REAL REALY speedy 🙂 ).

So here’s my worry. My training load is going to increase by AT LEAST 50% and maybe double. Those red and blue lines are going to go up in a big way – at least 50% higher, funnily enough! Definitely uncharted physical territory for me. So I’m more than a little worried that my body won’t be able to handle it. To make matters worse I just know I’m going to deviate from the plan to add in bits of unplanned speedwork for an odd HM, 5k and shorter-distance triathlon or 2 and that’s when I’ve historically got tired BUT NOT with the same overall level of load.

Then again a fundamental part of the training is to be able to handle the increased durations.

As per the title: the only way is up. I should write a song about that if no-one else has penned that catchy title 😉

Academic-ish reference: Cardiac Parasympathetic Reactivation Following Exercise: Implications for Training PrescriptionJamie Stanley, Jonathan M. Peake & Martin BuchheitSpringer International Publishing Switzerland 2013 – Summary available here. IE Zone1/2 training does not produce much stress…that’s why I might be able to do the 50% increase.

My Ironman Secret. If you’ve read the earlier posts in this series then you will know I end with a ‘secret’ of some sorts. I normally do this blog fairly anonymously and I tend not to divulge my personal information in order to keep focussed on whatever I am talking (waffling) about.  However the chart above is my entire training for the last 4 years…what more secret stuff do you want !!!! 🙂

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Consider doing your 5km, HM, Short tri at IM paces, this can help stop you over working. Also, one of the best things i ever did during Marathon training was to use a HM as a Marathon tempo set, so if i had a 10 mile tempo set at Marathon Pace, i would run the first 3 miles of the HM slow, then run past people for the next 10 miles at Marathon pace, this felt amazing and is a really good confidence booster.

Adam Wenborn

What are the three different blue lines here? Run CTL, Bike CTL and total CTL?


how do you get them separated in sportracks?
I can only get total, or either or each one of them. But not three curves…


just a comment there on how relevant the training load is over time… your base fitness is supposed to be increasing, and your zones possibly moving as well, based on your RHR. Could that affect the overall graph picture, or is past data recalculated based on presently defined zones?
not sure I am clear tbh…