Crushing Ironman VR7

Dj Khaled GIF by Music Choice

That’s right – I did another one! This weekend marked my third Ironman VR experience. This was the second sprint tri simulation. The challenge consisted of a 1.5K run, 20K ride, 5K run.

I was hoping since this was my second sprint tri simulation, that my time would be the same if not a little better, but actually, it was about 7 minutes slower. Disappointing, sure, but I wouldn’t have changed one thing about it. I will tell you why as I relive each activity in the challenge.

will ferrell snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

1.5K Run

This was arguably the most extra way to do a 1.5K run. But I will let you in on a little secret about me…once I set my mind to do something, rain or shine, I get it done.

I knew I wanted to break apart this VR series, instead of completing it all in one go like last weekend. My plan was to do the 1.5K run and ride on the same day with the 5K the next day. So that left me with completing the 1.5K run on Saturday. And guess what. The weather forecast Saturday was torrential downpour. Did I postpone my run to Sunday? Psh, what fun is that? Nope – I suited up in my best rain deterrent gear and headed out.

Peep the tin foil hat I was given. Apparently the family thought I look like someone evading government satellites. Also rain sunglasses are a game changer.

This was the only event in which I beat my prior time (the rain is a great motivator). Bested it by a minute and in pouring rain. Something to be proud of!

20K Ride

The ride was fun and challenging for a couple of different reasons.

  1. It was my first Zwift experience (makes a heck of a difference when you can’t coast down a hill!)
  2. I rode my mom’s Felt tri bike
  3. I had just run a dang fast mile in a torrential downpour

Zwift was so much more challenging than I anticipated. It was both my first time on a smart trainer and off my Litespeed bike. I think it’s criminal that you can’t coast. It was a tough ride for sure. The time was nearly identical to my first 20K ride outdoors.

5K Run

Ok so I will just put it out there that I had big plans for this 5K. It was going to take me 28 minutes and I was going to feel like a champ. That absolutely did not happen, but for a few reasons.

Some of which are: I was up until 3am the morning of helping my brother with a project, Zwift really kicked my leg’s into sore mode and the absolute worst one – the weather. It was one of those really sunny days after a downpour and the streets are even sweating and you are breathing thick air and let’s just put it out there…It’s the worst weather ever. And I can’t forget this, my family made me laugh so hard before running that my abs were sore and I was out of breath. This kind of laughing followed me for half the run coming from series a reality series worthy family. Note to race creators: comedy 5Ks will yield the slowest times ever recorded.

All done

Although it was not quite the amazing time trial I was hoping for, I had so much fun getting to complete this one surrounded by my family and I wouldn’t change a thing. Check out some of my favorite moments below!

Even more videos of the rain run are up on my instagram (@watchalextri).

Shifting my training mindset

What a time to be a triathlete. What a heck of a time to be a beginner triathlete! When I began this journey in January, I planned to participate in two sprint triathlons – one in April and one in May. Of course those have both been cancelled and I am just about finished up with my 12-week lifetime sprint triathlon training plan that would have finished this Monday for Captex tri.

Sad Am Fine GIF by MOODMAN
This was me when all of the races started to cancel

Now on my final week of that plan, I have been struggling with how to continue training. Do I train to an imaginary race date? Do I just train by saying I bike 3x a week, strength 3x a week and run 4x a week? What on earth are we supposed to be doing??

I Don'T Know Idk GIF

While I figure out the best way for me to continue to train, I know there are 3 goals that I want to work toward before my first race:

  1. Build endurance. This is a no brainer! My athletic history is not full of endurance sport. I ran sprints in track, 2-mile races in cross country and skated 3.5 minute programs as a figure skater. I have a lot to learn about building and maintaining endurance not only through runs, but through triathlons of various lengths! My specific goal here is to be able to get off from an 20K bike and immediately jump into a 5K run that I can complete at least at a 10min/mi pace.
  2. Work on speed. This is where my short burst activities come in handy, but I have a lot of work to do to find those fast-twitch muscles again and learn to incorporate them with the new endurance side of training. My specific goal here is to move my base 5K pace from 10min/mi to 9:30min/mi and my mile time to a consistent 8:30min/mi pace.
  3. Dial in on strength training. I have a lot of extra time on my hands now and that is giving me more of an opportunity than usual to focus on cross-training, preventing injury and making me stronger through each part of a triathlon.

As part of working toward those goals, I identify benchmark activities that indicate my fitness and race readiness. This could be a specific workout every two or three weeks, one of the Ironman virtual races or even a homemade triathlon.

How are you training during this time? Have you had to modify your training method?

In the meantime, however you train, I hope you are still having a blast with this. I know I am.