5K Ironman

That’s right, I’m training for an Ironman, but only running 5Ks!

OK, OK. It’s a Half Ironman (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run), because people that do full Ironman events are crazy. And I’m only half crazy. ;)

An-exhausted-runner--001How is this possible?

Running hard. Really, really hard. While traditional endurance training is lots of miles at a moderate pace (ignoring “speed work”), I’ll be doing intense, interval style running.  I mean if I can sprint up hill for 3.2 miles that would have to translate into the ability to run (or jog) a lot farther, right? …right???

Why are you doing this?

I initially got into trisport because I needed a reason to workout and I enjoy both swimming and biking. I first set my sights on a Sprint Tri and then later an Olympic Tri. But I slowly fell out of it because training at long distances was too much of a time commitment. Then I went back to grad school and my free time all but vanished.

I got the idea from Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Body that covers how intense interval training can substitute for moderately paced longer mileage training for marathons or even ultra marathons. His book includes a full training schedule with different intervals for different days (runners do seem to love complicated schedules – just pick up any running magazine), but I wanted something super simple, so I distilled Tim’s two chapters into this:

The Plan

  • Run 5K worth of intervals (run/walk/repeat) on my treadmill increasing the running speed, incline or ratio (more running or less walking) as I’m able.*
  • Run my 5Ks 3 times a week while using the best testosterone booster to improve my endurance.
  • If it is nice outside or if I actually make it to the pool: substitute an hour or less of riding or swimming for one of my 5Ks.

Progress

When I started in December I was only doing 2 min of 10 min/mi pace runs with 2 min walks, because grad school had gotten me completely out of shape.  Now I’m doing things like running 7 min mile “sprints” for a half mile, or 12 min mile jogs up a 10% incline for 2 min intervals, or three 9 min 1 mile “distance” runs. Not great, but no longer embarrassing.

Disclaimers

I feel like I should point out the fact that I hate running. It sucks. Unfortunately it is both effective and efficient at preparing my heart and body to attempt the craziness that is the Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas on April 26th.

The longest I’ve ever run is 10 miles. The longest I’ve ever swam continuously is ~55 min and ~1 mile. The longest I’ve ever biked is ~36 miles.

* I do not include my warm up (3 min walk then 1 min run walk intervals at 5, 6, & 7 mph) and cool down (3 min walk) in my 5K interval distance. I do include the distance walking between the running portions of the main intervals.

#5KIronman

Scott Share’s From His Heart

There were some requests to get some more info on my interval specifics. I use a treadmill because it is so much easier to set speed and time than running out in the real world constantly glancing at your GPS watch.

photo

This heart rate data includes my warm up (3 min walk then run 1 min at 5, 6, & 7 mph with 1 min walk between) and cool down (3 min walk) and 3 miles of actual interval running (3 min at 7 mph and 2 min walking both at 0.5% incline).

You’re Fatter Than You Think

…at least I am anyway. After years of living in the blissful land of inaccurate skin fold calipers, I found out that Texas A&M has student rate on DEXA scans ($55). So I decided to get a truly accurate picture of my % body fat and was shocked at the results.

First for those that aren’t aware, the DEXA scan uses extremely low levels of radiation to determine your fat, muscle, skeletal, and water weight. How low? It’s around 1/40th of a typical chest x-ray, and the fact that the doctor sits next to you during the scan without a lead lined smock is pretty comforting. DEXA scans are currently the most accurate way to measure your body composition – better than traditional submersion methods or the “bod pod” (the 2nd most accurate). On top of that, you get a bone density measurement as a bonus. It goes without saying that calipers and “body impedance” scales are vastly behind any of the these methods.

Going into the test I felt pretty good. I have some room in my 32″ waist size pants and my caliper measurements put me at just 9.4% fat. Sure, I’m not yet the at the golden goal of 5%, but hey that’s why I’m training for an Ironman event.

DEXAscanThe shocking DEXA results? 17.1% fat!!!

Thankfully, Dr Martin was able to put a little salve on my wounded pride: DEXA scans are revealing much higher numbers than previous methods. A scan of 17% would have fallen in the 12-15% range using the former gold-standard submersion method. In fact, a study out of Texas A&M that tracked elite college athletes found female swimmers had an astonishing average of 22.2% body fat using the DEXA scanner. This is not to say those athletes have a bad body composition, but rather that our measures of “good” and “bad” levels of body fat were calibrated on a method (submersion) that was significantly under-reporting fat. So until the “conventional wisdom” and rules of thumb catch up to these more accurate measuring tools, prepare yourself mentally before undergoing a DEXA scan.

Now as with all methods, repeated measures with the same instrument will give the most comparable results.  Which is why I plan no revisiting the DEXA machine once or twice to track my progress towards becoming an Ironman.  Although I’m revising that goal of 5% to something more realistic like 12%.

Training For An Ironman Without Running Over 3 Miles

This post has been updated here

That’s right, I’m going to attempt an Ironman event without running more than 3 miles in training!

OK, OK. It’s a Half Ironman (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run), because people that do full Ironman events are crazy. And I’m only half crazy. ;) The event in question is the Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas on April 26th.

An-exhausted-runner--001How is this possible?

Running hard. Really, really hard. While traditional endurance training is lots of miles at a moderate pace (ignoring “speed work”), I’ll be doing intense, interval style running.  I mean if I can sprint up hill for 3 miles that would have to translate into the ability to run (jog?) a lot farther, right? …right???

Why are you doing this?

I initially got into trisport because I needed a reason to workout and I enjoy both swimming and biking. First I set my sights on a sprint tri and later an Olympic tri. But after that I slowly fell out of training because it was too much of a time commitment. I enjoy bike riding but, I can’t often find half a day to drive somewhere nice and then bike 24-32 miles. When I went back to grad school, my free time all but vanished.

I got the idea from Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Body that covers how intense interval training can substitute for moderately paced longer mileage training for marathons or even ultra marathons. His book includes a full training schedule with different intervals for different days (runners do seem to love complicated schedules – just pick up any running magazine), but I needed something uber simple.

I distilled Tim’s two chapters into this: run intervals on the treadmill (run/walk/repeat) increasing the running speed, incline or ratio (more running or less walking) as I can, and don’t run more than 3 miles.

So far I’ve increased from 2 min of 10 min/mi pace runs with 2 min walks when I started in December to 3 min of 8:30 min/mi pace on a 1% incline and 1 min walks. My distance has increased from less than a mile to about two miles (including warm up). With warm up and cool down this takes me less than 30 min to complete. I have been taking 1-2 days off between runs.  If it’s a nice weekend, I’ve taken a bike ride around my house for about 10 miles (~50 min) instead of running.  The pedaling on such rides has gotten noticeably easier as my running has progressed (It’s working! *maniacal laughter*).

Tune in soon for my write up on test #1: The Aggieland Sprint Triathlon.

Drafts Recursive Email Actions For Appigo’s ToDo App

Drafts is a great app for automating tasks on iOS.  That is, saving a few screen taps and/or loading seconds here and there on tasks you do a lot to make yourself more efficient.  Drafts does this through “actions”.  More complicated recursive (looping) actions are harder to create but do more than simple actions.  That said here’s what my problem was:

emailaction

I love Appigo’s ToDo as my task manager.  It’s ability to share a (grocery) list with someone is worth price of the premium service alone ($20/yr).  However it only has very basic x callback urls for use in Drafts actions and while the email importing of tasks are intelligently parsed – the ones passed from Drafts are not.  Solution: use an email action. Just add your Appigo import email and any task options you want as the default.  In this case I have it set to use the HEB list and set the priority to none. Note: HEB is the name of my local grocer.

This works great for single tasks, but I often wander around the kitchen adding several food items at a time.  Solution: a recursive email action on each line of a draft.  Problem: no one tells you how to do this online. There are several examples of recursive actions with another app action and a draft action, but none using two drafts actions.  The reason is you can’t do an email action inside a custom action.  So first create email action to only use the first line and then add this code as a custom URL action. Note: make sure the name in the code matches the name of the email action you create.  This will email off each line separately to be parsed and added to your ToDo.

drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[[title]]&action=HEB&x-success={{drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[[body]]&action=ToDo%20HEB&afterSuccess=Delete&allowEmpty=NO}}

 

Many thanks to geekswithjuniors.com and theaxx.net for posting about their actions so I could figure out mine. UPDATE: theaxx has moved here: unapologetic.io