3 rounds for time:
60 Double Under
30 Wall Ball @ 20/14
20 Deadlift @ 185/115
An Ironman’s view of traditional Ironman training vs. CrossFit Endurance Ironman training
Co-Race Director of the North Olympic Discovery Marathon
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?
What made you try it? My husband, Josh, started crossfit a few months before me and was constantly raving about it (even though he was coming home sore most days). I was training for the Chicago Marathon and didn’t want to start crossfit until after training for my marathon, because I thought that I would be too much and I wouldn’t have the time to do both. After the Chicago Marathon, I was still hesitant to start crossfit because I have never really lifted weights and there was a lot about crossfit that was unknown to me at the time. The Chicago Marathon was my 11th marathon and I had never made it through an entire 12-16 week training without getting injured. I was hoping that crossfit would help me to get stronger and decrease my risk of injury for my marathon training.
Training for the Ironman (1.2 Mile Swim, 112 Mile Bike, 26.2 Mile Run): Traditional Training (Ironman Arizona 2013) vs. Crossfit Endurance (Ironman Coeur D’Alene 2014)
My first Ironman event was Ironman Arizona on November 17, 2013. Although I was participating in crossfit during this event I followed a traditional 16-week training and trained about 12-16 hours a week. In addition to my triathlon training I tried to fit in 3 crossfit classes a week and did a pretty good job, but my swimming, biking and running training always came first. I did most of my long ride and brick (bike/run) workouts on the weekends pulling me away from my family most of Saturday or Sunday. The summer leading up to the Ironman I completed two half-Ironman events (Victoria & Vancouver, B.C.) and a 2.4-mile open water swim.
As I jumped into Tempe Town Lake to start the Tempe Ironman at 6:40 am on Sunday, November 17, 2013 and saw the sun rise I felt excited, nervous and as though I had a solid training to get me to the finish line by midnight (17 hour time cap). The swim started with a shot of the cannon and a mass start of 2500 athletes swimming 2.4 miles. The swim went well; it was one big loop and very cramped, but the swim is my strongest event. I got out of the water in a time of 1:20:56, felt great and ready to get on the bike.
The bike ride was 3 loops and the longest ride I had even done before. Arizona has a very flat course, and the bike route had a total elevation gain of only 2,577 feet. I was in the aero bars for almost the entire time and had to continuously pedal. I remained hydrated and was able to stick with my nutrition plan the entire ride. My sister and husband had flown down for the event, and did a great job of finding places on the course where I would see them often, and this helped keep me going. Mentally the last loop was difficult, but when I got off the bike in a time of 6:49:53 I was very excited that I broke 7 hours. I am not a very strong rider (I didn’t even have my own bike I was borrowing my sisters). When I got off the bike, and almost fell down, it hit me that I had to get ready to run a marathon.
The first half of the marathon flew by; I felt great and I was cruising. The only problem was that I wasn’t staying up on my hydration and nutrition and at mile 14 I was done. I started to have stomach issues and wasn’t able to keep anything down. I won’t get into any details, but let’s just say that it wasn’t very pretty and I felt like crap. The last 12 miles were very slow and lots of walking was involved, but I finished the run/walk in 6:08:17 and my first Ironman in 14:34:39. The hour after the finish was rough, but after getting some liquids and consuming some calories I felt much better.
The day after the Ironman was amazing, I wasn’t sore or had any difficulty walking. The combination of the traditional training and crossfit workouts prepared me for the amazing day that I had. It was only a few months after Ironman Arizona that I decided I was ready to do it again and I registered for Ironman Coeur D’Alene.
Crossfit Endurance (Ironman Coeur D’Alene 2014)
With one Ironman under my belt, and mentally knowing that I could get to the finish line, I was ready to try a different type of training. I trained for Ironman Coeur D’Alene using a program that Storm King Crossfit custom created for me using Crossfit Endurance principles. Similar to the traditional training the endurance training was also a 16-week training program, but the hours and distance training was significantly less. The number of meters in the pool and miles on the bike and road were at least ½ to 1/3 less than the traditional training.
The endurance trainings consisted of going to 4 regular crossfit classes a week and 6 additional sport specific workouts a week; 2-swim, 2-bike and 2-run. The sport specific trainings varied between short intervals, long intervals and time trials. Most of my sport specific workouts were between 30 minutes and an hour long. On average I was training about 3- 6 hours weekly in my sport specific events. The longest swim that was programmed was about 1 mile, the longest bike was 40 miles and the longest run was 13 miles. To be honest I was a little nervous that I wasn’t getting enough long distance training, but I had to trust the program. About a month before the event I pieced together a ½ Ironman in Port Angeles with a bunch of friends, because I wasn’t able to do any triathlon events between Arizona and Coeur D’Alene. The ½ Ironman was the longest training I did in all of the three sports.
The swim was in Lake Coeur D’Alene and it was a very windy day. There were whitecaps on the water and I could tell that it was going to be a difficult swim. The nice thing about the swim is that it wasn’t a mass start soI didn’t have to start with 2500 athletes running into the water at the same time. There was a wave start (15-20 athletes enter the water every few seconds) which was so much better and I felt as though I had more space to get into a good rhythm. The swim consisted of two loops and you had to get out of the water, run on the sand, and then get back in the water for the second loop. The first loop felt as though it was slow with the waves and having a few goggle issues. On the second loop I felt as though I got into a good pace and had some space to myself. I did get pushed of course a little from the waves, but enjoyed the swim. I was a little surprised that my time was 1:19:06, I felt as though I had a much stronger swim than was reflected in my time.
After the swim I came out of the water and ran to my transition bag and into the changing tent. The volunteers in the change tent were absolutely amazing. They helped dress me from head to toe, including putting my socks and shoes on. Amazing service. As I came out of the tent to find my bike I could hear a group of people cheering for me. I looked over the fence and my whole gang, including my kids, was so excited to see me and encouraging me on. Mentally, friends and family is the biggest high an athlete can have while competing and I was so blessed to have so many people cheering me on all day long.
I knew the bike was going to be my biggest challenge of the day. The bike ride was 112 miles with almost 6,000 total feet of climbing. The bike was a 2-loop figure eight. The first part of the figure felt strong and it I loved riding back into town with all of the fans cheering on the streets of downtown Coeur D’Alene. The second part of the figure eight was like nothing I have ever experienced (and I have biked up Hurricane Ridge a number of times – 4500’ climb over 18 miles). I started to head south on Highway 95 and the headwinds were brutal. I could never get into a good rhythm with the rolling hills and strong winds. After the turn around I was fortunate enough to have the winds behind me as I rode back into town. After my first loop I had no idea how I was going to do that one more time. To be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of details about the second loop only that it was worse than I remembered from the first loop. Some how I managed to make it to the end of the bike and I was very excited, until I realized that I now had to run a marathon.
It is funny that I don’t go to bed the night before or wake-up the morning of the Ironman thinking and mentally preparing myself to run a marathon. I don’t really think about it at all until I get off the bike and there it is. This time around I really wanted to make it through the run without getting sick. I wanted to make sure that I took it nice and slow at the beginning and stayed hydrated and on top of my nutrition. With this plan it required that I take more walk breaks. I tend to eat and drink more if I slow down and walk. There were some lengthy hill climbs on the run and I had to walk up most (okay…all) of the hills. I was able to stay hydrated and my body felt really strong through the entire run. Looking back I feel as though I could have gone stronger on the run, but I really didn’t want a repeat of Arizona (and I didn’t).
The finish of an Ironman is just indescribable and it was absolutely amazing in Coeur D’Alene. It was starting to get dark as I ran into downtown on my final loop. The chute to the finish line was a few blocks long and I knew that my family and friends would be somewhere along the final stretch. As much as I want to run fast down the final stretch I make it a point to slow down and take in all of the sounds. It was very emotional for me. I couldn’t believe that I had done it once again: 140.6 miles, unbelievable. I spotted my family and friends on the side and ran over to them all giving them big hugs and high-fives. This was the first time my kids had seen me compete in an Ironman. They were so proud of me and couldn’t believe that I was still going. After I said hi to them it was my time to come down the shoot and have the voice of Ironman, Mike Reilly, say “Victoria Jones you are and IRONMAN!!” I crossed the finish line in a time of 14:39:31 and felt amazing.
Comparing the training methods.
I am glad that I did a traditional method of training for my first Ironman. I needed to build the miles on the open water swim and the bike. I had never biked more than 40 miles before starting to train. My body, but especially my butt, needed extra training miles to help me prepare mentally. I needed to teach my body how to complete an Ironman and train my mind that I could complete it. The traditional training required many more hours of training a week, which was more difficult on our family and my body, but it helped me to achieve my goal of making it to the finish line. The CFE training required significantly less hours of weekly training and I still achieved the same results. My finish times were within 5 minutes of each other, but I feel as though Coeur D’Alene was a much more difficult course. The CFE training helped to make me faster with all of the short interval training and more importantly it helped me to maintain a balance my family life and my training. With CFE training I will be able to continue to compete in more Ironman events. Ironman Texas 2015 here I come!
Take 20 min to work to a heavy squat clean double with a drop between reps
10 Min EMOM
2 reps @ your heavy load for the day each minute