Ironmom Diaries: Practical Training for the Real World Triathlete

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I signed up last year for Ironman Cairns (and several other major races) with the full hope that I would be able to give it all I had in terms of training for the event and going for a PR…imagining that I would have the luxury to focus on that one aspect and still be able to fulfil my other obligations somehow.

In the past couple of years though, I’ve learned that at this stage in my life, my training schedule is this: I try to do all my jobs as best as I can, and whatever free time remains, be it 20min or 2hours, well, that is my training time. Not ideal, but workable.

I’ve also learned that although I may not be able to follow a typical program week after week as my commitments vary, I just need to be consistent. Even if that means being consistently out of routine. In other words, I am not so obsessive anymore about following my program to the very last second but I have established some personal guidelines for myself so that I may still have a semblance of decent training. I’d like to share them with you!

Rule no 1: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long run.

Rule no 2: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long bike ride.

Rule no 3: Swim at least once a week.

Rule no 4: Run at least once every three days.

Rule no 5: If tired, take it easy. If really tired, skip the session. If sick, rest and take it easy for a couple of days.

Rule no 6: Train a minimum of 4 sessions a week. When you do, prioritize the key sessions. When you can, do combo sessions to maximize.

Rule no 7: If all you have is a few minutes, take it. Just make it count! For example, you can do intervals and make it a really good speed session.

Rule no 8: If all else fails and you really cannot find the time to train for days on end, EAT HEALTHY, and EAT LESS than you normally would if you were training heavily. Body composition counts for a lot in endurance events, and a few kilos can spell the difference between a good run split and a bad one.

Rule no 9: Core strengthening sessions can be done soon after your main session. Even 10-15minutes is greatly beneficial.

Rule no 10: Because you are a well-rounded person and triathlon is not the only thing which is important in your life, if you do not perform well, you should not kill yourself about it. Triathlon should not dictate who you are as a person, it is just something you love to do. Take in the lessons that need to be learned after a disappointing race, regroup, and move on! Remember to always enjoy what you do. Everything will be much easier if this is the case.

I would like to point out that these are not based on any scientific studies, nor are they taken from any triathlon training books, but I have come up with these points through years of observing what works for myself.

I am writing this piece during the flight back immediately after doing two Ironman distance races just a month apart, something I have never attempted before.

Am I happy with my race results? Maybe not as much as I would have been if I actually stuck to a spartan-like regimen. But am I happy and fully satisfied with my life as a whole? Heck, yeah!!!




Filed under Race Report, Random Thoughts

22 responses to “Ironmom Diaries: Practical Training for the Real World Triathlete

  1. Noelle De Guzman

    I love this Coach Ani! Quite a good reminder for age groupers as myself too 🙂

  2. so true Ani! super relate! 🙂

  3. super true, i can definitely relate to this! we just have to set our priorities and not beat our self up if we can’t train as much as we would like to 🙂 thanks for the post Ani. keep inspiring!

  4. jingo hervas

    heck yeah coach! congrats!

  5. Rick Reyes

    Well written. Galing!

  6. Tin

    Very helpful, Coach Ani!

  7. Sharon

    Great post! Just a couple of questions–can 10k once a week suffice to be considered a long run? Apart from this, I do 6-7 k twice a week also, as part of my training for my half marathon and tri events. Or should I do longer runs? Also, I can do 90k on the bike when I’m out of town, but around the city, the longest my friends and I go is roughly 40-50k per week. Is that enough?

    • anikarina

      In my opinion, if you are training for a half marathon it it is helpful if you can do around 1:30-2hours of running at least once every two weeks. Also if you are training for an Olympic distance Tri, 60-80k once every two weeks on top of your regular weekday rides is enough, but if you are training for a half ironman distance Tri, a 90-110k ride once every two weeks is necessary I think.

  8. Great post Ani!!! Very inspiring!

  9. iansimpao

    Great post Ani!!! Very inspiring! I’ll think about this every time I beat myself up for missing a session.

  10. Macky

    I like it when you said that “triathlon shouldn’t dictate who you are as a person.” I’m an age grouper myself, and a single dad of two beautiful kids, and I work in sales. Trainings can be tough. But I have to do this, it’s therapy for me 🙂


  11. hi ani, tried tri again after 5 years (same age as my luis) and did exactly this 🙂 just made “do” with the time that i had, mostly in the morning when everyone was still asleep. was it easy, definitely not -there were times when i wondered why. but hey, managed to actually finish another triathlon, all’s well that ends well 😀

  12. anikarina

    Awesome job sister! Congratulations 🙂

  13. Meg Reyes

    Hi Ani, I have a 19 yo daughter and she wanted to be train for triathlon. Do you know someone who can train and coach her?
    Your help and answer is highly appreciated.
    Thank you and more power!

  14. Benedict Malapas

    Thank you for this article. It is very practical and something we should all live by while doing the sport we love. I didn’t know you have a blog since I am a newbie triathlete. haha… will read the others articles that you have written… 🙂 More power to you coach Ani.

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