Let's just start by letting the cat out of the bag, shall we?
In exactly 14 days, I will be racing Ironman Hawaii, the World Championships of Ironman on the Big Island of Kona. Yes – that one: the hot torturefest in the lava fields during which you race a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and finish with a marathon for dessert.
And I just found this fact out approximately 24 hours ago.
Allow me to clarify why this is kind of a shocker.
I have not trained for Ironman. Nadda. Zip. Zilch.
I have just six days ago finished, extremely battered and bruised, the Spartan World Championships.
I had planned on spending my next several weeks drinking organic wine and stuffing my face with dark chocolate.
So when my manager for Team Timex told me I'd been tasked with showing up to the starting line of one of the most grueling endurance events on the face of the planet, although most people spend 8-16 months training for this race, and not a meager 14 days…
…I naturally said “yes”.
After all, I've always been curious how the human body would handle an Ironman triathlon without any actual Ironman training. I also have a few tricks up my sleeve that make me want to experiment with how well my body will hold up in the lava fields, namely:
Two months ago, I completed Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine's brutal Kokoro camp, which proved to me I'm capable of achieving 20 times more than I really think I am…
Twice a week, I've been following Dr. Rhonda Patrick's heat acclimation sauna protocol we discussed in the podcast “How To Use Heat Exposure“…
I've been lifting heavy weights and training for Spartan racing, so I know that my joints are bulletproof and that I can run decently…
Timex has given me full access to their amazing arsenal of pacing tools – namely the Run Trainer and Cycle Trainer – so I can at least pace properly and keep myself from completely blowing up during Ironman…
And finally, I've got a big bag of tricks to get my body to recover really fast.
However, I also have some pretty significant disadvantages, particularly in the training preparation department. After finishing Israman in January, I threw in the towel on much triathlon training and shifted to obstacle racing instead.
Longest swim of year: 1 mile. Average weekly swim mileage: 500 meters, primarily breasttroking with my kids…
Longest bike of year: 12 miles. Average weekly bike mileage: 15 miles, mostly on a mountain bike…
Longest run of year: 14.5 miles. Average weekly run mileage: 8 miles…all on soft, cushy trails…
Total number of triathlons completed this year: 2 very short sprint triathlons.
So you could very accurately say that I have trained less than probably any athlete who will be racing Kona. Way less.
So how in the hell am I going to get ready for this monster of a race in just 2 weeks?
Good question. I'm just now scrambling to figure that out myself.
Since I have both affectionately and with great ridicule been called the “Biohacking Triathlete”, I'll definitely hack the heck out of this thing, but before I tell you how I'm going to train and what I'm going to eat, allow me to clarify one thing…
…my plan is not to trudge slowly through Ironman Hawaii with a goal of “just finishing”. My mind simply doesn't work that way. I show up to any event mentally prepared to push my body and brain to their absolute limits.
So with that clarification, my plans are:
1. Ride a bike 30 minutes every morning to re-accustom my body to pedaling a bicycle. Unfortunately, due to a broken bike frame, I don't actually have a triathlon bike right now, so I'll ride my road bike instead. During these rides, I'll use Elevation Training Mask or Hypoxico altitude training generator to grow a few extra red blood cells. And one week before the race, I'll do one steady 2 hour ride for a bit of “time in the saddle”.
2. Avoid much running, since it's a high-impact activity and it's too late now to put much work into the body, especially since I'm recovering from the brutal Spartan World Championships. The cons of running much at this point outweigh the pros. Instead I'll do an short, 10-15 minute intense treadmill or aqua jogging sprint session every other day. Both of these modes are lower impact compared to pounding the pavement.
3. Swim 20-30 minutes every day in very cold water (this upregulates nitric oxide production, and the cold will assist with fighting inflammation too), alternating between hard 100's/50's/25's one day, and skill work the next day. Getting a “feel for the water” is very important when you want to efficiently race an open water intense 2.4 mile swim, and I'll need to get that feel back – really, really fast.
4. 30 minute dry sauna sessions every 48 hours until I shove out to the Big Island on October 8. You can learn exactly why this heat acclimation tactic is so important in the episode “Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Heat Exposure To Enhance Performance, Burn Fat, Gain Muscle And Think Better.“.
5. Electrostimulation sessions every other day with a MarcPro+ on my quads, hammies, calves and shoulders, which is going to suck the post-Spartan race inflammation out of my body. I'll also do deep tissue work with a full body foam roller sessions on the days I'm not electrocuting myself.
6. A few easy 15-20 minute resistance training sessions to maintain muscle memory and strength. To avoid muscle tearing and breakdown, I'll primarily use the MostFit Suspension Trainer, and do slow, controlled full-body sessions.
7. A jacked-up nutrition supplement arsenal, namely: Thorne AM/PM Multivitamin Complex to increase my nutrient levels, 4 EPA/DHA fish oil capsules every day to help joints recover from Spartan, 1 daily shot of X2Performance to load with ATP, 4 daily Colostrum capsules to get my gut ready for the heat, 1 daily packet of TianChi to lower cortisol levels, a bunch of extra greens to increase alkalinity, 1 X2Performance for last 7 days leading up to race, and of course, 1 big cup of bone broth every day. For the race itself, I'll plan to pack my water bottles and fat-based energy gels so I can follow the exact nutrition protocol I outline here.
8. Drag all my fancy triathlon gear out of it's dark corner in the garage, specifically a BlueSeventy PZ3TX skinsuit, BlueSeventy Element Goggles, a Giro Air Attack Helmet, Rocket7 Cycling Shoes, Timex Cycle Trainer, Timex Run Trainer.
So when you put it all together, my 14 day Ironman training protocol is going to look like this:
Mon, Sep 29: 30 minute easy bike spin, short treadmill run off bike, short suspension trainer session after run. Swim hard. Sauna. Electrostim.
Wed, Oct 1: 30 minute easy bike spin. Swim hard, short aqua jog after swim. Sauna. Electrostim.
Fri, Oct 3: 30 minute easy bike spin, short treadmill run off bike. Swim hard. Sauna. Electrostim.
Sat, Oct 4: 2 hour bike ride. Foam roller.
Sun, Oct 5: 30 minute easy bike spin, short treadmill run off bike. Swim skills. Sauna. Electrostim.
Tue, Oct 7: 30 minute easy bike spin. Sauna. Swim skills. Electrostim.
Wed, Oct 8: Fly to Kona. Day off. Electrostim on plane.
Fri, Oct 10: Quick swim, bike, run practice. Massage.
Sat, Oct 11: Race.
And of course, back to my original plan of red wine and dark chocolate on Sunday.
So there you have it.
I am going to prepare for the world's most grueling endurance race in just 14 days. And sure, I'm known as a minimalist training guy, but this is taking things to a whole new level, and I have no clue if my body can actually pull this one off. It's going to take every trick I know.
What do you think?
What would YOU do if you had 14 days to prepare for an Ironman?
Do you think this is absolutely insane?
Leave your questions, comments and feedback below, and stay tuned to the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page for updates, announcements and some very cool contests in the next few days leading up to Ironman Insanity.