After my first Ironman in 2016 there’s not a chance in hell that I could have even raced an Olympic distance triathlon 8 weeks post-race, let alone think about doing another Ironman! The stress of doing a 140.6 mile race is far greater than I ever expected – according to studies, the changes the body undergoes in 12 hours of extreme exertion are similar to those that occur in the body over the course of two decades of non-exertion, as a result of normal aging. It’s actually suggested that the time it takes to recovery from an Ironman/triathlon is 3-5 days per hour of racing.
So by that calculation… my body was recovered by 3 weeks maximum, and a day or so as a minimum from competing at Zurich to Taiwan.
So… how did I go from someone who could barely manage a café ride a month after my first Ironman, to mastering x2 Ironman in only 8 weeks? I’m not entirely sure, but here are a few of my ideas.
This year was my third consecutive year of this kind of event… perhaps it’s worth considering that If you are expecting your body to do multiple. With each year my recovery time has seemed to get progressively shorter, so I guess my body is adapting/starting to access this crazy stress that I keep putting it through.
I hadn’t lost the motivation I had going into the first race of the season, It was only heightened. I think it would have been impossible for me to have attempted the second had my mind not been totally in it.
I didn’t give in to the pressure to jump straight back into training without proper rest – admittedly this is because I had an ear infection and nothing to do with my willpower, but either way it worked. I had a few weeks of complete rest and then started back with my training plan.
I didn’t continue training for the second like I had the first. My fitness was already at 100+ mile rides, so I knew I didn’t need to keep doing them for the second and risk greater fatigue. Instead I trained with much less volume and a little more intensity.
Despite this post I really want you to be conscious that this is about MY experiences, and that we are not all the same. It’s probably not sensible to do multiple Ironman events in a small space of time, or healthy. I don’t want anyone to read this and feel like they’re having a really long recovery in comparison… trust me, I certainly did for my first couple of races, and it’s normal!