Barry Garner Augusta-70.3

Barry Garner Augusta-70.3

My training for the Iron Man began October 16 2008.  It was a typical day in the Garner house, lounging around on a Sunday afternoon.  We were watching Kona Ironman which was the Ironman World Championships, and they were featuring a story on Team Hoyt which was a father son team of  Rick and Dick Hoyt.  Rick was a challenged athlete from birth, and his father towed him in a raft for 2.4 miles, rode him on the front of the bike for 112 miles, then pushed him through an entire marathon.

Starting Training For The Iron Man

With tears rolling down my face, I said to myself that I was going to do something like that .  With that statement, I really had no intention of training for the iron man, but I intended to learn the three disciplines which were swim, bike, and run.  I already had a background in cycling, but the swim and the run were a challenge for me.  I remember going to a local park and run/walking my first mile.  Four laps around the perimeter of Duck Samford Park was a full mile, and I remember the day that I was able to complete the full 4 laps.  That was a milestone, but I knew I was on my way to completing my first triathlon.

The swim was another challenge that I faced training for the Iron Man.  I had a pretty good “lake stroke”, but had never had any swim training.  The thought of swimming a mile seemed like a daunting task, so I enrolled in the Masters Swim group at Auburn University.  The Masters group provided the motivation and the instruction that I needed to train for my first triathlon which was the  Olympic triathlon distance at West Point Lake.

My first Olympic distance went off without a hitch and I immediately set my sights on Ironman 70.3 which took place at Ironman Augusta.  The Ironman 70.3 triathlon distance is comprised of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and half marathon run.  For a first attempt at this distance, I would say that it was a challenge, but the swim and the bike were solid.  The “run” provided the primary challenge for me, as it is without a doubt my weakest of the three.  Cramps shut me down during the majority of the run.  It seems like I would run a hundred or so yards and I could feel my hamstrings knotting up and have to break down to a walk.  This went on for the duration, and carried on all the way thru to the finishers chute.  If you can imagine Forrest Gump running with his braces on, that is a pretty good picture of how I felt crossing the finish line.

Volume Is Key In Training For The Iron Man

After the 2009 Half Ironman, my sights were set on Ironman Florida 2011.  With a couple of shorter races planned for the interim, my primary focus was going to be to train my body to accept the workload of Ironman training.  Ironman training is a little different than most other types of race training, because basically you are training your body to manage a workload of 12 to 15 hours.

Volume is the key to preparing the body, and long workouts are the key to getting used to the volume.  Typical training days included doing 1 to 2 hrs of training in the morning and another session in the afternoon.  These weekly workouts were followed by long workouts on the weekends.  In the beginning, I wondered how in the world I would actually be able to put 15 to 20 hours a week into training, but it really became a habit, and when I was not training, I felt as if I should be.  It really put a damper on the social life though. All in all, training for the Iron Man proved to be an enjoyable journey.


Filed under: Iron Man Competition

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