Week One: As the initial days pass, you actually feel better. You are psyched about your Ironman finish and excited about the future. Maybe you even signed up for next year’s race. Whatever is on your mind, chances are — exercise isn’t. And that’s a good thing. Your biggest workout right now should be some quality walking with one or two very short swims.
Weeks Two and Three: This is the Honeymoon Phase, where you feel good enough to work out, but really shouldn’t. If you actually push yourself here, you’ll find that after 45 minutes to an hour, you simply run out of power. Your heart rate will drop and no amount of food or coffee will revive you. Exercise in this period should be no longer than an hour and should be done at a very light intensity. Overdoing it here can really set you back later in your year. Extended swims and light cycling should compose the majority of your program.
Week Four and Beyond: This is the Transition Phase. If you have been recovering well and have felt good enough to include some consistent aerobic activity, then you could be ready to transition back to your regular training. A key test to see if you have made the transition is a 90 to 120-minute ride with some intensity/intervals. If you are able to hold a solid effort/wattage on multiple intervals, and you are able to recover the next day with no minimal aftereffects, then you are back. Some lighter running can also be included at this time.
Managing your recovery post-Ironman is almost as critical as preparing for the event itself. Be sure to take the time and savor what you have accomplished…the pool and the roads will still be there when you are ready to make your comeback!
Be smart and don’t try to come back to soon !!!!!
Live to Race another day,