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Training For An Ironman—From A Ship!

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Jun 25, 2014
  • Updated Jun 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM UTC

Dr. Andy Baldwin had an interesting challenge en route to training for this weekend’s Ironman Coeur D’Alene—he had to log his workouts for the last three months aboard the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), an amphibious assault ship, where he served as Senior Medical Officer. This will be the former Bachelor contestant’s ninth Ironman (his last one was in 2007), but the first one he trained for while on a ship, under the guidance of coach Jimmy Riccitello. Baldwin says his biggest challenges were not being able to swim, which was replaced by stretch cord workouts like the one below, and tackling long workouts on the trainer and treadmill.

“One thing about being out on a ship is that it cuts out a lot of other distractions,” Baldwin says, “and it allows you to really get into a routine.” The “veritable training camp” left him feeling good for the race on Sunday, especially after finding long trainer sessions to be very efficient for building power.

At one point he asked the Captain if he could ride his trainer on the flight deck, to which he said no, so Baldwin was relegated to his room to be entertained by the only movie options aboard: Disney’s “Ice Age” and “Frozen.”

“My longest trainer ride was four hours, and I ended up with puddles on the floor of my stateroom and drenched shoes,” he says. “My roommate, the ship’s dentist, was not very pleased.”

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Baldwin shared some of the workouts he did two weeks out from Ironman Coeur D’Alene:

Tuesday

Workout #1
BIKE: 2:30
Main Set: 20′ easy; 4x(20′ tempo or 70.3 effort/10′ medium or Ironman effort); Cool-down: 10′ easy.
Coach notes: “Get in the zone, and no harder effort than prescribed. Time to get in Ironman mode: mind and body.”

Workout #2
RUN: 45 min
Warm-up: 5′ easy; Main Set: 30-40′ medium (goal IM pace); Cool-down: 5′ easy including 4 strides (on flight deck?)
Coach notes: “Best done after your ride—at least 3 hours after, and better of at least 6 hours after (to allow a little more quality at same effort).”

Wednesday

Workout #1
BIKE: 4:00
Warm-up: 20-40′ easy; Main Set: 1 hour low-medium, 1 hour medium, 1 hour medium to tempo; Cool-down: 10-20′ easy.

Coach notes: “This is probably gonna suck, but get as much done as you can. Looking to increase effort from slightly easier than Ironman pace, to Ironman pace, and finally SLIGHTLY harder than Ironman pace (less than 70.3 effort). Hang tough, man!”

Workout #2
“SWIM” Strength cords/core: 40 min
Stretch cords:
1′ easy, 2′ easy, 3′ easy, 4′ easy, 5′ easy with 1′ rest after each;
4×2′ tempo effort, 2′ rest after each;
4×1′ tempo to hare effort, 2′ rest after each;
4×30″ hard, 2′ rest after each.
Coach notes: “Adjust tension accordingly. First set should be easy, but will get the blood flowing to the arms and still fatigue the swimming muscles.”

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Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a senior editor at Triathlete magazine, a five-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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