Help needed for my Ironman goal

The target audience for this post is for a coach-friend-type person to assess my fitness and readiness and outline what kind of help I'm looking for to get to my goal.  (My last post outlined my goals to explain to family and friends).

Big Goal:  Full Ironman.  Once and done.  Bucket list.

  • I want this more than just about anything in the world.  It's not about speed.  I don't care if it takes me the whole 17 hours.  I was thinking of doing it in 2018 but for a variety of personal reasons am considering piggybacking on my current level of half iron fitness and doing a full four months after my first half.  
  • Why do I want to do this?  I was once active, then sedentary, then Celiac, then my hubby got cancer which taught me that life is fragile and changed my perspective on what makes up a healthy lifestyle.  I changed my diet and lifestyle and got active and feel like a superhero.  Being active helps my confidence, helps me survive the winter blues and hopefully helps keep cancer away.
  • Which race? Full Arizona Ironman 140.6
  • Why now?  Piggybacking on current fitness adds 4 months to my training to the big goal.  Doing it next year adds 16 months.  I would like to achieve my goal, then spend way more time with family, hiking, camping, and doing regular things as part of a healthy lifestyle.  I have the opportunity to stay with family this year but that opportunity will not exist beyond this year most likely.  
  • Why is this a once and done thing?  I never want to run a marathon again unless it's part of an Ironman.  
  • What will I do after Ironman?  I do want to continue to remain active in swimming biking and running as part of a healthy lifestyle. 

What I'm looking for:  Help to get from the half to the full.
  • I am looking for confirmation that I can piggyback on half training and complete a full four months later in a way that minimizes the impact of my training on my family.  I have reached out in a few Facebook groups and received tips that this is possible and that training for a full isn't much different than training for a half except for the long runs and rides.  
  • I need to be able to present a feasible "just finish" training plan to my husband to ask him to understand the time commitment and support me in this goal.  I need an overview of a plan that includes an overview of the longest workouts, how they fit in to training cycles and rest weeks and an idea of the average number of hours per week that I would be spending training.  I want to be able to show him how I will fit this training in around my work.  I would swim before work, run at lunch and RUNcommute or BIKEcommute.  I have been using the plan from the book "IronFit Secrets for Half Iron-Distance Triathlon Success" by Don and Melanie Fink.
  • I'm not sure I'm really looking for a coach.  I'm pretty self-motivated and money is an issue.  I'm the DIY and second-hand queen.  I don't need fancy workouts to distract me from boredom.  I'm happy to do hours of swim bike run with just a time or distance goal and a few key points to focus on for form.  I can follow an online plan or one from a book.  
  • I AM really looking for a training buddy or buddies (a couple of friends or a club?) especially for the long bike rides over 100km as we move into the fall and colder temperatures.  I have lots of help with swim form already.  I am all good on run form and have support from a chiropractor and massage therapist.  I know how to do brick sessions, though I don't do them nearly often enough.  
  • Nutrition tips and practice.  On the long training sessions I need to practice trial and error to make sure I fuel consistently enough to not bonk.  I went low, got dizzy and confused, and lost my grip on my handlebars on my first 110 bike ride with a crazy headwind on the way back and that scared me so much I never want to feel that again.  
  • I am also interested in trying recipes for real food like salted baby potatoes as long as they are easy and don't take the whole weekend to prepare.  There are lots of recipes online but I haven't made time to experiment.  I hate being in the kitchen.  My hubby is an awesome cook.  I currently fuel with Cliff bars, gels, M&Ms, CarboPro, Gatorade, Ultima. 

About me: I'm 47 years old (so I need more recovery time than a 20 or 30 year old), working full time weekdays (with the ability to take a vacation day here and there), married (and want to stay married), no kids.
Living a healthy, active lifestyle includes training but isn't consumed by training.  Eat healthy and gluten-free.  I'm Celiac.  I like to try something new every year.  Crochet, travel, gardening, painting, mountain biking, learning languages, meeting people from all over the world.

Past Goals achieved: 
Lots of half marathons, four Marathons, two 50K ultra marathons, a few Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, 70.3 swim on relay team, 70.3 bike & run on relay team.  Learned to swim from dog paddle to front crawl over the past three years.  I'm doing my first solo 70.3 in Calgary in 3 weeks (July 2017).

Current level of fitness:  Ready for my first 70.3.  Feeling good and strong. Check out my Athlinks profile for an overview of my races.  My training is all on  my Runkeeper profile  which is private so I included screenshots below but can bring it up online any time.  I don't use Strava or make it public because I'm not really competitive with others and I don't want the world to know where I work and live for safety and security reasons.

Current training looks like:
  • Weekdays:  Swim 2-3 times for 20-60-90 minutes doing 1200-2100m before work.  Bike commute 3-4 times 12K each way.  Run at lunch alternating hills & stairs and flat routes.
  • Weekends: balance family life and training and chores.  Long solo bike ride one day takes up a morning, spilling into early afternoon.  Long run the other day takes up a morning, spilling into early afternoon.  I sometimes swim long at the pool or in open water (if I get invited to a private lake) but not always.  

Here is a snapshot of my running and biking over the past few years and in the last 3 months.  I got whiplash in February and had the flu in May which impacted my training.

The past few years (monthly kilometres)



The past 3 months (daily kilometres)




My gear: good enough for a one time thing

  • Swim:  Second-hand 10-year-old wetsuit that I love.  It's comfortable, doesn't chafe, doesn't constrict and isn't too loose.  No plans to replace it.  Suits, goggles, nose plug, ear plugs, kick board, pull buoy, fins, paddles, inner tube for ankles.  No plans to change or upgrade.  
  • Bike:  Second-hand 10-year-old carbon road bike that I love, to which I just added aerobars.  The ultegra shifters broke last year and I replaced them with 105's due to cost.  
  • Run:  Hydration backpack, dual layer socks, Altra running shoes for my very wide feet.  Summer and winter gear.  I'm good to run from -25C to +25C.
  • Tri: No Garmin & I can't afford one and don't really want one.  I had a 405 and returned it because it crapped out on important long runs and races.  I use an iPhone app to track running and biking.  I use Misfit Shine to track swimming but the app doesn't export data so I am sporadic about manually entering it to Runkeeper.  No power meter on my bike.  I can't afford one.  I have a bike computer that gives me distance, time, speed and cadence.  Bike rack for my car.  Super hubby bike mechanic and chef.  Tons of running clothes for year round training.  Arena tri backpack and mesh bags.  Louis Garneau tri shorts.  Love them.  A few tri tops from the clearance section at Tri It.  A few bike jerseys from Value Village.  They are OK and will do.  I think I'll stick to two piece rather than one piece because it's easier for portapotty stops.  I'd love a Betty Designs one pice kit for a full but they don't really fit me and there are so many more concrete things to spend money on like training support, travel, nutrition and race fees.
Online plans and reading I am looking at this week:

10 hour Triathlete - training volume, time, plan
First Ironman Plan
5 steps to a Harmonious Tri-Family Life Balance


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