An Ironman Louisville first-timer shares her training journey

A self-proclaimed average athlete takes on the challenges and humor of training for her first triathlon.

She’s a self-proclaimed average athlete.

But Stephanie Fish, sports events marketing coordinator for Norton Sports Health, is attempting to accomplish an athletic feat that most would consider pretty extraordinary. She’s training for  Ironman Louisville — her very first full triathlon.

Here’s a Q&A with Stephanie to get an inside look at her Ironman Louisville training plans. She’s informative and funny, and you might just be inspired to set a lofty fitness goal of your own.

Are you following an Ironman training plan? If so, where can others get a training plan?

I’m following a combination of and the official Ironman training plan. I’ve already started the 23-week training program, which has me swimming, biking, and running about three times a week each. I also fit in some yoga, and maybe a weight training session if I have the time and energy. I’m also tracking my hydration and daily caloric intake, as well as trying a few new nutrition techniques on the bike to see what works best.

Do you have any Ironman training hacks or advice?

I was told that when the training schedule says to rest, do it. Don’t try to fit in extra stuff. I’ll be visiting a chiropractor and dry-needling expert about once a month to stay “patched up enough to finish.” I’m also going to try INFINIT, a nutrition solution for athletes, for my long-distance bike rides, as well as some protein shake supplements to ensure proper muscle recovery.

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Everyone has given me some random advice, and I take it all with a grain of salt. I know that I will have to work through things on my own, in my own time and through my own mistakes.

Related Content: Achieving mental toughness: Tips so you can accomplish your best

Also: If Ironman athletes get hurt, here are the sports medicine specialists who help them

Will you be training for Ironman Louisville alone or in a group?

I’ll be training alone and in a group. Honestly, it depends on what time of day I can fit in a workout. The group meets are usually very early, evenings, or on the weekends. My schedule is pretty flexible, so I can go out and do a two-hour bike ride on a Tuesday afternoon if I need to. If I’m swimming the Ohio River, I will go with a group for safety; otherwise I swim in the pool alone. For the bike, I can do short rides on my own through the week, but the long rides on the weekends will be with friends from my run club, Derby City Run Club, or folks from the local triathlon club, Louisville Landsharks. My weekday runs are typically with my run club, but my long runs are always alone. It’s my “think time.”

How are you feeling about your first Ironman Louisville?

I feel good right now. But, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat thinking about this event. I’m nervous and concerned about the entire thing — the training, my lack of speed, my nutrition, drowning in the Ohio River, getting a flat tire on the bike, staying safe in traffic, getting injured, cramping during the race, wanting to quit … I could go on and on!

I’m excited about the finish line, to see my friends and family along the course, to represent Norton Sports Health and to get the Ironman tattoo!

Where can people follow your first Ironman Louisville training journey?

Visit my blog here for more on these topics and all the funny moments along the way.

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