Building A New Engine Using High Volume Aerobic Ironman Training Allows You To Enjoy The Ride And Rescue A Turtle Or Two


Hi folks,

new engine, aerobic metabolism, endurance training, volume training, wattage, training zones, FitOldDog's advice,

FitOldDog's advice is to get a new engine from time to time, so he got two, one for his truck and one for him. Photo by Sue, his biking partner.

There seem to be two main approaches to the training of endurance athletes, intensity or volume, and I’ve experienced coaches of both persuasions. I consider my coach, Chris Hauth, to be a volume guy, with intensity carefully added to the mix. He got me to the Boston Marathon. Chris also gave me two chances to go to Ironman Kona, but I messed those up by (a) failing to go to the roll down meeting, one year, and by (b) developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which slowed me down in the run in 2010 (thus this blog), so I can’t blame Chris for that one either.

Swan, cycling, FitOldDog's bike rides, things you see when cycling,

Swan on the side of the road got a bit pissed as I took his photo

Right now Chris is building my aerobic engine, which leaves me pretty tired a lot of the time, but not injured, and stronger after every workout. This involves long training rides, and a smaller number of long runs, confined to low intensity (wattage or heart rate), to encourage both the growth of muscle mitochondria (for more efficient burning of fuel/food with oxygen for energy production) and to condition my brain to stick to the plan. Slowly this gives my body a stronger aerobic capacity or engine, whilst the rides are not hard so there is time to enjoy encounters along the road, such as the swan I saw today. I stopped to take a photo, but he was not at all pleased, so I quietly made myself scarce as soon as I could.

box turtle, rescuing turtles on the road, FitOldDog's advice,

FitOldDog rescued this young box turtle from the road on Borland Hill during a long aerobic bike ride.

Later into this gentle 50-mile ride I came across a young box turtle in the line of sight of any oncoming cars, so got off of my bike and put him out of harms way. It is important to understand that these aerobic rides are not just designed randomly. Your coach has to know your strengths and weaknesses, have a fair knowledge of your metabolic state when it comes to energy generation, which is obtained through road tests and laboratory measurements such as the Chez Ollie. This information is used to set your training zones, and each workout is a brick in the complex building of your Ironman training plan. You want to arrive at the start line as fit as possible, as mentally conditioned as you can, and uninjured. That is why FitOldDog’s advice is to find a good coach if you want to do it right. I sure appreciate mine.

people you meet whilst cycling, aerobic training, dog called Boyd, rescued greyhound.

This is Boyd, a greyhound rescued from the track and given a great home by a lovely couple we met on the road during an aerobic workout.

A few days previously, on the same bike course, Sue and I met a delightful couple with a dog call Boyd. It is funny that I have never before met a Boyd, and then I had the good fortune to encounter two Boyds within the space of a few weeks, one a bird and one a dog. The bird Boyd was rescued  by Jess from the road, with a damage wing, and was doing well until he had an untimely accident with an over-friendly, gentle, but very large labrador head. We were all sad about that when he was doing so well, but now we notice the local Robins much more than we did before, so thank you Boyd the bird for sharing your short life with us. I sure wish that I could fly like a bird or run as fast as Boyd the dog. We didn’t stop for too long, and while such interludes don’t affect my aerobic conditioning, they certainly add spice to life, making the rigors of Ironman training even more enjoyable.

So both my truck and I, with our new engines, will be off to the Eagleman Half Ironman in June and the Lake Placid Ironman (sixth attempt to qualify for Kona) in July, to see how well they perform.

Wish us luck!

-k @FitOldDog



  1. “NEW?” don’t you mean reconditioned?

  2. No, I mean brand new, never been out of the box (well, crate and straw) before – $4700 with 100,000 mile 3-year warranty, installed, 1/10 cost of new truck. -k

  3. Well that’s the truck’s engine how about the other one?

  4. Pauline Watson says

    Still laughing about the bird named “Boyd”.
    “Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the boidies is,
    They say the boids, is on the wing,
    ain’t that absurd,
    I thought the wings was on the boyd?”

    is this Ogden Nash?

  5. Hi Pauline,
    Now I’m laughing, as I never heard that poem before. I got the name from a Farside cartoon – bunch of guys in trench coats out in the marsh with binoculars, with the caption ‘Boyd Watching.’
    Wonder what’s happening with NYC? Any news?

  6. I never got that before! When you say Boyd out loud it’s different from just reading it!

  7. Dave Deming says

    Well Kevin, once your competetitiors get wind of your penchant for removing kittens, swans, turtles and all manner of life from the racepath they’ll be salting the trail with as many bereft pets as they can lay their nefarious mitts on. Count on it. But it’s your niche: everyone else is just racing—— you’re saving lives!

  8. Hi Dave,
    Rory said that if he was in my age-group he’d scatter kittens along the route to slow me down. I like your comment, though, because, as in Johnny’s where children trump laptops, on the course winning the race is not the sole and major concern. Balance is everything, as I know you, Dave. Is your bus just about transport? No way! What about the quotes and the banana stories?
    I can’t wait for us to have a beer together at Johnny’s. Patience is the key.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.