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Interview With An Ironman

It wasn't always sunshine and rainbows for Coach Welty, about a month out from race day he fell off his roof while trying to clean his gutters. I sat down with Jon Welty, cross country and track coach at Monmouth College, to ask him a few questions about his first ever Ironman this past summer.

1. Why Do An Ironman?

When Jon was little his father would workout in the basement and watch Ironmans on the TV. At a very young age seeing others completing Ironmans made Jon want to do one as well. Fast forward to a year and half ago, he had been training for half Ironmans for a while but was not seeing incredible progress. Jon realized he had hit a wall in training and it was time to increase the challenge. The decision was made and he signed up for his first ironman.

2. What Was Training Like?

The training plan was a 8-9 progression with 3 weeks up (increased volume of training) and 1 week down. The beginning focused on building a base to get his body ready for more intense and specialized training. As time went on his workouts started to resemble an actual ironman. This is when Jon began incorporating brick workouts into the plan. Brick workouts are when one will swim and then bike right after or run and then go straight into biking. A max training week hit at 15 hours in one week, Jon got this point about a month out from the race.

Jon's best advice to focus on during training:

"Just make sure you get to the start line. Don't beat your body up so much that you can't do the actual race."

3. What Was His Nutrition Like?

Jon admitted that his nutrition was not as great as it could have been. During his training he focused more on getting lots of calories (which is a good thing!), but not what those calories were. Instead of focusing what type of nutrients he was getting, he just went for the most calorie dense foods to help his body recover from the tons of calories that were burned.

However, during the race and his actual workouts his nutrition was pretty solid. During the race he had chews that were basically pure sugar and granola bars to give his body the energy it needed to keep going.

4. What Kept Jon Motivated?

During the race he thought about the countless hours he had already invested in being there. As well as all the people that were supporting him at the race and at home. He told me that if it was just him it would have been too easy to just say, "Yeah nope... I am done with this," and throw in the towel.

During training Jon reminded himself that he was not a professional athlete, but rather doing this because it was something that he enjoyed. Outside of the ironman he had family, work, and two teams to coach. He realized that the training was not going to be perfect because life gets in the way sometimes, and that is okay. If he had to miss a day, a workout or two, that did not mean his training was awful and he should just give up. This mentality kept it fun and something that he wanted to keep doing.

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