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Athlete Profile: Triathlete Leveling Up to Ironman

Mary is in search of building a big aerobic fitness base for Ironman-distance racing. Ultimately, she has wants to qualify for Kona and she believes Alan Couzens is the coach who can help her make that dream a reality.

Rear view of a female swimmer looking into a pool

Hi Alan, 

I follow you on Twitter and like your views on training. I’m also a fan of building a big aerobic fitness base. That’s worked pretty well for me. So it’s good to read your thoughts on why. 

I’m reaching out to you because I think I need a coach. I’ve never had one in six years of doing triathlons. For the last several of those years I’ve mainly focused on half-Ironman races. And I’ve gotten faster just by doing mostly aerobic training in all three sports. But there are also hills where I live (San Diego), so I get a fair amount of climbing on the bike and also while running. I’ve been with a masters swim group for the past couple of years. Swimming is my weakest sport. I’m pretty good on the bike, and running is my strong sport. 

I’ve got a big goal for next year. I’d like to do my first full Ironman and qualify for Kona. I think I can do it because my 70.3 times have been getting steadily better over the last four years. I’ve gone from 6:15 for my first in 2017 (31st place) to 5:28 in 2019 (10th place). And I turn 40 at the end of this year so I’ll move into a new age group. My goal race is almost a year away—Sacramento in the fall of 2022. So I think I have a lot of time to get ready.  

I’ve included a summary of my 70.3 races. I’ve also done sprint- and Olympic-distance triathlons and running races from 5K to half marathon since 2015.  I didn’t do any racing in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID. 

I’m anxious to get started again and really look forward to doing an Ironman and qualifying, especially with your help. Please let me know what else you need from me. I’d like to get started as soon as you think it’s the right time. 

Thanks for considering coaching me. 

Mary Monroe 

Athletic summary for Mary Monroe

Age: 39 

Vocation: Computer programmer 

Work schedule: ~40 hours (8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., M–F) 

Home: San Diego, CA  

Sport: Triathlon racing since spring 2015. Perceived weakest event is the swim. Perceived strongest event is the run.

70.3 race results

  • 2017: Oceanside, 6:15:00 (Swim 1:18:10, Bike 2:59:20, Run 1:40:30), 31st place 35-39 
  • 2018: Galveston, 5:48:10 (Swim 1:17:01, Bike 2:54:00, Run 1:37:09), 29th place 35-39 
  • 2018: Monterrey, 5:37:30 (Swim 1:17:05, Bike 2:49:15, Run 1:31:10), 20th place 35-39 
  • 2019: Oceanside, 5:28:37 (Swim 1:05:30, Bike 2:44:50, Run 1:38:17), 10th place 35-39

Additional Notes: 

  • Some Olympic and sprint triathlon races and 5K and half-marathon running races in 2015–2016. 
  • No races in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID. Base training continued. 
  • Self-coached in bike and run; masters swim group with coach on deck. 
  • Training has been mostly LSD (long, slow distance), hills, group workouts in bike and run with training volume mostly of 9-15 hours per week for all three sports. 
  • Upcoming birthday will move me into the women’s 40-44 age group next year. 

Goal: Complete first Ironman (Sacramento) in 10 months to qualify for Kona in 2023. 

Goal time: 11:35 

Goal splits: Swim 2:20, Bike 5:45, Run 3:30