So it begins…

So it begins…

With 22 weeks to go until Ironman Barcelona, I’ve decided (after a little bit of prompting) to blog about the training I am doing to prepare for the race.

For those who don’t know an Ironman Triathlon consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and a 42.2km run. It’s undertaken by people who are slightly mental.

This year is going to be a balancing act if I am to toe the line in Barcelona. I’m completing a degree course which is due to finish at the end of September and also trying to build a kit car, plus I need to do the required training for Ironman and hold down a full-time job.

My current fitness is currently more or less zero. I’m as heavy as I’ve been for a while (115kg) and I’ve done very little swim, bike, run in the last 6 months since I finished the Dublin marathon.

This will be my 5th Ironman. I finished the first 2 and have then had 2 DNF’s. Both times I’ve not finished I’ve been sick on the bike and both times it has been in Barcelona. Hopefully 3rd time lucky.

Previous performances:

Race: Ironman Mallorca (2015) Ironman Frankfurt (2016) Ironman Barcelona (2016) Ironman Barcelona (2016
Swim 1:09:54 01:22:58 1:11:25 1:12:49
T1 0:05:46 0:11:15 0:09:45 0:09:33
Bike 6:16:43 05:33:56 Withdrew@90km 5:18:48
T2 0:08:29 0:07:22 0:10:45
Run 6:27:19 6:51:12 Withdrew@12km
Total 14:08:11 14:06:43 DNF DNF

Nothing fast happening there!

Plan wise – I am self-coached. I’ve coached people over shorter distances and at this stage know my own body well enough to know how much work I can get through and when to back off.

I’m suspecting that one of the problems in the last few races is my lack of swimming. I didn’t swim at all before Frankfurt and had a disaster in the lake. I swam very little before either attempt at Barcelona and while I can still churn out the distance easy enough, in a fairly respectable time, I’m probably tiring myself out off more than if I was swim fit and swimming well within myself.
In all the previous Ironman events I didn’t do enough running. I missed too many long runs and it shows with the poor times and the run quickly turning into a long walk.

With that in mind, swimming and running will be a focus this year. I’ll still try and get the bike km’s in as usual. I’ll also be bike racing again this year so should hopefully get up and around the same fitness levels as previous.

Swimming wise I have a good idea of the sessions needed and how to put everything together. Same with the run – for both, it’s about volume more than speed in my case, although there will be speed sessions in both and I would hope that as the volume increases speed does too. As well as getting me to the required fitness levels the volume will also help me to lose weight.

On the bike, I’m looking at using Sufferfest sessions this year rather than the usual TrainerRoad. No real reason other than to check out something different and see how it works in comparison.

There will be a lot of regular testing too to see if I’m improving/stagnating. I’m a big believer that to know if you are improving, you need to know where you are/have been. Usually, every 4 weeks testing will be pencilled in for me to do.

Current fitness is (like I said, low!)

Discipline Test Current Target
Swim 500m Test 9:12 7:00
Bike FTP (20 min) – 4DP 270w 365w
Run 5km Race 25:46 22:30

One difference from the last few years is I’ll be going back to the gym during training phase– I’ve missed going the last few months and I find It helps me lose weight. I know that it means I’ll have a little more muscle to carry around the Ironman which will slow me down but I’m not trying to qualify for the World Championships or even have a fast time as a target.

So that’s the background to this year’s attempt. I’m in base phase at the moment. This is the phase of training where, as it sounds, I am trying to build a base of fitness before the training starts to ramp up with 16 weeks to go – I’m not going to pretend these will be the most riveting posts but hopefully they’ll give you an idea as to what I do to try and prepare for Ironman. I’ll try and post up each week with what I did the previous 7 days and a bit of an explanation as to why I’m doing it and how I’m improving (hopefully!).


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