Most of us mortal triathletes look to the pros for a clue to how they get so fast. Lionel Sanders recently broke the Ironman series world record (Jan Frodeno has the fastest time over the full distance but that was set at Challenge Roth not an Ironman event) Sanders is renowned for his unorthodox training methods which includes doing almost all of his biking indoors on his Wattbike.
Lionel and the Computrainer
In a recent interview he was telling Bob Babbitt that he’d just moved house and had his new training room all customised. He also joked about not telling the people who bought his old house about the use (abuse) his old training room got. in fact he has gone as far as setting up his new training room to be able to replicate extreme conditions that may be encountered in races like Kona. He has sealed the walls, upgraded the heating and added a humidifier. I think he can now get the temperature up over 100 Fahrenheit with very high humidity.
There are plenty of articles out there talking about the benefits of marginal gains as they’ve been popularised by the Team Sky procycling team. I’ve written myself about the subject a number of times here and here and I think that although the biggest part of getting fast comes from just doing the hard work there are lots of smaller additional gains to be made by looking after the smaller details.
These are very much the “one percenters” but if you add enough of them together along with the big gains made from training (the 90%) they can sometimes be the difference between a podium, hitting a time target or a Kona slot.
But at what point does chasing these small gains become ridiculous or even a liability?
If you read last weeks blog then you will know all about Patrick. If you didn’t then it’s probably a good idea to go back and read about what a pleasant person he is. You can do that here
Warning. There will be some cursing in this weeks post.
The cursing is pretty much all aimed at Patrick. If you reckon you can handle the “f bombs” click on through. Read More
My first Ironman marathon started out quite well. I ran the first 10k in about 50 minutes or 5 minute kilometres. The second 10k however started to hurt and I slowed down to about 6 minute kilometers. By the time I was on my third lap I was walking each aid station and taking on an energy gel at every one. Considering they were only about 1-2km apart meant I was taking on a gel, coke, water and whatever else I could stomach every 10-15 minutes. Needless to say it didn’t go well.
My third and fourth 10k’s each took about 75 minutes and like I said involved walking every aid station and towards the end I was stretching that walk a little further every time. I was also very ill by the end and finished in almost 4.5 hours despite the fact that my first 10k was run at 3.5 hour marathon pace.
Three months later I watched Ais do her first Ironman in Sherborne in the UK and she not only posted the third fastest women’s marathon of the day, beating all bar two pro women in the process, but she did it with a big smile on her face. It was the most impressive thing I’d ever seen. Click on through to read what I learned from Ais and how I managed to get my Ironman marathon time down to just over 3 hours.
I got to the pool with a rough idea of what I was doing. I’d brought the paddles, pull buoy and band and was going to do a strength session. Until that was I saw Patrick come out on deck and he came over and offered to pace me through a set.
Not wanting to lose face I of course told him to jump in but I quickly qualified the invitation by telling him how slowly I’m swimming hoping he’d go easy in me.
I jumped on Patrick’s feet for the 2×200 “easy” warm up. I was coming in with splits that were faster than I’ve managed for my hard efforts.
This was not going to end well.
Click on through for the full blog but be warned there’s some swearing… Read More
One of the attractions for me of doing my first Ironman was the idea that completing one would be life a changing experience and also something that would change me as a person. I thought it would somehow be enlightening or provide a new insight on life or myself.
As I crossed the finish line of my first Ironman in Nice, France back in 2008, I like a lot of first timers was in pretty bad shape. As I came to a stop and a girl placed that medal around my neck I wasn’t that delirious that I’d forgotten why I was doing this. I was almost looking skyward waiting for the expected epiphany. As I stood there I started to black out and slowly crumpled to the ground. The staff assisted me out and put me sitting on the grass. Once they ascertained I was ok they left me alone. All the time I was still waiting expectantly for that epiphany, for that moment of enlightenment.
Ais and Grace are away so that means myself and Cillian are home alone. Well aside from the dogs that is. I’m also working a lot at the moment. I’ll be working 21 days straight through now after Lanza. So if I want to get any training done it will mean getting really disciplined and organised with general planning and food preparation.
Planning my own weeks training.
I’m not usually allowed do this but seeing as Ais is away I thought I’d take over my own training planning. I started to write out a plan on the flight back from Lanza after I planned out all of the logistics of the week. Work, commute, walking the dogs, shopping and food prep.
I’d just managed a 26 hour training week so figured that 15 hours would be an appropriate starting point. I wrote up all the sessions, read through it and happy that it would be a good weeks work I closed the computer.
As I sat there thinking about the plan I had the feeling that I’d better not tell Ais that I was planning a 15 hour week as my second week back training, especially as I’m working every day as well.
She’d start me back much more conservatively. I then asked myself what would I do if the plan I was writing was for someone else, would it have 15 hours and hard sessions?
The answer was no so I reluctantly opened the computer and deleted three sessions and shortened another two. I was down to 11 hours. That looks ok I thought. Click on through for the weeks update.. Read More
Two thoughts for the week while on training camp in Lanza with John Rogers.
- 1. Don’t waste belly space on less than excellent food while eating at a 4 star buffet.
- That and I think I know why they don’t have weighing scales in hotel rooms with as you can eat buffets.
I don’t think 3.5 hours can be called a training week. In fact I don’t really think it can be called training, but it is a start. I was going to skip over this week and start next week when I have some decent training numbers but that wouldn’t be honest.
I think we just have to start where we are, whether that’s at 3 hours a week or 13. From a motivation point of view I’ve found it quite difficult to get going after the Boston marathon. Another disappointing race after a pretty good build up seemed to just knock the stuffing out of me a bit.
Work has been really busy so the easy and I’ve been really tempted to use it as an excuse fir why I can’t train properly. But in reality all that would be is an excuse and looking for an easy way out just because things are difficult.
So I’ve decided that I’ll go back to basics and just aim to rebuild the training routine. I’m not putting pressure on myself to do anything other than get each session done.
So with that in mind the aim for May is to try to train regularly again, to make swim, bike and run a proper part of each week.and just enjoy the training.
There won’t be any big volume at this stage because…
- I’m not fit enough and
- Big volume won’t work and isn’t sustainable when paired with my current work hours.
This week I worked 6 days and 63 hours. I reckon that I might get the work hours down to between 55-60 hours a week for the rest of May.
If I can manage to fit in 10-12 hours of training on top of that and more importantly if the body can absorb that without falling apart then I’ll be satisfied.
I was just along for the ride in this Ironman. This was Aislings target race for the year and I had jumped in at the last minute via an entry with Nirvana so I had more invested in Ais’s performance than in my own but if I’m honest I secretly thought that with my swimming coming back to me much faster than I expected and my biking being strong, probably the strongest I’ve been after almost a year of just riding with no running or swimming. I would only have to run an ok marathon to scrape into a decent time and maybe, if there was a roll down, then there was the slim chance of a Kona qualifying slot.
I thought with about 8 weeks of running I could get in shape to run a decent 15k maybe 20 and surely history would get me through the last 20k…
Famous last words. Famous last stupid words…