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Robs Blog: Clontarf Half Marathon 2017 Race Report

This is a half marathon that I’ve done before and despite the fact that it’s advertised as the flattest half marathon in Ireland there is about 6km of it that is run on sand and exactly half of it is always into a headwind so it’s far from the fastest half marathon course.
I was hoping to break 1:30 today. I figured a 1:29 would be a good day, anything faster would be brilliant and slower would be a bit disappointing. Ais had given me instructions to run the first 3k easy and then I could race however I felt. I made the mistake of not getting myself onto the start line and instead jumped in with the 1 hour 30 group. This had the desired effect of controlling my speed at the start as I worked my way through the crowds but it also had a down side… Read More

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Robs Blog: 100 x 100 swim: Race report

So I did a 10k swim the other day.

I know! A 10k swim! In a pool! 100×100’s!

In case you’re trying to work it out that’s 400 lengths of a 25m pool. I’d been talking about doing this swim for probably a year or more and Patrick my swimmer mate had been keeping the pressure on me.

Click on through to read how it went…

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Robs Blog: Two Provinces triathlon race report 

I don’t think I’ve raced a sprint triathlon in about 5 years but because we were involved as a sponsor race director Anthony suggested that seeing as we were going to be onsite anyway that I should race.

That was a week ago. Because of that and probably because I’m focused on long course racing I’m not particularly nervous before the start. There’s an excitement and buzz in my belly, but no real nervousness.

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1 Comment Qualifying for Kona

Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 2017: 22 Weeks to go

So we’ve entered a race and set a target for the year. Last year the blog was a very public way to keep me honest about my training and to show people what we believe is required to qualify for Kona. As it happened I didn’t actually qualify so that part didn’t go so well.

It’s not much fun to fail in public but I keep on telling myself that I’ve only failed when I quit trying. I thought that maybe I’d try for a Kona slot again this year, but I also thought that if I didn’t tell anyone what I was trying for I wouldn’t have to suffer the shame of a public failure again.

But that felt a bit like like cheating, it felt dishonest. After setting out to do something and do it in public I felt that I should continue to do it publicly or I wasn’t really being very straight about it. It felt like I was skulking off into a corner to try and do it secretly and if I was successful then I’d pop out all “TA-DA!! Look what I did! See I told you I could!” Happy to celebrate in public but if I failed that would be better done in private.  Read More

3 Comments Ironman TrainingQualifying for KonaRobs Blog: Chasing Kona 2017Robs Training DiaryTraining

Calculating and balancing the energy cost of your Ironman speed

Sometimes the way to get a faster Ironman finishing time can be a little bit counterintuitive. Slowing down can often lead to faster finishes. But surely the best way to finish faster is to swim, ride and run faster? Yes and no. You must balance a number of factors which will effect your ability to maintain your speed, some of which are:

  • Your aerobic efficiency at different work rates
  • Your energy cost at different work rates
  • Your ability to eat and digest food at a given work rate
  • How your work rate effects your core temperature
  • External temperature and weather conditions
  • How your effort level effects your sweat rate
  • How much salts & electrolytes you lose in your sweat
  • How much you can drink at AeT

Lets take a look at some of these variables to see how pacing and effort can affect them.  Read More

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Be careful who you emulate 

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.

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Marginal gains or Major liabilities?

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?

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Robs Blog: Ironman training: May 2017. Week 5

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

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Robs Blog: Ironman training: May 2017. Week 4

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

1 Comment Ironman TrainingQualifying for KonaRobs Training DiaryTraining

The cost of the Ironman experience

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.

ironman-france-logo

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.

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