Category: Project Kona 3.0

Robs Blog: Chasing Kona. 16 weeks to go

When Ais was giving me my plan for the week this run looked much easier on paper than it actually turned out to be. I was looking at it thinking it was going to be short and easy. Too short and too easy. If you’ve been here before then you know I like the long stuff and I’m a believer in big volume. There’s no substitute for long, hard work when it comes to Ironman.

Except that sometimes there is.

Sort of.

Sometimes fitting in long sessions just isn’t practical or sometimes we are trying to stimulate another part of the fitness rather than the aerobic system.

But there’s still that voice in my head that’s saying that if 1 hour is good then 6 must be unbelievably brilliant.

I need to learn to ignore that voice.

Anyway by the time I was half way through this session I was fully satisfied that it would be both long enough and hard enough.

I decided before starting that I would set the treadmill to about 4 minute kilometres for the faster and 4:40’s for the easier parts. Ais had said to treat it like fartlek. Running faster for five minutes then running at a normal speed for the next five. I wasn’t to go so hard that I had to slow right down to a jog to recover in between the efforts.

I managed to hold the faster speed for all 6 faster sections but gradually dropped the speed on the easier bits.

Despite the fact that both the treadmill and my Garmin more or less agreed on the pace it felt much faster and harder than the same pace does on the road. Maybe that’s a treadmill thing? Or maybe it’s just a tired legs thing.

Funnily enough in the end I didn’t feel the need to go longer or harder than Ais had said….

Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training. Read More

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 2017: 17 weeks to go

I was reminded yet again on the bike in a race this week that I’m not at the place where chasing marginal gains will benefit me. I’m still very much at the stage where I just need to do a lot more of the basics and get the training done. All of the icing can be put on top of the cake in a couple of months if I can first address the weakness of my bike leg.

It’s very frustrating as the bike was always the area where I was strongest, now it’s my weakest discipline. I guess I just haven’t put in enough work so far. Ais also reminded me that we haven’t actually done anything yet in training that would give me a strong bike leg, in fact we have stayed away from the big volume and very hard bikes on purpose during the busy season in work because I struggled with doing these and recovering last year.

Related: Lanesboro triathlon: Two Provinces race report

The logical part of me knows this is true but the emotional side of me finds it very hard not to panic. My urge is to go out and ride every day this week for hours. “Massive volume will sort it out” I think.

Then I stop myself. I have to trust Ais. She is the coach and has a plan. I can’t take the parts of her plan that I like and then tack on my own ideas. That just won’t work. I can give my feedback and tell her how I feel things are going but I can’t constantly question what she’s doing and not expect to get a whack of a dog toy or something. Ais doesn’t have a lot of time for stupidity or doubt. She’s very black and white about things. Do the work and the results will come and don’t constantly analyse every detail.

And especially don’t question the coach if you want your plan for next week to land in front of you on Sunday afternoon.

Ineed to remember that Ironman is much more about the big picture than how one session goes or how I feel on a given day in isolation. I tell this to athletes all the time, don’t sweat the small stuff. For the most part the exact details of what you get done on a 5 hour bike ride or a 3 hour run matter less than the fact that you got the five hour ride or a 3 hour run done.

Still, knowing all of that doesn’t stop the growing ball of fear in my belly that I’m not doing enough. I think the fear is good sometimes, it’s what gets me out of bed at 5am to go to the pool or onto the bike for a long ride in the rain and cold. The fear of failure is a big part of what drives me and makes me keep on pushing. The fear of failing in public on my blog or here while putting all of this out for the world to read in Lava magazine is an even bigger driver.

The reason I trust Ash’s guidance is that she isn’t governed by that fear. Her coaching decisions are based on her instinct and experience and what she thinks is best for me. They aren’t based on an irrational fear of failing to perform in a race that’s still nearly four months away. And while she tailors my plan almost daily if needed to how I’m physically reacting to the training load she doesn’t tailor it to how I’m handling it emotionally.

She just tells me to get my shit together, get the work done and stop thinking and worrying about it afterwards. Trust the plan. Trust the work. I’ve said it to our athletes hundreds of times reassuring them when they are struggling to see the big picture.

I know she’s right. But it’s hard to not worry when I’m on the bike and the legs no longer do what they’ve always done in the past. It’s hard to ignore a rider going by me on a road bike while I’m on the tri bike (that must have been very satisfying for him) even as I look at him riding hard and I’m on a long easy day. It doesn’t matter. It knocks my confidence. And athletes are all about confidence.

When things are going well I feel like I could run straight through a wall or ride anyone off my wheel. When they’re not going well I feel like shite.

But I need to just continue to get the work done and trust the plan. It will come around I tell myself.

So with all of that inward naval gazing done lets see how the week went…


 

Monday 10th 1:55 (1)

Run 1:55 23k

Progression run

10 easy 45 IMRP (Ironman race pace) 45 HIMRP (Half Ironman race pace)  15 cd

Target: First 45 at just under 5 min/k. Second 45 at 4:30-4:35

Splits for those interested in the numbers.

  • First 45: 4:58, 4:58, 4:58, 4:55, 4:58, 4:58, 4:55, 4:53
  • Second 45: 4:46, 4:33, 4:32, 4:35, 4:36, 4:30, 4:32, 4:33, 4:33, 4:33

 

  • Energy: Legs were heavy from yesterday’s climbing but effort/energy was good.
  • Motivation 10/10
  • Work off
  • Sleep 6.5 hours

Tuesday 11th —

Off

  • Energy 8
  • Motivation 8
  • Work 14 hours
  • Sleep 7 hours good

    Wednesday 12th 2:25 (2)

Swim 1:25 4300m

Bike pm 1:00 25k

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 10/10
  • Work 10 hours
  • Sleep 7 hours

    Thursday 13th 2:15 (1)

AM bike 2:15 67k

Inc 6×2 mins hard


Friday 14th :50 (1)

Swim :50 2500m

  • Energy 5/10
  • Motivation 7/10
  • Work 12 hours
  • Sleep 7.5 hours. Good

    Saturday 15th 1:25 (1)

Run :15 3k easy warm up. Race Lanesboro Two Provinces race. Report available here

  • Swim :15 800m (12:44)
  • Bike :35 20k (34:15)
  • Run :20 5k (20:43)

 

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 2 hours
  • Sleep 7.5 hours. Good

    Sunday 16 3:20 (1)

Bike 3:20 100k

Tri bike steady/Ironman pace

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 6 hours
  • Sleep 8 hours, good

  • Total hours / sessions 12:10 (7)
  • Swim 2:30 7600m (3)
  • Bike 7:10 212k (4)
  • Run 2:15 28k (2)
  • S&C —

    Monthly accumulated hours / sessions

  • Total 28:30 (15)
  • Swim 6:45 19650m (5)
  • Bike 15:50 414.5k (8)
  • Run 5:40 71.5k
  • S&C —

 

 

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 2017: 18 weeks to go

I was chatting to Patrick my swimmer mate (the one who takes great pleasure in knocking lumps out of me in the pool) a while ago and had told him that I was finally going to have a go at the 100 x 100’s swim session I’ve been talking about for so long. I told him I was going to do it on my birthday, the 21st of July. Doing the 100 x 100 swim is a sort of triathletes birthday tradition, at least it is for the pros who are coached by Brett Sutton and who am I to second guess Sutto.

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Robs Blog: Ironman training: May 2017. Week 3

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

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Robs Blog: Ironman Training: Lanzarote Training camp

Two thoughts for the week while on training camp in Lanza with John Rogers.

  1. 1. Don’t waste belly space on less than excellent food while eating at a 4 star buffet.
  2. That and I think I know why they don’t have weighing scales in hotel rooms with as you can eat buffets.

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 12 2017

We are only three weeks out from Boston marathon at this stage and I’m looking forward to my first attempt to run a quick time in a marathon in probably four or five years. In fact I can’t remember the last time I trained for and ran a hard, stand alone marathon. All of the ones I’ve done in recent years have been run easy as long training days or have come at the back end on an Ironman. Physically I’m feeling good and am confident that I’m in reasonably decent shape but I’m aiming for a time that’s going to be right at the edge of my current fitness.

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 9 2017

It was like someone pulled the plug out of me this week. All motivation and energy were gone and I ended up in a sort of holding pattern. I only managed a couple of short runs during the week and one decent one on Sunday but otherwise the week was a bit of a non event.

Luckily enough it doesn’t happen to me too often but occasionally I just completely lose the desire to train. I used to just stop completely when this happened, sometimes for as much as a couple of weeks, and of course I would end up losing a lot of the progress I’d made. Now though I try to just tick over with very easy, short runs or bikes so that at the very least I hang onto whatever fitness I’ve gained and it also serves as an easy recovery week.

That’s what this week became. Hopefully things will be back to normal next week. Click on through for this weeks fairly short update… Read More

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 8 2017

Some days you’re the hammer. Some days you’re the nail.

Today I was the nail. And the hammer was not really a hammer, more like a 40 ton steam roller….


For the last number of weeks our Sunday run in the Phoenix park has been a gradually building sort of affair. It started off at two hours, all easy. Then we stretched it to three hours and as we became comfortable with the distance we started adding a little pace into the last hour.

The last two weeks saw us build the pace from the half way point and run a strong negative split for the second half.

This week Ais wanted me to run with a faster group from the start and see how I got on. A couple of the lads from that group said they had been averaging 5 minute k’s for their 20k run for the last few weeks.

Grand, I thought. That should be comfortable.

Famous last words.

The pace did start at 5 min/k’s but the speed gradually crept up until by about the 10k point we were running 4:15/k pace. I was working fairly hard but still confident that I could manage another 10k at that pace.

The problem was that while the group I was running with only had 10k left I had another 24k to go. I knew I wouldn’t last that long at this pace so three of us backed off a little.

In the end we finished out the first 20k lap in about 1h30 and after a quick pitstop at the car to grab a gel and some water I headed out for another 12-14k.

Four of the others were extending their run a little so started out with me but cut out after ten minutes.

All except Barry.

I was surprised to see him still running with me so asked him how long he was doing. We had met him near the end of our first lap and he had jumped in with us. He said he was happy to do as much as I was.

Without trying to sound like I was making excuses I told him I wouldn’t be going too quickly. I was already a little fried after the first lap and was just making up time on my feet.

Barry answered that he was happy to run at whatever pace I liked as he was only making a return to training. I was still very dubious that I wouldn’t be slowing him down too much. Barry Minnock is a sub 2:20 marathon runner. In fact I think he also has the Olympic “B” standard qualifying time for the marathon so chugging along with me at 4:40/k must have felt like being out for a brisk walk.

I’m surprised he wasn’t shivering. Anyway he dragged me through another 13k and I finished up doing 33k in just over 2 hours 35.

I’ve seen a couple of minutes improvement over the three hours most weeks since the beginning of the year without too much effort. If I’d started off today with the ambition of lopping off over 20 minutes in one fell swoop I would have told you that was probably a tad ambitious and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to try without firstly the push from Ais, then the group and lastly from Barry. Sometimes you can pleasantly surprise yourself.

Lets get on with the weeks training…


Monday 20 2:00 (1)

Bike 2:00 60k turbo

This was another one of those lactate threshold sets. Very unpleasant while doing it but savagely satisfying afterwards.


Tuesday 21 —

Off


Wednesday 22  2:25 (2)

AM: Run 1:40 16.5k hills.

PM: Run :45 10k


Thursday 23  1:50 (2)

Swim 1:05 2800 Paddles set

Run :45 8k easy run


Friday 24  1:10 (1)

Run 1:10 12k


Saturday 25  2:30 (1)

Bike 2:30 57k


Sunday 26  2:40 (1)

Run 2:40 33k

This is the run I talk about at the start of the post. Enough said.


Total 12:35 (9)

Swim 1:05 2800 (1)

Bike 4:30 117k (2)

Run 7:00 89.5k (6)

S&C —


Accumulated 

Total 46:15 (31)

Swim 3:55 10,300 (4)

Bike 18:30 447k (8)

Run 22:25 260.5k (17)

S&C 1:00 (2)

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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 7 2017 

I experience what feels like a moment of transcendence. All external stimulus dims and my internal chatter quiets. All I’m aware of is my fast rhythmic breathing, my quickening heartbeat, my feet hitting the ground. I feel the strength and I’m aware of my fitness. Running faster feels effortless. It’s not like I’m floating, rather I’m feeling strong. I’m hyper aware of everything working together, a part of me knows that this won’t last but as soon as that thought surfaces I switch my focus back to just being here right now and enjoying this moment.

I can hear Fergal’s breathing on my shoulder it’s hard, a little harder than mine but I’m confident he can hang on a while longer. I have a strong urge to turn the screw, make him hurt more and in previous years that’s exactly what I would have done. But that’s not the purpose of this run and this time it’s easy to resist the momentary urge. I return to an awareness of my breathing and my effort and hold the pace.

The numbers don’t matter. My speed or distance or the average pace mean nothing as I hold onto this feeling.

In the end it does last. It lasts longer than during any of my runs this year. I’m reminded of what it felt like to be really fit. I spend the best part of an hour feeling this strong and as I eventually start to fade I try to hang on just a couple of minutes longer but all of a sudden it’s gone and my legs are empty.

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