Category: Qualifying for Kona

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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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 2017: 20 Weeks to go

When looking from the outside at someone training for Ironman you could be forgiven for thinking that it is an individual, solo sport. When I’m writing my blog posts about how well a training session has gone or about getting kicked up and down the pool by Patrick it’s not at all obvious that there’s a number of people without whom I just wouldn’t be able to do this.

The first and most important is Aisling. It’s not just that she tolerates me training 15-20 hours a week. Rather as my coach she’s the one who’s pushing me when I’m tired or feeling lazy. Another almost invisible aspect of what she does is all of the small things that allow me fit in training when the business requires a lot of hours. Ash cooks meals, brings in food to work and takes care of so many of the other things that go into running the house and family so that I don’t have to.

Our team in the shop allow me come in a little late and leave early to get in sessions. Patrick has taken me on as his own personal fixer upper. I think he’s made me his pet project. He’s going to improve my swimming even if it kills him (or me more likely)

Training partners like Cillian, Fergal, Big Dave, John, John, John, Eoin, Eoin and Eoin (yes we know and train with a lot of John’s and Eoin’s….) Paul Moran’s Sunday morning run gang and more all help me get through hard or long sessions.

All of these people make a little or large contribution to my training and all do it for no other reason than they are good peeps.

My folks have been to almost every Ironman we’ve done (Mam has been asking about me am I chasing a Kona slot again, I think she fancies the idea of another Hawaiian holiday)

There are lots of people who contribute to making all of this happen and they are rarely acknowledged. I’m certain I’ve forgotten to mention someone so I’m sorry in advance. Then there are all of you guys who read and follow the blog and leave comments or ask about my progress when I meet you at the pool or in the shop.

I’m always grateful for all of the support, help and encouragement.

Anyway that’s my thought for this week, lets get on with the training. Read More

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 2017: 21 weeks to go

I sat down with Ash to write my plan for the week on Sunday evening. We were also looking at the the big picture (mapping out the weeks and putting a rough overall plan in place for Ironman Florida in November)

So after we sketched out the long term plan we worked on the upcoming week. Ash first started with the key sessions. Then she moved onto any that I’ve planned to do with someone else, like Patrick’s swims or the long ride on Sunday.
Ash called out the sessions and I filled them into the calendar and after each one I ask “is that long enough” or “will I add another run after that swim?”

Ash patiently answers “no that’s enough” the first couple of times.

After the fourth time she turns to me and asks “Do you want to coach yourself? I don’t mind if you do”

I realise that I’m now walking on that thin and treacherously dangerous ice that husbands occasionally encounter when they say something stupid to their wives. Especially if that something is questioning their wife’s ability to do something.

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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

2 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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How to not walk the Ironman marathon

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.

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