It’s not that many years ago that we all raced sprint, Olympic and maybe one half Ironman at the end of the season. Ironman was the distance we marveled at. It was something that we all aspired to but very few ever did. More and more, Ironman is what brings people into triathlon and even if they start at the shorter distances it’s often where they see themselves getting to eventually. It’s aspirational, it’s a badge of honor in both in and out of triathlon. What other sport or race do you know of bar the Olympics that people get a tattoo of the logo after they’ve done it? Ironman is changing our sport and no more so than how we think of and race the shorter distances.
Myself and Ais went out to the start of the second stage of the Ras this morning and while chatting to Mark Dowling I told him we would be on the road at the only climb of the day, he suggested that I could hand up bottles as it looked like being a hot day on the Ras. I needed no further invitation to be a part of the riders day so I grabbed a bunch of bottles from the team car as Brendan drove by in the cavalcade.
I’ve found over the last few years that it takes me months before I start to feel fit or strong. I suppose it’s the nature of the way we train, big volume coupled with a lot of strength work means that for months I’m moving relatively slowly and constantly drifting in and out varying states of tiredness as I get through the increasing workload. I usually reach a point a couple of months in where I think it’s not working, I’m not getting any faster or stronger and a couple of times I’ve gone and gotten blood tests to see if I’m unwell or run down. I recognised that phase over the last couple of weeks and I think I’m now starting to come out of that phase. I’ve seen signs over the last week that the body is starting to adapt to the massive load of the first three months and I’m feeling strong in all three sports. Thursday saw me do a 3.8k TT in the pool and I was very happy with the results. Sunday was one of the first times on the bike for almost as long as I can remember that I felt strong and lively, I even pushed the pace a little on the climbs and found myself not getting dropped. It was a good week of running too and although I haven’t seen a bump in speed on the run yet I feel like it’s just around the corner.
Anyway, read on for the weeks training.
I don’t have a training image for this weeks blog so here’s the dog looking bonkers. He had been causing trouble with all the allergy issues but now he is actually turning into a good excuse for a second run some days. I guess he’s gone from being a training hindrance to a training aid. Anyway it’s been all about the bike this week, swimming takes a back seat and the run is also a little neglected but I am finally starting to feel the results of all the strength work on the bike.
I do however suffer a bit as a result of being lazy on the S&C front. Read on for all the weeks goodness.
There are a number of similarities I’ve noticed among really good or really successful athletes. Traits that most of us can learn from and copy to our own advantage. Unlike the monster engine the very top age groupers or pro’s have which most of us could never match, we can copy a lot of the things that add to their repertoire. Things that give an extra 1% here or 2% there but when added up they can make a massive difference to an age group athlete.
I’m looking for feedback on the TriCoach articles. I have a bunch of ideas but thought I would put it out to a vote to see what there is most interest in. If you comment below please and maybe tag someone who may also be interested in this post. Thanks.
1. Weight loss/fat burning & training
2. Training volume needed for Ironman
3. How to build an Ironman training plan
4. How to improve biking for Ironman
5. How to improve running for Ironman
6. What to do in the last 4-6 weeks before race day
I’m heading into a rest week so training volume is low but the sessions I do get done go pretty well.
My first attempt at qualifying for Kona saw an eye watering jump in training volume. It was also the first time I went sub 10 for an Ironman, although that wasn’t even a target at the time. I wasn’t as concerned with the time as I was with just ticking the Kona box. I’ve always maintained that I’m not particularly talented and that in reality it was just an awful lot of training that got me in qualifying shape. Most people think I’m being modest when I say that so for those who doubt that Ironman is predominately an aerobic sport, one that you can build a big engine for as opposed to having to be born with it. I will do a series of posts covering the sort of training I put in for the first couple of years training at a level to get up to Kona qualifying standard. I maintain that for me and a lot of other athletes I know getting to Kona has a lot more to do with having a life that allows you fit in a massive volume of training and the desire and motivation to do it consistently for a long time as opposed to the size of engine you start off with.
This was one of the best weeks training I’ve had in years, certainly the best since I’ve been back Ironman training this time around. I’ve been addressing specific issues like bike strength and I’ve also been adding quality runs to the mix so the volume and intensity combine to make it a hard but very satisfying week.
“This is crucial. I’ve experienced it myself clinching the last Kona slot in my age group by making a pass in the final 100 mts. Martin Muldoon cites the run as his strength, although Martin is a very strong all round athlete with an excellent swim and bike he sees the run as his strongest. Owen Martin and Alan Ryan also highlight the benefits of having a strong run and finishing strong”