Category: Robs Training Diary

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 —


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 —


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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Ironman training: Robs Blog: Week 6. 2017

I’ve been feeling like I’m getting to the limits that I can push before I need to back off for a few easy days. We don’t work off a three week on, one week off model. Instead we keep building up until we decide that I’m at the limit of not just what I can do but more importantly what training I can do and absorb and benefit from.

This is always a bit of a balancing act as we are trying to push the body into adaptations but we don’t want to push so far that I get injured or sick. As it is I’ve been carrying a very mild sinus infection for about five weeks. It’s not getting any worse but it’s also not clearing up. I think it’s tied to the allergies I suffered with for most of last year but I seem to be able to manage it and hold it at bay a little better so far this year.

Another important difference this year to last is that I’m already starting to feel the training adaptations and see improvements in my running and biking as I would expect given the current training load. Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training.

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Ironman Training: Robs Blog: 2017 Week 5

If you’ve never experienced one it’s difficult to describe just how hard the two hour turbo class we do on Monday’s are. We had one of the lads lose his lunch about 30 minutes into the session this week. He had to spend five minutes in the toilet but then he came down, got back on the bike and finished out the session.
I was really impressed.
I’ve only puked off the side of the bike a couple of times in my 18 years cycling. Once was during a mountain bike race and once in a road bike race. It’s very unpleasant and it’s hard to come back from but Joe dug in and kept going.
We have a couple of spaces left in the current block of classes if you fancy joining us drop Grace a call in the shop and she will sort you out the number is 01 6201000. All you need is a bike, towels, water and your kit. You can even rent a turbo if you don’t have your own and we will provide the bucket if you can push hard enough that you need one. Just ask Joe.
Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training.

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Ironman Training: Robs Blog: Week 4 January 2017

I started the year really tired and feeling almost burnt out. It took quite a bit longer to recover from the last few races of 2016 than I’d anticipated but as we get to the end of January I’m finally starting to feel normal again.

I’m also really enjoying the feeling of returning fitness and the unique buzz that comes from just running. Most of my training this month was done on my feet which means that I’ve made reasonably quick initial progress as I mostly just focus on the one sport.

Even with the gains I’ve made though, it’s hard at this stage to see how I’ll hold my target marathon pace for 26 miles. I know I shouldn’t focus or worry about something that is still over two months away but every so often (usually when I’m struggling during some of my faster efforts) I can’t help but wonder how the hell I’ll run this fast for hours…

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Ironman Training: Robs Blog: 2017. January week 3

One of the hangovers from my back operation a couple of years ago is that I have some residual nerve damage which affects my left leg and foot.

Mostly it’s a minor discomfort. There’s some numbness in the foot and continuous muscle flickering in the left calf. Occasionally however the constant firing of the muscle in the left calf can cause problems.
When it’s bad the calf looks like there’s a little baby alien crawling around in there trying to get out.

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The Kona Project: Robs Blog: 2016 Recap & 2017 Plans

It’s probably a little bit Irish and parochial that I think when I’m writing my weekly blogs that everyone reading knows me, my background and what I’m hoping to achieve. I often think it only Ais, my folks (hi Mam) and a couple of training buddy’s who read this. However this being the internet where we are just as likely to have visitors from Australia as North Dublin I went checking to see where the actual traffic was coming from.

Online everything can be counted and measured and tracked so when I decided to have a look at who’d been along for a visit the biggest surprise was that we’d had people reading from 105 countries.

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Ironman Training: Robs Blog: Week 2. Jan 2017

One of my pet hates is people being late. The unfortunate part of this pet hate is that more often than not that people is me. For the most part I get away with it because I’m the boss but when it comes to training I try to always be early, it’s probably the only area of my life that I do.
I think it probably stems from showing up for group rides where athletes arrived on time but they did so in their car. They would then spend the next ten minutes getting on shoes, overshoes, gloves, helmet and assembling their bike while the rest of us stood around shivering.

As a result I tend to roll out a ride at the exact start time so as to encourage people to be there early and ready to go.

So with that little introduction to this weeks blog I will start at the end of the week, Saturday evening to be exact. Myself and Ais got all of our kit ready for the Sunday mornings run, shorts, t’s, gloves, warm gear for the post run coffee and clothes for work afterwards. While packing my bag I realised that I’d left my running shoes in the van after my last run. I decided I’d grab them in the morning on my way out.

We were up early the following morning and had a coffee before gathering kit bags and started moving towards the door. I went looking for the van keys only to have Ais remind me that we’d left it in work the previous day and had come home in the car.

I felt that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach as I knew I didn’t have time to go get my runners. The fact that we were doing a three hour run also meant that I wouldn’t get away with a pair of racers. My feet would likely be in flitters after three hours of mud and grass in featherweight shoes. I went rooting through the kit room hoping I’d find something suitable and eventually found a really old pair of trainers that I figured would do.

The problem now was that our finely measured schedule had been thrown out of whack and we were going to be late. I rushed back downstairs then rushed out and piled into the car and headed in to meet the lads.

In the end we were about five minutes late and I deservedly came in for some stick as I’m rather fond of warning people to show up on time of the run or ride or we will be gone without them.

Next week I’ll make sure I’m on time again and I might even wait a couple of minutes in case anyone else has lost their runners…

Anyway let’s crack on with this weeks training…

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Robs Blog: January 2017 Week 1

Looking down the barrel of a year filled with promise and potential I can’t help but wonder how we view a single day, a number as having such power. I don’t know quite why, when the calendar switches over from the 31st of December each year to the 1st of January we en-mass suddenly see our future as holding some promise that it didn’t have before.

Losing weight, getting faster, being happier, why do we believe in these possibilities because of an arbitrary number?

I’m no more immune to the allure of breaking old barriers and achieving something life changing regardless of how big or small and I have a slowly building excitement as we set some of the years targets and goals.

The first one will be the Boston marathon in April, both myself and Ais are running it and I’m just looking forward to feeling like a proper runner again for a while. I’d like to get my running to a level that will allow me then build towards a summer or autumn Ironman but I’ll wait to see how the body handles the return to training first before hitting enter for a race I mightn’t be ready for.

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