January has seen my first proper return to Ironman training in almost 2.5 years and with a big goal I’m really motivated, the hard job at this stage with almost 8 months to go to race day is to not get carried away and do too much too early. I am slowly getting back into the routine of regular sessions and training. For years now I have kept a training diary for my own reference. It’s useful to look back on patterns over weeks, months and years. It’s often impossible to see the big picture when you are living the details every day, a diary shows a bigger perspective on things over a longer period of time. After seeing Alan Ryan’s idea to post every session he does along the way in his attempt to not only qualify for Kona but to win his age group there I was fascinated and have been stalking his training log page with great interest for the last two months. I am shamelessly going to copy his idea (the training log one, not winning the age group in Kona) and along with regular blog updates on my progress I will post my own training diary here hopefully on a weekly basis. I will post it in a separate category which can be found at the top of the site here.
So with that said lets get onto the good stuff.
After yesterdays lounging around it’s back to work and although the heatings fixed in the pool it’s not quite as warm as the first couple of swims. I managed 3550m before shivering my way to the hot showers.
Swimming like a boss.
Ok so a very slow swimming boss but I’m still on track. The day started with a 2.9k swim. I was aiming for 3k but lost count and it was only during breakfast that I realised I was short.
We arrived in Lanzarote late Saturday evening and after building the bikes and settling into the apartment we went for dinner. The day was going to be a write off as far as training went. The good news is that our apartment is facing onto the swimming pool so it will be easy to get to.
We’ve decided on a target for the year, myself and Aisling are going to race Ironman Mallorca in September where I am hoping to chase a Kona slot. It will take me that long to get fit enough to realistically have a shot at qualifying.
In the second in a series of posts examining six of the most successful Irish Ironman athletes we look at a number of critical elements that they all possess. With over 80 combined Ironman races and 29 Kona qualifications they have cracked the Kona code and they share their secrets here.
The athletes are Matt Molloy, Alan Ryan, Owen Martin, Martin Muldoon, Declan Doyle and Bryan Mc Crystal. In actual fact all of the Kona qualifications are attributed to just five of these guys. Bryan hasn’t qualified yet despite being the fastest Irish Ironman athlete we’ve ever had. He is the current Irish Ironman record holder after breaking the existiong record twice in less than two months in 2015. Bryan races as a pro and the qualifying is different for professionals than age groupers.
Why your emotions may be sabotaging your race performance.
One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen (not to mention been guilty of committing) in Ironman is letting outside events control your race. What happens to you during your race and more importantly how you react to it can have a bigger impact on your result than all of the training you’ve done in the lead up to it. When I’m racing I love to see people loose control in a race. Especially stronger or potentially faster athletes. As a coach I try to teach people how to retain control regardless of what happens to them. Loosing control doesn’t only mean throwing a wobbler and flinging your bike across a ditch. It also and more commonly means starting too fast or racing others too early in the day.
Image via @sethgerber on Instagram.
There comes a point at which your body will no longer be able to absorb the training load you are subjecting it to. We reach the limits not of what it can do but more importantly what we can do and effectively recover from. When we are motivated we can push past these limits and this can sometimes be where improvements lie but it can also be a very dangerous area if we go too far for too long.
One of the most common questions we get asked is what should I eat on the day? what should I eat or drink on the bike, run etc. For the answer we need to take about 10 steps back, or maybe 20. What you do regarding nutrition on race day is determined by what you eat and drink not only in training but what you eat every day outside of training.
Nutrition is one of the biggest, most misunderstood topics not just in Ironman but also in society as a whole. Obesity is rampant as are diseases such as type 2 diabetes, both of which are primarily caused by the food we eat, not the lack of exercise (although you do need to do some exercise I think the problem is more like 80/20 food/exercise) To make matters more difficult everywhere we turn there’s conflicting information.
High fat-low carb v’s Low fat-high carb v’s Sugar is at fault v’s Fat is the cause v’s Carbs are the devils food.
It’s a bit like the old saying; Opinions are like ars€holes, everyone has one. Well for what it’s worth here’s mine…
That might seem like a very strange thing to say about Ironman considering the fact that I’m such a big fan of training volume as I talked about here but given the fact that at any given Ironman race there might be as many as 2-300 people who have the engine, physical capacity and fitness to qualify for Kona why do we regularly see the same athletes qualifing again and again? In a series of posts featuring five Irish athletes who between them have qualified for Kona an incredible 29 times I look at the differences between them and the ones who don’t make it.