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.
A number of years ago I read about an idea that the Sky Pro Cycling team working under Dave Brailsford used as part of their strategy to become the best cycling team in the world. They called it marginal gains.
In a follow up to my post We Might As Well Win I look at Sky Pro Cycling Teams marginal gains Program.
Did you ever wonder what it takes to get to the Ironman World Champs in Kona? It’s easy to think it’s just talent. You either have it or you don’t. Alan Ryan shows us that it’s more about doing the work than being born with the correct genes. He also shows us that maybe it was a touch of craziness that took him onto the podium in Kona not once but twice. God help his kids…
How to make your fitness and Ironman New Years resolutions sustainable and successful.
It’s that time of year when we all rush headlong into our New Years goals. We set targets and make big, exciting new plans. I’m no different and January usually signals the start of structured training for me. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the last number of seasons is to start slow.
When Bryan Mc Crystal was coaching me on the bike last year he warned me going into Christmas not to hit the f**k it switch. You know that moment of teetering between temptation of eating all the cake and sweets and crisps or not. It’s Christmas, you’re constantly faced with the dilemma of should you just go ahead and have one or twelve. You argue for and against before caving in and hitting the f**k it switch and sometime I hit it several times…
Read on for more
I had a chat with Irish Road race champion Damien Shaw this week and was delighted to discover that we were very similar. Well to be honest it was just that we had a very similar view on nutrition. It’s just a pity there is such a difference in engine size. I’m like a 1 litre Nissan Micra, Shaw is like the 3.8 litre Porsche 911. Despite the difference in capacity the most important take away for me was that we both strongly agreed that if we were going to fall of the wagon and eat sugar or rubbish that it should be cake and not energy bars. Read on for more cake wisdom..