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 my first time racing Kona (a very loose use of the term, completing would be a more honest description) I was in the best run shape I’d ever been in yet I had one of my worst Ironman run performances. It would be all too easy to blame the heat and wind and humidity and difficult conditions but in all honesty the cause lay in the previous two months training. Read on for more…
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.
Stop worrying about what session you should do, should you use power, are hill reps better than H.I.T.S. Is heart rate a better training measure than perceived effort. Stop playing online planning routes, measuring vertical elevation, average heart rate and just go and train. Swim, bike and run. I learned a couple of years ago that the quickest way to get faster was to go do the work (not buying the fancy ass tri bike. Although that being said buying the bike wont hurt)
We have essentially two forms of fuel available to us, fats or carbs (sugar). I found it very difficult to buy in fully when we started to switch the way we ate from high carb to high fat because I was afraid of the damage or harm we could do to our health. To be honest I was also afraid of getting fat. The problem as I see it is that we have been conditioned all of our lives to believe that fat is bad, it isn’t. Or at least not all fats are bad.
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…
Training for (or even entering) your first Ironman can often seem like you’ve set yourself an impossible target but as long as you’ve given yourself enough time and continue taking steps towards your goal anything is achievable. When you start out on a journey that seems insurmountable there are a couple of simple things to do to help you deal with the often overwhelming size of the project.
Read on for more…
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.