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.
Most of us over estimate what we can do in a year or even just a couple of months and under estimate what we can do in 2, 3,4 or even 10 years. When we set out with a target to do our first race be it a triathlon, running race, Ironman or whatever the challenge a lot of us give it a certain amount of time. It might be 4, 6 or maybe even 20 weeks to get fit and complete the event. Often our next target is to get faster so we go back and again we allow ourselves a certain amount of time to get in shape. Sometimes we add in extra training and maybe do some intervals or other specific sessions. This usually works for a while and we get faster, then along comes the big idea. I wonder could I podium in my age group, win a small race, break a certain time for a distance or whatever the target is. It’s often a stretch from where we currently are so when we decide to go for it we train like crazy. Harder, more, longer sessions and sometimes it works but often it doesn’t and as failure looms we stop and accept defeat. But what if the only thing we are getting wrong is the amount of time it takes? What if we allowed ourselves longer to reach the big goals. Instead of thinking about how fit you could get in 10 weeks of cramming in training for an event what if you managed to do a little less each week but trained consistently in a sustainable manner for 100 weeks? Can you even begin to imagine how much fitter, faster, stronger or healthier you would be if you were able to sustain a training block for 400 weeks? If training properly, consistently became a lifestyle and a normal part of your life.
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.