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.
“This is crucial. I’ve experienced it myself clinching the last Kona slot in my age group by making a pass in the final 100 mts. Martin Muldoon cites the run as his strength, although Martin is a very strong all round athlete with an excellent swim and bike he sees the run as his strongest. Owen Martin and Alan Ryan also highlight the benefits of having a strong run and finishing strong”
Normal service is resumed, mostly, with a return to normal training volume albeit at a slightly easier intensity. The dog is even contributing to the training now (as opposed to killing me with the allergy) as we are doing some evening runs with him meaning I’m getting some good double run days added in as a bonus.
The allergy to the dog seems to be under control and I managed to achieve the first aim for the week just to get back training in any way shape or form. I wasn’t concerned with intervals, quality or anything else. I just wanted to get a week of solid, consistent hours again. I’ll worry about adding in the quality of strength work or intervals, I just wanted to get back to basics. It really felt like going back to base training again, I felt unfit and like I’ve lost all the work I’ve done. The nervous insecure part of the athlete in me has been worrying about not just losing training time but losing the fitness I’ve built so far. The logical part of me knows that it won’t happen but the irrational fear gnaws at my stomach whenever I let it. I don’t know if it’s just me or if all athletes have the same sort of fears? I’ll probably feel the complete opposite in a couple of weeks as my confidence grows as the training starts to build again.
Swimming is the one of the three sports that most people struggle with. I remember reading a funny quote about it years ago along the lines of if you stop pedalling you coast, you stop running you walk but with swimming if you stop moving you drown. Slightly more catastrophic.
Learning to swim as an adult is difficult and rarely if ever does an adult learner ever become as good as someone who grew up as a swimmer. It’s just not possible to put in the hours required with all of the distractions of adult life, work, family and if you throw Ironman or even just triathlon into the mix you now have two other sports to train for as well.
The last few days of the month saw the first half way decent return to training in over three weeks. I still don’t feel great, but to be honest I’m just very relieved to be back training again. The prospect of moving into a shed to get away from the dog was looming large for the last week but it looks like I’ll get away with it at this stage.
Training wise things really fall apart this week and I end up with the worst week since January. On the plus side though I make some excellent progress with sorting out the back and the nerve problems. I’m working with two of the best Physio’s I’ve found anywhere. If you’re looking for a really expert triathlon physiotherapist these guys are the business. Cillian is taking on clients and he hangs out over here. Tell him Rob sent you. Read on for the very short update on the weeks lack of training… Read More
I’ve mentioned our strength and conditioning coach John Belton of No.17 PT before in other posts. I’ve said that he’s the best S&C coach I’ve worked with and his willingness to try out new ideas is just one of the things I like about him. He’s always ready to experiment with something different. Today however I was the object on which he demonstrated his crazy new idea in sports massage. When he took out this big piece of equipment I joked that it looked like a car polisher. He answered with a smile that that’s exactly what it was.
I started to worry. Some of the stuff John has us do hurts a lot. This looked very industrial and I’m only a soft triathlete. This might not be so pleasant.
Ais was on the ball and caught it on video. It was a very interesting experience. Click through if you don’t mind watching a half naked skinny triathlete getting whacked with a piece of automotive mechanical equipment.
I’m still struggling with the training and extremely low energy levels. We are fairly certain that I’m allergic to the dog and if it comes down to a him or me I’m not too sure which way that vote will go… Read on for the week in training, such as it was.