Lionel Sanders is a force of nature. He’s changing himself and along with it our sport.
Every so often someone comes along who changes the rules. Someone who redefines what is normal, or reasonable or even what’s possible. Lionel has been challenging our perception of what’s normal or reasonable with his unorthodox training methods. Training almost exclusively indoors all year round was unheard of before Lionel.
Now he has shown that he has what it takes to change how races at run and he is determined to etch his name on the monument of our sport, Ironman Hawaii. Read More
Walking into the pool this morning Ais left me in no doubt that the next four weeks are going to be tough. She’s happy with where my run is but still feels that the swim and bike are the weak(er) links. Having one weak link isn’t necessarily a disaster but two would be a problem.
I’ve been given my orders.
1. No more missed swims. Minimum of three times a week in the water.
2. After that every spare minute for the next four weeks is to be spent on the bike. Which today as we are having something of a three day Indian summer in Dublin sounds like all of my birthdays have come at once. If the weathers nasty for a five hour ride though I might not be as excited.
Three years ago after back surgery I spent two months flat on my back unable to swim, bike, run or even walk very far. It taught me that even a hard, wet or cold day on the bike is better than that experience.
Even aside from being physically able to train I always feel very lucky at just how supportive Aisling is of my Ironman stuff. I talk to lots of people who have to quit the sport because it causes too much friction at home, or because they work or commute insane hours, or they’ve just had a baby and training suddenly drops from being one of the most important parts of their day to being something that they are lucky to do twice a week.
The next time I complain about how hard it is to train in Ireland feel free to give me a metaphorical (or an actual one if you live locally) kick in the arse.
For anyone who’s feeling sorry for themselves that they got wet or cold on their last bike ride.
Suck it up.
You should instead feel a little bit epic that you were one of the hard ones who suffered through it.
I’m sure that this will garner me all sorts of rants from those who don’t agree but fuck it. I’ve said it.
Anyway let’s get on with how the week went. Read More
The risk with pushing our limits is that we may push too far and instead of making breakthrough gains we just break down. After my first thirty hour training week in a long time. Actually it was 27 hours training in only four days, I came home ready for a day off and hoping for a few easier days after that.
I had the hoped for day off and then Ais had me do a 16k run on Tuesday which went reasonably well given how tired and sore my legs were. The problem started on Tuesday night when I woke around 3am with the beginnings of a cold/flu. I believe it was the combination of returning home in a very depleted state after the weekends training and as a result being particularly susceptible to infection.
An infection which was already running rampant through the house, Cillian and Ais were both already sick.
Ok so running rampant is probably a bit strong and sick is also probably a slight exaggeration. They had a cold which I then caught.
But it was a nasty cold.
Ok not so nasty, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant. And it did screw with my training plans during the middle of the week.
Anyway let’s move on and see just how it all went. Read More
As we hit the last ramp I came off John’s wheel like I’d been shot out of a cannon.
I was out of the saddle.
Dropping major watt bombs all over the road.
Feeling like a legend in my own underpants.
I was sure I had it this time.
He wasn’t going to come around me with this attack.
Then out of the corner of my eye I could see him come by me and instead of inching up alongside he shot past and immediately opened a bike length.
It seems John had the bigger watt bombs and he was busily dropping them all over the joint.
I pushed harder and stabilised the gap. I still had the legs to hammer all the way to the top but not quite enough to close him down.
I held him at just over a bike length all the way to the top but for the second time in two years John took the final and all important climb to the top of Howth head. The one that everyone remembers.
Next year I’m just gonna push him off the damn bike into the bushes at the foot of the climb.
That little showdown was on Sunday. I’d had four days and almost 700km on the bike since Thursday. I’d also gotten a couple of swims and a run done. It made up the biggest training block I’ve done in a long time and I was pretty happy with how I was handling it.
Happy with all except the fact that John had managed to scalp me at the top of every climb bar one and if I’m honest that was only because I had a bit of a head start on him.
I did however take the only flat sprint of the week, but that is little consolation for someone who considers themselves a climber first and a sprinter not at all.
I am consoling myself with the thought that it was a really solid block of training and despite the fact that Friday was a 3k swim, 162k bike and a 6k run I felt none the worse for wear on Saturday or Sunday which had a combined 330k of riding.
Anyway that’s enough about that. Read on for all the details Read More
As I was getting out of the pool with 4000m done in last weeks only swim session Patrick made the point that for me to be comfortably swimming 3800m I really need to be doing more than 4000m in my long swim (he also pointed out on Saturday that if I ever want to improve in the water I need to swim more than once a week)
I have all sorts of excuses for why I only got to swim once last week. All of which sound genuine but at the end of the day they’re still only excuses. I still have this idea that I’m not a proper triathlete, more a bike/runner who swims a bit before the real race starts.
If I’m honest I still think that I can race competitively off two strong legs. The bike and run. That’s despite the fact that this approach proved to be a flawed not just once but twice last year.
But I have a plan. In the back of my mind I can hear Mike Tyson say “Everyone has a plan. Until they get hit”
But still I have a plan.
I think. Read More
We had a record number of not only qualifiers but starters at the Ironman World Championships in Kona this year. Click on through to see who was the fastest of the Irish finishers and where everyone placed. Read More
2017 has seen a record number of Irish athletes lining up to start the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. We had well over 20 qualifiers and of those 20 took their slots and will start the race in a few hours. Here is the full list of Irish starters and details of how you can follow them and watch the race.
When we (I rarely think of this as my Ironman. I think of myself and Ais very much as a team) first set out to qualify for Kona back in 2011 we took on the guidance of a coach.
The first eight days under his guidance I did 28 hours of training which culminated in a sprint triathlon. I placed third overall and won my age group (it was a small race) I’d never done either of those things before and I felt like I’d just been let in on “the big secret”
If you want to get fast you just have to do a shit-ton of training. In the beginning it’s not as important what type of training you do so much as just doing a lot. When you go from an average of 6 hours a week to a 28 hour week just the massive overload will cause all of the adaptations you could hope for.
Either that or it’ll break you. Read More
I was talking the other day to a very good Ironman coach who also happens to be a psychologist (it’s funny how you think that they can read all sorts of things about you by what you say, or don’t say) anyway, one of the things we talked about was how training was going and also if the Kona project was on track.
I was telling him that this year was going a lot better than last and that one of the reasons was that I felt last year I’d very much underestimated how difficult it would be to return to the sort of fitness required to qualify for Kona.
As much as I hate to admit it there was a part of me that thought “I’ve done this twice before, I know what to do and that I can be successful again” and as a result I think I was very complacent in a number of ways.
Not ticking all of the boxes like getting regular massage or enough early nights or eating too much cake (I’m still struggling with this one…) and the biggest one of course was skipping sessions.
When you’re going to be one of the athletes chasing one of the last slots in the age group making sure that you do everything possible, i.e. All of the marginal gains (assuming you’ve done the required training and race well) is often the difference between those who qualify and those who don’t.
When athletes getting a slot or not might only separated by seconds or minutes over a 9 or 10 hour race. The slot may well go to the person who not only did all of the work but to the one who was also a little bit insane about the details too.
If I’m not already then maybe I need to get a bit crazy…. Read More
This week will see Ironman come to town for the Dublin 70.3 and as the official bike partner we will be crazy busy, particularly at the end of the week. So the plan is to get as much of the training done before Friday as possible. Read on for all the details… Read More