We arrived in Lanzarote late Saturday evening and after building the bikes and settling into the apartment we went for dinner. The day was going to be a write off as far as training went. The good news is that our apartment is facing onto the swimming pool so it will be easy to get to.

Day One.

I have this week planned as being all about the swim and bike. I am determined to get my swim back to some sort of decent shape in the early part of the year and this camp will be a good way to do a lot of volume. The first session of the day was a decent long easy swim. I did 4000m without any real structure. It was a mix of 400’s and longer sets. I still feel clunky, slow and uncoordinated in the water but I am really enjoying swimming.
Session two for the day was 3h10 on the bike and it was windy as hell. I spent over 2.5 hours grinding out a low cadence in a big gear. It’s starting to feel more natural to grind away and I’m very slowly feeling some strength return.

Session three was a short recovery swim before dinner, I just did 1000m straight through.

Day two.

I was in the pool early again and swam just over 3k. I’ve provisionally set myself a target of swimming 30km during the camp but haven’t told Ais AKA the coach yet. This may be one of those conversations where I’m told not to be such a toolbox. I’ll broach the subject at dinner this evening, after I do another swim later.

Related: 20 Things I did to improve my swim

Session two for the day was a longish bike with savage wind and some climbing. Again I spent most of the ride in a big gear grinding away. I wont tell you the distance as it was embarrassingly low. I’m blaming the wind, not my lack of fitness.

Session three and I got back into the pool for another short easy swim but I was joined by a real swimmer, Ciara one half of the Ship My TriBike Team, who decided we should do a set. I asked in what I hoped wasn’t a terrified voice what she was swimming her 100’s on, she replied she would go easy and come in on 1:45. Relieved I said I can do that. I added the proviso that she wasn’t allowed to tumble turn and we should also have a long recovery between 100’s. We would go off 2 minutes which should allow about 15 seconds recovery she said. And then we were off. I was scrambling to get onto Ciara’s feet as she took off like a rocket. I got on just as we got to the far wall where true to her word she didn’t tumble turn but as I came off the wall I realised that it hadn’t made a damn bit of difference. She was 10 meters away already. I sprinted to get back to her feet and managed to stay on for the rest of the 100.

Which I came in on 1:33.

I haven’t seen a 1:33 in about two years and already I was breathing hard. Ciara took off again and this time I managed to stay on until about 75 meters and came in on 1:35. I was trying to remember how many 100’s Ciara said we were doing but the lack of oxygen made thinking about anything other than breathing very difficult. I think she said 10 x 100. I didn’t think I would last 5. Turns out I was right as on my third and fourth I started slipping, coming in on 1:37 and 1:42 before blowing up in a most spectacular fashion and “deciding” to swim the rest easy (there wasn’t really any deciding I could hardly stay afloat)

I broached the 30k of swimming idea gently and in a sort of joke fashion at dinner. Ais looked at me like I was taking drugs but because we were in company she refrained from calling me a toolbox. In my twisted logic I’m going to take that as confirmation that it’s ok to proceed (until I’m reigned in at least)

Game on.

I have written a report examining how 5 of the most successful Irish Ironman triathletes have qualified for Kona an incredible 29 times. You can access it free here.

You can read a little about us how we got into Ironman and how I went from smoker to Kona here

Please feel free to share this article.