It’s sorta hard to get my head around doing what feels like a Spring or Summer type of training session right here at the raggedy edge of winter. It’s almost only the thought that I’m nearly done. That in just a couple of weeks I don’t have to get up at 5am to go out and do another six hour bike ride that’s keeping me going. Anyway that’s enough belly achin, I should be grateful just to be able to swim, ride and run. I know there’s lots of people who would do anything to be able to. So let’s get on with the training week.

Monday 7 6:55 (2)
Bike 5:40 158k

Run 1:12 15k

3k easy 11k tempo/building to half Ironman race pace

Splits: Easy 5:09, 5:27, 5:29 Tempo 4:38, 4:36, 4:37, 4:36, 4:41, 4:33, 4:44, 4:35, 4:23, 4:24, 4:15

This session wasn’t really planned as a long brick. Ais was worried that there was still residual fatigue after the marathon last week so I set out with the idea that I was to do 2-3 hours. It was a gorgeous sunny winters morning with almost no wind and Ais stopped me as I was leaving and said to stay out as long as I could. If I could manage 3-4 hours and a run off it that would be a good result. It was -2 degrees Celsius (that’s below freezing for any of you Fahrenheit peeps) so I think she reckoned that would be as long as I would last given the conditions.

Ais called when I was about 3 hours into the ride to see how I was getting on. When I told her I was good she said to stay out as long as I could. If I could get 5 hours and a decent run then I should keep going.

The weather was gorgeous for early winter in Ireland so I settled in for a good long ride. I needed to refuel at the 4.5 hour mark. Coke, a Mars bar and a pack of jellies are not the healthiest of snacks but I think that once the furnace is burning you could fire in any sort of rubbish in there and it’s going to be incinerated pretty sharpish. I added an extra loop on the way back to finish with close to 6 hours riding.

I changed quickly and headed out for the run. Ais gave me a choice of workouts to do depending on how I was feeling when I got going. I was to start easy and after 15 minutes was to pick up the pace for 1k depending on how I felt I could either do another 3 x 1k efforts spread over an hour or if I felt good and found a groove I should stay on the gas straight through for the rest of the run. When I started the first effort I almost immediately clicked right into that groove. The one where your effort is up and your breathing quickens but you know you can hold onto it for a long time. So I did, mostly because it seemed like the softer option than a 4 x 1k hard fartlek.

I held onto it for what seemed like ages and just kept on getting faster and faster. I probably ended up running the last 5k faster than I had at the Parkrun on Saturday only two days ago.

When I finished Ais had the dinner on and I sat in the kitchen with steam rising off my head filling her in on the day. “Just under 160k on the bike and almost 10 miles off it” I said and from her surprised response felt the childlike pleasure and satisfaction of pleasing the coach with unexpectedly good results. Ais said she wasn’t sure if I would be recovered enough after the marathon to pull a quality 7 hour training day out of the bag. And to be running that well at the back end of it was a real bonus.

Tuesday 8 1:05 (1)

Swim 1:05 3200m 3x1k IMRP

18:51, 18:55, 19:00

I was pretty tired after yesterday and Ais decided that the negligible benefit of a 60-90 min recovery session wouldn’t outweigh the second option which was going to the cinema, eating ice cream and spending the rest of the day with the feet up. It’s the whole pleasure v’s pain thing. Today I was weak and went with pleasure.

I also had the first of my “taper injuries” I felt something pull in my shoulder early on in the swim and cleverly thought the best way to fix it was to just keep on going like it hadn’t happened. You see, I’m sort of clever like that. Anyway the thing about “taper injuries” is that they’re never the problem come race day. They always somehow mysteriously disappear and something else goes wrong so I don’t pay them any heed.

Wednesday 9 2:30 (1)
Bike 2:30 74k

Turbo long Z2 intervals. Mentally I had checked out before I started and found this one very tough to get through. The combination of knowing that I’m one day away from the taper and having my head overflowing with the list of work I need to do before we go had me in no mood to spend 3 hours on the trainer. In the end I lasted 2.5 hours and was very relieved to be finished.

Thursday 10 


Work will be crazy between now and Sunday as I try to fit 3 weeks work into 4 days so I’m not going to beat myself up if I miss some of the short sessions we’ve planned.

Friday 11 


See Tuesday. I’m still having that niggly shoulder thing going on and will give it another day or two to clear up. I would really like to be swimming more this week but that’s sort of been the story of the year.

Saturday 12 :50 (1)
Run :50 9k

We ran the Parkrun and did an easy 4K beforehand. I’d no intention of putting in any effort at all, just under three hour marathon pace sounded like a nice easy speed for 5k so I set off at just under 4:10/k feeling grand until another runner caught me at about the 3k mark and told me I was going to pace him to a pb. I asked him what that was and he said 21:13 on this course. I checked the Garmin and wasn’t too surprised to see my pace had lazily slipped to 4:15/k. A bit of quick mental arithmetic and I figured we could just about do it. The last mile is all uphill so it would be a bit of an ask but off we went.

The worst of the hill lasts until about 800m to go and at that point it settles into a very gentle drag. I knew we would lose time up to that point and then would have to hit the gas, hard. All the way in for the last 800m it was touch and go whether we’d make it but as he crossed the line and hit stop he had 21:11 on his watch. Deadlybuzz. Until the results went up that was. He ended up with a 21:14, his watch and the official time were a out. I was a bit gutted. Next time.

Sunday 13 :30 (1)

Swim :30 1600m

I stayed local instead of traveling to the NAC knowing that I was only doing a 30 min easy swim. So I headed to a 20m pool at a hotel beside work.

Note to self. Sunday at 11 am is not the time to swim in the hotel pool. Sunday at 11am is the time that the couples have dragged their arses out of bed, eaten the fried breakfast and then make a beeline to the lovely warm pool to cavort and frolic with each other. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve nothing against cavorting and frolicking I’ve done my own share of it over the years. I’d just rather they kept it out of the swim lanes.

Oh and by the way the shoulder was grand. Remember? From Tuesday.

Total 11:50 (6)

Swim 1:35 4800m (2)

Bike 8:10 232k (2)

Run 2:05 24k (2)

S&C —

Accumulated 25:05 (14) 

Swim 2:35 7900 (3)

Bike 19:00 574k (6)

Run 3:20 38k (3)

S&C 1:00 (2)

Chasing Kona eBook available

From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

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