Thursday, January 1, 2015

Musings about Training for an Ironman

Musings about Training for an Ironman

A number of friends are preparing for Ironman Lanzarote in May 2015 and I have been asked to add my thoughts on training and preparing for an Ironman .

I searched my race report and blog leading up to the race and have listed some facts I think are relevant and some articles from better equipped individuals on training for such a race.

Including a piece by Brad Culp :

These are some of my thoughts on my race preparation for Lanzarote :
  1. My race preparation was good. Research and read about the course .
  2. I was rested
  3. Make sure the bike and all your gear is working find and use them before leaving for lanzarote. Be prepared for minor hiccups like punctures etc so bring extra tires and tubulars as it is an island and there are only so many mechanics around with 2000 triathletes
  4. I had friends at the race and that always makes it more fun.
  5. Familiarise yourself with the course preferably drive the course before the race Please don't ride 90 kms a few days before the race .That's not tapering. 
  6. I swam well and the water was very comfortable for me.Try and get as much swim practice as possible in open water conditions . Whilst not the most important part of the race it is necessary to come out of the water comfortable.
  7. The hotel accommodation was good and close to the race start.So book close to the start line 
  8. I had no injuries and training well i s much about that fine balance of not over doing it and suffering injuries.
  9. Try to get to race weight as best as possible the better the weight to power ration in a hilly course the better the results and running off the bike
  10. I was mentally ready for the race. Don't underestimate the power of preparation. Preparation and doing the hard yards makes racing a lot easier and comfortable. It hurts but training builds confidence .
  11. substituted and took on the electrolyte and nutrition on the course when my Gatorade was finished . Train with the nutrition u are using
  12. Run off the bike as much as possible anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour.
  13.  As Lanzarote is about 8000 ft of climbing it would be worthwhile to do as much hills as possible .  I had not done enough hill work and whilst my biking had improved it was ill directed(I was much stronger on the flats as shown by my Spore 70.3 bike split )  But when it came to hills I did not have the strength.
  14. I miscalculated my calorie intake for the ride and did not bring sufficient gatorade on the trip  I had to use the power electrolyte drink and coke on the course.I dropped my power bars and had to get some from the aid station much further than I wanted.  
  15. I was not consistent on the ride
  16. Done hill repeats for the whole training period
  17. Not so good core strength. Hence gym work is important.

A timely reminder of some of the Dos and Don't s in Triathlon training.( another piece I did on my blog a while back which I g=have adapted )

I have been getting weekly massages and the masseur has been reminding me to stretch every week as all my muscles are really tight . It is a slow and long road of trying to unravel some of the important but often forgotten habits needed to remain fit , injury free and performing at my optimum level.

Like rest we tend to not rate eating well , stretching and resting with the same importance as training. I continue to play catch up but I am trying my best to change a few bad habits .

In a past post I did find a short piece about Meredith Kessler  and how she took 7 years to change and adapt her training habits into the champion she is now.

And recently on firstoffthebike Blog there was a good piece on the Dos and Don't of training .I break lots of the rules but I think if I can get a few of these habits right I will improve.


Take a cue from Meredith Kessler and turn her experience into your competitive edge.
Create a long-term vision: A long-term plan opens the door of progression, which leads to constant evolution and improvement.
Be patient: It is easy to build a long-term vision, but much tougher to execute it daily and always maintain the vision throughout multiple seasons. Stick with it, and you’ll be rewarded.
Build a plan custom-tailored to you: It is Meredith’s willingness and ability to think outside the box and develop an approach that suits her that has delivered results. Do all the stated truths in triathlon training really apply to you? Are they truths, or simply unchallenged norms?
Think beyond endurance: Swimming, biking and running is the most specific training you can do. But to truly evolve your performance, you also need to focus on the supporting elements of nutrition, recovery, functional strength, psychology, skills and equipment.
Be consistent: Performance evolution is a result of many days, weeks, months and years of consistent training load. In fact, the reason we focus so much on specificity in training, as well as recovery, is to achieve training consistency.
Stay balanced: Without a tremendous amount of resilience and emotional balance, Meredith could not have succeeded. The triathlon lifestyle doesn’t promote life balance, but if you make it a priority and dedicated focus, you can achieve it.
Work hard: This sport isn’t easy. Meredith could not have evolved to her level without massive amounts of grit, determination, sacrifice and hard work. There is no easy way, but there sure is a smart way.


Dos and Don'ts of Triathlon from First off the bike
by Jen Brown on the,’s website.