I started this blog in 2010 when there were 11 weeks to go before my next Ironman triathlon. People have found it interesting (mainly my Mum!) so I continue to write.
The Ironman is a long distance triathlon; Swim 2.4miles, Cycle 112miles, Run 26.2 miles (marathon). I have competed in one every year since 2004. I hope this blog can help others see what is involved. I find the process of writing it makes me more accountable and motivates me to do the harder sessions when i'm not feeling like it!

Friday, 8 July 2011


am 60mins easy aerobic

pm 50mins - as 20min easy 30min IMP

I did the second run on the treadmill - as I wanted an uninterrupted run and am a bit bored of Burgess park. The main question I had was what percentage incline should the treadmill be to simulate the outdoors. I found a good answer to this at:

Basically it was 1% - I thought it would be higher than this.
Did the 30mins at 14km/hr, HR 145-150 (would be right on the limit to do this in 3 weeks time)

Today has been the best example so far of surprising myself. I felt tired from the first run and wasn't at all up for it. It all came good in the end and I really enjoyed it. I kept trying to do what i've been shown at the running school http://runningschool.co.uk/ but it's hard not to drift back to normal. My niggles kept at bay and I have just read that backwards running may help - i'll give it a go.

My back wheel came back from Sheffield today where it was getting serviced - I've been having problems with it so that's one more job ticked off.

Tomorrow is a rest day. Ready for the biggest day of training in the whole cycle, on Sunday 180km cycle 15km run

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Recovery pace
1. 800m easy
2. 1000m every 3rd 25m as 2 arm drill (2 strokes with right then 2 with left) with pull
3. 8x100m easy aerobic with pull
4. 350m with pull and paddles - 2 arm drill down, catch up back.

Core exercises (with the help of little Will who just laughed and jumped on me throughout)

Felt fairly flat all day. This childcare is hard work. Good after the swim though.

Couple of related things today:

Finished off reading my old biochemistry notes on fat/carbohydrate metabolism. It's been good to get a better understanding - mainly so I don't get taken in by all the manufacturers hype. I'll put it into the nutrition section (see main page)

Listened to IM talk podcast today, episode 243: interview with Hunter Allen. He is the man behind the WKO+ software that all the cycling pros use to analyse their cycling data. He also owns the company "training peaks" http://home.trainingpeaks.com/ Having read his book training with power it was good to hear what he had to say. Bullet points;
1. For ironman aim to race at 75% of your functional threshold power (that's what you could do for an hour)
2. Try and the power as even as possible (avoid spikes)
exceptions are:
- hills, go harder providing it's not too long and you can recover the other side
- wind, go harder into the wind because a tail wind neutralises fitness - everyone goes fast with a tail wind so you need to go faster into the wind to get separation.
3. The power profile that mimics proper cycle racing which you can train for is 15s at 150% followed by 15s at 50% repeated.
4. The real power test for ironman is how long can you go at 85-90% of your functional threshold - he mentioned 3 hours would be good!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


3 hours - with 5 x 20min 220W 80-90rpm all aero.

Off bike - 12km, 10km at IMP 2km warm down.

Very uncomfortable on the bike today - not sure why - maybe the massage has rearranged things? Got some medial hamstring pain - this can mean stance is to wide or saddle too high or too much pedal float etc, I'll play around next time.
Bit embarrassed about leaving it this long to change the chain - it made a very noticeable difference.
Used maltodextrin from www.myprotein.com - it's the main ingredient in sports drinks and is £10 for 5Kg - a lot cheaper. It seemed to work well.
Good to be able to stay in the aero position longer.

Tried something different with the run. The aid stations in the race will be every 3 miles so I will see how I go walking for a minute every 3 miles.

Another embarrassing thing - there's a painful spot on my bum!!! Too much information?

Also an hour or so cycling Will and George around in the afternoon - that was hard work as well today.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Ascending pace set

200m warm up
8 x 50m as 25 easy 25 solid
Main set - 2 x (5 x 200m on 30 sec recovery) 3mins between sets
as; 50 easy 50 aerobic 50 solid 50 hard
50m warm down

total = 2.7km

There was meant to be a longer warm up and 650m longer cool down but I had to fit it into an hour. Will was in the creche and having a great time in the soft play.

Pace wise I tried to make the aerobic pace = race pace and hard = above race pace.
For the first time I actually felt what part the lats play - maybe it was the massage yesterday that helped?

Got some protein from www.myprotein.com - they are at least half the price of Holland and Barrett etc, If you use them please use my referrer code: MP377965 and we can save some money.

Listened to IM talk podcast today www.imtalk.me  episode 240 - thought provoking interview with Bret Sutton - He has coached Tim Don and Chrisie Wellington. Bottom line - he rejected most of what everyone does.
- No gym for swimming (as you'd need to do 3800 reps to simulate a race)
- Forefoot running is a fad. Concentrate on keeping upright and turning the legs over.
- Triathlon is a sport in itself - don't train for the sports separately
- Ideal cadence is very personal - he has people on the podium who go at 60 and high 90s - It will depend which allows you to run best off the bike.
- Don't go over board on volume - the best way to train is to find out what heart rate you will race at and do your training slightly above it. This means slow by normal measures eg, 40x100m swim reps, 20x800m runs.
- He does a 10 day cycle rather than 7
- He doesn't do the normal taper by decreasing volume and increasing intensity - He concentrates on aerobic fitness throughout. He found too many people were performing well in training but going off when the intensity went up.

Changed chain on bike - it's been on there for 3 years! I know that's bad. Great method to get it the right size: http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html#chain (scroll down to chain length)

Monday, 4 July 2011


2 hours
1hr 15 easy aerobic last 45 mins at IMP approx.
I think the rationale behind this is to do some running on tired legs to simulate the conditions in the race.
This time I didn't take any walk breaks as still undecided about these.
Link to the run; http://connect.garmin.com/activity/96901081

Aimed to keep the pace below 4.45min/km for the last 45 mins - this is 3hr20 marathon pace which was last year's time.


I've been meaning to get one of these for ages. Always find it a little hard to justify the expense. Went to Roberto - www.robertofitness.com Really good - it can always be a little hit and miss but it was exactly what I needed. He was a real professional. We found out that I laugh a lot when in pain! I am now also the proud owner of a golf ball which I will be rolling around on. Can't wait for the next session. Thanks Roberto.

A few other things:
- decided on the gears ill have on the bike. A new cassette is £150. Did some research and found that you can mix and match the cogs from other cassettes of the same make - will give this a go.
- I crashed last year and had been putting off looking at the gear shifter that took most of it. Took it apart and then spent 2 hours patiently trying to put it back together again. Eventually managed it.
- bought a new chain from Evans as the current one has been on for a few years now. Then found it cheaper on line - don't you just hate that.
- Ella and I took it in turns to have a nap in the afternoon whilst looking after Will and George. It's not very often that's possible so everyone happy.
- A few people from my running club did ironman austria at the weekend. 1 was under 9hrs and one just over. Made me doubt the chances of me doing a good enough time for Hawaii qualification. Have to remind myself to just do my best and not worry about things I have no control over.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


2hr 30min
30 min warm up
(50min 220W 80-90rpm on 10min recovery) x 2

10km as 4km race pace (run walk) 6km easy

This was a tough day - pretty much the same session as yesterday. During the second set on the bike there was some real protesting - my way through this was to break up the time mentally and just say i'll stop after 5 more minutes. Then with 10 minutes to go I may as well finish the whole thing.

You'd think by now i'd know how much difference the aero position makes but I didn't. So yesterday I did some research - finally came across an app at http://bikecalculator.com/
- with your work put in (watts) you can change the position and keeping everything the same see what the effect on speed is.
- The numbers below are just for the comparison - I don't think i''ll be maintaining 220W, I don't know how heavy my bike is, what the grade is or what the headwind will be. It's amazing the difference though;

Column A represents holding the top of the handle bar and Column B the aero position - for the same energy in you go 7km/hr faster! and cover the ironman distance 1 hour quicker! Personally I can't believe it but even if the effect is half this it's worth it.
- So today the turbo was done in the aero position - alternating 4mins in it with 1min off. That probably explains why it was so hard.
- comparing the heart rate to 11th June when I last did this intensity in this way, it was much better today. I hope that means i'm finding the aero position easier even though it didn't feel like it. It was about 9bpm less today. 

The run was similar to yesterday - still undecided about the run walk plan but am keeping an open mind.