Precisely three months from today I will be racing my first ever full Ironman race in Cervia, Italy. It’s safe to say that training for this has taken over my life now, with every spare hour seen as an excuse to go for a run and every journey considered as a bike ride before driving it. I’m having to shoehorn my training into an already hectic life, but somehow I feel like it’s paying off. Not to mention the desire to eat everything in sight! Here’s an update…
Swimming has always been my strongest of the three disciplines and it’s disappointing that the swim section of the race is relatively so short. I couldn’t wait to get in the lake for the first time this year back in April and I’ve been focusing on long steady swims recently in training for my third 10k Jubilee River Swim on 11th June. I improved on last year’s time by two minutes, so I was pretty happy with that!
However, I’m yet to tackle a sea swim, so I’m dying to get down to the coast and try powering through those waves! I’m sure it’ll be very different from the calm freshwater lakes I’m used to, so it’s important to get as much practice as I can. As always, I’m looking forward to the challenge!
Cycling is the part I find most daunting, not because I don’t think I can ride 180km, but because if something happens to my bike during that time beyond a puncture, I’m screwed. It’s out of my control, and a DNF due to a mechanical would be the most heartbreaking end to this race for me.
My training is going well, I have a few 100+km rides under my belt now, which I’ve largely enjoyed due to the social aspect! So many TVT members are racing in Italy that we’ve been organising long group rides to make it easier on all of us. Time flies by when you have people to chat to on the bike, even if it is just swearing as we go up the hills!
Power Hour is our weekly chain gang ride around the same 30km route. I absolutely love this TVT session! It’s the best fun and gets quite competitive, even though it’s NOT A RACE! 😉
I’ve been riding to work in Windsor once a week. The 60km round trip is a perfect way to fit a little training into otherwise sedentary time.
My car was out of action for two weeks, so I was forced to run or cycle almost everywhere. Although I was tired all the time, I’m sure the intense brick training did me some good at least!
So now it’s mainly a case of upping the distance gradually over the next couple of months and getting used to perching on a saddle for around 7 hours. After that it’s just the small matter of running a marathon…
…which I’ve done once already of course, but I can’t say I was fully satisfied with my performance there. I started out too fast – no danger of that happening in an Ironman – and I got my nutrition all wrong. This is something I really need to practise, I’m all but useless at remembering to eat and drink on the bike, but that’s where I need to build up my energy stores ready for the run.
I haven’t run further than 10k since the marathon, I’ve been working on other things and doing shorter runs and interval training which take up minimal time, but I can still see the benefits. Now I’ve freed up some time from long distance swimming, I should be able to fit in some longer runs and brick sessions. I’ll need to get used to running slowly again, as I’ve developed a tendency to tear off too quickly even when running shorter races.
The part of my training I’m having the most trouble coming to terms with is rest days. I know I need them and I can certainly feel the difference when I’ve had a couple of days off, but I get severe exercise guilt and feel utterly miserable on the days I don’t get to train! This is probably because I know I can’t eat as much as on my training days!
Now it’s time to dig out those 12 week training plans and figure out how I can squeeze an extra few hours into my week!