Ironman Switzerland 05 - Iron Zilla's Diary

How the training gets better, month by month


Posted: 18 October 2004
by Iron Godzilla

My Tri Profile
Age.... 28
I have been running for... 3 years
Strengths... Lots of grit - like to mix it up - have discovered I love cycling
Weaknesses... Sometimes find my life gets in the way of my training and mmmmm chocolate
Ironman experience... Have seen one on TV
PB's
10K - 46.23
Half-Marathon - 1.53
Marathon - 4.21
Favourite Races... Sprint tri then marathon
See my RW profile

About me
I started running after a "giving up smoking" attempt in 2001 and I did the first Nike 10K for a target race. Since then I've not looked back on the running but had the odd smoking hiccup. Glad to say the smoking is now a thing of the past. I branched out to drowning and peddalling this year and am happy to say I've got an eager training partner (another possible IM candidate) to share the pain and long rides with.

Ironman target: 14h30m or to finish


My trainging for February to June 2005

Swim - 87,666 metres (39.6 hrs)
Bike - 1,452 miles (99.5 hrs)
Run - 223 miles (35.8 hrs)
Total time = Too much, or maybe too little?

Well the training has had its ups and downs, it was the ups I've struggled with mostly. I increased my training throughout February and March into late April where I had an extremely intensive and beneficial weeks training on the Club La Santa Long distance Tri training course in Lanzarote.

The course was great, but since a lot of the guys and gals there were long-distance improvers or good triathletes already I was frankly outclassed by virtually all the other athletes in all but the swim. I came back mentally tougher and a bit leaner, having made most of the sessions, with a strong idea of what I needed to do and with no fear of open-water swimming (but still terrified of sharks).

In early May I had developed a good run pace, an improving swim time and my cycling was getting to the point where under 7:30 for 180km seemed a real possibility. Then, just as my cycling was looking better I got a quad injury on a long ride, brought on by a muscle imbalance that set me right back. I didn't get any physio until June, and have only just got back to a fit state - I've missed all my long rides as a result and it is now too late to make up the time. At my test event - the Bala half ironman at the start of June – I had to retire after five miles on the bike when the leg injury came back.

The injury and ailment list has been reasonably extensive: left shoulder, right tricep, both quads, one calf and an ankle, insect bites, being run over etc, but fortunately nothing that physio, exercise, stretching, RICE and most importantly full rest hasn’t helped.

I've seen all the other novice pirates develop so much; the toughest part of the last few months has been to keep positive whilst recovering and not able to cycle.

Pulling out at Bala was a tough blow for me, though probably a very wise move in terms of being able to recover and compete at Zurich, but I don't like dropping out of races. Dropping out of an £80 race which you had a five-hour drive to get to feels, frankly, a bit of a waste...

In the last month I've been doing a lot of open-water swims trying to get my sighting better and it has improved. I've also been doing some paced runs and everything seems to be going ok - I've even managed to put in a couple of 20-40 mile rides without trouble.

My attitude has become one of grim determination (with emphasis on grim) – I do feel under-prepared physically. My fears centre around the bike leg, but I appreciate that if I take it easy I will hopefully get round in a reasonable state.

The positives are that right now I'm into taper and I'm injury free, my swimming is good compared to how it was when I started out, my running will be ok if I come off the bike in good condition. My flights are booked, accommodation sorted, insurance covered, bike serviced, race kit purchased and there is a partridge in a pear tree somewhere.

I've had a few pirate pep talks from the old hands and my only aim now is to finish. I'm mildly terrified.

My new mantra is:
"There is a beer waiting for you at the end of this" (more worrying is that it’s a non-alcoholic beer, but I don't care). Highlight: it’s going to be race day and crossing that finish line. Lowlight: loss of some of the social aspects of my life, such as my entire a social life.

What I've learned while Ironman training:
I own a lot of obscenely skin-tight gear now, and wear it often; I can fill a full wash almost every day with kit; everyone thinks I’m a nutter, except the people I used to think were nutters; the people I used to think were nutters are now considered wise and helpful; I want a tattoo; I want a better bike; the definition of ‘expensive’ isn't what I once thought it was; I'm not doing another one next year.


January

Total monthly training
Swim - 9375 meters (5.2 hrs)
Bike - 122 miles (6.95 hrs)
Run - 49.2 miles (8.2 hrs)

Total Time 20.33 hrs

Plus
Skiing 22-25 hours (10 days)
Sliding downhill on my backside (8 days)
Somersaulting and landing on my head (2 days)

I loved skiing but hated not being able to train in the mountains (Ice all over), I took an impact on the hip and back (alcohol and sledge combined = serious injury risk) that has made running longer distances painful since the holiday. I have now restricted myself to shorter runs and more bike and swim training.

Swim training really improving and my technique is getting better. Some weeks I'm managing four sessions. But mostly three a week.

Cycled only a few sessions in Jan but starting to feel a bit more enthusiasm again now that I've tested out the hip and was ok on a hilly 33 miler. (Plus I pumped up my tyres and it made a big difference to my effort required - Doh!)

January's highlight:
Skiing for 20 minutes without worrying about falling over. Starting new job.

January's lowlight:
Injury.

What I learnt this month:
Never ever take a coach if you're going skiing - it may seem like a good idea, but no it isn't - It's 17 hours of hell. Too much apres ski makes you fat and do silly things like sledging.


December

Total monthly training
Swim - 5675 meters (3.5 hrs)
Bike - 203.4 miles (14.8 hrs)
Run - 48.11 miles (7.75 hrs)

Total Time 26.1 hrs

December was my best all round month so far. I managed to do some decent sessions, and some not so good - fell off the bike twice and tripped over running all in the same week. No seriously hampering injuries just bruises and scrapes. (Cosmetic damage to each limb!).

My new Gym opening has meant I have been swimming 2-3 times a week, and have done a couple of weights sessions. Normally there are only 1 or 2 other people in the pool before 8am so I get to swim alone sometimes - which is surprisingly peaceful and relaxing.

I'll be trying to put in one long session of an hour and swimming each week and two half hour sessions one with weights beforehand. Managed to get my 400m time under 10mins again and will aim now to concentrate on lengthening swim distance without losing too much technique.

Cycled to the gym last week and they looked at me like I was insane when I strolled into reception in my bike gear.

December's highlight:
I enjoyed the forum cycle ride in Epping - but also had fun at the Grim8, and cycling to Checkwood and Luton on longer rides.

December's lowlight:
Realising I'm going to have to carry a truckload of food on the bike to get longer training rides in - realising how rubbish I am at hills.

What I learnt this month:
July 2005 is closer than I thought, I have a lot of training (especially on the bike) to put in if I'm going to finish IMCH.


November

Total monthly training
Swim - 600 metres
Bike - 163 miles
Run - 53 miles

November started well with a strong week (10.5 hrs) of mixed training going into the Ballbuster on November 13th into a week dominated by racing. I ran a 5K PB as a recovery run, showing just how fit I am compared to last year (PB this time last year 24m16 - as of Nov 16 - 22m53).

Unfortunately the tide of recent good fortune was about to turn and by the 14th I was already suffering mind bending pain and not sleeping from a bad wisdom tooth which had to be extracted. The brighton 10K a week after the Ballbuster (a good PB course) saw me toothless but wearing too many layers, overheating and then limping due to a hamstring problem to a fast overall, but disappointing sub 50min finish.

From there recovery turned to illness as I got tonsillitis so bad I had to take it easy - as a consequence I managed barely 4.5 hours in the last two weeks. I capped the month trying to race another 5K after a week off and managing just over 24 mins.

I do hate not being able to train so I was a bit down after Brighton but things are starting to look up again.

I've had a few days rest and I'm feeling almost human and ready to get back into the fray. From here on in - recovery - stretching - rest and longer less stressed training is the name of the game. New gym opens on the 15th of December so swimming and a little strength training starts in earnest from mid-month (ahem ignore last months "swimming every week" comment).

November's highlight: has to be racing the Ballbuster - or maybe the 5K PB.

November's lowlight: has to be the wisdom tooth and getting really ill and run down.

What I learnt this month: Sometimes tiredness should not be treated as laziness and trained through - sometimes it pays to chose to take a rest before you have to.


October

Typical training week:
Swim = 0
Bike = 140.5 miles
Run = 66.5 miles

October's training:

October was an "on/off" month for training - I ran the Abingdon Marathon In 4.29 mid-month which meant a couple of weeks tapering beforehand and almost two afterwards.

I still have lingering achilles issues from the marathon which are getting better, but otherwise I'm recovering nicely and in training for the Ballbuster on the 13th.

The road bike has been mothballed during the weeks over winter, and the MTB with gear issues has come out of retirement to get me the 13.3 miles to work and back 2-4 days a week. It's been a long time since I've cycled to work regularly (6 years), and cycling back in the dark is proving interesting.

The journey home takes longer to drive than it does to cycle at the moment. I've remembered that a near death experience on the way to work can focus your mind and make the things you experience at work seem less stressful. Certainly you are stress free when you arrive home again.

I need to get in the pool - unfortunately my local pools are pants for evening swimming, (excuses excuses). When my new gym opens at the start of December I will be able to get up at the crack of dawn and cycle in early mornings to arrive at 6.30 so that I can go swimming for 1-1.5 hours prior to work. I will try (honest guv) and swim at least once a week from now till then.

October's highlight: Abingdon marathon

October's lowlight: Aching Achilles and a sudden and uncontrollable addiction to Kendal mint cake

What I learnt this month:

Official IM training is due to start on the 8/11/04. (as directed by an evil IM training plan being compiled as I type).

Please send Kendal mint cake to the usual address



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Ironman Switzerland 05 - Andrew Smith's Diary
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My 2004 London Marathon

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