Ironman Switzerland 05 - Andrew Smith’s Diary

My Tri Profile
Age.... 39
I have been running for... 25 years
Strengths... Mental toughness and an 'I can do anything' attitude
Weaknesses... Very hard to motivate. Like my food too much (especially chocolate), so have trouble shifting the pounds.
Ironman experience... I've been doing them since 2000
10K - 42:50
Half-Marathon - 1:46
Marathon - 3:46
Ironman - 11:35
Favourite Races... Ballbuster duathlon, North downs run and Luton marathon
See my RW profile

About me
I got into sport when I left school and for 25 years I was involved in the martial arts and kickboxing, competing and coaching up to national level. By the late 90's I had lost interest and felt there was no challenge in it. I needed a new challenge and by chance saw a magazine about triathlon.

I was hooked and spent 1999 learning to swim and doing several 'sprint' tris. But that wasn't enough. I saw the big challenge as ironman distance and so decided to do the Longest day triathlon in August 2000. Without really understanding the needs of a race of this distance, I did a few long runs and rides and entered despite the underpreperation, I did the race in 12:05 and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. The feeling when I had finished was amazing and I don't mind admitting to a tear as I ran down the finish straight.

The next challenge was the London to Brighton run, I did this in 2001 and again felt a great sense of achievement. I returned to Longest day in 2002 and despite back pains which persisted for almost all of the bike and run, managed to improve my time to 11:35. I was happy to improve my time but my attitude had changed. I now wanted to know what I could do if I trained properly. After a couple of fun years doing just runs like the North Downs and Bewl 15, I have now decided to give it a proper go. I am not getting any younger after all.

So I've decided 2005 will be the year I do it properly. Ironman Switzerland will be the first of three ironman races in five weeks for me. Three weeks after Switz I will be off to Norway to do the Norseman Extreme. Then its a two week rest before Ironman UK. After this I will Probably sleep till Christmas.

Ironman target: Seeing as Switzerland is the first of three it will be my best hope of doing a good time. So my target will be to set a personal best time and of course enjoy the whole event.

November and Deccember

November and December were bad months with the two races I had been preparing for going badly. The Ballbuster was a disaster. After some excellent training sessions on the course, I turned up for the race and felt like I had left my legs at home. I think I got carried away with trying to lose weight and shed too much too soon. I lost 4 lbs in the week before and then tried to carbo-load the day before with 12 bottles of isotonic drink and 1kg of chocolate. I did the course faster in training on my mountain bike so at least I know it was just a nutrition mess up.

Luton marathon was also a disappointment, after a good start and two good laps, with a half-marathon p.b. it all went pear-shaped with calf pains and cramp and has left me with a sore knee/hip/thigh, that’s stopping me running. At least I finished, which is important for morale when doing long events. I can still cycle though, so I will substitute any run sessions in my plan for bike sessions with maybe a walk after them.

At least my sore shins have gone and I hit my weightloss target of 13 stone. Finally got to the pool at the end of the month after having a cold/flu thing going on since Luton. Wasn't too bad and hopefully a month or two of regular swims will get me back in the swing of it. I will probably join a local tri club to get some quality pool time.

The weekend sessions will be the longer ones and the early week ones will be short to medium with higher intensity. This will give me between 8 and 14 hours training a week depending on when in the year that week is. Its more than I have done before so I will have to be careful to avoid overtraining.

Weight loss aim for the end of January is to be down to 12 and a half stone.

This month I learnt that if you wake up with a sore throat, headache and blocked nose you probably have a cold and shouldn't be running a marathon.


Monthly training:
Running: 75 miles
Cycling: 175 miles
Swimming: none
Weight loss: 6lbs

October's training:
My key sessions were three run bike run bricks on the ballbuster course building up to the full ballbuster distance by the end of the month.

Shin soreness is stopping me from running as much as I want to so I will rest them untill ballbuster on 13th november and only do the Crowborough 10K between that and the Luton Marathon, with more cycling and swimming to compensate a bit.

What I learnt this month:
This month I learnt that too many late nights is as bad as too much training.