Really starting to get the willies now.
It’s strange – the more I train, the more nervous I get about racing an Ironman. I’m not too worried about the distance involved, because I know I can cover them. Maybe it’s the expectations and (possibly unrealistic!) goal-setting that’s going on in my noggin’.
But it’s hard not to set targets. Harder still is setting targets on an event you’ve never completed before. I literally have no idea how I’m going to feel in that second half of the run. Well, I know I’ll feel like total crap but I don’t know how my body and mind will cope with it. I guess it’s better not too have too many expectations on your first IM.
How’s training going, you ask.
Ticking along as ever, though I never feel like I’m doing enough. A good week is one where I swim 10k+ which is way off what a lot of competitive age groupers are doing (and where I’d like to place myself), but it’s too late to make any big changes here for Lanza and Frankfurt. Squeezing myself into the HUUB for a couple of sea swims in Majorca gave me some confidence that the extra buoyancy will see me well, but I’d like to get more meters in…I’m just choosing to prioritise the bike and run miles at this stage of training. Project for winter 2018-19 is to join a Master’s swim group.
I hit 28:50 for 1,900m in the pool which was a solid effort – couldn’t have gone much faster – but get me in the Albacore and I’d shave a couple of minutes off that I reckon. So my target of a sub-60 IM swim should be within reach.
Loving the bike. Gareth, part of Matt Bottrill’s coaching stable, has been directing my bike training for 18 months now. Those big couple of weeks in Majorca, where I banked 15 – 20 hours per week in the saddle, has left me feeling strong. Despite some fatigue still in the legs, I posted a decent 6th place at the DB Max 10m TT last week.
All the fitness gains have been made on the bike really – not going to add anything in these last few weeks. The extra speed now will come from kit / equipment optimisation, which I’m doing as best as possible within a budget. I spend a couple of hours with Matt and Gareth and they tweaked my position a little which has helped massively (see photo above!) and I’m pleased to have found an aero helmet that’s comfortable. Kate is lending me her ENVE wheel set for Lanza which will reduce the weight a tad too.
Although I’m fortunate to be supported by Fizik through Team Sponge, we ‘only’ (!) got the saddle FOC. I bought the shoes and bar tape and only then realised that all the touch points on my bike – through my feet, hands and bum – were all Fizik components. Cool eh! The Fizik Mistica saddle really is a game-changer. My gooch has taken a pounding and, without going into too much details, I’ve suffered with lumps, bumps, chafing and boils due to poor saddle choices. Hand on heart I’ve had none since using the Mistica.
I’m finally starting to feel like a bit of a runner again. I feel great running off the bike. Last weekend, Kez cycled while I ran for 2 hours along the towpath – huge mental boost having her there – and I threw in some Z2 / Z3 pieces into the mix to spice it up. That’s the longest I’ve run in a very long time!
Over the next few weeks I’m getting some extra hill sessions in to build strength while pushing the threshold work to squeeze that little extra speed out of my legs. I’m also doing two or three key IM prep sessions where I’ll peak with something like a 4 hour ride followed by a 2:20 run.
The final thing I need to do is shed some kgs!! But I’m finding that the balance between fuelling sessions adequately while also creating a calorie deficit is bloody tough. I tend to create a deficit for a few days then need to eat a horse.