It's all Mental - an ironman on less than 8 hours a week?!

mhowoodby mhowoodAug 3rd 2011
It's all Mental - an ironman on less than 8 hours a week?!
I've been looking over my Triblogs training diary this week, and although I knew that life, illness and injury had gotten in the way of my training for The Outlaw iron distance Triathlon, I don't think I'd stopped to realise how much.

I kinda glossed over the weeks running up to Outlaw with this comment:
"In a nutshell, my last 8 weeks of Build & Peak phase looked like this >
Injured foot - zero running, bike crash- Ambulance - stitches, MRI for foot, children with chicken pox x 2, new job, my Dad's funeral arrangements in Scotland, kids ill (again!), me ill, Race week�"

Crash photos and thoughts
Read the Outlaw race report here

Even that might need some further looking in to, as it assumes that everything was going fine before. HA!
Looking back through my blog posts, I'd forgotten about the 5 weeks (!) lost before the Brighton Marathon, through food poisoning, which led to a suppressed immune system and let in the Noro virus and colds. Wiped me out.

Anyway, those totals are >>>
Swim 5 hours (10km - V slow, must have been a lot of technique in there)
Bike 24 hours (470km, included a 6 hour 100 mile)
Run 2 hours (Post marathon miles, foot problems starting)

S 6hrs (15km)
B 24hrs (430km, turbo only)
R 40mins (7km - foot totally buggered. 1km tests)

S 6:30 hrs (16km)
B 12hrs (320km, includes taper and Outlaw)
R 13hrs (150km, MRI all clear, includes Outlaw)

Add it up� Go on�
I trained for 32 hours in May, 30 hrs in June and 32 hours in July (including Outlaw).
So that's an ironman on less than 8 hours a week!
That flies in the face of just about every plan I've seen, and considering the absolute state I was in at Outlaw, exhausted and with a stinking cold, I don't doubt that I could have gone under 11 hrs if I hadn't been ill on the day... okay, it would have been damn close but not outside the realms of possibility. ;)
So that's a potential sub 11 on less than 8 hours training. Wow.

What can you take from this?
Reassurance for one.
All my reading on Ironman and in my conversations with fellow triathletes, the recurring mantra seems to be, 'I haven't trained enough. I haven't trained enough�.'
Don't Panic! Keep Calm & Carry On.
The Physical is one aspect but what allowed me to toe the lie for Outlaw was a momentous, 'Fuck It. I'm going' on registration day.
It was Mental preparation that got me through: in lieu of actual training, I'd researched my nutrition, I'd looked at Google Maps and knew where aid stations where, I'd asked about the run surface so I could choose the right shoes.
Throughout it all I'd 'reassessed my goals', as life, injury and illness continually got in the way. A 5:30 bike in May, became a 5:45 in June, with my father's death in July it dropped to sub 6 hours. The same was true for my swim. Work kept me from weekday sessions, so it went from 1:20, to me accepting anything under 1:30. With the run, a suspected stress fracture only cleared up 3 weeks before Race day, it was plainly a matter of conservatively pacing the bike, so I had something in my legs for the final 26.2 mile push.
Being ill, a concern was damaging my heart, so I resolved to keep my BPM in low Zone 3. My max is 192BPM, but Outlaw never saw me above 160BPM.

And you know? It worked.
Being prepared mentally, seemed to offset the gulf in training.
I didn't achieve my time goals that I had privately set for myself in Spring 2011 but I'm pleased just to have finished. I'll get there next year.
Furthermore, I'm proud of the methods I found to train whilst not taking away from my Family Time. I tried to be there for my wife and young sons throughout. If something had to give, it'd be me, not them. If my training was going to get in the way of an event or outing, it was down to me to find an alternative, not for them to utter, "I wish Daddy was here".

It may have worked too well at home, as my wife commented last night that she misses my mood when I was training for Outlaw!
Many people are 'banned' from ironman due to the strain it creates at home, after the first one, or have to take a year off to offset the neglect of the previous. Yet it seems that despite things not going to plan, and all the setbacks, somewhere along the line I managed to find a Work-Life-Triathlon balance that works. It works so well in fact that my wife WANTS me to run marathons, wants me to do Ironman!
What have I started?!

I have to say Thank You to:
- my wife and children for being there for me, and allowing me to do this stupid sport under the illusion of inspiring the kids!
- the athletes at the Thames Turbo Triathlon Club, particularly Deon and Nathan for all the texts and messages. Good luck at Challenge Copenhagen everyone.
- the inspiration I take from managing the Thames Turbo PowerBar race team.
- Tom Bennett, take a bow. A bike programme of 3 sessions that he carefully crafted, that I then bastardised and rode solely on the Turbo, saved my bike leg. I know there's so-o-o much room for improvement :) Thanks for the support emails, buddy.
by guest: , Aug 15th 2011 13:23
I meant to comment a while back and kept getting side track, just wanted to say, loving the positivity coming from this post, sounds like 10 hours something is well within your grasp if you can get a run without illness and injury, glad to see you're back in for Outlaw next year, I'm going for IM Switzerland again..mainly because it's the cheapest option but also it's the only clear way to make a comparison and hopefully improvement!!

Good luck with Challenge Henley, looking forward to the report!
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