My Ironman Journey – 5 Weeks To Go

One thing I’ve learned so far is that you can’t scrimp on the training for any of the disciplines even if your goal is to get round. In marathon training, you can get away with one or two missed sessions as long as you get the key long runs done but you can’t get away with that here and you certainly get found out if you try!

My biggest challenge so far has been trying to fit in training sessions for all 3 and it’s been a bit like spinning plates for me – try to spend more time cycling and running then miss out on swimming and vice versa. All good learning though and at the time of writing, I’m now feeling like I can fit more in and when I’m able to fit it in. We’ll see how that works out!

Consistency hasn’t been my friend for the past week and with work commitments, I’ve not managed to cycle to and from work as much and I’m noticing the difference. While it’s good to get the long rides in, I feel a lot of benefit from the shorter rides, a bit like how shorter, more intense runs compliment the longer ones.

View from my ride

I had a later start on Thursday so I did get out for 14 miles on the bike first thing then topped it up with a run in the evening with my Run Faster coaching group. When I say run, I mean we did 1.5 miles then did a series of running technique drills, which do make a massive difference in terms of mobility in the hips and back and efficiency of the running stride. I enjoyed the early morning ride. I much prefer to get out either first thing or as early in the morning as I can between PT clients. The longer the day goes on, the less desire I have unless it’s with a group.

One of the mainstays in my training has been Parkrun and if I’m not pacing, I like to race it. The purpose has always been to run hard at Parkrun then do a long run Sunday as part of marathon training and it’s become habit now. I’m now cycling to and from Parkrun and while it’s only 2 miles each way, it still adds value to my training and the journey home after gets me used to cycling on tired legs which will be beneficial in the latter stages of the ride in the Ironman.

This Sunday I learned two valuable lessons, one is to plan my routes in advance and the second is if I’m going to go over 30 miles, I should take some energy bars/gels with me. I just had my hydration drink. To be fair, I was planning on doing 30 miles along the same route as I did last week but as I was feeling good and saw a couple of opportunities to extend it, I ended up doing 40 miles. This was one where my head said something different from my legs! One of the additions to my route was taking the road to Path of Condie. I’ve no idea what’s there but I recall a PT client taking that road as part of her training for the Etape Caledonia. The road takes you past the village and you can either take the long continual climb or the short and very steep route. I just happened to choose the latter!

To say this was steep is an understatement. When you see that the Strava segment for it is called ‘Ouch’ then you get an idea of what it’s like. The road is already steep when you leave the village of Dunning and you know there’s going to be a hill but you expect some flattish bits along the way. This road doesn’t offer that luxury. Every corner I turned, it just seemed to get gradually steeper until I got to the point of ‘Ouch’ where it’s almost vertical! It’s not a particularly lengthy stretch but enough to feel like your lungs are about to explode and if you don’t keep pedalling, you’re going to come off your bike! Fortunately when I got round the top bend, the climbing stopped and it flattened out a bit. The scenery is absolutely stunning from here but I didn’t have the energy to stop and take a photo.

The steepness of the hill at Path of Condie

I was eventually treated to some downhills before rejoining the road I was on last week. I came through Bridge of Earn, back into Perth and thought it would be a good idea to add in the Scone loop, a route I usually run. This was to add another 6 miles to the journey and I knew that this would take me to 40 miles. On the road back, I was down to the last dribbles of my hydration drink and that’s where I thought that bringing some bars or gels with me next time would be a good idea.

When I got home, I grabbed a couple of gels, consumed one then headed out for a 10k run. By this time it was getting a lot warmer and as the run wore on, my legs began to feel like I was wading through treacle. By the time I got home, I was knackered. I’ve felt better after marathons and so this has given me a taste of how I’m going to feel after the Ironman.

Lots of lessons learned this week and this coming week will be about trying to fit all disciplines in and improving from the week gone by.

 

 

 

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