It’s that time again when a race creeps up on you and it feels like it was only last week you started training for it and entered for it the week before. I’ve been there plenty of times before with marathons but this time it feels a bit different with the Ironman. This might be because my training has been a bit scattered over the last few weeks and I’ve gone for the inverse taper of doing the biggest session the week before! I’m certainly ready for it and can’t wait for race day to arrive!
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had this week, which I hadn’t taken into account until now even though it happens every year, is dealing with exhaustion. I never take any holidays any other time of the year apart from a few days over Christmas and a weekend in April, which is mostly taken up with the Paris Marathon and usually in the last week or two of June, the lack of holidays usually catches up with me before we go on holiday in early July. I love my work as a Personal Trainer, don’t see what I do as a job and am rubbish at taking time off. While this isn’t usually a problem, it’s been having an impact on my training. I realised this a couple of days ago when I got up to go for an early morning run, got changed, got to the door and felt too tired to go out. I ended up to do short bursts to and from my studio on the bike instead.
I had my bike in at Richards Bike Shop in Perth early in the week to get serviced, turns out most of the components were on their last legs and needed replaced and so I got them to do what they thought was necessary. It always pays to go to a ‘proper’ bike shop to get your bike serviced as you always get quality service by people who are passionate cyclists and wouldn’t dream of ripping you off. When I got it back, I couldn’t wait to get out on it and it felt like a whole new bike!
My plan on Saturday morning was to run down to Parkrun, do Parkrun then run home again but I left the house a bit later than planned and had to run a bit quicker to get there on time. I started Parkrun well but as we got towards halfway, my legs were feeling the pace from the run down and as I got into the last mile, I felt like I had no energy and just got to the finish. I was feeling really tired and when Allison said her car was nearby, I scrapped the run home and opted for a lift instead. I felt really tired all day and ended up in bed by 9pm as I had planned a big session today, hoped a good night’s sleep would help and boy did it just!
I woke up at 5.30am, had breakfast and was out the door around 6.45am and planned to do my now usual 60 mile route that I’ve been doing the last few weeks. I was a bit concerned about how the bike would be after last week and 3 punctures in 3 weeks but it was a dream today. Everything worked perfectly and the ride felt so smooth (apart from the wind).
It felt like the best ride I’ve ever had as I felt pretty strong, got the nutrition spot on and the bits that have felt the most challenging in recent weeks felt so much easier today. I checked my watch and saw that I hit 56 miles in 3hrs 16mins and was pretty pleased with that but I reckon I can go quicker than that next week providing the conditions are right. I felt so good when I got home that I changed my plan to do my usual 4 mile run and opted to do the same route but do 2 laps seeing as I’ll have to do 3 laps of around the same distance next week.
The first lap felt good and I completed the 4 miles in 32mins 30secs. I stopped for a few seconds to take on some water before heading out for my 2nd lap. I had taken a gel at 3 miles and planned another one at 6 miles to see if this is how I will fuel myself next week. I hadn’t stopped my watch but set off wondering if I could run the second lap faster but then fatigue was kicking in and each mile was at least 15 seconds slower than the corresponding one from the first lap but when I got to mile 7, I knew there was an outside chance so I decided to go for it. I had been feeling pretty good by that point and while I felt like I was running faster, I suspected I was running at the same pace as I had been doing until that point. Curiously, the last 400m is mostly uphill and the second one felt much easier than the first one so kept on pushing and ran the last mile in 7:04 to finish in 64mins 58secs. I had beaten the first lap by 2 seconds but to me, that was massive especially having cycled 60 miles before it!
We always look for a boost from our biggest run to know that we can run a marathon and this feels exactly the same. I know I’ve got the small matter of a 1.9km swim to do first but I’m feeling so good after today that next week doesn’t feel quite as scary as it has done until now. This week will be about getting in a few swims to keep things ticking over and rest on Friday. Next weekend will be long but I can’t wait to stand on the start line and go for it!
How do you deal with exhaustion in training?