CoachCox

What Now?

Leading in to Ironman Western Australia I came close to writing about next season. Instead I decided to save it till this season was actually over. Now that time has come I’m stuck! My first attempt was five days ago. I’ve had a number of false starts since. I’m writing once more determined that something goes up today one way or another.

Since my race report I’ve had a fairly busy week. Posting more reports across the web on tri247 and Triathlete Europe. That was hard work! I think it drained my capacity to blog for a few days. Too many words in too short a time. Of course I was relaxing and indulging in all the sugary foods I normally deny myself. Then I trained too.

Active recovery has cropped up around every race this year. Never getting past conversation or attempts to put a plan together. Oddly the plan is less appealing once the race is done. It’s all too easy to sit around, relax and do the things you don’t normally do. Riding hurts too. At least at first, but the legs warm up and it gets better. Day on day the task becomes easier to bear and by the end of the week I was enjoying cycling.

One week after the Ironman and the result is my legs feel great. A little bit more fragile than usual, but up to training. Just have to take it easy at first, not push too hard. It’s the intensity that hurts now, avoid that and I’m fine.

Saturday was my first break from activity. A full day of travel to New Zealand necessitated it. I’ve ended up taking three days off – two to travel and one to, well, laziness. I think lack of sleep finally caught up with me. Especially when it was compounded with a sleepless night flight to Wellington. Much of Sunday was spent dozing and then Monday despite a great night I was nodding off after breakfast.

Today it’s back on the bike, back in the pool and back in my runners. The new season begins one week after the old. Time to rack up some serious mileage in the quest for ever better performances.

Next year I’m halving my race schedule. None of this six Ironmans nonsense. There will be three major races which I’ll aim to be in peak condition for. Firstly Ironman New Zealand in March, then Ironman Lanzarote in May and finally the Ironman World Championship in October. I can say that last one for certain thanks to getting my slot early! A pleasure after I cut things so fine this year.

I’ve nothing to prove by racing more. I know I can race a lot, but want to see if I can race better. Looking at my training this year it’s clear that routine racing made it hard to build fitness. Essentially I peaked around Ironman Lanzarote and from then on delayed the decline between events.

Fewer events gives me an opportunity to genuinely develop fitness between them. The large gap of four months between Lanza and Kona is especially good. Enough time for some recovery and then a very decent build period. Next year I want a better performance in Kona. This year was great, I want to do more.

Not having to worry about qualifying means I go into races with much less pressure. Or rather different pressure. As Steven has said I should race expecting to be on the age group podium. I’m starting to believe him! What pressure there is centres on performing my best. I intend to turn up to these races with a top three in my age group in mind.

That said I want to race a little less conservatively. Both races are opportunities to try things out or to really test my limits. If I blow I miss out on the podium goal, but I’m still going to Kona. I could potentially learn something that will benefit me there. I’d take a better performance in Hawaii at the cost of poorer results elsewhere! Hopefully I’ll not have to.

Plans are still tentative for the most part. I do have a good outline of the year. The next couple of months are preparation for Ironman New Zealand. I’m planning two block of training. Big mileage in the first, including two weeks on Epic Camp. It’ll ensure the work’s quality despite the volume. After a bit of recovery a second block with more emphasis on intensity. That should bring me into Taupo ready to race well.

After Taupo I have a few weeks in Wellington before I return home. A bit of recovery and I’ll get back into things ready for Lanzarote. Plans are coming together for another big build on the island. This time I will be much more aware of saddle sores and similar issues! I want to break 10 hours there’s unfinished business.

Lanzarote out the way there’s a luxurious four months to prepare for Kona. I can’t really say more on that. My plan goes no further than train to be in my best shape ever. Whether I should race something on route I don’t know? If I’m honest I’m not even sure where I’ll be for some of that.

There’s exciting stuff coming up for me next year. They’ll be some training camps I’m involved with and other tri related work. I’ll be needing to top up the coffers to keep things going! I’ve mentioned before that I hope to transition to a more sustainable version of this lifestyle. Subsistence living to maximise training will be the route. Should be fun!

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