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Walking a fine line

Three hard weeks in Lanzarote have dragged me back into something I’d call fitness. The lazy post-Ironman New Zealand weeks seem a long time ago and are happily forgotten. Day after day of long training is the routine again with harder work than ever before. It’s good to be back.

Both physically and mentally there were times when I felt I was close to the edge. Right at the limit needed to make the desired improvements, but verging on crashing down in exhaustion. A grand way to say that at times I felt shattered.

There were mornings when I struggled to drag myself out of bed and days when the legs did nothing, but ache as I rode. I ran up and down trails that left me struggling with the hotel stairs then went back for more. I swam up and down La Santa pool until it felt like my arms would fall off (well on one occasion at least).

Fortunately Aurelie from The Tri Touch was also staying at Club La Santa. A couple of massages helped bring the legs back round. There were no knots or problems with my muscles all the soreness and pain came from fatigue. On the one hand good news as all the hard training had done no damage, but it meant I could expect more pain to come!

Except the body does adapt and things progressively got easier. Not necessarily in pace or perceived effort, but the physical impact slowly changed. Hotel stairs became less of a challenge after further undulating trail run. Pushing up hills and into the wind was less of a grind on the bike. It was a clear demonstration of how training produces adaptation and fitness (I do have charts to back this up, but I’ll spare you).

Having worked through this I’m now enjoying the taper for Ironman Lanzarote. A lot less activity and hopefully daily recovery that will put me in great race shape on Saturday. In comparison to the last few weeks the empty days drag by. My already easy pace of life slows dramatically.

A few Spanish cappuccinos and some long chats in cafes have helped fill time. A little bit of work as I build a proper website to promote my coaching (more to come on that soon). Then the obligatory over-analysis of Powertap data to try and determine how the race will go. Comparing heart rate and power then trying to judge what my pace could be.

I’m a little nervous, probably because of the disastrous race here last year. It gives me an easy time to beat, but that’s a small part of the game. I want to be up there in my age group and posting a good time. Will three weeks of working near my limit have got me ready for that?

The truth is I don’t know! I do know I’ll approach the race just as I did in New Zealand – get in there, work hard, hurt as much as I can and hope it doesn’t last more than ten hours! I know how important it is not to succumb to doubts or concerns at this point. Approach the race assuming you’re a top age grouper, race hard and let the result follow.

I feel underprepared. Another two months of this hard training would be great unfortunately the race is in less than three days!

Ironman Training Library

From nutrition to pacing - a collection of CoachCox blog posts focused specifically on Ironman training and racing.

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