Hard at Work

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Training Hard

It’s been a busy week so posting has drifted till now. Lanzarote is proving to be a perfect training location. The weather, lack of distractions and having meals provided at your hotel makes it easy to go out there and train. End result is that somehow I’ve done about 35 hours the past week without even trying! Still I’m feeling good, a little tired (enough to oversleep this mornings swim), but ready to carefully taper down to my race.

Those almost daily swims have certainly helped me feel more comfortable in my wetsuit and the sea here. I think I might even be swimming a little faster in open water. I’ve also learnt that the sun rises above the horizon around 7:30 and you can’t see a thing. It contributed to one of my two collisions with other swimmers yesterday! I don’t see it being a problem race day, the course is straight forward. I shall be practising some running starts into the water though, can’t remember the last time I did a beach start.

Somehow I’ve ended up riding the course three times in the past week. That was more than I’d intended, but I don’t regret it. Twice in the race direction and once in reverse. I can’t say which way is toughest, though Mirador del Rio is my least favourite bit either way. Ride number one felt pretty good and was a solid pace. By ride two fatigue was showing and for ride number three I’d already declared it would be a social outing! Social enough that I put aside my current limited fuel consumption to enjoy two coffee and cake stops. Amazing what a difference a little bit of carbs can make!

I literally know the course back to front now and in a mix of weather conditions. It’s a nice little boost to confidence for race day as nothing should be a surprise. Knowing the sort of pace I held in training can also be a push to get a little bit more come race day. An interesting aside is seeing how fast I can do the course on minimal fuelling, then seeing that a little bit of carbs seemed to pick things up. When I’m racing I’ll be consuming gels at a fairly consistent rate throughout the day so there should be a little boost.

Standing in the hotel pool after a long day’s ride you do wonder how much more you’ll get out of your legs on race day. Doubts are to be ignored so instead I remind myself how with tired legs, strong headwinds and an easier pace I can still do the course in 6:30. Come race day I will be fresh, fit and ready to go.

Which neatly brings me to my taper. The element I think I got so wrong in the run-up to Ironman Oz. Here I am again, two weeks out from a race and feeling pretty strong. OK, I’m also feeling pretty tired, but not surprisingly so! I’m convinced the problems in Oz were largely the result of too little training in the final weeks. So convinced that I expect to train roughly 20+ hours this week and over 10 hours in race week. That sounds a lot, but at the same time in terms of my general training it’s a significant reduction.

Specificity is also the key. My training sessions now will focus a lot more on ensuring I’m prepared for this race. Beach starts for the swim plus a few longer sessions over race distance. Revisiting parts of the course on my rides – Mirador del Rio particularly given my dislike. My running has largely been restricted to the beach front here in Puerto del Carmen anyway. I will be thoroughly sick of it come race day!

Whilst I have no scales to prove it I’m pretty confident my diet the past couple of weeks is helping lean me out at least a little. Either way I’m going to come back with a lot of new nutrition ideas. I don’t think I’ll be going Paleo yet, but I may not be so reliant on carbs day to day. Eat a big enough breakfast and it’s surprising just how far you can get on it!

Time predictions and race plans can wait till nearer the day. I would like, conditions allowing, to preserve my run of sub-10 Ironman results. It’s not going to be easy here by any means, but recent training on the course is giving me some optimism.

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