Firstly an apology – this should be the fourth part about my training. To be honest with packing, getting some taper training in and trying to relax a little bit I’ve not had the time. Parts four and five will be up in the next week. For now there’s a little break for Roth.
In four days time, all being well, I’ll have completed the third Ironman distance event of the year. When I entered Roth I had no thoughts about Ironman UK. I can’t even say how that second event crept in, but there it is three weeks afterwards. When I entered Ironman UK I had no thoughts about needing to race my best there, but again that crept up on me! So I have Roth in four days a race I originally planned to go as fast as I could in. Plans change though.
The goal for Roth is to have a strong training day. I will race from the gun, but I will temper my performance always bearing in mind that I only have a few weeks to a more important race. I want to go well because I honestly need the confidence boost after my past two races. I’ve worked hard to get here, perhaps too hard is the question, but we shall see.
I want to see a strong swim coming in comfortably at an hour at the slowest. I’ve never felt so good in the open water as I have recently. I have a lot of kilometres logged in the wetsuit and a lot more confidence about it I should be able to deliver better times than I have. The key to this is placement. I need to avoid getting penned in, but actually find a good draft. At the start I want to go out really hard, but keep that brief and settle in a draft quickly. From then on it’s about swimming at a comfortable, but effortful pace. In Lanza I feel I only started to work properly in the second half. A good warm-up will be key to get the arms comfortable and ready to have a strong catch and fast turn-over.
My bike will be set-up with my training wheels. The aim here is to collect a full Ironman bike course’s power data. I’ve numbers for all sorts of training rides and races up to Half Ironman. It’s time to find out what really happens out there on the bike. I’ll guide myself by heart rate as that’s what I normally race on. I want to see what that translates to in power. I’ve yet to decide whether I’ll hide power or not. The aim is to ride hard though, at the upper end of what I think I’m capable of. Assuming the stories about Roth being fast are true I’d love to see a 5 hour bike.
The run leaves me in two minds. I know this is the bit that will really beat my body up. At the same time I’m feeling great about my running. I’m going to put on compression socks in transition, my experience is they help with the post race recovery more than anything. I’ll lose a minute to get them on if it helps get me ready to race in the UK. Out on the run course I will be running on feel as usual and will target a comfortable aerobic pace. My typical goal is to break 3:10 and it’s not happened yet. Given I feel I should hold back I’m not sure what will happen. It’s really going to be a case of see what those first 5 or 10km tell you!
Whatever else I’ll aim to finish the race strong having enough in the tank to push at the end. Hopefully recording a good time, maybe even around or below 9:30. That’d be the ideal, if I can achieve that and not feel I gave my all I’ll be very happy. Steven said to me if you’re on for sub-9 go for it. I’ll put you in no doubts if that looks possible all plans to hold back go out the window. I’d take a sub-9 hour Ironman and whatever the day brings come Ironman UK without hesitation!
The nutritional plan for this race is to again follow the solids on the bike, gels and fluids only on the run approach. I’ve had two races on this without stomach issues which is great. I’m planning a bit more solid food on the bike this time in the form of Mule Bars. Combined with my usual bottle containing a High 5 Summer Fruits gel solution for the rest of my carbs. Onto the run and I’ll be sticking with the High 5 Summer Fruits gels and taking mostly water from aid stations. Later in the race I may also take on some coke and even energy drink. It’s going to be a careful balance in the run, too much sugary foods and my stomach will be unhappy.
Race weather is looking like it might be OK as of Wednesday afternoon. Light rain if any, but hopefully some sunshine. Following my experience in Switzerland last year I have kit to cope with storms! I’ll probably have a gilet and arm warmers in my bike bag just to be on the safe side. Hopefully they won’t be needed.
My taper seems to be going well. I’ve done less than I originally planned, but I’m feeling good for it. I was typically over-ambitious in my goals for the week! A combination of shorter sessions with race pace intensity work and a little beyond has done me good. My legs are starting to come back to me on the bike and I’m feeling stronger. I’m freshening up, but not giving up too much fitness in the process which is exactly the aim. I could feel better in the lead up to a race, but I could certainly feel a lot worse. The fatigue that’s been hanging over me in the last week or two of training is lifting. If my timing is right I’ll be firing close to my best on Sunday.
Being a little obsessive I’ve drawn up a plan for every day up to the race. Where and when to do everything, including rough outlines of what to eat! As usual with big races I want to get things out the way early so there’s none of my last minute rushing. I admit I may have a bit more to do than I’d like as my bike clearly needs a bit of attention. Beyond all this I’ve a detailed plan for the days after the race and the recovery process. Nothing is being left to chance for this one. I’m putting my all into both Roth and then Ironman UK.
I’ll be relying on the kindness of my homestay to help me get around, but so far its sounds like I’ll hardly have to do a thing! I can’t wait to get over there, meet them and experience the atmosphere in Roth. I’ve not been this excited about a race in a while. Whilst I don’t know how much internet access or time I’ll have free I’ll try and get a blog update with pictures from Roth in before race day along with some Tweets. I’ll also aim to have my race report up in usual prompt time.
So the goal is to get a solid training day and a confidence boost from this race. The plan is to race the swim and bike hard and then go by feel on the run. Let’s be honest here it’s looking like I’m saying I’ll go hard on the run too! Once I’m out there how I feel will dictate the day so perhaps a fast race will happen. At the very least I hope something better than my last two!