I want to race well. I want to train well. I want to grow my business. And I want balance. I’m not sure my objectives for the year ahead are entirely compatible. Can I manage a broad range of interests and activities and still achieve my goals at Ironman? Dragging myself around three race courses last year taught me that I can perform relatively well off poor preparation; frustrating, painful, but at least plausible. That’s not what I want to do this season.
The larger lesson from 2011 was how powerful an extended block of training can be – the transformative effect of six months of consistency, all be it limited to one sport, was impressive. Perhaps balance is possible. Perhaps I can deliver ninety percent of the performance without my life being consumed with training. A gradual build up of fitness was manageable and effective, it was the intensive blocks that proved destructive to my plans. With that in mind the remaining ten percent can cautiously be achieved through more intensive training camps.
So the first six months focus on gaining fitness. January is about survival, building sufficient fitness to make it through a week training in Lanzarote with a few of my athletes. A simple camp to end the month, not heavy on plans or structure, just heavy on training. High volume without too much intensity will be an effective kick-start to my year. February, March and April stick with consistency, steadily building without events or pressure, culminating in another two weeks in Lanzarote. By May I hope I feel like an athlete again.
May is tentative. The whole month could swing one way or another, depending on the success of my friend Alex Flynn‘s plans to cross America. Having run across Europe, he now plans to cross the USA raising money for his 10 Million Metres Parkinson’s disease charity; there is a very good chance I will join him for the ride. If I’m not spending most of May crossing America, I’ll return to the original plan of racing Ironman Lanzarote, I still have unsettled business on that course. Either option needs me to be fit and leaves me needing to recover.
Which June will provide a week of. Mid-month I’ll race Wimbleball for the second time. It will be an informal CoachCox championship as many of my athletes have also signed up for the event; I’m expecting to be beat. From the finish line I head straight to my favourite training venue in the Pyrenees to help lead the Iron Camp through the mountains. June ends on camp and July begins with a trip to Germany to race Challenge Roth for a second time. It was intended to be my attempt at breaking 9 hours, but we will see how that goes; the year is finely balanced around work, training and racing, sub-9 may be a target too far this season. What ever happens, once the race is done, I’ll take a moment to relax.
Not for too long. In mid-August I’ll be flying to Canada to race in the inaugural Ironman Mont-Tremblant. I’ve no particular goals for the race, it’s a warm-up for the season’s climax when I race Ironman Wales in September. I want to race with a genuine prospect of claiming a Kona slot and I will need to be in top form to achieve that. It remains to be seen if I can balance the preparations with the rest of my schedule. I have no intention of dragging myself around any Ironman course, but there is a distinction between being race fit and Kona fit. I will need that bike and run combination I am hoping to see.
The remainder of the year is unplanned. I will begin with some much needed rest, after that winter is an open book. I have an urge to explore other racing options – off road marathons, perhaps an ultra or an adventure race; some new challenges. It’s easy to run on limited time, the training can be managed and I think I can achieve good results without the commitment Ironman requires. Perfect for the winter and perhaps longer term.
There is a very busy year ahead.