Despite a week of reflection I remain none the wiser as to what happened in Lanzarote; how this week I can be so much more lively on the bike, yet when it mattered I had absolutely nothing. The explanation is lost among a multitude of factors – dehydration, nutrition, fatigue, focus and of course undeniably my current level of fitness. While I may not be able to pinpoint a single cause that once eliminated would enable me to perform to a standard more representative of my capabilities, I can identify a general need for better preparedness. Obviously that means train more, or at least address my inconsistencies, but also it clearly means not approaching races with inadequate plans; especially not when far from race shape.
There is no point dwelling on the past. Far better to take the confidence boost three days of good riding has given me and build on it. What’s needed now is a route back to some kind of racing form. Which, put bluntly, means a commitment on my part to progression and that ever-important consistency. I have a month, June, in which to get myself back on top of the game and able to race.
After that, two ironmans. The first Challenge Roth – boldly entered in the sub-9 category, which seemed more plausible at the time – and then two weeks later Ironman UK. I like a challenge.
Among the numerous plans I have made and written about so far this year was one sensible idea – to focus my season on Ironman Wales and use other races as steps towards this. A twelve hour Ironman in Lanzarote wasn’t the initial step I wanted, but the underlying principle remains true. The goal for July’s Ironman racing is to see a progression in my fitness and improved performance over the month. I won’t contemplate targets at this point, I simply want to put together two well managed and executed races.
A lot rests on June. How can one month shave two hours off my Ironman time? I am relying on those ‘other factors’ having contributed significantly to my last performance and not the more terrifying prospect that I simply am not that fit. Assuming this to be the case it becomes a matter of doing the work – riding often, riding hard, running regularly, including some long runs and perhaps most shockingly visiting the pool. Throw in the Ironman 70.3 UK in Wimbleball midway through the month and end it with a week of training in the Pyrenees on Iron Camp (places are still available, ideal training for Ironman races later in the season), and the job is done. It has never taken much to bring myself into reasonable form which is perhaps why it is all the more disappointing I’ve yet to get there.
Lanzarote lived up to its role as motivator; enough that I recognise the need for structure and discipline in preparation for the rest of the season. My plans delivered one athlete a personal best and another to within seconds of the ten hour mark in Lanzarote; I know how to train for these events, I just haven’t done it. So let’s be clear: after June, Roth and Bolton will not be a repeat of Lanzarote.