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Ironman New Zealand 2008 Training Plan

These are blog entries for the build up to Ironman New Zealand 2008. To view the latest blog entries please use the drop down menu above.

12 weeks to go
Tue, 18 Dec 2007 08:52:23 +0000
It was supposed to be an easy week, get some jobs done around that house that have been nagging away at me for a while and chill out ready for the serious phase of training. In reality it turned out to be one 2.5 hour turbo session that I stopped early because I was working really hard to maintain a slow pace. The following day I had the mother of all sore throats and couldn't talk.

I'm guessing it's Laryngitis and the internet says it could take a week to clear up so looks like they'll be no further training this week. Cutting things fine for New Zealand, I think I'll have to swop to an emergency plan to rescue something rather than spending this month training like mad to make a real difference. I feel OK in myself but breathing is restricted by the swelling in my throat so can't do much. It's very annoying. Replies...

11 weeks to go
Fri, 28 Dec 2007 20:21:48 +0000
There's no point beating about the bush, I was ill so had to sit out training and so that's what I did for the first part of the week.

Doing nothing gives you a chance to think things over and sticking to the structured plan for the first few sessions after sickness would have been a very bad idea so I ditched the plan and decided I'd just run for the remainder of the week. I started off with a five mile run and clocked a difficult 44:39 with an average heart rate of 164, quite high for the speed I ran at. A clear indication the illness hasn't gone yet.

The following day I did the same run with the same aim, just very easy and simple running, and clocked exactly the same time but with a lower average heart rate of 162. Had a rest day after that then did an eight mile run around the hills, clocking 1:15:21 and an average heart rate of 161. As the week progressed I felt better and my HR came down, hopefully I can keep things going in that direction and I might have another week of no structure to see how things go. But time is getting short, I need to get some decent training in soon.

Thanks for the messages last week, much appreciated. Replies...

10 weeks to go
Mon, 31 Dec 2007 13:33:56 +0000
Just three runs this week but that was the plan, the schedule was pretty intense and certainly not the thing to do with a bug still hanging on so I was casual about training and did what I felt. Three runs, here they are:

24/12/07: 11 miles - 1:52:30 - AvHR 162
27/12/07: 10 miles - 1:29:49 - AvHR 163
30/12/07: 12 miles - 2:06:33 - AvHR 159

All at an easy pace. Something did click this week, I've been getting sore glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors in the past couple of months. This has been limiting my run distance as things started to hurt quite a bit around eight miles. The physio said I'd go through a long phase of re-strengthening as my muscle groups learn how to work with a mobile sac-joint. Seems this phase is now complete and the 33 miles this week didn't unduly annoy those muscles.

This weeks schedule is a recovery week which seems an ideal way to get back into some structured training. If I can hit the sessions in this phase then I'll do fine in the race, if I have an awful phase then the race will be very difficult. But I'm getting to that finish line whatever happens.

Happy new year everyone. Replies...

9 weeks to go
Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:08:46 +0000
Not a bad week, managed a couple of runs with a couple of bike rides thrown in. No swimming but I didn't intend on swimming, what with the weird pool times over new year and the fact that I couldn't be bothered to go swimming. Next week however, I'll aim to maintain the running and cycling and get a couple of swims in.

The schedule says it was recovery week so the sessions were fairly easy, the 'big' run of the week was an hour on the treadmill which was surprisingly difficult even though I only clocked 10.2km. My legs were sore afterwards which must be down to the treadmill itself, maybe the hour at a constant speed makes it harder work? I backed that up with a 5 mile run around the trails in a short 42 which is pretty good going for me at this time.

Cycling was represented by a 90 minute cycle around the hills in Austria (on the iMagic) but I stopped that as my breathing was a bit weird. Then yesterday I completed the full lap of IM Austria in 3:18 which is surprisingly accurate (as I did the first lap in 2006 in 3 hours and the second, when the heat came in, in 3:20).

In all I recorded a bit over 7 hours. Next week is a big week, if I can hit half the planned time and hit it well I'd have clocked a very good week. Illness hasn't completely gone, I still get a shortness of breath and a bit of coughing from time to time but on the whole it's OK. Replies...

8 weeks to go - The Aftershock?
Mon, 14 Jan 2008 09:34:47 +0000
As you may know, I had some over training issues last year that caused me a lot of problems for the build up to Ironman UK. It's not until you start to recover that you realise just what an affect it's had on you, much more than fatigue and achy muscles. It affects your outlook and judgement which are very much part of what makes you. Now I'm a few months further on I've taken a great deal of care to make sure I don't train when I feel ill and not to push to hard when I'm getting all the signs that I shouldn't, it seems to be working as I feel a lot better than before and I'm adapting to the training, getting fitter and faster.

But I seem to have developed a hurdle I need to get over before I can really push on hard and get a lot faster at Ironman. Whenever the going gets tough I'm finding a reason to back off, for example, for yesterday's long bike ride I suddenly got really cold. I had no idea why that was so stopped the session early. Other than feeling cold (and I was inside on the turbo so can't blame the weather) I was doing just fine, holding 150 watts and just at that point where you're starting to get a little fatigue. I'm calling it the aftershock from over training, an over compensation the other way and deep into the comfort zone. This has been the issue for the week and is high on the list of things to sort out - HTFU will be said quite a lot next week.

This is not a negative blog post though, training is going very well, with a couple of exceptions, and I'm seeing good results in sessions.

Monday: Rest Day. Nailed this one!
Tuesday: 1 hour steady jog on the treadmill, last week I jogged out 10.2km and this week an easy 10.6km. The treadmill doesn't take average HR but I'm sure it would have been somewhere sensible. It managed to read my HR even though I wasn't wearing a HR belt - clever!
Wednesday: Swimming in the morning, the lane had three newbies in it all swimming head's up breast stroke at a stupidly slow rate. With one in the lane you can sort yourself out a bit of space but with three merrily swimming up and down it's a waste of time trying to get in a decent swim so I called it off after 1km. In the evening it was a long interval run around the streets and I clocked my fastest time for that course (11.5km) since last July at 1:00:13. Felt good to be running well again.
Thursday: An 20 minute FTP cycle on the turbo, managed an average of 227 watts which is about 30 watts down on July's figure but I expected that. Legs were tired from the running and I've not done a lot of cycling in the past few weeks.
Friday: Swimming but the same problems, idiots in the pool all getting in the way. Added to that the policies at the pool are awful. There were three kids playing catch with half the pool and 14 of us sharing two swimming lanes. I asked if we could have a third lane but it's not pool policy to provide a third lane in the evenings. I went home after 40 lengths (1.3km or so). I've got to have a look around for a different pool, this one is virtually impossible to swim in.
Saturday: Long run day, the plan was to do over two hours but the training Gods conspired against me and all I managed was 5 miles at a causal average HR of 153 (lowest for a long time). First I got chatting to the neighbour on the right, then the neighbour on the left. By the time I got to the start line I was about an hour late so running low on daylight. Out on the course the local running club were holding a race so I had to keep stopping to get out their way. No problem I'll change course but it was so muddy it couldn't run on it! Shame as I wanted to crack long running this week.
Sunday: The long turbo ride I've already said went wrong, managed three hours.

Mission for next week is:
1. HTFU.
2. Do a 20 mile run. I have the Portland Marathon in two weeks time and I really need to put in a long run. If I can do this then it leaves me one weekend before we jet off to crack the bike distance.
3. Really concentrate on eating well. On Saturday all I had was a bowl of cerials and a sausage in a roll (not a sausage roll). No wonder those two beers made me feel so bad.
4. Loosen up my right hip, it's been tight for months and about time I took it on.

Must try harder. Replies...

7 weeks to go
Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:57:21 +0000
While out running on Saturday I thought how great my build for Ironman Austria is going. Running is up to a fair distance and while cycling and swimming is a bit amiss it's nothing that can't be fixed pretty easily. In all, things are good. But Ironman New Zealand is 19 weeks before that, that isn't so good. It's still better to look at it in a positive light than freak out about a big race in 7 weeks time that I'm not prepared for.

The week was pretty much a wash out, I mentioned last week that I suddenly got cold on the turbo and wasn't sure why that would happen. Well, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I did no training as I was ill. Typical bug type stuff that was definitely an infection of some kind, it wasn't just a case of feeling tired so not feeling like training. Can't be helped I guess.

Thursday I went out for an easy run and that went very well, running 12km in 1:04 which is 4 minutes slower than my fastest 12k lap of this build up. Friday I had all good intentions of doing a turbo session and a swim but instead I spend most of the day in casualty with a work pal who'd broken his ankle. Got home late and just couldn't be bothered to pack my kit for the pool.

Saturday I went out for a run, weather was OK, dryish but very windy. Decided I'd put in a good long run and see how I'd be for the marathon next weekend. Did 19 miles in 3:15 which is about 20 minutes off the pace from last year and I had to work very hard in the last 5 miles or so. Maybe that was a bit of dehydration from the high winds drying off my sweat or maybe it was because it's the first long run for a while. Either way it's clear I'm not in marathon form so I'll not do the race next weekend and do another 20 mile run instead.

So that's it for the week, four and a bit hours of running, did nothing on Sunday as my legs were a bit smashed up! Next week will be different (already been swimming today!). Replies...

Six weeks to go
Mon, 28 Jan 2008 09:27:00 +0000
OK, I give up. Another week that was messed up with various problems meaning I now have one more weekend before we jet off to get in some sort of meaningful training. That's not likely to happen as we still have about 2 million jobs to do before packing. But, looking for a positive, at least I have three weeks before the race in New Zealand to make things count. Hopefully I can get in a couple of reasonable rides in the 50-60 mile range and a few open water swims.

Monday: 1km swim in the morning messed up by the New Years resolution people getting in the way. In the evening I did one hour easy run on the treadmill which is always a harder session than it sounds, really feel it in the legs the following day.

Tuesday: Felt totally knackered so did nothing, got to bed early and felt better the next day.

Wednesday: 90 minutes on the turbo, building up some lactic in the legs and holding that effort for about 15 minutes (two intervals). Hard session but got to the end OK.

Thursday: Awful stomach problems, figured I shouldn't train so didn't.

Friday: Scheduled as a rest day but I felt like doing something. Got to the pool and hammered out 1000m before the lane got so full I had to stop. Is it half term already? Pool packed with kids, most of them wanting to play with the lane ropes.

Saturday: Return of the stomach problems!

Sunday: 3:30 on the turbo at a constant 160 watts. Felt OK but got to 3:30 and I'd had enough of that.

So there you go, just over one week until we jet out and I think it's time to be sensible about where I am, I need to treat this as a long training day and use my head in the race. I just haven't done enough training to push on or try out something new. This is exactly where I was going into IMUK so I haven't moved on at all in six months. But neither have I taken any steps backwards.

Lastly, I bought a new wetsuit. Wild Side did an excellent deal on an Orca Predator (same as the one I was replacing but in a larger size). Hopefully it'll help me get around the lake in Taupo. Replies...

Signing Off
Mon, 04 Feb 2008 11:46:20 +0000
Just a few days to go until we jet off so it's time to wrap things up. Training last week was worse than ever, I missed the first couple of days with a stomach problem and just feeling off, Wednesday and Thursday were good, did a hard sessions of each sport (100 minute turbo at a constant 180 watts, 2km straight swim in 45 minutes and 1 hours run on the treadmill). Friday I was in London for the day so no training and Saturday/Sunday saw a return of the stomach problems and feeling tired. Not sure what that is but it knocks motivation for six and I can't be bothered with anything. I also have a return of my lower back problems to add something extra into the mix!

Anyway, leaving that aside things for the trip are progressing nicely. We got our holiday money and I've started putting the bike in its box and collecting together the other bumph that I need for the race. Just a few things left to do, finish packing and we're away. We set off for the airport at 8am Saturday and expect to get to Queenstown at about 10:50pm Sunday (GMT), 11:50am Monday local time (or something like that, could be a bit either way). Yes a very long time but it's a very long way. Practically to the exact opposite side of the world, just a few hundred miles out (as exactly the opposite side of the world is in the sea to the south east of Queenstown).

If I can get an internet connection, which I should, I'll be uploading photos as we plod around and you can view them if you wish and leave comments. Visit this page: click the 'Register' button and register yourself for the site, add yourself to the Turbo League when it asks (so you can play in the turbo league when I get around to sorting that out). Once registered you will be bounced to a page containing loads of links, the first big one at the top is the link to our holiday photo album. The main reason for the register/logon is to test out this facility to see if I've understood how it works and written it correctly. You people are guinea pigs and for that I'm grateful and apologise for any problems in advance. But it should work, I've been messing around with it for a while now.

Thanks for all the comments, tips and advice over the past few months, it really does make the difference. Replies...

The Final Three Weeks
The plan was to get to New Zealand and do some reasonable training in the warm weather but once there I was firmly in holiday mode and did almost nothing. I did one ride in Queenstown, about an hour long and a short run the following day. Then a couple of short swims to check the wetsuit worked OK and that was about it. At least I was well rested!
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