Ironman Florida 2013, Preview

This race has rather crept up on me. It’s race week already and I’ve not even thought about checking my bike or packing. Other things have rather taken precedence which isn’t a bad thing. I love racing and training for Ironman so if something comes along that you’d prefer to do and takes priority thats got to be a good thing.

Following Ironman Wales I was pretty positive about my prospects of qualifying for Kona in Florida. Now, however, qualification will have to be at Ironman UK next year and this Saturdays race is all about hanging out with Rodger and plain and simple enjoying the race. What happened since Wales that’s lead to this.

Following Wales I had a couple of weeks recovery before heading out for our first EverydayTraining camp with Tri Sport Lanzarote. That was all to plan and the camp did just what I’d hoped; kick started my fitness. At the end of the camp I did a sub 30 minute ascent of Tabeyesco on a hire bike. It was a really good sign.

Returning to the UK I got a cold. Pretty much as expected and to my surprise it didn’t last the 10 days it always seemed to last year. In fact, it only briefly interrupted my preparation. However, just I as felt better I met with the builders who’d we decided on for major works on our house. They said they could start a week later. This meant I had a ridiculously busy week of, more or less single handedly, packing up the whole downstairs of my house and moving out.

Then the work started. I knew I’d be interested but hadn’t appreciated just how interested and how distracting it would be. For a period I was so torn, feeling guilty about not doing the training I’d planned. Eventually I resolved this realising it’s a good thing that there’s something more important than the race. I embraced it, stopped worrying, did what I could and let myself enjoy the whole process of adapting my home to be more sustainable and better able to help us deal with what the future has in store.

I thought I’d take a little look at how my fitness has progressed since Wales and give a prediction on my race. I did this race back in 2006, it’ll be interesting to see how it’s changed and how I compare to back then.

SWIM

_swimFlorida13.jpg

Swim training has gone very well largely because it’s always done first thing so the work doesn’t interrupt it. For quite a while now my coach has been focussing on trying to lengthen my stroke. With the start of this swim season there was a big focus on skills and since then in all my training I’ve never sacrificed my stroke count for speed. It’s meant that though I’ve been working hard my training times haven’t reflected speeds I’ve hit previously. I’ve been very confident that this will ultimately pay dividends. Over the course of the last four weeks I’ve seen snapshots of how it can be. It starts to feel more natural to kick a little, I feel more stable in the water, I feel more controlled and more relaxed. Last week I found myself on 5:05 400 pace whilst holding my stroke count. Almost back to my fastest (as a triathlete) but on five strokes less per 25m ! Then last friday I was cruising 32.x s for 50m, again whilst holding my stroke count. I am swimming well and looking forward to it. Just a shame that this week a pump has broken at my local pool so I haven’t been able to get a final couple of 2 hour sessions in which I felt would set me up great for Saturday.

In 2006 I swam 58 minutes and I felt I’d had a good swim. I’m swimming better than back then BUT that was still slow. I remember that it was a tough swim. So bearing that in mind:

SWIM: 54 minutes

BIKE

_bikeflorida13

Before anyone gets excited this isn’t predicted Ironman wattage ! I wish ! This is prediction based on the test which I do to calibrate the model. This season I’ve been using a 10 minute TT on the turbo, aero bars for power. It doesn’t compare with the peak test performance in the summer of 365 watts though I couldn’t face another test in this period. It’s clear that my biking shouldn’t be as good as at Wales. My training has been very low volume (just under 150 miles per week since getting back from camp) but the rides I’ve done have been at good power numbers. This is encouraging but perhaps it’s because I’m fresh. It’s not been tested over a long distance but I think (probably more like hope) I’ve been doing enough to have maintained some pretty decent form.

I’m certainly biking better than when I did this before but I may not have the same endurance as I did back then when I rode 5:11. I also reckon I’m a bit better at executing a Ironman bike and certainly better at riding flat courses.

So… this is probably more from the heart than the head:

Bike: 5:05

RUN

_runflorida13

This is where I had (have?) high hopes. I fell apart, yet again, at Wales but managed a great final 6km and convinced myself a big part of my performance is down to lack of mental strength. I had high hopes to get several long runs in and really get in shape. It didn’t happen. Well… nothing quite as long or as frequent as I’d hoped. However, some was encouraging. I am consistently running faster. The week before last I did a 25km run in 1:52. Just over 4:32 KM pace. I went thorough half marathon in 1:33. I even finished it strong feeling I could keep going. Then last week I did 28km holding 4:45 pace and completely fell apart at 24km and felt so ill that evening.

For the long term this is encouraging but for Florida I just can’t get away from the fact the work has not been put in. So here based mostly on head with a little smidgen of heart thrown in:

Run: 3:45

If only I was running like in 2006 when I thought I’d fallen apart and had a terrible run coming home in 3:18 ;o)

I didn’t add these up ahead of time, so here goes, assuming transitions similar to last time:

SWIM: 0:54
T1: 0:03
BIKE: 5:05
T2: 0:02
RUN: 3:45
TOTAL:  9:49

I’ll be honest I’d be happy with that even though it’s probably 20 minutes off whats required to qualify.

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