In my race preview I comment on my belief that I’ve spent many years over trained and that explains my massively fluctuating motivation. As I reflect on Weymouth I must reflect on this and how in the summer I decided to approach my training with a view on the long term and not on Weymouth. I decided not to prepare for Weymouth but instead to lay the foundations for racing well next summer and, more importantly, get back on an even keel so I can enjoy many years of sold training and racing.
Race Report here.
Weymouth is a very convenient location for me. It means I can spend most of my final preparation at home. It certainly helps to spend all but the last couple of nights in your own home environment. It also reduces the significance of the race in your mind.
Overall I was positive from the race. However, there was a pretty deep disappointment which really boiled down to lack of preparation. At the moment the net effect has been that I feel very motivated indeed to put this right. The HR cap has seemed to really helped me wake up wanting to train and further confirms in my mind that I’ve been suffering from overtraining for many years now. My next Ironman is Frankfurt in 39 weeks – thats plenty of time to do a proper HR cap based build.
Swim sessions form the structure of my life and I love them. It means my swimming is always consistent. I could probably survive on a lot less swimming but I enjoy it, it provides aerobic fitness and it’s never at the expense of other sessions. My swim at Weymouth was easy and I managed sub 53 minutes! Very pleased. I will continue with the same.
With hindsight I should have ridden with power but not displayed it. It was fun to race on feel. I judged my efforts based on my breathing. I felt that my ride was pretty solid but looking at my AG bike splits I was a good 10 minutes off the pace. Given that in the past I’ve been one of the fastest bikers in my AG it would suggest I was a little off my best. It certainly comes down to preparations and perhaps reflects my backing off on my rides through summer due to my HR cap. I did this with a view to the long term so I can’t complain. I rode well to my fitness. In the run up to this race I hadn’t done the long rides I’d done in to Texas this year and in to all my best performances. To give an idea in the first 6 years of my Ironman racing I averaged 14.8k miles of riding a year and qualified every time I tried. In the second 6 years I averaged 9.8k miles of riding and qualified once in the first year of that period (ie at the end of the previous 6 years). I’m not saying that this is the way that will work for everyone but perhaps it is for me. I used to ride lots of miles at relatively low intensity and thats what I plan to try to go back to.
Wouldn’t be a review without a graph. What does this show ? Well… I fell apart at 30k. The two outliers at 20k and 32k are portaloo stops. The first for a pee – in my experience if you need a pee it’s always worth stopping for – I felt so much better after it and got a second wind for about 8k. The second stop was due to upset tummy and I cramped massively in the portoloo – far from ideal.
When falling apart like that it’s often put down to bad nutrition or such like. It’s even been suggested to me that changing my footwear would solve it. If I didn’t wear Vibram Fivefingers I’m sure no one would suggest such a thing. It surprises me how much difference people think footwear will make. This just comes down to lack of fitness. I was not struggling aerobically, I didn’t lack energy just my legs were shot. After a big build to Texas I didn’t quite get back in to my running quickly enough and I certainly hadn’t done enough long runs.
Looking at the first six years of Ironman I average 2,000 miles per year and that period included my FHL surgery . In the last 6 years I’ve average 1,050 miles per year.
I think it’s finally sinking in. I’m not the athlete I was and it’s because I’ve not putting the training in. It’s interesting that you’d think given loads of flexibility and time that your performance would just improve. For me thats not been the case at all. My best training and performances were when I had a full time job. I look back now and think that perhaps it was because I wasn’t fully content with life. Now I am much happier, balanced. I enjoy time being quiet, doing nothing, thinking. I don’t have the need to be out training all the time I have available.
The question for me now is do I want good performances enough to put the work in. To put the hours in. As friends qualify for Kona 2017 and others are starting to post pictures from Kona and the most vivid and awesome memories of that place come back to me, I feel so motivated to train. The conundrum is how to maintain that feeling through all the times when it’s a struggle to get out.