It’s been two months since my last update on my Ironman Journey. I’ve spent that time trying my best to get into a training routine while keeping up my racing commitments both in obstacle course racing and running, most noticeably the London marathon.
I’ve maintained my twice weekly early morning (5.15am) circuit sessions and while having to slightly cut down on my running training I’ve added in two swimming sessions a week and at least one cycle. I’ve managed to continue with my mid week 10 mile marathon paced tempo run and got in a couple of longer runs including a very positive 22 miler so it all points to good signs going into a 26.2 mile PB attempt. The plan has always been to add in another long ride on the bike each week once the marathon is done with.
I ended my last post by saying I had signed up for a duathlon. Find out how that went here: https://chrislambracingdiary.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/graham-duathlon-21-02-16/
Not only did I learn that day that my cycling was well below par I also realised that it wasn’t going to be a sporting activity I was going to partially enjoy. It takes up a large amount of time (something I don’t have a lot of) and the fact it forces you to rely on a piece of equipment to get you where you need to be rather than just your own body doesn’t sit well with me.
Swimming was another sport I didn’t think I was going to like a great deal (remind me why I signed up for this again?) mainly because I didn’t think I was very good at it but as my technique dramatically improved so did my performance and surprisingly I am actually quite liking it.
On only my second ever attempt at a mile swim, in the first week of February, I knocked a huge 13 minutes off my previous best from 55 minutes to 42 minutes. A time that I managed to get down to 35 and a half minutes by the end of March. I also did 2.5k in 61 minutes during a Sport Relief swimathon and covered two miles in 72 minutes, a time and distance I was really pleased with and before I knew it open water season had arrived.
On a freezing April morning I had to scrape the ice from my car windows and wipe a sprinkling of snow from the bodywork before setting off on the 25 mile drive to Box End in Bedfordshire for my first experience of swimming in anything other than an indoor pool. It was a chilly 11 degrees celsius in the lake but I had been itching to test out my new full body wetsuit so jumped straight in. After a very nervy opening getting used to the conditions and sorting my breathing pattern out I was revelling in the whole experience and got round two laps of the 850 meter course. I can’t wait for another go very soon.
On the bike I had match the 30 miles I’d done on my very first ride and managed to increase my average pace but I was struggling to find the time to get any further than that so I knew I had to do something about it. I entered a 100k sportive in near by Market Harborough at the start of April. It was over double the distance I’d ever cycled before but still only just over half of what I need to cover at Ironman. It was a hilly course (but worryingly nowhere near the incline levels I face on July 17th) but I got through it ok. My legs never really tired and I felt if I’d of been required to run afterwards I definitely could have done.
It had made me feel much better about the bike section of the event and after another couple of shorter but faster rides a couple of weeks later I got out for a 57 miler which felt like a real turning point for me. I’m not sure I can go as far as saying I really enjoy cycling just yet but it certainly feels like less of a chore now and I am beginning to like the challenge it’s providing.
Rather much like entering Ironman in the first place I’ve now gone and thrown myself in the deep end again by signing up for a 100 mile sportive cycle at the start of June. With some more open water swims planned I feel if I can get through that bike ride I will be confident I can complete all three disciplines within the required cut off times and with my running as strong as it is maybe even finish in a respectable time, whatever that is considered to be.
Stay tuned for my London Marathon review coming shortly.