Month: June 2014

From Zero to Ironman – and so it begins

And it begins with an unmitigated disaster that was my first sprint tri with the friendliest most wonderful group of triathletes who, I am assured, will be there to see me through my journey from start to finish. I’m already confident that I have found the perfect motivational group – thank you BTRS That, however, is where my confidence starts and ends for now. Registration for Cairns Ironman was confirmed last week. After last night’s swim … erm … well, I learned two things. (1) This journey is going to be interesting, to say the least; and (2) The only way is forward.

The swim was around two buoys. I missed the first, made the second – but only after gasping and wheezing my way after the first 20 strokes. I think there was a Boa Constrictor hiding in my wetsuit trying to strangle me from 20 metres in. Oh My God, was it pathetic (my efforts, not the Boa). I was so disappointed in myself – in my swimming (I use the term loosely). The previous day I’d been swimming without a wetsuit and my daughter commented that I looked so graceful!! ‘Grace’ did not look down on me yesterday. The kayak kept suspiciously close … testament to how obvious my struggles were! But I rounded the buoy (any buoy ….) … and then proceeded to retch violently all the way back to shore. Ridiculous. So …. what now?

My sprint tri turned into a salt water retch fest – and finished there! I didn’t have the energy to attempt to unrack my bike and try out my newly beautifully pumped up tyres 🙁

But … every day’s a school day, right? So the upshot of this is:

1. Need to work out why I struggle so much with my wetsuit
2. Need to sort my breathing. I think the retching came not from swallowing water (I CAN actually swim, believe it or not – I didn’t swallow THAT much lol) but from hyperventilating. On reflection I was definitely gulping air in but when I tried to swim I couldn’t get enough air OUT – hence constant gasping. Does that make sense? I need to experiment with that and/or seek advice
3. It’s been suggested that if my wetsuit is affecting me that much it might be in my interest to upgrade
4. There is a big PLUS to being right at the bottom of the triathlon rung … a little work and I’m going to get a real buzz from progress 🙂
5. I now have a benchmark
6. I also have a new goal: do the swim plus at least one lap of bike next time
7. I’ve met some amazing people


Questions I used to ask/worry about before, during and after every run:

I’ve found three plans which will prepare me for my next race. They all have different work loads. Should I do the easier-looking one (will that prepare me enough?)? Should I go for the harder-looking one? Why is that so different from the other one?

It’s a 16-week plan, I’ve got 14 weeks before my next race. Do I start from Week 1 of the plan and make up the time somewhere – or should I start on Week 3?

These intervals are too hard for me. Should I do two less than stated? Or would it be better to do them all but at a slower pace?

I’ve got a nightmare week ahead and I’m forced to miss a session – what do I do? Which one do I skip? The intervals? The tempo? The LSD?

I’ve been ill. I’ve missed a week and I’m still not feeling great. What do I do? Do I go back a week? Do I ignore that week and just jump in at this week’s training schedule? Maybe I should go back two weeks because I’m getting a bit overwhelmed right now.

50-mile race next week and THIS training plan says ‘taper’ but THIS plan says to do a slow 30 and a 20 back to back? Should I be continuing to build – because this isn’t my A race? Or should I be tapering because that’s what most people do?

I’m having an off day but if I skip today’s run it’s going to throw everything out for the rest of the week and I don’t know how to change it. Should I force it?

I’ve got a niggling injury but I don’t know if it’s a ‘real’ injury or if it’s just in my head because that’s what happened last time. What do I do?

I’m really excited about my upcoming race, I’ve been looking forward to it for months and I know I need to get my training spot on so I don’t get injured. So the run I’m doing today … right now … is this really the right one for the right time … the right pace … the right target … What if it isn’t? What if it’s wrong? What if I get injured? What if …..?????

Answers available as per training plan: NONE


Questions I now ask my coach:  See all of the above.

Answers: Do X, then do Y, come back to me and we’ll discuss Z … and quit worrying.


Coach v. Generalised Training Plan from magazine = Coach 1; GTP 0

There is nothing to beat going for a run – or a training run – and having complete confidence that what you are doing is the right thing for you to do at that time according to your own ability.

That is all.


(With thanks to allowing me to run with confidence – in between a plethora of hiccups)

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