Tag: Ironman training

Seventeen days and counting … (Ironman Kalmar)

Oh my oh my. Yes, blogs have been missing – since Cairns! About as ‘missing’ as my training. Seventeen days to Ironman Kalmar/Sweden and am I ready? Erm …. well, not really. Then again, how ready will I ever be? Especially after feeling so ‘ready’ for Cairns and then not getting much past the swim.

Hey ho. It’s a different journey and I’m still trying to file Cairns away and open a new chapter. I thought it’d be quite easy. I thought entering Sweden – 9 weeks away from Cairns – that I’d simply be able to top up my training and keep everything ticking over.

Easier said than done!!

One big big BIG mistake: letting go of my coach. Merely because I’d already decided to take a few months ‘off’ once I’d ‘nailed’ Ironman Cairns!!! Hrrrrrmph! My next mistake was not immediately running back and going HEEELLLLPPPPPPPP!! What nowwwwwwww???? And HOW DO I PREPARE FOR SWEDEN????? But I didn’t. I thought I could let it slide and simply redo my pre-Cairns training for the same weeks up until Sweden.


Seventeen days to go and I’ve ………………………………………. done a bit of running, played games in the sea, done TWO sea swims (neither v. long), and done one long (if fantabulous) bike ride (and a few shorter ones) – supported by the amazing group of athletes and friends that is BTRS.


I’ve had loads of encouragement and the best of help and suggestions – but I’m not a ‘do what feels right’ sort of person. Nor am I a ‘do a bit of this and a bit of that’ sort of person. I need plans and structure – and I need a coach. It takes a great coach to ensure that, with history of various injuries and niggles AND training hampered by weather I was still able to train 17-20 hours per week for three full months pre-Cairns without the slightest hint of injury. That was an AWESOME feeling. That feeling has been sadly lacking since Cairns.

So Sweden is coming up and I’m living on the hope that my pre-Cairns training will carry over. I’ve added four bike rides (albeit hugely enjoyable rides (3 of them) with FABULOUS company!!), a couple of runs and two swims??? Yep! That’s about it! For nine weeks, that is NOT good Ironman training. Structure, consistency ………………….. gone!

But all is never lost. I’m on holiday now and I’ve done more this week than in the previous six. I had a fantastic 15-mile run the other day and it felt GREAT (last long run). I’ve done a couple of really full-on gym sessions – mostly cardio because no point doing any strength stuff now. My cycling ‘was’ definitely my weak point so I’ve been boosting that with some solid sessions on the erg to target my leg strength. These have definitely paid off (I did a 500m PB this afternoon)! Probably my biggest fear (because I’m not even going to entertain the thought of ‘the marathon’) is the swim, which is where I came to pieces in Cairns. Apparently, the ‘issue’ I had is oh so common – so common, in fact, that there are LOADS of blogs and articles about it. No guaranteed cures, however, so it could still be an issue and that is very VERY worrying!


BUT ……… family and the bestest of friends will abound in Sweden. I CAN do this! I’m ‘well rested’, to say the least – although I think nine weeks of taper might be a tad long? But let’s not split hairs!!. The swim is ‘brackish’! I can’t wait to find out what that means. I think it might mean ‘full of jellyfish’, but who knows! The bike course is ‘flat’. PAHAHAHAHAHAHA That’s what they said about Cairns. I don’t believe ANYTHING!!! And any way, ‘flat’ means ‘wind’ and that can be worse than any bloomin’ hill so let’s see. Still – I’m happier about the bike now. Bummer! You know what? I think I came close to actually ‘enjoying’ a couple of those training rides. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!!!!! I’m hoping I will have avoided consistent vomiting in the swim this time to be able to give the bike course a good go.

Like I said, we’re not talking about the run.

I did my last three-hour training session today. It’s way past midnight now. Sixteen days and counting!


And THAT, my friends, is all the negatives out of the way. I can. I will. That medal awaits. Just keep swimming, just keep pedalling, just keep running! This will happen!


‘You can spread YOUR toes another day, then!’

snipped the yoga teacher, failing to understand why I couldn’t take off my socks (infected toe). Jeez, that must have been the stressiest yoga class EVER! I’d already been accosted for choosing the wrong mat, for not having the correct number of blocks (how would YOU know – I could be a professional ballet dancer?) and I’m not even going to try and describe the ‘tone’ with which I was informed that this was an ‘intermediate class, you realise’??? Oh dear. Wrong person to take that attitude with. Having spent twenty years trying to curb my tendency to corpse on stage (and failing miserably), a silent and deadly yoga class filled with regular pensioners farting, twisting and contorting and admiring their lythe and flexible bodies (not) in the Dorian-Gray-enchanted mirrors was only going to result in 90 minutes of something akin to an episode of Candid Camera as I attempted to suppress my giggles. Being told I would ‘just have to spread my toes another day’ was, frankly, the last straw.

Thankfully, yoga was an option I’d chosen for myself to supplement my training with an extended stretching session (with the exclusion of my toes, evidently!!). It is/was not on my official training plan. Phew.

Two weeks since The Pilgrim Challenge Ultra – and six weeks into my official Ironman training plan and I have suddenly realised that just in these last couple of weeks I’ve been conquering a lot of mini stumbling blocks. Even better, I am fully confident that this is ALL due to the training I’ve been putting in. My goal since January has been to not miss out on a single session. I’ve stuck to that and slowly slowly I’m seeing changes. You can’t complain about results that you don’t get from work that you don’t do. So true. And oh such a great feeling.
In The Pilgrim Challenge my nemesis was those 268 steps. They didn’t get me this time!

On the following week’s 16-mile run to Newhaven Fort and back (commonly known as BTRS Trail Run #4) my goal was not to PB but rather to ‘run the hills’. There is one particular nasty on the return journey which has ALWAYS brought me to a walk. Not this time. I use the term ‘run’ very loosely, but I didn’t walk AT ALL (and this definitely contributed to a fab bonus PB as well!!).

The same can be said for the dreaded hill on Trail #2 – which I conquered the previous week, a parkrun time that was a lot closer to my PB than I’d thought possible AND a very satisfying stamina blast at the end of kickboxing class which left me buzzing rather than dying! It has been tough, too, though. Oft times I really have to drag myself out of the house with a bucketload of unwillingness strapped to my ankles. You would think, after 52 years, that I would know myself pretty well by now but still just the other day I surprised myself with how much utter unadulterated CRAP I could come up with in an effort to get myself out of a workout on the gym bike. This continued, not only until I’d grumbled and fought my way to the gym, but even into the workout itself … Since I’m here I at least deserve to make the session a bit shorter …. I’ll cut out the cooldown …. Maybe I’ll just do one of the main sets rather than two … Or I could do half of the second but at an easier pace … Or I could … OR YOU COULD JUST SHUT UP AND DO THE GODDAMNED WORKOUT!!!!! JEEZ!

The rewards don’t come easily but it is soooooooooooooo nice to see them coming. I’ve found a lot of my training sessions quite scary, sometimes terrifying and I can’t even think yet about the big picture, i.e. start line of Ironman Cairns – because right now I know I’m not even close to being ready. Spotting these small changes in fitness and ability, though, is massively motivating and comforting. I just have to continue to have 100% faith in my coach and training programme and I WILL make it to that line.

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