Five Months to the European Middle Distance — I have Some Serious Work to do!

After my usual slovenly Christmas break, I’m unfit and a little bit scared. But that doesn’t matter, because I’m also excited. Do your worst, training plan! (Thank goodness for commas!)

I’m going to begin this post with a three letter word. Eep. It’s my favourite word of the moment, meaning [insert explicative here]. But it’s like the ice cream version, probably the colourful sort, like Neapolitan. Simply, training has started, not a minute too soon, and oh my goodness I am unfit (relatively speaking). This week is my first week of a five-and-a-bit month training plan for Challenge Denmark, a half Iron distance race in Herning which will also be the European Championships and my first ever race as part of Team GB Age Group triathlon. Whoop whoop!

A small part of me whispers: ‘Can I have a quick word. It’s a lot of fun just being social on the bike and going out for the odd jog whilst listening to Rihanna and stopping for Instagrams. You’ve done the hard bit in qualifying, so just chill out, wear the GB kit and enjoy it, dude!’ Then there’s this bigger bit of me that says ‘but wouldn’t it be fun to work flipping hard and see what you’re made of?’

Ironman 70.3 Training
Today I rode with Meg. Meg is fast. This was a good idea.

It’s this far less sensible but far more fun bit of me that wins the day as I head into 2017, and with it my fresh training plan for the year, which is a combination of what I’ve learned through the IRONMAN University, my trusted author Don Fink and my incredible non-official coach on the side, Chris Emmerson of BAD Tri, who has got me through many a challenging moment, from wobbles leading up to my first IRONMAN to the moment on a 140 mile night ride where I wanted to bail and he, as our support driver, was having none of it.

Together, the mighty trio provide me with a plan to follow, and follow it I will. This has included, in my first week, two speedy sessions in which the following has happened to me:

  • I wanted to vomit (but I didn’t, that is to come for when I get to include Zone 4)
  • I had a stitch (unfit + cheese sandwiches too close to session)
  • Mucous sinuses (cheese habit left over from festive season needs addressing)
  • The enormous endorphin rush that you only get when you’re teetering over threshold (Ahhhhhhhh, I remember this! This feeels goooood!)

Yes, the speed sessions have commenced, and oh how they mock. So too have the base sessions, and tomorrow, the first early morning swim session shall also commence. I will drag my sleepy brain from it’s dreamy slumber at 5am and head for the cold pool with only a cozzie and goggles for comfort.

Denmark, I cannot show up to you in this sorry shape. It would be rude not to try, so let the work begin.

My Half Iron Training Plan

Six months of full IRONMAN training equated to 300 hours of swim, bike and run. Whilst I’m training for half the distance this does not mean I’ll be reducing the training hours by half. Although the total hours in training will be lower at around 250 hours, running from 6 to 15 hours per week instead of 6 to 18 for the full distance, there will be more of a focus on threshold and interval sessions as the plan progresses, since the overall speed of the race will be higher. I will not be racing in Zone 2 as I did with IRONMAN, but closer to threshold. I need to adapt my body to work more efficiently at a higher effort. As I head into the start of my plan, I am already including speed sessions, where as in IRONMAN I focused on Zone 2 base for the majority for the first few weeks. More on this as my training continues!

This is a post originally published on my blog
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