What makes a 40-something wake up on her birthday and do 7hours plus of continuous exercise for fun?
The journey goes back 9 months when a client and friend says that she has decided to do a half ironman triathlon. This is sometimes called a 70.3 tri as it includes a 1.2mile swim, 56mile bike ride, and 13.1mile (or half marathon) run. That is quite a big chunk of exercise and cut-off times for the races tend to be 8.5hours.
I have many clients with a variety of big goals, I often wonder what their journey will be like to achieve them, but don't often find myself tempted to do their journey with them. Having done both sprint triathlons, sportives (10-100mile cycle events) and enjoyed half marathons in the past myself, I really couldn't conceive how you could possibly build a fallable human body up to endure such travails in all three disciplines for such a long time. I was hooked on the idea.
Now all I had to do was create a plan and then carry it out. I was prepared for my training to be affected by cold weather, injury, holidays & illness. What I hadn't foreseen were interruptions to training including snow, bike accidents, insurance claims & equipment failure. The adventure was about to commence.
So how does a sport professional with a history of knee problems (induced by endurance runs) approach a big event like this? She seeks the advice of experts in their field. Namely Joe Friel, international expert on endurance training. Joe quite rightly advises that you start by identifying your weaknesses, then plan out your (in my case 9month) training plan to include overcoming your weaknesses as the key focus. Great, so here is the first hurdle, identifying (and much harder to accept) acknowledging your weaknesses. Every athlete has them, most refuse to confront them. I am no exception! To cut a long story short, via a series of questions it became apparent that injury prevention and force training became my key areas of weakness. Force training is training in wind, on hills, in rough water & strong current.
part 2 - writing the plan, a few of my favourite training sessions, benefits and difficulties
part 3 - training races & how I felt on the day