Ironmans….. tell me about them
I’ve just done my first one, the Outlaw near Nottingham, and really enjoyed it. 13.32 which is a steady plod round, but I was happy with that.Posted 3 years ago
I only did about 12 miles / long sessions of swimming training, but made sure a lot of that was open water and I did a 4km sea swim so I knew I was comfortable with it.
Concentrate on a lot of biking, it’s the bulk of the day. I did the Paris-Roubaix sportive (110m in total) but I made sure I was out doing lots of 60-90m steady rides. Putting more miles than I’d ever done before soon brought my times down.
I only did one 17m run in training and lots of 13-14m runs. The idea being that doing that minimises injury by overtraining. It worked for me, I was able to plod until about 15m on the day.
I’ve been busy at work and have two young kids so was short of time, so it was a balance of training effort and everything else and I was happy with my time. Would love to see if I could get down to 12hr or so though! My pal did Bolton Ironman the week before and had dedicated more time to training and really recommended the Don Fink book, Be Iron Fit.
I did outlaw as well (11:52:37 which I was really pleased with) after only doing one sprint tri last year.
I also used the Don fink ironfit book. You need a program to follow be it a book or a real life coach. The training build up is too specific to just do Willy nilly.
Things I learned?
Swim is more technique than anything else.
Open water is totally different to pool swimming.
Mass start has some bumping and jostling but unless you’re a contender, it’s not the carnage people tell you it is.
Transition doesn’t matter in a 12 hour race, take your time.
Road cycling is totally different to mountain biking.
Some triathletes are bloody frightening on a bike.
Food/fuel is important, but perhaps not as critical as some make out if you’ve conditioned yourself/trained properly.
Vasaline is your friends on the run.
Running a marathon is boring.
I’d swum the distance prior to the event and although I’d done the scheduled sessions I didn’t follow the set instructions, I just did long steady distance focusing on form.
The cycling I was comfortable with and did the distance once or twice in training.
The longest run I’d ever done was 3hours (18 miles) prior to the event so day of the race, this was my biggest concern so I plodded around at 140 bpm bottom of fink zone 2 to make sure it happened.
Ninjinji toe socks with Vaseline worked for me but I didn’t find them until very late in the program as I didn’t blister until 3 weeks before the event.
Other thing that helped was seeing specialists for any niggles. Advice on when to rest up or push through was vital.
I trained hard so found the event very doable and therefore very enjoyable. There were people out there on the course who’d not put the work in and expected to magically pull it out of the bag on the day. That didn’t happen and they didn’t look like they were having fun. Even heard one chap claim he’d only run 26 miles in training, not in one run but total mileage.
Once you get out there, trust your training. Good luck and enjoy. Any other questions drop me an email.Posted 3 years agothekingisdeadMember
Which one are you signed up for!?
Second all of the above.
Put some races into your plan (you will need a plan!) , building up to the main event. (Olympic, 1/2) etc. Should help with the motivation. 6/7 months of perpetual training is a real slog.
Is your SO supportive!? It’s a big chunk of your life to give up for 1/2 a year
Good luck! My brothers just done a sub11 hr IM (!!! 8O) and I’ve got my 2nd half distance next year (outlaw). Thinking about the full IM for 2016.Posted 3 years ago
i did Barcelona last year as an absolute beginner. 14:30 which i was delighted with especially given the conditions (very rough sea and storms during the bike that caused land slip and serious flooding)
i did it as part of a university study looking at recreationally active people training for their first iron distance so i had a very structured plan and 70 people to share the experience with
i couldn’t front crawl when i started so that was a steep learning curve and as above, open water is very different to pool swimming and sea swimming harder again so get used to that early.
bike training is partly about building up the endurance to where 180k is easy so lots of 5, 6 and 7hr rides in zone 2, then there is strength training on the turbo or hill sessions with runs straight off the back. i actually found the transition to run in the event quite comfortable which most people will tell you is the hardest bit so the training must have worked
run wise, if you can do a marathon anyway then dont overdo it. i dont think i went much further than a half during training. i dont think i did enough really slow running. i thought i was, but looking back not slow enough. weighted runs were also good to simulate being knackered.
my training peaked with a full distance open water swim on a thursday followed by a full bike and half run on the friday. i found that pretty comfortable and gave me a huge confidence boost
on race day, the mistakes i made were going a little too hard on the bike (conditions were dreadful and i went almost as quick as i would in fair conditions. i should have paid more attention to heart rate. secondly i decided to rely on the gels available at the aid station on the run rather than carrying my own (i’d tried pretty much everything on the market in training with no ill effects so i thought this was low risk) however i tried their gel (nutrisport) at one of the bike aid stations and it was foul. couldn’t force it down. so i was left with the remaining stash i had in T2 which was enough for the first half of the run but i really suffered in the 2nd half.
its a great adventure to go on. plenty people are pretty disparaging about triathletes because they are rubbish at all disciplines but for me that sort of misses the point. its a really nice event to train for (but not to be underestimated) and theres really no sense of achievement quite like crossing the line.Posted 3 years agodurhambikerMember
Not done an Ironman yet, attempted at a half last month but failed due to the combined effects of not enough training and the swim being twice the distance it was supposed to be.
I second the point about the swim being mainly technique. My front crawl was utter rubbish last year, and no amount of simply putting the lengths in at the pool would have fixed it. Coaching would have been the best bet, but I went for the cheaper option of the Swim Smooth book, and use that to try to improve my stroke.
I’d also second the point about getting in as much open water training as you can. I didn’t, and my first open water triathlon nearly killed me, even though the swim was just 800m. Faired somewhat better at Ullswater which was 1,500m, though still struggled. Actually did quite well in my half at Bamburgh, especially considering the cock-up with the distance, but it left me drained, as the conditions were also somewhat interesting for swimming in…Posted 3 years agolapierreladySubscriber
Good luck…it’s a great experience! I had a sports massage every month in last 7 months or so to iron out any niggles, which was well worth it, and if you book a block, you often get a discount. Practice eating whilst training, and something palatable. My ham sandwiches on the bike were the envy of other competitions forcing down a gel; if you eat something every half hour after the swim you will be ok. I put some interesting races into the build up as good motivation in their own right. Hilly half marathon on exmoor and the Old Man of Coniston Tri we’re brutal courses that made a groomed ironman course, even a ‘hilly’ one feel much more do-able. Training plan is key…there are lots out there. Worth accepting that you will probably lose about 10% of sessions due to illness/ work etc and that is ok!Posted 3 years ago
…also, I recommend bike to run brick sessions. I used a turbo trainer for this and the transitions at the Outlaw and another tri I did were much better than they had been previously.Posted 3 years ago
The other thing that would have helped me this year would have been a half Ironman about 8 weeks before.
Depending on how ambitious you are about target time don’t let it consume you and become obsessed. It’s very doable and I just wanted to stay relaxed and enjoy the training and the event.
Thanks for all the information, it’s very helpful.
The event is the Whistler Ironman. The swim is in Alta Lake, which a fairly shallow, warm water lake. The bike is fairly hilly, and the run is a mixture of road and hard-pack gravel trails.
I am fine with road cycling (which I do more than mtb) and running (a mixture of road and trail running) but the swim is something I will need to work on and I am probably going to have some coaching sessions for this.Posted 3 years agojet26Member
If bike not too hilly consider an Tri bike set up – ie aero bars but not too aggressive. As others have said practice bike run transition. A lot! It’s very weird.
Main advice would be decide how much time you can realistically spare to train and then get a programme built around that.
Although boring time on turbo and treadmill doing intervals gives v high quality training. Split long runs can help too.
Programme to work to helps – it is hard enough without having to think about every session.
It is very doable – I went from having meet done a Tri to doing a 10hr 40 ironman in 20 weeks. At the time I was working 60hr weeks. The key was v careful planning. Am not willy waving!
PS if you’re 6ft plus and need a wetsuit for training I have one you can have for freePosted 3 years agoteamhurtmoreSubscriber
Ask yourself is training to go slowly for a long time is really what you want. After 3 years of long tris and ultra marathons I found that I had killed my speed endurance. Slowest ever half mara this year and can no longer run fast 10ks. On a recovery mission to go back to shorter, faster stuff.
It’s a long time on a bike in a tri suit chammy!!! Other than that, enjoy!Posted 3 years agoYoKaiserSubscriber
For the swimming I’d say try to nail your technique before you increase volume. Its easy to be overwhelmed by the swim distances but come the race you’ll be fine. Also be wary of when you schedule swim seassions, a lot of folks put them after a big run or bike day, its important not to be too fatigued otherwise bad habits can creep in. If its possible that the swim will be non wetsuit then practice accordingly too. My first at IMDE had a non wetsuit swim and there where a lot of DNF’s. I was a big fan of Total Immersions swim method, but there are others out there, just make sure if you are getting coaching that they have some experience of IM, its fairly different from regular stuff.Posted 3 years agoMunqe-chickMember
Interesting thread! 3 weeks untik ny first Ironman … Wales! I was recommended the Don Fink Be Iron Fit book and it has been brilliant. 30 week plan to follow which I jiggled around shift work but it is steady, easy to follow and very achieveable bearing in mind I picked the competitive plan. his just finish plan is only about 10 hours a week so just goes to show!!!
This week was peak week 20 hours of training! so did my long bike yesterday 103 miles into an hour run! today I have my llongest run 3 hours! good programme for time strapped people as works on hours not miles. So yyesterday’s bike was 6 hours rather than 100 miles. Bring on the taper which begins on Monday and race day eek!
Lots of good advice already about swimming and nutrition. Solids for me .fig rolls .. saving gels for the run! Juat slightly scared now 😉Posted 3 years agokennypSubscriber
I did the Outlaw last month (it was on telly this morning) and it was brilliant. The atmosphere was incredible with huge numbers of folk out cheering us on. I did it with a pal to prove that we weren’t totally past it, both of us just having turned 50. Finish time for me was 13:18 which I was happy with, especially as I did the whole swim breaststroke. In addition to the advice above I would add:-
Take lots of electrolytes, especially if it is hot. I had worried I would cramp up on the run, but downing an electrolyte drink at every feed station meant I was fine.
Don’t push too hard at any point, just keep a steady pace.
Wear a hat for the run if it is hot. I was amazed at what a difference that made.
Enjoy it, even when you are suffering. After I finished I was buzzing for over a fortnight.Posted 3 years agojag61Member
Mrs G only got into tri about 4 yrs ago at approx 44 ish she would admit to being very slow but always finished them and enjoyed them all did a half IM at newby hall at 7 hrs She signed up for outlaw last yr and has really put the effort and time in ‘wheres mum?’ at the gym/running/riding swimming it can be a huge hit on family time. All of the advice runs true she loved evry minute of it and did 15.00:17 it got a bit dusty by then. now considering the Itera race in 2016 OMGwhat has been unleashed?Posted 3 years ago
There was a great atmosphere. could have done without the nightclub overnight 😯 You know you will have to get a tattoo? train hard and enjoy it
Hmmmmm. The thing is: I have signed up but now I’m having second thoughts. The trouble is I love DH and beginning to love xc again. I suspect I would have to give up DH for a while as the risk of injury is too great. Plus, there’s a load of music gigs and festivals I want to go to next year.
In addition, I am toying with the idea of doing a college course.
What effect does it have on your social life? I live on my own so if I don’t go out at weekends, I don’t see anyone outside of work.
I know these are all excuses, and I need to MTFU, but I am questioning whether it is worth it.Posted 3 years ago
Weekends are pretty tight for me as my wife works a lot of them so we want to do family stuff when she’s off and I’ve got the kids if she’s off. Because if that, a lot of my long sessions were done by taking a half day from work and heading out at 5am.Posted 3 years ago
What you don’t have time to do is waste time.
Mate did in last year and was paranoid about injury and therefore, his mountain biking really suffered both in fitness and technique. Seeing this happen to him made me change my approach, I still did a proper social mountain bike ride each weekend, that way it was only the nth fitness that suffered, not the technique.
It’s hard work and no mistake, but it’s entirely up to up how much it takes over your life. A friend of mine always say, it’s not that you didn’t have time, it’s just that you prioritised something else ahead of it.Posted 3 years agoYoKaiserSubscriber
Is it worth it? 100%, I would urge anyone to do it, I’ve not done anything like it that has taught me so much about what I can achieve. For me it was life changing. The satisfaction far exceeds any cost and outwith the kids it has been one of the most significant and memorable things I’ve done. But yes your social life will suck, for my first one I stopped drinking in January (IM in July) and pretty much all my free time was taken up by it, whether training, planning or resting, but I did find this for the most part enjoyable. Not once did I think I was missing out on other stuff. Don’t get me wrong its not easy and can take its toll, by taper time I was drained physically and mentally.
By the time I did my third I approached it a bit differently, I did more mtbing (10UTB and Strathpuffer lite) and there was no real plan just a steady increase in volume, I found the variation helped me deal with the training alot easier but my expectations were alot lower too(Posted 3 years ago
I was managing first time dad as well).finbarMember
Just for a different perspective, I’ve done a couple (10h15m and 10h20-something) and I didn’t enjoy them as much as other events I’ve done. Much like TeamHurtmore’s response above, it slows you right down. Also – if you’re anything like me – the mentality of going into a race and constantly telling yourself to not get carried away and take it easy for 9 hours, is pretty annoying. I’d rather go fast!Posted 3 years ago
(Admittedly, if I was fitter, I suppose I could do both)mrblobbySubscriber
3 weeks untik ny first Ironman … Wales
Just got back from a holiday in Pembrokshire, took the road bike and did some riding and saw the signs for the ironman road closures. Hard roads to ride on around there, the gradient seems to be constantly changing and I didn’t find much flat road, difficult to find a good rhythm. Good luck 🙂
Edit… oh and the wind!!! Every day a massive headwind!Posted 3 years agoSamBMember
Agree with a lot of the above. I was on the study with petrieboy for Challenge Barcelona 2013, finished in 13:27 or so.
I’m considering doing the same race in 2015, but the big thing is the amount of training time it takes up. For a 4-week block, ~2 months before the event, you won’t really much weekend time free – you really want to be doing long bike rides (100 mile+), followed by decent long run sessions. If you’re doing that on a Saturday, you don’t want to be out Friday night, and Saturday night is a write off…
Also agree with losing a lot of short-distance speed and power – my interval work and hill climbing went down the toilet with IM training!! Hoping to get things back in order with a winter of squats 🙂
It’s a really great experience though. Takes a lot of time, but is excellent fun! Some of the triathletes are really scary though – people at the sharp end are running 2h40 marathon legs 😯Posted 3 years ago
As I said in an earlier post, it’s up to you how to approach it. It’s very do-able if you can commit some time (I rarely achieved what was set out in the Fink book as a minimum), and I made the decision not to get psyched out by it all. Only meant to give up booze for the two weeks beforehand…and even then ended up getting lashed the weekend before the Outlaw. I go biking with some good pals, so I didn’t feel as if I was missing trips out to town / the pub, I was still catching up with folk and not training on my own.Posted 3 years ago
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