Conditioning, Ironman 70.3, Motivation, Psychology, Running, Training, Triathlon, Uncategorized

Oops I did it again :0)

As Britney so famously sang “Oops I did it again…” here I am saying the same thing “Oops I did it again” I’ve signed up for another Ironman 70.3


“Why have I done this, wasn’t the first time enough?!” my friends cry with incredulity when I tell them the exciting news

To be frank, It was! The pain of training (It took two years and six visits to A&E before I could get this life dream complete) was the biggest ball buster lol. I would far prefer to just get on and get it over with.

But after more than a year layoff – and when I say lay off I mean I laid off completely to almost horizontal – the itch for accomplishment and challenge is back so here I am and rearing to go.

For any novices out there looking to do their first Ironman 70.3 here are the steps I am taking to succeed once again – feel free to use as you wish

Step one : Choose your race

Everybody will enjoy a different scene – Give me warm, mild weather any day over cold, wet and rainy (sorry UK, but I won’t be racing this distance in this climate anytime soon) I also – because of my heart condition – need to choose a race which isn’t tough (big climbs and crazy weather). But that’s what I love about Ironman – they ahve races all over the world so there are events for everyone

For this reason I chose Budapest as my first event – Beautiful city, great course, fast, flat, scenic, warm.

Unfortunately for some reason they are not racing in Budapest this year so I’ve gone for Ironman 70.3 Vichy which from what I’ve read and seen videos of is a very similar race environment

here’s a link to all events

Step two: Set your Goals

As the saying goes “Failing to Plan, is planning to fail”

Whats great about goal setting is that they don’t have to be all about performance metrics (speed, time, pace) although do be aware of the cut off time. They can also be about experience, mindset etc

My goals for this year are as follows

  • Finish time: Finish the event – ideally in under six hours (cut off is 7:30) –

My last event I completed in 6:25 and I feel that with the right preparation and experience I now have this is an achievable goal

  • Finishing state: Alive, healthy, with a huge grin on my face, my chest swelling with pride, breathing easily and lightly.

This piece is critical for me and a goal that I continuously need to repeat to myself as I am highly competitive and if I am not carefully am liable to push to hard with serious consequences.

  • Smaller goals: 
    • Swim leg – Swim 1.9km in less than 35 min (last event took 48)
    • Bike leg – Cycle 90km in under  hours (about the same as last time)
    • Run leg – Run 21km in under 2 hours (this is the one that hurt most last time and probably my biggest challenge)
    • Transitions: keep each transition under 5 minutes
  • Racing state: Have fun, smile, relax and enjoy

Step three: Create the plan

I have just under five months/ 25 weeks to go which seems like a lot of time but believe you me time flies by. My learn from last time round was rather start slightly earlier which give you time to build up the distance and minimise stress and injury. I have the plan and will share this my next post.

There you have it time to get back on the road –

Have you done an Ironman? What would your advice be?

From Impossible to I AM POSSIBLE


Motivation, Triathlon

A little motivation goes a long way

I love to see people succeed. I get a buzz from watching people attempt acts of bravery and courage. The focus, determination and triumph of pushing through physical and mental pain to achieve their goal. Here’s a cool Youtube clip from World Triathlon

What motivates you?

Conditioning, Off season, Training, Triathlon

Its all about that base(ics)

Its funny how every time I write this title a song by a very similar title comes to mind. Is it the combination of catchy beat and tune, easy to sing lyrics or the talented Meghan Trainor? Either way its in my head as I write this post so I thoughts why not share the love. (I probably am going to get into trouble from some high powered music executive for promoting this song and artist without agreeing copyright or paying loyalties or something. If so I apologise, please let me know discreetly and I will remove immediately from this post)

All about that base

Right now that you are suitably motivated (or annoyed) lets get back to the task at hand – Setting the foundations to an injury free season.

As I promised myself yesterday I completed Day1 of the 30 Day Challenge (here’s the link again in case you missed it yesterday)

30 day

This mornings focus was on Basic Mobility and Balance Drills and the session comprised of

Basic Hip Mobility Drills

  • Hip Flexor Stretch (video) – 3 x [20sec hold + 20 active reps] each side
  • Hamstring Stretch (video) – 3 x 20 reps each side
  • Adductor Stretch (video) – 2 x 10 reps [7sec contract : 10sec relax + stretch]

Today’s Balance Drill

  • Single Leg Balance – Eyes Open (video) – 2 x 30sec each side

Over all thoughts – Man I am in big trouble! The stretches really highlighted how tight my posterior and anterior chain is (my Hamstring stretch was pitiful) and the single Leg Balance activity (there are 3 separate movements, all very cool) bust my cahoonies. I have NO, I repeat NO balance in my right leg. Lol, I think the only thing that kept me upright when on the right leg was how my toes were so scrunched up into the mat that they acted like a set of claws :0) Not a pretty picture right

Any case, really cool and cant wait to see what tomorrow has install

Onto the main session then

Till February I am following an ‘Off season’ ethos and focusing on strength development (typically a 5×5 format, Complex moves, one muscle group a day, Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri) with a swim/ride on a Wednesday and a cycle/run on a Saturday. The run is on hold for the moment till my calf/achilles injury is sorted and then I will throw in 2 morning runs (station to work 2.3 miles, slow and easy – Remember my run is my biggest challenge)

In case you are following this and are interested in what the exercises comprise of, here is the session

  • Warm up

Stretch, strength routine

Pullups, Dips, Handstand Push Ups, Wall sits (each week increase by 1 or 2 reps; each day different style of pull up)

  • Main

Single leg leg press 2 x20 (start at 65% of max, each week increase weight by 10%)

Barbell squat 5 x 5 (same as above)

Snatch to over head squat 1 x 5 (practising the movement)

Walking barbell lunges 5 x 5 (same as above)

  • Warm down

5 minutes cardio (row, glider or bike)

stretch, roller

So far so good  looking forward to tomorrow

Training, Triathlon

Its all about that base

I start my official training from tomorrow Monday 17 November 2014. This gives me 9 months to develop the muscular and cardiovascular conditioning required to achieve my goals.

I usually have a tendency to only focus on the strength/power/speed/aerobic and anaerobic facets of conditioning which has served me well…till now. All of a sudden I find myself with a range of niggles and injuries – calves/achilles tendon, wrist, neck

I have a feeling that this is partly – OK largely – due to my lack of focus on the flexibility/agility and core elements however I also think that it may be down to age YES, the big 40 is 10 months away.

If you are training for any sort of physical adventure you know that injury is the last thing you want – it impacts your training, mind set and overall preparation leaving you poorly equipped for the event.

I want to feel great on the event so things have to change and to start with I am going to focus on the base(ics)


I came across this awesome blog by James Dunne, Performance & Rehab Director at Kinetic Revolution and have signed up to their 30 day challenge.

Why am I going to follow this challenge?

  • Because I like what James writes
  • The program promises to “Transform Your Running: Thirty Days, Thirty Workouts, Run Stronger, Run Faster

My run is probably my biggest challenge so I would be silly not to give this my full attention

  • Because the program is broken down into 5 stages each stage focusing on a specific conditioning aspect and guess what STAGE 1: Basic Mobility & Balance Training

Here’s Day 1 session I will let you know how it went once done

Have a good nights sleep

Conditioning, Equipment, Triathlon

Every little advantage – The bike

“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”Robert Penn Warren

To accomplish Ironman 70.3 as a healthy human is tough, to accomplish this test of endurance with a chronic heart condition like Hyper-obstructive Cardiomyopathy  even to the mild standards I have set myself –

Finish the event

  • Alive
  • In the allocated time
  • With a smile on my face

requires every advantage that can be gained. Taking heed from the quote above I decided to look at this past season – four sprint triathlons starting with the PruHealth World Triathlon London 2014 for ways to gain advantage

Advantage #1

All about the bike

I agree that the original statement stands true (and in the case of many an infamous athlete more so than ever ;0)). There is no substitute for quality training and time in the saddle yet when I think back to my bike leg…I can still clearly picture the scene now pumping away at the peddles and feeling like I was going backwards in a river of treacle as everybody (when I say everybody I mean I came last in the bike leg lol) whizzed by me…. I firmly believe that the bike makes a massive difference. So putting aside the training and time in the saddle – which I fully admit I could have done far more of here’s why its A lot about the Bike

  • Weight – A mountain bike like the one I rode weighs approximately 14kg’s, a mid level road bike weighs 5kg’s – now I’m no mathematician but I recon the extra energy and output required to move the extra 5 kg’s over prolonged distance is not advantageous.
  • Tire – Past experience taught me that slicks are far more advantageous on the road than off road treads. My slicks were 32mm, an average road bike’s is 25mm. Again not being an engineer I still recon that this extra size must have an impact on drag, resistance and effort. In fact I did a very rudimentary search whilst writing this and came across a very interesting blog called Off The Beaten Path  which covered this exact topic – check it out

Tire width: How much difference do a few millimeters make? Posted May 23 2013

  • Pedals – I thought riding with my running shoes would be okay (meant I didn’t have to waste time in transition changing shoes) and it was. I just didn’t realise the disadvantage I had by not using cleats until I tried cleats. Let me simply stress that riding in a triathlon without cleats is childish and irresponsible! Again no hard science from me just simple reflections. With standard peddles I only really have power output on the push which I think makes up about 1/3 of the peddle stroke. A cleat allows you to push and pull through the entire 360 degrees = less energy for more performance

There are probably far more things that make it A lot about the bike – I have a sneaky suspicion that the the bike leg distance and the ability to cover this quicker makes a big difference as well but as this all goes way beyond my level of understanding I will close it here.


Okay, its a lot about the bike! So what?!

As a result of these early experiences I went and bought a road bike. My buying decision was determined by getting the best quality at a budget of no more than £1400.00. I did all my research using sites like bikeradar, tri220 and triradar and eventually through review and comparison settled on this little beauty. The difference in materials and components is far to complex for this site so I will summarise with this sentence This bike is a beautiful ride. Fast, Responsive and very sexy…


What impact did the bike have on my race aims and times? Lets take a look

alot of bike


If we focus only on the concord and Crawley late summer (no additional training rides between the 2 events, coming to the end of a long season and no cycling coaching) the change in bike alone equals an improvement of >7km/hr and a decrease of >1min/km over as longer distance

Enough said, now its off to look at how peddle technique can give me even more of an advantage

Psychology, Triathlon

Reason #4 – Self Discipline


Defined by Cambridge Dictionaries Online as “the ability to make yourself do things you know you should do even when you do not want to”

trait/characteristic essential to a successful and stress free life See:  Successful People are Self Disciplined

The one thing I rather embarrassingly seem to have been absent for when it was being issued at creation :0) If you have ever seen or heard of the doughnut experiment I unfortunately am the guy who would eat the first doughnut – as much as I know that it is better to wait the 15 minutes and get two fresh doughnuts and as much as I hate knowing that I am like this grrrrrr (of course today I wouldn’t even eat the doughnut/s…okay just a little bite)

So there you have it my fourth and most probably profound reason for signing up for Ironman 70.3, developing self discipline to do the things I know I need to do, when I have to do them even though I don’t necessarily want to so that I accomplish my goals in the event itself and become a better, more successful person as a result of developing this habit

Would love to hear from you. Would you enter a crazy event purely to develop yourself?


And so it begins


I’ve done it! On the 17th September 2014 I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Budapest.

“Why would you do such a thing?” you may ask

A number of reasons

1) I turn 40 next year and this might be my version of a midlife crisis

2) Its been my dream to do an Ironman since I was about 16 and have finally gotten round to being fit enough to feel that I can accomplish this incredible feet of human performance

3) I was diagnosed with Hyper-obstructive Cardiomyopathy back in 2001 and was told “stop exercising or die”. I want to successfully complete Ironman 70.3 and then full Ironman in 2016 in order to motivate and inspire others with life threatening conditions

And so it begins. Over the coming months I will capture my experiences, trials and tribulations of training my mind and body to complete one of the toughest physical events with the aim on the 22 August 2015 in Budapest to

a) Finish Ironman 70.3 in the allocated time allowance

b) Finish the event alive

c) Finish with a smile on my face

Luckily this isn’t the start of my triathlon experience. Wanting to live well into my 80’s, I started my triathlon life with the Pruhealth London Sprint triathlon on the 1st June of this year (I wanted to see whether I could achieve my 3 criteria on a short course)  I am extremely proud and very grateful that I accomplished all 3 aims and even went on to complete 3 more sprints over the course of the year which allowed me to add a fourth aim to my list

d) complete each subsequent event in a faster time, feeling stronger at the finish

Next step – Training plans and dealing with injuries