Guest post: Nicky at Run To Live on Ironman training

February 7, 2011

Today’s guest post is from Nicky at Run To Live. Nicky started running with her Dad when she was 10 and has never really stopped. She’s completed 14 marathons and one Ironman triathlon to date and is training for a few more this year. She manages fibromyalgia, which she says sometimes hampers training but never enthusiasm!

Here’s Nicky on Ironman training. (For those of you who don’t know, Ironman refers to a long distance triathlon: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and marathon (26.2 mile) run.)

Training for an Ironman isn’t something you do overnight. It takes months and sometimes even years of preparation for something that will last a maximum of 16 hours. Outside of that cut off time, you cannot call yourself an Ironman even if you finish the course.

“You’ve done an Ironman!”, friends and colleagues exclaim. It sounds grand, but often it only takes an extra dose of ignorance (of what to expect) or stubbornness to complete it. There is no doubt that Ironman triathlon uses all of your emotional tools against you, sometimes at your weakest moments. But my friends at Run To Live and I have learned that all you need is courage, determination and a little bit of luck to get to the finish line.

I mention this as we have again just embarked on an Ironman journey, this time with friends in tow. On the first weekend in August we’ll all be toeing the start line in Regenburg, Germany for the second running of the event. It’s been really interesting to watch their approach to training and compare.

(photo by Laurie King)

That’s Jules. She’s our ring leader. She’s always there, never shirks and doesn’t rely on rubbish excuses that some of us throw in when we can’t be arsed. She’s the one who borrowed her Dad’s climbing helmet to cycle in when she forgot to take her own. She’s the one who will get in and do her 100 lengths without the chit chat. Determined, focussed, capable.

Phil is our panicker. He does every training session, adds extra and thinks he’s still isn’t doing enough. Everything is 100%, which results in some amazing improvements but is also the same highway to burnout. We’re keeping an eye on him. 😉

Laurie is the frustrating beginner who picks everything up so quickly (he’ll be blushing when he reads this). The one who threw himself into the lake last year not being able to swim (Note: cheap wetsuits from Sainsbury do not help you to float!) Now he can comfortably do 100 laps in an hour while we are still struggling. He can cycle for hours at a really fast pace. Fast is fun to Laurie. Running is his achilles heel at the moment. A stress fracture and sprained ankle have hampered his plans to go long right now. But he’ll be fine, we don’t worry about him at all.

If you have the guts and determination to have a go, which one would you be? In the meantime, you can follow our progress to the start line at Run To Live.

Thanks Nicky, and best of luck to all of you! My husband did Ironman Switzerland some years ago and I was there as a spectator and supporter – completing the course (regardless of speed) is no mean feat and I take my hat off to all of you. I’ll be keeping an eye on your progress via your blog!

Guest post: Nicky at Run To Live on Ironman training is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


Swim, bike, run

June 29, 2010

After my poor swim at Windsor, I vowed to do more swim training. Really, anything would be better than the next-to-nothing I’ve done in recent months years.

So on Saturday my bike and I got dropped off at the open-water swim venue at the Copthorne Hotel in Reading, where I met my friend Alice and her fiance Paul for a swim.

Here’s Alice. Isn’t she dinky?

Alice and I met by happy chance in 2004, when she became my neighbour. Neither of us lived in that little cul-de-sac for long but it was long enough to realise that we have tons in common and we have remained firm friends ever since. We’re both ex-swimmers who have turned to triathlon. We both used to be nervous on our bikes but have got over it now. We’re pretty much evenly matched in all three disciplines, making us ideal training partners (when we can co-ordinate our diaries!)

Alice is tapering for her first Ironman distance triathlon at the moment (an Ironman race is a long-distance triathlon organised by the WTC’s Ironman brand: like any full/long-distance triathlon it’s a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run). Alice and Paul are racing Ironman Austria this coming weekend. Good luck, guys!

The Tri20 swim centre at Copthore is really beautiful with great facilities – loads of parking (at the hotel), toilets, showers, changing, a bike rack, hot drinks and a nice big 750m loop marked out in the lovely peaceful lake. There’s even a shop on site selling tri gear and kit. Entry is a standard £5 (discount for a book of 10 tickets) and I’d say that the photos on the website don’t do it justice.

On Saturday the lake was toasty-warm and I badly wanted to ditch the neoprene and go for a lovely non-wetsuit swim, but that would somewhat defeat the object.

Alice joined me for two loops of the lake (although she was in front of me the whole time – what has happened to my swim speed? It wasn’t all that in the first place! How depressing..) and then I got out and hopped on my bike for the 16-mile ride home.

Back at home, I quickly changed shoes and nipped out for a speedy two-mile run – not far, but far enough to count as a brick session and certainly some decent training for my next triathlon (which is a sprint-distance, with a 3.1 mile run).

Swim, bike, run – that’s triathlon training.

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