It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. The Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is still slightly elevated and I’ve continued to take risks with my current health. I almost fell ill again at one point and I’ve had slightly heavy legs for a couple of weeks. But at the same time I’m making some ground on my (Ironman-specific) swimming and cycling form and I know if I can hold out for a few days then I have a mini-break before a sprint triathlon and only one more week of proper training before a taper. I also had a very useful session with physio Helen Smith recently where she identified a flaw in my biomechanics which meant I’ve been restricting the use of my gluts. A little work on this and it should pay dividends.
The swimming has improved a lot over the last 10days simply because of the gradual increase in session length and frequency. I’ve even done a couple of sessions without a Pull-Buoy (I generally train with a Pull-B as it saves my legs for the bike and run training sessions, and discourages the kick during an Ironman race). The wetsuit has been used a couple of times and I have to say the Blue Seventy Apex is THE most comfortable wetsuit I’ve ever used. My strength in the pool has come along thanks to the specific gym weights sessions (as a qualified gym instructor I’m pretty good with programming). My weight has increased by 1kg in recent weeks, largely muscle tissue from all the resistance work and supplementation. As a general guide I’m now pulling ~7.5kg more on each piece of equipment than I was over 4 weeks ago. Unfortunately all the resistance work will come to an end in the next few days as I start to race peak.
The cycling is still falling short compared to previous years in terms of both quantity and quality of extended tempo sessions, and the elevated heart rate is certainly not providing me with much confidence. BUT, there is something different about my fitness, certainly in terms of strength and endurance which I have carried through from ultra trail running so it will be interesting to see what happens in Challenge Roth (10 Jul) and Ironman UK (31 Jul). Because of the last minute training my thoughts are that I will probably be 90% fit for both Roth and IMUK. But there is the possibility of half-training through Roth to peak for IMUK ie 80/100%.
I’ve also been thinking a little about ultra running in the last couple of weeks. I would really like to set myself a new challenge before the end of the year if I can fit it in around the races. One idea my brother and I have discussed is to walk the Bob Graham Round (72mile/42peak circuit around the Lake District) either over two days or in one go and possibly <24hrs to join the Bob Graham Club. I’ve read that Billy Bland (who holds the record at 13hr53) once walked the circuit in ~21hrs, so it would be an interesting (if very tough) challenge.
Next week I will be taking part in the Worcester Sprint Triathlon at Top Barn. This is the same venue as the Malvern Hills Ultra back in May so would love to do well in this too. I’ll give myself a day or two of complete rest before the event so that I can get a reasonable comparison with the 2009 split times. I definitely need a confidence boost before Roth.
Sun 26 Jun – Worcester Sprint Triathlon
Sun 10 Jul – Challenge Roth (IM-Distance)
Sun 31 Jul – Ironman UK