Setting my sights Tri

New year, new identity, new challenge.

Decided it was about time I planned a visit to my good friends in NZ again.  Last time I was there I tied my visit in with the Auckland marathon so thought I'd aim for something different this time around.  I've narrowly avoided signing up for the Pirates annual outing for the past couple of years - managed to persuade myself that IM was beyond me.  However, having been persuaded to do a sprint tri last autumn and enjoyed it, I thought I might give it a go and have decided to aim for IMNZ next March giving me stacks of time to build up real slow. I know that’s not exactly the Pirate way to do it but it’s more likely the way I might succeed.

The plan is to spend this year doing some intermediate distances and make a final decision about the ironman after doing a middle distance in Sep/Oct – NZ trip will happen regardless.  Will definitely do Beaulieu sprint tri at the end of June - attracted by bike section which goes all round my childhood stomping grounds though I don't live in that area any more.  Haven't decided on what other sprint or standard events to do yet and can't decide between New Forest or Vitruvian for the middle distance towards the end of the season.

So, thought making my intentions public might help with my focus and motivation not to mention support and advice when the going gets tough.

Training hasn’t started too well. Signed up for a fitness class to improve general conditioning and had the first session on Tuesday last week. It was mostly squats and lunges with small free weights and I enjoyed the class though could feel my quads protesting by the end of it. By the evening I could feel my legs seizing up and Wednesday morning I could barely walk and stairs were impossible; I’ve had less pain after a marathon. Took till Friday before I could move with any semblance of normality but I did cry off doing a hilly XC race on Saturday. Still, looking on the bright side, at least it should make my quads stronger which can only benefit the bike.



  • Good one Troglodytes....

    Middle dist races.....  how about Cowman (July) and/or  Vit (Sept) should both be ideal for you.  image  IMNZ sounds fab - do you listen to Ironmantalk podcasts?  THought maybe that's where you got your inspiration from.

    Good luck. 

  • debbodebbo ✭✭✭

    Sounds good Trog

    You'll be able to get advice from D74 and Ally Bally who are both doing IMNZ this year

  • Not come across the podcasts - saw a mention of IMNZ on here ages ago while lurking and took a look at the website and got attracted by reports of excellent swim in Lake Taupo and no really discouraging stuff about climbs on the bike and run sections though I'm sure there are some.

    Leaning towards Vitruvian despite various comments of 'the notorious Rutland Ripple' and will probably stick to sprints and standards prior to that.  Too many to choose from though!

  • Excellent debbo - be able to get a first hand report to aid my decision making!

  • the podcasts are great... if you ever have a spare hour (!!) like on a train or something they are just the job (assuming you have an ipod)...  

    I know what you mean re which races.... there will be a good turnout of Pirates at Stratford in May if that temps you....stratford

  • Err, not sure about advice.  My original plan was IMUK last year, a couple of months rest, then build over winter for IMNZ.  The reality is become injured, put on weight, become more injured, do no races, have Christmas and start training in January. 

     I'll let you know how it worked out in 48 days time!

     Not sure where you're based, but if in the UK then the last Middles are in September (Vitruvian or Accelerace Extreme in Devon).  Both good challenges and will set you up for winter I'd say.

     I think I'd suggest you focus on the cycling this year, and then bring in more running and swimming over the winter.  The reason for that is that it's pretty hard to do the long rides at this time of the year (or at least be able to do them with regularity and the safety that you're not going to fall off on ice / in winds and pick up an injury.  Working on the running and swimming is not without dificulty, but easier than the cycling.  I'd suggest that you plan a rest after September for a couple of months where you'd do nothing serious, a few classes, a few jogs, the odd weekend ride with friends.  You'll need that mental and physical break as otherwise you'll burn out in November and that's going to be more detremental.

    Practicalities, then the flights get released in April time I think, book early to save money.  Plan to go via LAX as that gets you a better baggage deal if you're taking your bike and the rest of your kit.

    Obviously I'd be more than happy to comment on the details of the race once I've been.

  • Oh, and the ripple is nothing at all.  Way over hyped (deliberately so).  Only someone who's trained exclusively in the Netherlands or Cambridge would really struggle.
  • Cheers D74 - plenty of hills around here to train on though anyone from the Lakes or Peaks wouldn't consider them worth breaking sweat for!

     Running is no problem for me as I run regularly already and have trained through the winter (and summer) for marathons.  I'm  a competent and confident swimmer but never done open water unless you count swimming in the sea as a kid.  The bike is a bit of an unknown.  Furthest I've ever done was probably at the sprint tri back in October so definitely need to build that up and hear what you're saying about cycling at this time of year.

  • agree with D74 - the Ripple is nothing to worry about - sure the middle hill is hard work but nothing that you probably won't have trained for........
  • Well in that case I'd suggest you definately target some of the sportifs.  Ideally a 100miler in June / July to get that focus to work to.  Also, you'll not be able to do any OW swimming from September onwards here, so perhaps find a few to get used to that.  Sea swims may be ideal as the swell in Lake Taupo is more like our sea than any of our little lakes, but if you're a confident swimmer then not a big issue.  Make sure you get to Taupo in time to do the crosslake swim ojn the Tuesday before the race.  A chance to refresh your sighting and drafting skills.  There's also a bit of adjustment needed to get used to the added bouyancy from the wetsuit. 

    IM is all about the bike, even if you're a strong runner as with shot legs then you'll not be able to get into any rhythm on the run. 

     I'd also say to do some race sim rides later this year, so using your race gear and nutrition strategy.  It will be 25 degs over there, and that will change your reponse.  I'm lucky that I've learnt what works for me in the heat so can blag it, but as a first time then I think you;ll feel more confident having tried it before the race.

  • The idea of 100 miles on a bike is quite frightening but I guess in tri terms it's really not that much different from a 20 mile run which, after appropriate training, I have no problem with.

    Nutrition on the go is something I'll definitely have to experiment with.  I have no idea how far I should be able to expect to go on a bike before needing sustenance.  I also know I don't run well in the heat but am hoping that I'll be better on the bike.  I'll have to hope for a hot UK summer so I can find out.  There's quite a few OW venues around here so I'll be heading to one of those at the earliest opportunity once I've got a wetsuit.

    All that's a long way off yet.  Struggled slightly on a 4 mile run last night but I put that down to having given blood on Tuesday; it always takes me a week or so  to get back on form afer that.  Will do some gentle intervals tonight and plan to head to the pool tomorrow for the first time in quite a while.

  • HI Troglodytes,

    I am a New Zealand resident and taking on my second IMNZ. I will also be there in 2009 (it's the 25th anniversary race).

    Any tips regarding the race, or for holiday ideas, or even bizarre questions (like whether malt loaf is available image) I'll try my best to help.

    IMNZ is very well supported. At least 50 residents of Taupo (population 20,000) take on the race each year. There are always supporters out on the bike course (even though the main road is closed they find a way using the backcountry lanes) and also on the run course (many drag out couches or offer their hose for respite).

    Oops got to get back to work... 


  • Hi ABB

    Was chatting with my friend in Auckland yesterday.  She's been in NZ for about 20 years now and reckons this summer had consistently the best weather since she's been over there.  I was sitting here with lashing rain and howling winds and she's longing for a bit of cooler, wet weather.  Hmph image

    I've visited NZ twice and think its a beautiful country but I've not actually visited Taupo apart from stopping for lunch on way to or from Wellington.   Hoping to persuade my friends who're in Auckland and Palmerston to come along to support me for at least some of the day.  It'll be nice to 'know' at least one other participant and I definitely look forward to some first hand reports on the event itself - my friends think I'm nuts and keep telling me it'll be really hard, as if I didn't know that already.  Hope there's not too many couches, I'll be tempted to take up residence on one!  A hosedown might be equally welcome though.

    Might pick your brains nearer the time for places to stay but will try to limit bizarre questions malt loaf available?

    Just realised my current avatar is of me rounding the 30k turnaround in Auckland mara in 03.

  • Aparently not so I'm travelling with a bag of Malt loaf (actually half a bag, as another bizarre fact is that battenburg cakes aren't available either!).

    Re the nutrition, then you're not thinking quite right.  It's not how long can you go it's how soon after the swim can you start eating.  There is no pyhsical way that anyone can do and entire IM without refuelling, and so unlike a marathon, then you actually need to train to eat on the bike.  I leave it 30 mins after hte swim with jsut a few sips of water to settle the stomach, then aim for 500+cals /hour on the bike, although based on that photo then I'm guessing you'd be nearer 350 as a target.  Based on my Polar HRM then I burnt 13,000 cals at IMAustria a few years ago, which was still double what I managed to consume.

    Same on the run but perhaps less solids and more gels with a slightly lower intake as it's harded to digest.

     I really suffer in the heat, and so prior to IMA then I was training in a heat wave over hear (ie high 20s) wearing full winter kit, wool beanie hat, fleece and waterproof just to be able to get used to the increased fluid intake needed and come race day (peaked at mid 30s)  then I honestly didn't feel the heat at all. 

    Im isn't hard, its the training that's the tough bit, especially with IMNZ which means training through our winter.  Come the race then if you've done the training then it's a case of keeping calm and sticking to your race plan as much as you can.

  • How can they get by without malt loaf, one of my favourite endurance training foods; wonder what they use instead?

    At this stage I'm thinking more of nutrition on straight training rides.  My training levels are pretty low at the moment, still trying to build up momentum so it'll be a while I think before I do proper brick sessions though obviously the sooner I get to grips with what's needed nutrition-wise the better.

    Struggled a bit at my club speedwork session last night  3k, 2k, 1k with approx 2 min recovery between efforts.  Still feeling the effects of blood doning so not too worried.  Plan to go for a swim later.  Haven't decided what to do yet; probably just some easy lengths since it's a while since I last swam.  Nearly everything I've read so far suggests that technique is most important part of swim so at some stage in the not too distant future I think I'll need to hook up with someone to analyse my technique and correct any bad form.

  • It's never too soon to start practicing your feeding strategy. 

  • PLease don't talk about malt loaf. I've been back permanently for almost 18 months and until a couple of weeks ago I hadn't given malt loaf a thought. Now I just want to gorge on a whole loaf!

    Over here we have a lot of bread and muffins (the american type not english ones). The crumpets are also not the same (mmmm crumpets).

    For training (and racing) I eat muffin bakes. They're a bit like a muesli bar/special k raisin bakes (or whatever they are called) but they are like a cake and filled with stuff like chocolate, of ginger flavoured cream. I like the raspberry and yoghurt duo. I can eat muffin bakes in three bites, easy to chew and swallow but probably not quite as high a carb content as sports stuff (only 24g per bar). But they're cheap - box of six  for the same price as one powerbar.

    I try my nutrition strategy on each long session. That way you know what will and won't work for you. I like to eat a gel in T1, and I will do that in IM as there is a sneaky granny gear hill about 3km into the first lap. I will hold off eating anything in the last 10km as I know that is what causes problems for me on the run.

    And I think there will be plenty of support at the race for you. There are a few people from my area who come down to watch so you will no doubt get some encouragement from them.

  • Wont mention it again then.  Apart from what to eat, I suppose I'll also have to work out a practical way of carrying whatever solid sustenance I go for.  Do you think a bike trailer would be acceptable?image

    Enjoyed my swim yesterday.  Dont know how many lengths I did cos I always lose count after about 8-12 lengths, earlier if I'm thinking about other things like technique.  Did about 30 mins total, mostly in 100m blocks.  Tried adopting some of the style stuff I've read about but rapidly came to the conclusion that I didn't have any idea if what I was doing was correct or not so reverted to natural stroke.  Will concentrate on getting back into the swim, as it were, until I've sorted out some proper advice on style.  Don't want to teach myself any bad habits.

    Rest day (relatively speaking) today. With a pair of fairly active dogs, I can't get away with no exercise at all, but I don't reckon dog walking really counts as exercise.  Running tomorrow.  Still easing myself back in after a couple of months of little or no running so probably just do 5-6 miles.

  • Well I've now entered the Beaulieu spirnt tri (end June) and Vitruvian.  Need to decide on at least one oly tri to fit around those.

    Ran 7 miles on Sunday.  Pace was a bit sedate but no problems with distance.  Got a challenging little 10k next Sunday so at least I know the distance won't be a problem, just the hills and possibly the mud; if there's much more rain this week bits of the course are likely to require waders.

    Had a circuit session this morning.  Good mix of CV and core/upper body work.  Couple of weak areas I'm going to need to work on, partucularly in my left shoulder, otherwise I could end up swimming in circles.

  • Don't forget to work on the 'opposite' strength too.  I've discovered this year that 3 years of Triathlon training leaves you with an imbalance that can cause problems.  You're shoulders especially tend to get brought forward in running, cyciling and swimming, so unless you do something to move them back you end up becoming hunched.
  • Could this problem be solved by using backcrawl for the swim leg?image
  • Certainly it really can help to do some backcrawl as part of your warm up / warm downs.  Sadly my pool has a wavy ceiling pattern that makes backstroke impossible without taking a lot of people out, but otherwise I would do.

    You shouldn't warm up with Breaststroke as the kick action is very bad for putting side loading on knees, and you don't want to do that with non-warmed up joints.

  • Don't really like backstroke anyay but do generally do a couple of lengths backstroke as part of warm down.  Thanks for the tip about breaststoke.  Explains why I started getting slight knee ache last time I was doing any serious swimming; I always started with a few lengths breastroke as warm up.

    Off to the pool shortly to try out my dinky new lap counter toy which arrived this morning.  I have this inablility to remember my lap count beyond about eight lengths and think I have a tendency to guess higher than I've actually swum.

  • I DO like my new toy; much easier than trying to keep count of lenghts.  Only problem is that I can't actually read it without stopping and removing my goggles!  Did a total of 48 lengths including warm up/cool down.  32 of those were pretty much continuous (apart from one stop to check lap count) in about 22 mins so quite pleased with that. 

    Managed a fairly sedate 5.5 mile run yesterday evening too.  First couple of miles was almost entirely up hill but even so felt sooo much better than last week when I struggled on a mostly flat 4.  Speedwork session this evening so hopefully that'll be better than last week too.

  • Speedwork last Thursday was ok.  Still about a 90 secs slower per rep than I know I can do - they were mile reps which I usually quite enjoy.  On the up side they were 30secs faster than the mile reps we did a few weeks ago.

    Rubbish run this morning in a local multi-terrain 10k.  Legs were ok but I seem to be going through a mental trough at the moment.  I know it'll pass - I've had similar periods in the past, just not quite as bad.  Ho hum.

  • Well as far as training goes, this week can only be described as rubbish.  No real reason, just overcome by a major case of CBA.  Think this is partly linked to the fact that my running has been so cr@p recently.  No excuse for not swimming or cyclling though.

    However, today I did get myself out and we did a slow but steady 8 mile, mostly off road run which somehow seemed to be mostly uphill.  It was hard work but I did enjoy it and felt much better afterwards, so hopefully will manage to keep myself on track now.

  • treat it as a step back week then.  We can't all be balls to the wall every week......... Chin up, it's still winter.  It was hard work running today and I binned the bike in favour of the turbo and a good film.  Call me a wuss if you like, but at least it was warm!!!

    Start afresh tomorrow image 

  • Cheers PSC, you're a  wuss! image   Haven't even bought my bike yet and am already wondering if I can afford a turbo too so I can get used to using clipless pedals in the safety and relative warmth of the conservatory!

    Suspect tomorrow will be several hours of cross-training in the form of delivering several hundred copies of the yellow pages.

  • PLease don't worry about it yet, you still have just over a year to prepare.

    I started training for this year's race last January. My prime concern was the bike leg as it took my 8:16 the first time and I really wanted to knock some time off. So I started riding with a regular group once a week, 40km each week but at a much faster pace to what i was previously capable of.

    I was swimming in a 4.2km event at the end of February so I was focussing on getting my swimming lap count up and I'd also pencilled in half maras in May and August to target my running.

    The biking went well, the swim was a bit rough but it reinforced the idea that I could do it and the running, well I fell down the stairs a month before the first race and was off running for about four months, missing both half maras I was hoping to do. In the meantime I kept up with the cycling. In our winter months I went to a spinning class twice a week and went for a group ride on the weekend (we were all aiming to compete in the K2 192km race).

    I didn't start IM training proper until September (following a 24 week plan) but when I did start I was able to swim at least 2km comfortably, bike a lot better than before but was doing no running. The running started when the programme did and I'm now in pretty good shape and eager for the race to happen.

    So what I'm trying to say, in my long-winded off-tangent way, is, don't worry about geting a touch of CBA right now. You can afford to take a wee break.

    As for your bike. I tried my pedals on the road outside my house at the time. Probably not a good idea as it is a state highway (bit like an A road). I rode about a mile to where I knew I could stop with a lot of space (entrance to little used airfield). Did a few laps and I was away. Only fallen off twice and both were while stationery.

  • Hi ABB, hows things down under?  It's the falling off while stationary which really bothers me!!

    Problem with not running is that I've a half marathon in 4 weeks time so really need to get some regular miles in.  Otherwise just want to try to get into a regular routine sooner rather than later.  Have now entered a late June sprint and the Vitruvian (middle distance) in early September.  Still want to do at least one oly during this year too but real aim is just to build up a good base in all three disciplines this year leading up to Vitruvian particularly since main IM training will have to be done thru our winter.

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