Sub 5 hour HIM

Anybody out there with ambitions to break 5 hours on a middle distance course please join in the fun!



  • So the race calendar here in Ireland was announced last week and the national championships are in May. This will be a big race for me next year and i'm starting to focus my training on it.

    Bit of bankground, I only have 2 middle distance races to my name. First was a bit of a mess ending in a painful run to finish in 5:45. Second was last year in the national championships. It went a lot better but far from perfect. The run was still a bit rough but a big improvement. I finished that in 4:55. My aim is to get down to a 30 minute swim, 2:45 bike and a 1:25 run to finish in about 4:45.

    I'll post some of the training i'm doing here and hopefully pick up and share some tips if it takes off!

  • Did a 3k swim this morning. Main set was 3 repeats of (6 x 100m at 1:40 with 20s rest then 6 x 25 of kicking drills) Bit wrecked at the end of it! Just back from indoor football which I count towards running. I have a 1k run each way on top of 1 hour running about in circles!

    Plan for the weekend is a 5k parkrun on Saturday with a 5k run each way to get there, and a 90k bike ride on Sunday. Hopefully an easy swim if i can fit it in somewhere.

  • Hi speedy.

    I may drop in to chat swimming. My biking and running are at a different level image

  • Around about my level, although my bike is a bit quicker but not considerably. Although I train for IM, the training is the same, maybe the long run and bike are slightly shorter.

    Swim - lots of paddle and buoy

    Bike - lots of hill and big gear work - easy only for recovery

    Run - lots of 800's and progressive running

    I;ll be at Aberfeldy half next year, hoping not to lose 10 minutes on a puncture like I did this year. Hopefully break 4:30

  • Gary, i'm sure I could get a lot of tips on the bike! Any suggestions for what to do on a 90k spin? The route is fairly fairly flat and there's a ferry crossing half way that will break it up for 30 minutes. On the turbo we do things like 2 x 10 minutes high cadence; break; 10 minutes low cadence.. i could try something like that each side of the ferry.

    I've been using tubs for all my races this year. Luckily I haven't punctured them yet! I only use these wheels for races so obviously it will eventually happen in a race. I'll be screwed if my pitstop canister doesn't work! Let alone what to do with the punctured tyre image

    My running has always taken care of itself. I get decent times with little or no training but i've started to do a bit more focused running now. Initially I was planning on a marathon in May but I'll have to put that off now. I did a 1:17 half marathon earlier this year.. by May i'd love to be running under 1:25 off the bike.

  • I'm going to focus a bit more on HIMs next year, after only doing IMs (& an Oly or two) this year.  I haven't done one since my swimming started to improve a bit, so I'd be looking for something between 30 & 35 for that which should bring overall times to 4:40 to 4:45 or so depending on the course.  This year doing century rides in the spring hit my VLM time, so cutting that back a bit should help get back to normal.  If age doesn't get me first...

  • i got a bit of a secret desire to break the 5 hour aswell, the last one i did i got a 38 min swim, 2:38 bike and a MASSIVE 2:04 run.and with t1 and t2 i ended with a 5:26 -  best not to ask about that run, it was my slowest ever half i think, things just went to pot. Started running properly now and training for the enduro double next year but the idea of that sub 5 is always there, maybe the year after.

  • Made it to the parkrun this morning despite a pretty rough hangover! 5k run there and back with a 17:58 parkrun. Legs are a bit tight now but should be okay for a cycle tomorrow!

  • Cowman 2009 - 5:44
    Cowman 2011 4:49.

    The difference - 2 years IM training!  Oh and a road bike rather than a fast hybrid......

    I found consistent 'training' rather than just doing stuff made the difference....
    Regular running 3-4 tims a week
    biking regularaly but adding long rides at the weekend
    swimming more than once a week.....

    just read back - ive done a 19 something park run so you are a way quicker runner than I am......  Go do lots of biking so you can use that run....

  • Cowman 2011

    Swim - 37:58
    T1 - 3:28
    Bike - 02:48:22
    T2 - 01:51
    Run 1:55:30
    Total 5:27:13

    Think I went 5:15 at Swashbuckler but it has a short bike and a long run.

    Would like to go sub 5 but finding 27-minutes might require losing weight and training. could find 4 mins on swim, a minute in T1, maybe 5 on bike. HM PB is 1:45 so maybe 10 on the run. This gets me 20 minutes. Still need to find 7 minutes.

    The swim at the Cowman isn't the fastest as short legs with energetic turns which waste time and energy punching other swimmers. I have an IM swim that would be 36mins at same pace. So maybe 35 is possible.

    Swim/bike we would be about equal it seems then I get smoked on the run! Which is also where CD leaves me for dust.




  • Is the ferry avoidable? A 30-minute break is a bit of a waste of time and isn't ideal preparation. Where does it fall in the ride? Is it a max break or could it be quicker if you were lucky/planned with ferry times?

    Tubo on the ferry?

    90km is 56 mile at 18.75 that is 3 hours. So a 1.5 hour ride, 30-minute break, 1.5 hour ride isn't ideal. To avoid seizing up on ferry I would need to ease off rather than come in hard. Other than that intervals or threshold.

    15 easy, 15 tempo, 15 easy, 30 tempo, 15 easy
    repeat in reverse

    Or if it is raining, head down, pedal.image



  • Yep the ferry is very avoidable, more just for the novelty really image Its exactly half way around so its nice in the warmer weather for a food stop. I imagine it would be horrible this time of year actually!

    I was planning on getting on the road an hour ago but my legs are aching. I might just go for a shorter route. One run of that interval set will do nicely.

  • Turbo on the ferry would be the right answer image

    Got out for a 40k medium effort with plenty of hills. 3k swim after messing about with different stroke rates and a few hard 200s and a 400. I've seen some big improvements in swimming recently after getting our coach to look at my stroke. Taking roughly 60-70 less strokes to do a 400m TT and a bit quicker than just 2 months ago.

  • Intresting comment about stroke rate.

    Swimmers are always trying to reduce stroke rate but cyclists try and up cadence. Surely this is the opposite.

    Reduced stroke rate gives more metres per stroke but unless swimming disobeys laws of physics then more effort must be going into each stroke. If you are catching more water then you mus be pulling with more force. Yes it allows quicker progress but surely must tire muscles quicker.

    In cycling upping the cadence reduces power per stroke(pedal)  for the same speed relying on aerobic function more than muscle power.

    Note: both swimmers and cyclists try to reduce drag but a slow stroke rate wouldn't affect drag.

    I am sure that both are correct but just thought it was a bit of an oddity.

  • Yeah its funny, seems to work in reverse! I think the overall aim is to reduce stroke count rather than stroke rate though. So the idea would be lower the stroke rate, fix some technique issue, then speed up the stroke rate and hang on to your shiny new technique.

    As an example I find when i slow down my stroke rate, my roll is much more effective and it takes about 4-5 strokes less to get across the pool for the same effort. Its a bit slower though. Ideally I'd like to get that roll into my faster stroke rate.

    I'm lost when it comes to cycling cadence.. i spin pretty high averaging 90-105 in races. I actually think I need to slow that down a bit and get more power!

  • Forget stroke rate and work on turn over - faster turnover, then faster swimmer.

    Cadence on the bike is individual but unless you're a good efficient cyclist then I'd recommend lowering your cadence to closer to 80. personally i do lots of big gear work, turbo sessions are along the lines of 5 hard, 5 easy - repeat for an hour or 30 min comfortably uncomfortable sandwiched in something else. Riding outisde is all time based and generally in the hills. This means there's variance in pace, effort and cadence. Hill reps on the bike too.

  • What do you mean by turn over? I would have thought that was the same thing as stroke rate?

    I'd burn out pretty quick lowering my bike cadence. Even just to 80 and i feel my legs losing power. Around 90+ and i'll be consistent around 34kph for 90k. I think I just need a bit more leg strength! So yeah, big gear stuff is probably what i need more of.

  • Stroke rate - yeah sorry was skimming, thought you were talking about stroke count - i.e it took me 19 strokes to swim 25m, used to take me 22 strokes therefore I'm better.

    wrong - which is faster and what can you maintain for the chosen length?

    Bike strength is key, so many people spin away then hit a hill, run out of gears and fly off the back but still insist on whizzing around at 110rpm.

    Strong legs means less fatigue on bike, means quick run. Try hill reps where you drop a gear each rep until you're doing around 50-55rpm then hold that for the remainder, 8 x 4min climb is a good session, can be done on the turbo but best on an actual hill - top and tail with 15 min warm up / cool down

  • I'll do those hill sets Gary, there's a perfect hill with no traffic about 15 minutes from here that i do sets on occasionally. I'm actually fine going up hills. Rubbish descending as it happens. Its cruising on a flat at around 80rpm where i struggle for some reason. I'm more comfortable up around 100rpm.

    Just received an absolutely perfect condition second hand orca alpha wetsuit for about 25% of the RRP! That should take care of my swimming for next year image

  • We had a club turbo session last night. Focus was on strength and endurance. Main set was 10 reps of 30s heavy resistance (45-60 rpm) and 4:30 tempo effort (80-90 rpm) with no rest periods. It was tough!

  • sounds good - my commute to work today (like most) is biggest gear all the way - 10 miles of 53/11 builds strength image

  • It would for me: I have a 1 in 4 on the way home!

  • I have a flat one mile walk to work. Bit of a waste bringing the bike. I think your chain would survive about 5 seconds if you attempt that m..eface image

  • Snapping chains...only every done that in the Lake District on Crab's bike...eerm twice.

    Obviously if you've a mountain to climb then you can shift down, or be a stubborn SOB and just power through at a cadence of 5.

  • Or go fixed, and get a big meaty singlespeed chain. image

    Riding fixed is a bit like your turbo sessions BK - cadence at 90 or so for steady on the flat/undulating stuff, interspersed by a few minutes of heavy resistance getting up the steep stuff, with a short but manic 120+ coming down the other side.  And no rest whatsoever!

  • I've thought about getting a fixie in 53/11 but don't think I can justify another bike.

  • B_Kins wrote (see)

    I have a flat one mile walk to work. Bit of a waste bringing the bike. I think your chain would survive about 5 seconds if you attempt that m..eface image

    I have a bike on the turbo trainer that was my first road bike, came off ebay and has 53/39 and a 5-speed 11-15 straight through cassette. So the lowest gear I had was a 39/15. The 1 in 4 was a bit of a bugger and snapepd the chain a couple of times on that hill. Typically ended up doing 4-5 mph and cadence was measured in days rather than rpm.

    It is only the North Downs but is proper steep for a short section (Bagden Hill near Polesden Lacy, not the upflat to Ranmore)


  • m..eface wrote (see)
    It is only the North Downs but is proper steep for a short section (Bagden Hill near Polesden Lacy, not the upflat to Ranmore

    Oh, that one.  I ended up going up there on a lunchtime ride when the zigzag was closed in the summer.  I didn't realise it was quite that steep or I'd have gone another way, as I was on my fixie at the time.  I had to get out of the saddle & everything!

  • A fixie - up that hill image

    I would have to get out of the saddle and off the pedals and little to the right of the saddle and more of an upright posture and a slight pushing position.

Sign In or Register to comment.