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Ironman ambitions - Part 4

by Paul Hayward
Friday 23rd January 2015
Tags  Paul Hayward   |   IRONMAN   |   Triathlon

Our obstacle racing columnist Paul Hayward has been inspired to become an Ironman. After a break from training he's ready to take on the challenges of bike and swim training

Since I last put down my thoughts on my preparation for Ironman a lot has happened. I decided to take some well deserved rest after a long Obstacle Course Race season and have a week off training by relocating to the Dominican Republic for some sun.

Ironman ambitions - Part 4

It felt really weird to begin with, there was no training and no events, just eating, drinking and sun. Eventually I gave in, feeling very bloated, and joined in with the aqua zumba just to get my body moving. I managed to do this but I am not entirely convinced I burned more than 10 calories or that it can be considered exercise - but it was in a pool so that has to count for something.

The break did provided me with a chance to read the "Ironman bible", Be Ironfit by Mr Don Fink. I do not have the good fortune of having a Triathlon coach and several athletes that I know recommended this book to me as a way to plan for the big day and put in place a training plan. Mr Fink’s book started really positively and I was pleased to note that sleeping on a train is an essential part of Ironman training (tick!). Sadly it got awfully serious when it challenged me to workout when the serious training starts for Wales - fate dictated that this date would be Valentines Day, February 2015.

The girlfriend, who joined me on my break, was very impressed that the "most romantic day of the year" actually signified the end of me drinking, eating cake (well for me), late nights partying and any chance of romance in the weekend unless it involved training.

For those who have not read the book, it gives you three plans to follow (beginner to elite) and I  have opted for the middle one, which works on eight to thirteen hours of training per week, as I feel I can achieve this.

Whilst sipping Miami Vice cocktails (a vodka based drink) I had grand visions that I was going to do the "21 day Don Fink challenge" and write about it. This consists of training in the morning (6am club I think they call it) and being so used to it after three weeks that it becomes a way of life; sadly my inability to get out of bed stopped this.

So that is a fail then! Although I promise to get out of bed tomorrow morning and start, despite temperatures of -2 degrees.

In order to be ready for the training I decided to splash out on a turbo trainer. I was initially a little scared by this as I did not know if you could put a carbon bike on one and I did not want anything too noisy. Thankfully after some reasearch on the Facebook Group 'The Ironman Journey' and seeking recommendations, I opted for the Elite Crono Fluid ElastroGel trainer.

I was sold on this trainer on the basis that it was quiet and allowed me to use my own gears. Excellent I thought, it will just be like riding on the road but with the benefit of some music! When I climbed on my bike (cycling shorts; tshirt and long sleeved top) in the freezing cold of the garage, I was expecting to be cold from start to finish and hate it.

What subsequently happened was a surprise. Firstly a 45 minute session took absolutely ages, despite some podcasts to keep me company, and I found myself checking the time and being shocked by how little had passed despite me cycling miles. I used to go to spin classes and I am sure they did not take half the time this session did.

Secondly and more importantly, however, was how the garage developed into a sauna within minutes. I found myself cycling topless within the first 15 minutes and being absolutely drenched by sweat! I couldn't believe just how hot I had got and how the windows were steamed up in minutes.

I came out of the session aching, but I had really enjoyed it. Safe to say I now know to wear just my Tri suit when enjoying a session and the sweat guard could be the best £18 I have spent in months.

Ironman ambitions - Part 4

Feeling good about my new found cycling ability, I was however a little apprehensive about returning to the pool.

Although I have managed two swimming sessions per week and sometimes three, which is unknown for me, my confidence was slipping after a week off and this was apparent when I got back in the pool.

The first ten minutes were not pretty, but then things seemed to click back into place, until  I was treated to an interval session, consisting of 4 x 50 metres hard, 100 metres easy any stroke, 4 x 25 metres hard, followed by 100 metres easy twice.

Scott assured me that this would improve my swimming twofold and would get quicker. What it actually did, was to make nearly be sick twice as quickly and sink. I really am not envious of the boys’ team he coaches most days. 

Once again I was left wondering just why had I decided to push so myself so hard and go for the dream of being an Ironman?

Next time I write I hope to be in cleats and pedalling a whole new way. Possibly at 6am. Once again the challenge has gotten bigger, as it seems to do everytime I write, but as the OCR World Champion Jon Albon once told me "Train hard to the point that your races become easy!".

Ironman will never be easy for me but I feel I am winning a little more than I was when we last spoke, but the real training has not even started.


About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 

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