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Ironman ambitions - Part 6

by Paul Hayward
Friday 29th May 2015
Tags  Paul Hayward   |   Outlaw Triathlon   |   Open Water Swim   |   Bike Fit

Our obstacle racing columnist Paul Hayward has been inspired to become an Ironman. He has put in a lot of training in all three disciplines, but the open water is still a worry ahead of his first big test this weekend:

Ironman ambitions - Part 6

When I decided to write blogs for my Ironman journey I thought it would be easy to keep pace with my Ironman blogs I have realised that three months had gone past since the last update! Poor form on my part but I now appreciate why some of the people who take on Ironman seriously consider going part time. The training just seems to take over, or at least everything else gets in the way, as the training is all you think about.

So where to start? This weekend I am taking on the Outlaw Half (www.onestepbeyond.org.uk/outlaw-half-triathlon.php) to test how far I have come. I am really excited about taking on one of the UK’s best known half iron distance triathlons along with 1,400 other competitors, but I am also really scared about the swim.

Since my horrid time in Scotland, where I could not get my face under water for more than a stroke, I have improved so much in the pool. I am now up to 80 lengths (the equivalent of a mile) without a buoy and I believe that my time in the pool, two or three times a week, is paying off.

However old fears returned two weeks ago at Benson lake for my first open water swim.

I could this time string 12 strokes together in the lake and my Zone3 wetsuit was faultless, but my nose was so cold! It sounds crazy but I could not keep my nose under water for any time at all and this led to me breaking my stroke and panicing.

It has made me realise that Monday nights will from now on have to be spent at the lake, getting used to open water. I think, as no doubt do many others on that start line of any triathlon with an open water element, that if I make it through the swim, then I can do this. I do not feel a 100% ready for the swim and I would like some more swim time in the lake, but I have to take faith that I can swim a mile, so I have a good chance if I can just adapt!

Ironman ambitions - Part 6

My cycling has come on so much and if anything I am enjoying it more now than ever before. A large part of this is probably due to the change made at my 'bike fit' at Pro Bike Fit in Newbury. They took my £999 Boardman Bike and made it feel even more competitive and responsive.

I initially doubted whether the bike fit could really make a difference, but my average speed has gone up three miles per hour, the bike is more responsive and, most importantly, it is more comfortable to ride. The more I cycIe, the more I am thankful that Callum Hughes spent so long with me and that it was worth the £150 outlay, given the changes to even a bike like mine.

I am up to three hours and half on the bike, in 'Zone 2' heart rate of the Don Fink plan (www.donfink.com), and it feels good! I feel strong and I am able to keep pushing. I have been trying different nutrition and I have been stopping, distance wise, at the same time as the food stops to make sure I am taking on food. I am slightly concerned by the amount of Chia Charge I am getting through though now!

I think that I will enjoy the bike, but I have to make sure that I do not 'cook it' too much on the bike for the run. One worry I have is that I seem to zoom off, as I always do when racing at an OCR, with the start of the run and I was doing 8 minute miles off the bike the other day for half an hour! this being said my running has improved so much with the cross training like never before.

My parkrun time is, somehow, a minute and forty seconds quicker than when I was at peak marathon fitness and I feel really strong when I run and push. I think if I am out on Sunday on the run course then this will be the time that I can push and enjoy it!

So I guess overall I am a little apprehensive about the swim, but if I take my time, avoid the 'washing machine' and make it to transition then I have a chance of enjoying the day. My cycle and my run is ready, I just do not want to DNF at the swim as I have trained so hard. I have put so much into this and I do not want to come home and have to say I failed at the first real test. Let alone face my girlfriend, who has put up with the hours of training, travel and grumpiness in my quest to become an Ironman and who will be there at the finish line. 

I would like to thank those that have spared some time to train with me over the last three months, from Thursday's swimming intervals (Tash llewelyn) to Steve Murfin and / or James Cooper merely coming to Parkrun with me - it has really helped and I am thankful.

I promise to write my blog the next morning after the Outlaw Half - good or bad, elated or crying; it will come out but I hope, with everything I have, that I will cross the line on Sunday.

Ironman ambitions - Part 6

For more information on Zone 3 Wetsuits visit: www.racezone3.com

For more information on Pro Bike Fit in Newbury check out: www.pro-bikefit.co.uk


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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