- Dublin Half Marathon
- Killary Fjord Swim
- Pulse Port Triathlon
- Dublin Marathon
Isn't that the beginning of many would be blogger posts? We write and record when the going is good and then when things take a dive the motivation does too. The funny thing is that since my last post, 'Ironman Vichy', things have actually gone really well. I had no reason not to write and that last line, "2017 will be even better" was a little bit hasty, I had plenty to get done before the sun set on 2016. So lets summarize what remained in 2016 after the year fell apart on me in Vichy, I was still competing in:
Dublin Half Marathon
Right so its a shocking statement to make for a would be athlete but, I ran the Dublin half marathon in fairly poor condition due to the fact I was in a pub the night before. I had no place in the race and right up until 11pm that would be the case, until the phone rang. A club member, down with the flu, offered up her spot at the last minute and I accepted. I dropped over to her place after my 6th pint to get the number and was home in bed by midnight for a 6am start, not ideal to say the least, hey I hadn't had a beer all year on account of Vichy so fek it. Added to all this fun, one of my best mates was being married at 2pm in Meath. I ran the race in a blurred state on my tod and had the most fun ever. I crossed the line in 1:37:56, grabbed my medal and darted home to suit up for the wedding, PB in the bag, maybe this year wasn't going to be so bad after all.
Pulse Port & Killary
Right so I did have a score to settle with Pulse Port after DNF-ing with a flat in 2015 but I by no means expected much of a result. I'd be training and racing long all year, what business did I have racing short course and resulting. Well it just so happens it was a decent day. The swim was somewhat of a disaster when my goggles leaked the minute I took my first swan dive. For a 750m race there was no way I was stopping to I pushed on and had a decent exit coming out 3rd in my AG with a time of 11:58. The bike was an eye opener as I raced it on my road bike and I really saw the difference a TT bike makes here. From there on to the run I ran (the short 5km Pulse course) in 18:09 leaving me in 8th place overall for my AG. Like I said, not expected on the back of my season but I was delighted. Overall time 1:05:59. Sadly this year there was to be no Great Fjord outing for me. The half marathon did a number on me and I picked up a cold that I really wanted to shift before the marathon at the end of October. See you in 2017 Killary for episode 5.
Dublin Marathon 2016
So here was the icing on the cake. An event I hadn't entered as I'd expected to sign off the year with Vichy. We all know where that ended. Thanks to a good friend in work, I ran the Dublin marathon in 2016 as Mark Fagan but that time is mine buddy. I crossed the finish line in 3:29:56 in a shiny new PB and all that was wrong in 2016 was now ok. The course was amazing as ever with crowds of people out, more than I'd ever seen before. In true fashion my training miles in the run up were a disgrace running no further than 23km. So I'd no right to take that PB but hump it, its mine. I'll be adding Dublin to the list once more in 2017 and there are also plans for a Cycle SuperStore relay in Ironman Dublin 70.3.
2017 is shaping up well. My mileage is well up in every discipline compared to January 2015 and 2016. I am more confident I can sustain this also and the body feels great. I never let up on training over the winter and this is something I cannot recommend enough. Taking time off is an excuse and only hurt me in the long run in 2015, each to their own but this was a strong winter compared to where I was this time last year. As for the year ahead, I have entered into Ironman Bolton in July and I am relishing the notoriously difficult course. Before that I am once again running the London marathon with my uncle and already my mileage for that, now in January is strong. Very unlike me. I hope to keep the reports coming more steadily now that the new year is underway and with that, new goals. Peace.
Things are about to get serious. I know by now people are probably wondering am I racing at all in 2016? The answer is yes, of course. But I have pushed my A race out to August 28th, Ironman Vichy, so therefore my official training plan hasn't come into effect yet. That's not to say nothing has been done up till now. In February I totaled 25 hours of training. This is down from 36 hours in 2015 but at that point in 2015 I was working on a plan.
At present, my focus is primarily on running as I am running the Paris Marathon in exactly one month. With this in mind, I am very happy with how training has gone in February.
I am, however, at a small conundrum. I want to work off a 22-week plan for Vichy but this would mean starting it now. With the marathon in just one month I cannot manage this so I will begin my 22-week plan two weeks after Paris and begin on week 6 as I am without doubt up to speed.
Looking back on last year's data I am exactly where I wanted to be.
In my final race report for 2015, I noted that for 2016 I wanted to do the following:
To date I have been ticking all of those boxes and more. I was nervous about posting the photo above as it piles the pressure on me, but then I thought, well that's the reason I started this blog in the first place. It holds me accountable. So, as 2016 commenced I focused on the following goals:
As it stands my recovery through Strength and Conditioning has been bang on. In 2015 I dropped to 68kg training for Ironman and this resulted in injury. In 2016 S&C will be a big part of my plan and if that means less aerobic miles then so be it, I know I can race Ironman so I don't need that mental buffer of 'getting the miles in.' I am back squatting 100kg comfortably which has not happened in some time and I feel stronger than ever in the core and upper body. As regards times, I ran a 1:38:37 half mara training run on February 13th which was 6mins off my last PB. I like to think this means my run training is going to plan and that I am going to smash Paris.
My swim sets have been lacking somewhat and I have yet to hammer out an long spins or bike/run sets but as I said, Paris is the focus for now. The heavy miles will come from April to August, the beauty of a late season Ironman. I have to note, I do not envy one bit the lads training for May/June Ironmans.
A few side notes: I am training (albeit short distances) at the moment with Vibram 5 fingers. I said in 2015 that I wanted to develop my front foot running game and this is the beginning. Its early days but I can note the following:
Fingers crossed this works for me. The whole reason for it is to reduce any further damage to my lower back and so far it has been doing just that. When I come in from a run the only thing aching are my calves. This might be the way forward. Interesting TED talk on the topic below:
All in all things are shaping up well. I will start my weekly mileage reports again from this week on.
On February 15th I received my certificate from ISSA qualifying me a Personal Trainer.
I have recently adopted a high fat low carb diet and not much to report there. Interesting though that if you are doing things right, you can eat a high fat diet and have a body fat percentage of 10%.
Finally a big thanks once again to Blaithin in Old Bawn Clinic, thanks to her I am running, period!
The guys in Westpark continue to be great and their performance room has become a second home to me.
More to come...
First things first. My last entry was November 11th in the Apres Ironman section which will now be laid to rest as 2016 begins. I spent some time deciding on what to do with my Ironman Journey and Apres Ironman sections. Would I retire them as each event passed or would I simply continue on. I have decided that all off season activity will continue in Apres Ironman irrespective of the year and the same for 'My Ironman Journey'. I have added year date categories in each section so this should help people look back over what I achieved in 2015 and whats to come.
In the last few weeks plenty has happened. Christmas came and went and I got very little done in the way of training. I came down with a cold that I think half of Dublin had and thus the new year rang in having done little or no mileage. This continued right into January and it was only in the last few weeks that I have got back on track.
I registered for Ironman Vichy which takes place on August 28th so I have plenty of time. In actual fact, any official plan that I'm hoping to get on, doesn't need to begin till February. With that in mind, the last two weeks have really just been about feeling my way back into things.
In those weeks I've hit out some pretty decent swim sets, got one 30km bike spin done and a handful of runs. I'm mindful of getting my legs back to a good running level as I am racing the Paris Marathon on April 3rd. Last Saturday I got notification of my All World Athlete status at Ironman. I received the bronze level which places me in the top 10% in my AG. A lot of people don't think the AWA award is anything important but in my opinion, when it is achieved on the back of 1 full and 1 messed up half, I see this as a good result. The AWA status is of course something that can be gamed and Ironman have done nothing more than try to encourage people do take part in more of their races. I know that there are plenty of athletes that have achieved Silver or Gold but have done this on the back of 4 full Iron races. I also know there are people who have raced 2 full Irons and not achieved the status at all. Everyone will look at this award in their own way. For me, 2015 was a great year with some times to be really proud of. All of them can be re-read throughout this website.
My back has firmed up well in the last few weeks and that is down to nothing other than a good winter of structured rehab courtesy of Old Bawn Clinic, the fully equipped facilities of Westpark Fitness and a dash of discipline. I worked hard on my strength and conditioning over the winter and am now feeling strong. For next few weeks I will continue to slowly ramp up the mileage but for now, things feel right and I am excited for the season ahead.
Things haven't got a whole lot better since last week. The hamstrings feel great but the back is not right. I am trying my best to put it out of my mind but it is proving hard. These last few weeks are supposed to be exciting and I am supposed to be feeling on top of the game but instead I am training cautious (when I actually am training) and generally feeling down about the whole event. I did however get a decent 3.9km swim in on Friday recording a 62 minute time using a pull buoy so I'll take that. On Saturday I managed 11km on the legs so things aren't completely dire.
This time next week I will be getting ready to fly. Ship my tri bike are collecting my bits this coming Saturday so I don't know if I'll get another spin out on the bike before that, perhaps Saturday morning if that back feels up to it although advice from my physio is that I remove all training between now and race day. Ice baths and compression at night and hot packs in the morning are my new best friends. I can say one thing, if I get through this I am made of more than I ever thought I was. Phil
I bet you're wondering what that picture is all about. Some people will know straight away and will feel my pain, others will think they are looking at frogspawn. This along with hours of foam rolling and physio is what my last few days have involved, ice baths!! If you read mileage report #13 where I moaned and whinged about a 6hr training week, imagine how this last week has been for me with just 1:56mins logged... I am 2.5weeks out from Ironman Austria and the outlook is not good.
Following on from last weeks report that incorporated my TriAthy race report, things have not been ideal. What began as a recovery week from a Double Olympic event, has quickly turned into a race against time to be ready for Ironman. The last number of months I have had a small niggle in my lower back that I have ignored. This is something rugby players and ex rugby players alike are masters at, ignoring pain. It's no wonder this Ironman business has come so easy to me. However, after a busy few weeks on the legs that have included 6 half marathons and a full marathon, my high hamstrings (right up under my sit bones) have begun to bother me. So much so that on Thursday evening, (my first session after Athy), I managed a pathetic 2.1km run before pulling up with a searing pain up my leg. The next day I arranged to meet my long term physio and have it looked at. 1hr later after some deep tissue work and a long chat it was concluded that I may well have a stress fracture in my lower back but only an MRI can confirm that. This in turn has lead to weak hamstrings and indeed the suffering pain I am now going through within them. With Ironman in just in 3 weeks, my plans for a Wicklow 200 spin out and the Waterford triathlon this coming week were quickly dashed and instead replaced with orders to rest up, ice up and pray for the best.
This has resulted in some pretty dire mood swings and a general feeling of doom and gloom. I have poured 26 weeks into this goal and I'll be damned if its dashed now. I have gotten through worse than this. Blaithin did wonders with her physio and the ice baths are really helping. The pain is not so much there but I am still aware that I am not 100%. Compression legs are my outfit of choice daily and tennis balls up under the butt fill my evenings. I am just over 2 weeks out but I will make it. On a positive note I can swim to my hearts content. Swimming ay, the sport that keeps giving. Sadly I have little more to report on this week. Fingers crossed next week I am back running and cycling. ~ Phil
This week I got back on top of things after Tri 795. The plan was to get some lengthy sessions done again but remembering that I was a double olympic at Tri Athy the following week also. Being that Sunday was only a sprint tri, I got straight back into things with a 30km commute and a 2km swim in the evening. Most people wont allow a commute to be considered a training session, well most people don't commute like I do. Have a look here and here of this week. I love to really gun it in and out of work. Each way has its set of hills and on cyclocross wheels it makes those drags all the more difficult.
On Tuesday I got a 5km run in as I felt groggy, but later that evening with a second wind, I set about adding in a second of the day. Both were average enough with 22 and 23 minute times. The highlights of the week came during my 90km spin with Badger on Sunday. The winds were strong as they have been most of this month, but we averaged almost 30km/h on the Blessington Road route. Happy enough with that. On Friday I knocked out a 3km swim in perparation for the Double Oly this weekend. My time was fair slow and I don't know why but I am putting it down to fatigue. Being just 5 weeks out from Ironman, I am far more cautious. If I am feeling tired and out of sync, I will take a day off and look at the bigger picture. A cold or a flu this close to the main event would be a disaster. What's one training session compared to a handful of days in bed. Overall it was a good week and my third longest in terms of duration since I started this Ironman plan.
Next week will see another mild taper in the run up to Tri Athy. With that in mind I will try for some high intensity stuff earlier in the week then lax off as the week moves on. On another note, the water in Seapoint has finally reached a friendly temperature. I will be down there a number of times next week with a few others from Belpark Tri so if you want to get involved, just drop me a mail. Chat soon - Phil.
It's always good to record PB's. It's even better when you get two of them in one week. After a spell on the sidelines with a cold that I complained about in last weeks report, I started week 18 off light enough and then all sorts of great things happened. On Tuesday night I got to work on an LSR (long slow run) of 15km. I had been trying to keep my average pace under 5 minute's per kilometer but fell just outside of that. Two short sessions on Wednesday and Thursday had me ready for my first stab at the Ironman Distance Swim of 3.9km. I went out to the NAC which is where I normally go for the long stuff as keeping count of laps is easier. I clocked up a total of 4.2km without trying too hard and felt pretty good at the end. My time for the 3.9km swim was 1:06:52 which I'm happy with but is still some way above my aspirations of a sub 1 hour Ironman swim on race day. This can easily be achieved. Check out my splits here for 750m, 1km, 1.5km 2km and 3km.
After that satisfying piece of swimming and PB number 1 of the week, I had my sights set on my first 120km+ cycle. We held off till Sunday for the spin as conditions favored that. Myself and Rob set out at a lighter pace than usual to to err on the side of caution. We totaled 122km in 4:38:35 with an average speed of 26.3km/h which I'm pretty happy with. This week things ramp up again and with the London Marathon looming I have a 25km+ run planned for the weekend along with another long spin. Sleep and nutrition this week are going to be crucial. Cheers - Phil
Open Water season is almost with us and I can see people getting in the spirit of running already so if anyone is interested in coming to the Real Bootcamp sessions or out to Seapoint when the temps increase, don't forget to contact me here or on Social Media.
This was the hardest week yet. I hit a period that most Ironman triathletes can attest to being the worst. Worse than any turbo session, worse than any 5 hour spin.
On Friday after a pretty decent week on the training front, I felt a small scratching in my throat and I lacked the energy I am usually teeming with. I ran home from work with some pretty decent splits and that night I crashed. For the first time in 13 weeks I had to make the decision all Ironmen hate more than anything, "should I take a few days off..." The usual response is no. Absolutely not. 'Normalising the abnormal' includes pushing through injury, illness and anything else that would prevent us from reaching 10+ hours training per week. Right? Not this time. Thanks to someone who was seeing it from the outside and a triathlon podcast I listened to recently I decided to rest up for the weekend. It was hell. I didn't know what to do with myself. No bike work, no running, no body work, no pool time, what was this world? Sitting on a couch, eating take-out, who had I become? But the fact of the matter is, there are times when we must listen to our bodies and this weekend I needed some down-time. It was either that or risk burning the candle at both ends and dragging this thing out for days if not weeks.
As Ironmen, we feel there is nothing that can hold us down and that we must push through all obstacles. In fact, reading the signs our body gives us (in my case, a scratchy throat and a few sores on my tongue) are what we really need to focus more on. Know when a break is needed and get back on it when the time is right. Today I feel about 80% right and that is enough to get back on it. I did manage a 6+ hour week which isn't awful but its not Ironman. Remember you can check out all of my training sessions here and if you want the details of these sessions just drop me a mail. Some positives from the week, I obtained part sponsorship from Zone3 wetsuits. I was absolutely pumped with the news and have already ordered my suit for the 2015 season. They do a pretty impressive range of triathlon gear so do check them out. I did a quick write up on my favourite triathlon podcasts so if your looking for ways to keep occupied on those long spins, check these guys out. Thats all for this week. Train smart folks, listen to what your body is telling you. - Phil
Have I been training for 10 weeks already? Awesome. Although the feeling still remains that I am a million miles from where I need to be. Either that or perhaps I am always pushing myself. So this weekend I was a bit bold. On Sunday I played a rugby match and then had a take-away. For anyone who has done any sort of racing, be it sprint, Olympic or even stand-alone running/ cycling events, you will know the cravings one can get afterwards. On Sunday I had completed an almost 10hr week of training that included a 75km cycle and a rugby match right after a 5km run. I crashed badly on Sunday and the only thing that could help was a take out. As of today, (Monday) I am pretty beat. Thank god today is a rest day but I am in serious need of a swim and massage. Anyway. I was pretty happy with the spin on Saturday although at 50km I began to feel a bit groggy, not sure why.
I had some sweet potato with me from the night before and the usual supply of bananas, nuts, raisins and my high 5 drink so I ploughed on through with an average speed of 25km/h. This would be so much faster if I didn't have to battle through the city before my spins begin each week so we must re-evaluate how we start these in future. Swimming felt great this week. Clocked a pretty decent swim on Wednesday night in Newpark and Friday morning with the club was decent again. Run's were ok but with the London Marathon fast approaching, I will need to up the LSR's. Data posted below with all the usual links.
Enjoy - Phil.
From rugby player to Ironman.