In two weeks time I'll start at Ironman Switzerland. My second ever Ironman and my first "major" if you like in Europe. Now it's funny an ironman isn't a big deal anymore, most of you may have done one or know someone who has. But for me I wanted document some thoughts and feelings a couple of weeks before and after the race itself. I had been thinking about this for the last few weeks and I see it as almost cathartic process for me to reflect on how I feel, why Im doing this and what I'm trying to get out of it all.
I'm not a professional athlete, I'm not trying to be nor am I even trying to get to Kona. But for me this race has a lot of pressure and expectation. I raced my first ironman last July at Outlaw and in a way surprised myself, I finished in under 9 hours 6th overall and all had gone to plan. So despite moving abroad, a change in job and all the chaos of the last 12 months I decided Thun would be the target and to build for that. If im honest until a few weeks ago I wondered if it was too early, I had thought about delaying or finding a later ironman, I was stressed I wouldn't be ready or the same form as last year. I can be very guilty of comparing myself to myself and got caught in a. bit of a spiral.
But the reality was the race was entered, I could get myself ready I just needed some structure a few solid weeks, some confidence and to trust in my ability. I'm not sure when the build officially started really but I would say some time after I raced Kraichgau 70.3, I raced okay but my bike leg was very poor and I knew work needed to be done. I've always had and do have confidence in my run but with Thun being a very hilly bike and challenging I knew the work needed done. Over the last few weeks confidence in my bike has grown a lot, I have done a few bigger rides, 160-200-205kms all with some efforts and big elevation. In the final one of these it was a bike event the Santis classic, I felt super strong there, managed to drop a lot of riders and felt light on the pedals. A good place to be!
Run wise I have done a few bigger sessions, im a big fan of a 20km+ build run getting the pace down to much faster than ironman pace and also some bigger track sessions 10x1kms etc. I do most of my running and run sessions faster than ironman pace in the hope that come race day that pace will feel "easier". I also do a lot of high run mileage most weeks around 95-100kms consistently.
Swim wise, I've just been plugging away some harder sets some easy longer work. The key for me is trying to get in the open water as much as I can and longer steady state swims. I've also raced a couple of Olympics recently to get used to swimming harder and just freshen up the triathlon skills!
In terms of volume my biggest weeks sat around 25 hours +, im fortunate with my work I can be flexible and train around a normal day, but I have also done big days at the weekend and a lot of work in or around these Olympic races. Eg 5km run warm up, race olympic 5km run cool down, 70km easy ride, open water swim. These days aren't easy but Im a big believer in accumulating mileage, fatigue and building up your capacity.
You might think these graphs are a load of bullshit and that's fine I don't look at them much but both on strava and training Peaks It's been nice to see the "fitness" and performance graphs build, you can see where I really started training properly and the levels are higher than last year.
So that's where we are, a couple of weeks out. Mentally feeling better about the whole thing, physically in good shape just very tired. I have a rough plan of how the next couple of weeks will look and what I want to tick off. I'm very flexible with my own plans depending on work, how I feel, motivation and knowing what's enough. I'll write again next week a few days out.