The Phoney War is Over

Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: Austria, cycle, ironman, Ironman Austria, ironman nutrition, ironman regensburg, Klagenfurt, run, swim, triathlon |

Today is IM minus 30.  Thirty weeks to Ironman Austria, my A race for 2014.  Thirty weeks to Ironman 2 – The Sequel.

Ironman training is often based on a 30 week plans so IM minus 30 has significance.  It brings structure.  It sharpens focus.  The game is on.

I signed up for Ironman Austria at 5 past 11 on the 1st of July, and 24 hours later it was sold out.  Having taken a couple of years out from heavy training I knew that my weak and regrettably “well built” frame needed to be eased very gently back into training (and even more gently back into lycra) between July and IM minus 30.  Within 10 days I had broken my big toe and my blaze of glory spluttered and stalled.    And so it began.


By mid-September the elephant toe was broadly functional and the show was back on the road and that road to Klagenfurt was stretching out ahead.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I have rose tinted specs when I think about training – glorious sunrises and sunsets, the thrill of a PB, the sensation of stepping in the front door dripping with sweat with the hard work done for the day.  You even believe it when you tell people that it only takes a few weeks until you start to feel the benefits again – the legs, the lungs and the brain get stronger quickly.   But STOP THE BUS.  I need to capture for the record, and to remind myself when I look back at this – that is all bullshit.

When you are training you hurt.  It’s not a pain that stops you training, it’s often not one that you even talk about but generally you are managing some niggle or other.  When you are training you are always starving.  But you are also trying to manage your weight so you have to make difficult choices  about what you ram in your gob when your body is screaming out for instant sugary satisfaction.  When you are training you are tired.  You squeeze training into unsocial hours and then doze off when you least expect it.

But there is something about that pain, that hunger and that tiredness that is simply Nirvana.  It is a feeling of achievement, it is the feeling of striding towards a goal.  It is why we come back and do it again.  And again.

So, what’s happened in the last 5 months while I trained to be ready to TRAIN?

  • 2100 km of cycling over 85 hours
  • 140 km of running over 15 hours
  • one broken big toe has recovered
  • 96 km swum over 36 hours
  • 10 kg of bodily timber shed
  • 9 hours of strength and conditioning work

Not a finished product, not even a fraction of the preparation that is still to come but a decent base, a waypoint en route to a sub 13 hour Ironman.


And what is still to come in the next 30 weeks?  Well for sure there will be the bonny stuff – I will see some great sunrises and sunsets, the deer, the buzzards, the badgers and the hedgehogs.  I will grin as the weight of sweat sodden training kit hits the floor with a reassuring thud.  There will be the constant tightening of the belt as each kilo of excess ass drops off under the twin pressures of clean eating and hard training.

Unfortunately it is also going to be ugly.  Tentative running on black ice, the slog of knee deep snow, the sleet, rain and hailstones coming out of the dark.  Dodging bad drivers and their obsession with texting, tweeting and facebooking while screaming their mantra of “MUST GET IN FRONT, MUST GET IN FRONT” even if the concept of racing a chubby cyclist to the next traffic light seems futile.  And who can forget the deep, dark places that you go to 6 hours into a long ride on a hill, facing a headwind?

But as I mark off  IM minus 30 on the calendar I do it with a sense of lightness, a smile on my face and a genuine excitement to crack on.  Having experienced the sweet taste of an Ironman finish chute once I am ready to do it again.


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[…] since I signed up for IMA I have swum 183km, cycled 4,400km and run 486km – in my 30 week training plan I have swum 87km, cycled 2,263km and run 386km – since my broken toe mended in September I have no […]


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