Guest post by Jonny Fleet on his half-ironman training.
After listening to the Vivi podcast with Maria Bailey on training for her first half-ironman, I wanted to pass on some wisdom, if you can call it that, based on my experience moving up from a sprint triathlon to a half-ironman.
August 5th 2018 – Cotswold classic middle distance triathlon. Distances: 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run.
I signed up in May, giving myself three months to complete a very structured training plan. Various holidays, stag do’s and England’s most successful football World Cup for 28 years resulted in me actually only completing three 5km runs in May, and then in June, one 10km run, one 2km lake swim, a 60km cycle and a 100km cycle. My fitness wasn’t great on that 100km cycle and that was the “oh shit” moment where I had to put an actual training plan together. It also helped that wedding/holiday season had finished for me until after the race.
My half-ironman training plan
Like Maria, I found it quite hard to fit in a structured training plan so I ended up creating my own which involved probably not doing the distances required, but the plan was to make the most of the time I had. When I look at my plan I feel like most people will likely be doing a lot more than me.
I said from the outset I will give up the booze once England were out of the world cup. This ended up being July 11th, which gave me just over 3 weeks of no booze. I think it’s not as much giving up the booze that helps, but it’s just knowing that every Saturday and Sunday you will wake up fresh and be able to have a good training session. A little during the week won’t make too much difference. We’re not exactly elite athletes!!
Getting your race nutrition right is vital. In the podcast, Maria mentioned Cliff bars for during her cycle trip in Ireland. I had a couple of these during the race. One on the bike and one at the start of the run. For gels, I used 4 on the bike (20km, 40km, 60km, 80km), and on the run, I think it was on 8km and 16km although that might not be exact. One of the drinks stations on the run was flat Coke which was more than enough sugar to keep me going. Definitely stick to the foods you train with as you don’t want your stomach to play up on race day. Getting at least something in for breakfast will also be helpful, porridge and a banana does the job for me.
My half-ironman target
My target was based loosely on my averages on training sessions plus a little bit extra to account for fatigue I expected to set in. In the end, I finished 33 mins quicker than I had planned. Roughly 5 mins on the swim, 20 on the bike and 5 on the run. I also spent less time in transition than I had anticipated but that was helped with the way the course was set up. None of this ‘having to collect a bag’ nonsense!!
My final splits: 39min swim, 2:48 bike, 1:54 run – 5:27:34 total time.
Thanks Jonny for sharing your half-ironman training tips!