UK Ironman on 11 weeks Training

11 weeks training for an Ironman? This must sound crazy or impossible.

For most age groupers an Ironman race is generally the result of at least 9 – 12 months of meticulous training, preparation and planning. You can imagine my surprise when I was contacted by an athlete to see if I would coach them just over 11 weeks from race day. I discussed this request with Richard who had only entered this event 3 weeks earlier and had not completed much training over winter, oh and did I mention that in the middle of this he is getting married with a 3 week honeymoon. I placed general caveats on what can be achieved over such a short period of time and agreed to write a plan for Richard with the view of getting him around the course, i.e finishing, the time was irrelevant.

So I got about planning and Richard got about training and threw himself into the deep end. I can definitely say that I spent a lot of time worrying if this was attainable over such a short period of time and I was not the one racing. What I did remind myself was that Richard was taking an opportunity to partake in an Ironman and fulfill a sporting ambition and I am a firm believer that when an opportunity knocks you take it.  The Ironman plan for my first race was only 16 weeks, I took an opportunity that whilst seemed crazy at the time, I finished it and have gone on to compete in many Ironman events and getting great enjoyment of this wonderful sport and event of Ironman. I wonder if I had not taken the first opportunity if I would have ever plunged into an Ironman. I was therefore happy with knowing that this is what Richard was doing, so as he continued training I monitored his progress and provided a weekly plan for him.

One aspect of coaching is not just issuing a plan but communicating with each athlete and we have had numerous emails, phone calls and skype video sessions as part of the plan.

Whilst I would have liked to be in Bolton in person, I was at home watching the results unfold online. After my last discussion with Richard prior to the race, we agreed he was in good physical and mental shape to get around the course and a time in the 13 hours would be a good result.

I was overjoyed as the times came through, swim was bang on target, the bike was a good 20 minutes quicker than the goal and then the run and whilst running is his strongest discipline, given this was his first marathon we set a target of 4 hours. Richard kept a strong steady pace for the entire run and despite stomach cramps, completed this leg in just over 3:40.  A very respectable first marathon time and at the back end of an Ironman is even more impressive.

So as you can tell Richard has exceeded his initial goal with an overall time of 12:08 finishing in the top 25% of the field. Richard is extremely happy with his overall time as am I. I am still trying to work out when we crossed the line from just getting around and finishing to posting a competitive and very respectful time. The big question now is, having taken an opportunity to complete an Ironman, will he be content to stop at one?

Well done Richard.

1 Response to “UK Ironman on 11 weeks Training”

  1. 1 Dave Simmonds 1 November, 2009 at 18:05

    A great effort by Rich, but also and excellent programme from the trainer. Timing is everything, changing jobs, getting married were all built into Rich’s programme with his coach…

    Won’t catch me doing a marathon, never alone the whole nine yards… oh! that was not the distance.

    Thanks for getting our son-in-law through the experience; we know Rich, we knew he would do it, only injury would have stopped him.

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“If you are comfortable with your training regime then you should be concerned. You can only make the big gains by being out of your comfort zone.”
- Me

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August 2009

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