Monday, June 29, 2009

Fail To Prepare…

… Prepare to Fail. You know that saying, I’m sure. But it’s never been truer than in the world of Ironman Triathlon. Last year, after beating my goal time of 11 hours by a whopping 18 minutes to record a 10:42 at Ironman Austria, I set my sights on an equally ambitious 10:15 this year at Ironman Germany.

And I’ve been preparing ever since.

I decided my run needed some work so spent Autumn training for the Luton Marathon (which was cancelled – but what the hell, I’d done the training). After Christmas I was right back into it with my six month training plan provided for me by my coach, Mark Kleanthous.

Since then I’ve been working on all three disciplines to good effect. I’m a faster, more efficient swimmer. I’m a stronger, faster cyclist. And I’m a better runner off the bike than ever before.

Sure, there have been down times. A recent back injury meant no running for several weeks and an operation on my leg in the late winter months meant a break from the most intensive training. But here we are, less than one week from the event. And I feel fully prepared.

Being ‘prepped’ is something I do religiously, for any major or minor occurrence I might face. I think it stems from an experience I had as a kid when I took a maths exam in my second year at grammar school.

It was a living nightmare. Why? Well, I knew it then, even at such a young age. I hadn’t prepared myself. I’d done no revision, had messed around in class and consequently was hopelessly adrift when it came to the big day. Even at eleven years old, I swore I’d never ever do that again.

And I never have. (I’m not saying I’ve been a model student, far from it, only that I’ve managed to come through whatever challenges I’ve set myself since then, not through talent, but rather due to a fierce determination to succeed based squarely on the shoulders of fulsome preparation).

So let’s hope that Germany brings what I’ve been working for. I’m capable of the times (to refresh your memory, that’s a 62 minute 3.8k swim, a 5 hrs 20 mins 180km bike ride and a 3hrs 45 mins marathon with 8 minutes for transitions) but, in Ironman, you can only do so much prep.

Whilst we’re on the subject of reaping rewards from preparation, Fiona has got our gardens looking absolutely tip top. And, once again, this doesn’t happen overnight. Years of planning, planting, tending and care have resulted in even me, that most curmudgeonly of gardeners, being able to appreciate the full beauty of nature available to us at a few paces from our front and back doors. I’ve enclosed a few photos.

Both our girls are keen actors and performers. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse is the mantra we drill into them. Once you’ve done that you can be as ‘naturalistic’ as you like. So, again… preparation, preparation, preparation.

Anyway, I’m drifting off topic.

I’ve had a decent week tapering although, I have to say, as I write this, I feel strange things happening to my body. I seem to remember it last year and Coach K said I’d feel a trifle rubbish (alright, maybe they weren’t his words). Everything feels a bit… well, ‘thick and gooey’ is the best way I can describe it. I’m off all forms of caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods until after the race and my training volume has decreased so much that by body is thinking… ‘hang on fella, what’s all this about – shouldn’t you be doing a 120 mile bike ride or something?’

At least, I hope my body is thinking this.

So, for what it’s worth, here is last week’s minimal training:

Monday 2km swim drills
Tuesday 1.9km open water swim
Wednesday 33 mile bike, including 2 x 10 mile Time Trials, 5 mile run
Thursday 5.6 mile run
Friday 6 mile run
Saturday 2km open water swim, 35 mile bike, 4.5 mile run
Sunday light bike and run, bike mechanics

Congratulations to club mates Steve Torley and Jamie Hawthorne who completed Ironman France in 11:47 and 10:38 respectively. Huge efforts considering (apparently) the searing heat out there. Jamie raced sub 10 in Ironman Germany last year so you can tell from that how tricky the day must have been.

Congratulations to Colin who came 5th overall and 2nd in his age group at this weekend's Grendon Sprint Triathlon.

Good luck also to Tom and Helen and Gabriel for Ironman Switzerland in a couple of weeks. I’ll be watching out for you.

Well done to Mark, who’s now in Scotland on his Lands End to John O Groats bike ride. A remarkable achievement and keep it up.

And thanks to you guys, for sharing another epic journey with me on the road to Ironman Germany 2009. I’ll be flying on Thursday and racing on Sunday. You can keep up with my race splits by visiting and clicking on the Ironman Germany athlete tracker section.

No doubt there will be an occasional twitter, too.

Have a good week and, whatever you’re doing – make sure you prepare well for it and, more importantly, enjoy it and take time to look around and smell the flowers...


Colin Bradley said...

So, where does drinking 7 pints just over a week before your AA race come into your training schedule? ;-)

Top training this year fella, and good luck for Sunday. Confidence is also a big factor, and you've certainly got plenty of that.

Looking forward to you joining me for a few races at a more sociable distance!


truck said...

good luck jevon....sending all positive vibes love truck

truck said...

previous comment not up to the magnitude of the job at hand....been giving it some more thought ......think big, dream big, MONSTER DAY .... all the training hours are money in the bank, time to cash up ..........enjoy the last moments of taper tension and looking forward to hearing about the race of your life!!!

Jevon said...

Thanks guys... Truck... rest assured you've now scared the bejasus out of me... :)

mitten said...

Just cause Colin couldn't drink 7 pints ;-)

Best of luck over there. Looking forward to the race report on your triumphant return.


Adrian73 said...

All the best Jevon!! Hopefully I will recognise you during the race and shout a few cheers!


Mark said...

10.38 superb effort Jev
well done mate
been watching all day on IMLive

best wishes


Pearse & Declan Fahy said...

Hello, Just stumbled across your blog. My brother and I will be on the starting line in Austria 2011 - I like your approach and the goals you've given yourself. We both did a few weeks ago and had a ball! We might be looking for a few hints during the year if you don't mind. Thanks Pearse & Declan Fahy