Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 32 – Picking Up Speed

I managed to train throughout the holidays, even on Christmas morning and during my vacation in Vanuatu. I’ve also come away with a good feeling about my 70.3, even though my time wasn’t my best.

Click here to read other journal entries and articles by Andrew Read, and look for his new journal every Monday as he trains for Ironman Melbourne.

Athlete Journal Entry 32 – Picking Up Speed

It feels like forever since I last wrote an athlete journal but the reality is that it’s only been three weeks. I guess that’s what happens when you train thirteen times per week – everything just blurs together.

The week after the 70.3 race was spent the way it should be – training. I took a day off as we had to drive back from the event and then went for an easy ninety minute ride on the Tuesday to get some of he stiffness out of my legs. This was the week before Christmas and so I wanted to have a good solid week as I knew the following week would be interrupted with going away for a week’s holiday.

It turned out to be a great week for training as I ran 52km (including the 21km from the race) in that seven-day period. Given the most I had run before was about 25km that was a huge increase. The rest of my traning went smoothly too. That was surprising as I had been a bit stiff in the quads after the race and was kind of waiting for more fatigue or pain to settle in but it just never happened. So while my time in Canberra may not have been great I got a positive out of it in that the distance didn’t seem to trouble my body at all.

With Christmas being that following week I just did my best to get in as much training as I could. The biggest surprise I got was on Christmas morning from my girlfriend who really bought me some super presents (and just so people don’t think it was one sided I bought her a new Time Trial bike). However, I did what every other OCD Ironman wannabe seemed to be doing on Christmas morning and as soon as we had unwrapped presents I was out the door to get my ride in before meeting the rest of the family for lunch.

The day after Christmas we left for Vanuatu. I had packed my runners and my goggles, determined to get in at least some running and swimming. The reality of the climate in Vanuatu though is that the heat and humidity is so oppressive that I ran once and admitted defeat. A short twenty-minute run just flattened and dehydrated me for days. The problem here was that our room didn’t have air conditioning, so there was no way to recover and cool down after running. Also, the water temperature was high enough that it was like being in a bath so that too was no solace. On the plus side I was able to swim quite a few times when the tide came in and can say that those swims were among the most enjoyable I’ve ever had – with brightly coloured fish and star fish visible, coral, and plenty of other interesting things to see in the crystal clear waters on our door step, it made swimming quite entertaining visually for once.

Coming home, training has just continued as usual. My first ride was difficult as my legs had forgotten how to pedal and it took almost an hour to get them feeling right again. My running has continued well with an easy 19km on last week’s long run. My Sunday ride was an epic smash fest that featured three thirty-minute efforts at above race pace. For some reason I really enjoy the suffering that comes from this kind of training and don’t mind that the last five minutes of each block sees me often dribbling on myself and breathing so hard I worry that others may think I’m suffering a heart attack.

With ten weeks to go to Ironman Melbourne things are starting to get serious. There are weeks coming soon with double rides or double runs on the same day. My average swim distance is up over 4km each session. I’ve managed to keep two strength sessions per week in there, although I have refined my training to make it shorter and minimize the fatigue from it. (Check my Taming the Fire article). With only one major lift each session plus some bodyweight work, these sessions are short and fast and help to keep me strong enough not to crumple. Whether or not I’ll be able to keep them up closer to the event is unknown and this might change to just a single session each week.

Looking back at my 70.3, now I have come away with good feeling about it. Not for the time as that was rubbish, but from learning lessons about this new sport. It’s been so long since I’ve been a beginner at anything I have forgotten about paying my dues and learning as I go. That made me realize that I need to not just enjoy my training but also reaffirm why I am doing this and what the purpose of each session is, something that Kristian Manietta of Trispecific has been urging me to do.

And if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go swim 4km.

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