21 Aug 2018

How to prepare an IM in 3 Weeks - W1

As a former PRO who now lives a true age groupers life (family/commitments over and above just sport/bills to pay) I need to ensure I use my training time allotment wisely and to good effect.

The swimming part has always come easy to me - this is something I have been doing since the age of 4 years so I have no problem preparing to swim a sub 30 minute swim (hopefully closer to 25 minutes) at Worlds on Sunday the 2nd September.

The run used to be my secret weapon but as I have aged, my running times have certainly slowed and this is where I "feel" my age the most. I cannot run as fast as I did before - I also need to realise that if I try running more miles in training, I run a bigger risk of injury. There is only so much training the body will take before it breaks down so I need to be cautious in my approach to prepping for the 21km run after the swim and bike.

The bike has always been my Achilles heel. In the sport of triathlon, we have our strong disciplines and we have our weak ones - the cycle is my weak leg and has always been something I have had to work on. With time at a premium, I no longer have the luxury of riding each and every single day for as long as I want. My time is cut short and I need to juggle cycle time in between all the other task for the day.

What I definitely do with 3 weeks remaining is to take out the race bike with its race wheels on and go ride a few solo TT efforts. This give me peace of mind and I then know my equipment is in 100% race day shape and I won't need to worry about it on race weekend. Mod of my training rides ae done on heavier wheels that require tubes and tyres whilst my cycle specific fine tuning sessions are done on the tubular rims. I cannot afford to get a puncture during training on a tubular. The sheer cost of replacing a tubular tyre on a training ride that has punctured does not make financial sense. I save the tubular race wheels for around 2 x sessions per week in the lead up to the all -important race day.

I managed to get in a 60km ride this am with my race wheels on in conditions that saw a strong wind come through out on the training course. In 1 direction, I was battling to go over 20km/h while in the other direction, I was hitting 55-60kmh no problem. A disc wheel in cross winds can be tricky but funnily enough, with a 55 on the front, it's totally ride-able and I felt in control even on the downhills where I was free-wheeling towards 70km/h. The only time I needed to be careful was when I came out from next to a building. The sudden gust of air from the side caused me to go off the TT bars and hold the drops to stabilise the bike - were this race day, I would be a little more careful on certain sections of the bike course where such conditions might arise

I am hoping for a wind free day which helps me as a weaker cyclist but if the wind comes, I am ready. I shall be using my TT bike with a full race set-up at least another 4 times in the run-up to race day.

If I add in the swim, bike and run prep with 3 weeks to go, I would say I am around 70% there - this last push will hopefully get me closer to that 100% ready to race hard come 2nd September.