Summming up the April challenge and training so far

So it’s the 28th of April and that means just 5 months to go to the big day now!

So how is it all going, well at the moment I’m getting more confident in what I’m doing but at the same time the fear of the day is looming larger!

Since my last post I haven’t found time to get back out into open water to try my new swimming cap and socks but I have been in the pool a couple of times and the new shorts and goggles are great so along with those and feeling like I have my rhythm in the water now I am getting happier with the swimming. In the pool I can do the 1.2 miles in about an hour, not as fast as I’d like but a good place to work from.  I think the next thing to try is to do the full 1.2 miles in open water without stopping just to see what it’s like and how long it takes me compared to the pool, but when I’ll get the time for that I’m not sure.

Looking at the second stage of things, the bike ride, again I am feeling happier about that after cycling to work and back last Thursday (no crashing this time!) as each way is about 16 miles and I can do it in about 1hour 15mins. Of course this is less than a third of the distance I’ll have to do but with it rising and falling nearly 2000 feet and the Iron Man route covering 7217 feet in 56 miles it’s a pretty good indication of what I’ll be up against. So with that in mind I’m going to push to try and get more bike rides in and work the hills, starting with cycling in two days next week.

Last of all there is the run. Well obviously this month’s challenge was the Huddersfield marathon, twice the distance I’ll have to do on the Iron Man but without the two stages to sap my energy first.  So how did it go?  Well pretty good actually, the route was far harder than I expected and that’s probably my fault for not looking at it as closely as I should have before the run but wow there were some hills! Big ones, long ones, steep ones and the descents after them as well.  Suffice it to say I didn’t manage it all at a run and there were sections where I was walking, but I felt ok about that as it seemed everyone I chatted to along the way said the same, a really demanding route.

You’d think as well the downhill bits would be easier, just trot along and let gravity do the hard work but don’t be fooled, gravity is not your friend when your thighs feel like jelly and your knees are begging you to stop pounding them. But all that drama aside the run as an experience was great, the public and marshals on the way were fab and kept your spirits up and even when I finished the first lap and had a big low at having to effectively start again.  I managed to keep going by a combination of techniques, and little goals.  Seeing a lamp post in the distance and promising myself to keep jogging to that point or if I had to walk then making sure it was only to the top of the hill and then I’d get jogging again.  Overall the method I use the most is to ask myself “can you take one more step?” It’s such a small effort to just move your leg one more pace that I haven’t yet had to answer “No” so as long as I can keep saying yes to that question then it’s just a matter of time before I finish.

As it was my finishing time was actually better than I expected, I was hoping initially to do it in less than 5 hours but with the hills and walking I thought that was out of the window really. But by the end of it I clocked up 4 hours 38 mins which I was absolutely chuffed with as it was half an hour better than the time I managed before doing the Alnwick to Bamburgh coast marathon last year.

So with all this fairly positive training why am I feeling this looming fear for the big day? Well it’s mostly because each section feels like it’s the best I can do in isolation, and I have to do them all together, one after the other.  Getting out of the pool I’m jelly legged and tired but I have to do it in open water and get straight on a bike.  For the ride I’m happy with 16 miles of hills but 56?!  And as for the run, I know I can do a marathon but can I manage half the distance but with nearly 3 times the height?!

So I guess this month’s main message to myself is to keep hammering out the training miles and when I ask myself the question “can you take one more step?” to always answer YES!Image


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