There is no doubt that this year’s new Ironman cycle loop has it all – tough long climbs, fast sections where you can put your foot down, technical twists and turns and of course breath taking scenery over the tops.
Yes, this year’s new bike route will be more of a challenge than last year and the years before that. However, it can be tamed and with focused, consistent Base work you will fall in love with it.
Quite rightly this year’s Ironman will require consistency of training and I can confidently say that none of us will be able to wing it. So, here’s my advice on how to tame the bike circuit.
First – Get round one lap of the course without racing it at least five times (March and April) or if you can’t get to Bolton choose a route near you with a similar profile. Feel the course rather than racing it. The focus is to synchronise the brain with the body. By this I mean internalise all the climbs, the flats, the descents, the tough bits, the technical sections, the pot holes, where you can put your foot down and where you can stretch off on the bike if need be. Add your brick runs, no matter how short, to each of these rides.
Second – Begin to extend the distance while still in your Base phase rather than racing it for the next seven weeks. For example begin from Pennington Flash and then each time extend a bit further. Again, add your brick runs, no matter how short, to each of these session.
Thirdly – Get on a few challenging Sportives to add variety to your rides – Cheshire Cat is always a great early one in the year to have under your belt and if you are fortunate enough the Majorca 312 is another one.
Fourthly, as you hit the middle of May you can begin to increase you speed and work on your nutrition plan with the brick runs extended.
Finally, if you want to have the best Ironman event you can have, you will have to ensure that you do not NEGLECT the following – Quality of sleep, your nutrition before, during and after training, being consistent with your training, having rest days and easy training weeks, working on your weaknesses while still focusing on your strengths, having fun with those you train with, family life and your friends.
Please, please, please do not compare yourself with others but rather focus on how far you are progressing. Remember why you are competing in this year’s Ironman – For me the whole experience is about enhancing my life and have fun with like-minded people who are passionate about what they are doing.