And so the half ironman countdown begins! I am using Busselton Half Ironman here in Western Australia as an example but this can blog can be thought of for any half ironman, anywhere in the world.
I am keen to write this as a coaching diary, but also as what you can be, should be doing to help your preparation.
Just as a little caveat, I am making an assumption that you are fit to train, healthy and have been checked by your doctor to say that this is a good idea!
So 15 weeks out. Let's assume you are starting some way from your race fitness. We all have to start somewhere right?
Absolutely, so here is what I want you to do this week. We have to find out where you are starting from. Let's be honest: Saying you want to qualify for the world championships is one thing. However, we are only 15 weeks out... this week is about finding out where you are now...
There are a couple of ways to do this!
You can do it the hard way... or the easy, well, easier way. The hard way is to do everything by yourself.
Half Ironman is not an easy journey.
Even if you are an experienced campaigner its almost impossible to remain objective throughout. In my professional opinion, the best way to do it would be to get a coach. At F4L Triathlon Coaching one of our specialties is preparing for a half ironman triathlon. If you are are interested then check out our Half Ironman Performance plan.
"Well, he would say that wouldn't he, he is a coach who gets paid to train athletes."
You are right. I would. Even as a professional coach, and with all the experience I have as an athlete, I personally would consider having another coach setting my program. It is almost impossible to remain completely focused on your own training with out guidance.
Of course, the triathlete needs to be motivated to train, recover properly, stick to their plan, but the coach gives them accountability and objectivity to do it. The coach will dramatically improve your use of time and energy. F4L coaches will help you with consistent, balanced and sustainable training.
So would I suggest a coach? In the words of Jack Nicholson in 'A Few Good Men'...
"You are god damn right I would!"
However, if you are still not convinced (rolls eyes!) and want to try it by yourself... then I will provide a little help. I am not going to set your sessions for you. But I will offer some guidance on what to do each week, and, some helpful tips leading into your event.
This is what you need to do this week. We need a bench mark. So lets do a simple test or three. Remember, this is just guidance... if I was coaching you, these would be specific sessions.
First up a swim time trial. Nothing complicated, I want you to get in and do a warm up for about 10-15min. Then I want you to swim a time trial. For a half ironman - anything between 400m and 1800m. You choose. Swim it, make a note of your time. For the record, swim it as fast as you can... its not just a cruisey swim.
I'll tell you what to do with it next week!
By the way you should really do the tests on different days of the week. Make a note of the days... we may do another test later and its always good to make test weeks as similar as possible.
Second a bike test... doesn't really matter about the specifics here. I need you to go and find a good bit of road or a circuit of about 20km (you could do 4 circuits of 5km) - whatever you have available. The test itself should be about half an hourThe more similar terrain to your event the better. So if its Busselton, then you need a flat road... if it is hilly race pick a hilly road... you get the idea! You can also use a wind trainer.
You do a warm up and then you are going to go hard for that test... Lift whatever data you can. If you have power... fantastic... do you know what to do with it? Speed, cadence, heart rate... what ever you have. They are all only guides anyway. The big one you need is the distance, the time on the stopwatch and your body. Pay attention to it (the body)... you will need it later! Make a note of the time and distance after your test - if you have done it on the road - also make a note of the conditions, wind, rain, snow....
Finally a run test...
You could go and run a half marathon! Bad idea by the way... it will take a week to recover from. I would like you to run a 5km Park Run or a local 10km race. Rock up to the run. Do a warm up... we will talk about specific race warm ups at a later date... then do the run. Make a note of your time and if you have it your heart rate data.
Good well done.
One final thing I want you to do this week is to write down how your body felt in all of those tests. Using a scale of 1 to 10, where one is dead and 10 is pumped up ready to kick Jan Frodeno's butt, how did you feel in those tests? I would also like you to note in words how you felt: Do you feel like you set off too quick? Did you have anything left at the end? Did you think, "Oh my god, what have I signed up for?" Don't worry, it'll be reet!
Next week I'll tell you what you can do with the results from your tests...
So until then... have... hmmm, what's the word... oh yes... have 'fun' testing.
If you don't, "Give me a call I'll fly with you."
If you are looking to get fit for the 2017/2018 season in WA, you can sign up for a program with F4L Triathlon Coaching... now is the time to do that.
PS. Jack Nicholson (Col. Nathan R. Jessop in 'A Few Good Men') actually said, "You're god damn right I did!"
PPS. For those who are interested, it was Tom Skerritt (Cmdr. Mike 'Viper' Metcalf) who said, "Give me a call, I'll fly with you" in Top Gun.