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Surrey hills ride

Used the Serpentine's Surrey hills ride as a guide, but started from Hammersmith. Getting out into the hills was fairly unpleasant - lots of traffic, particularly near Hampton Court and so had a slow first hour. There were four major peaks on this ride, and I managed to conquer three of them, but Leith Hill beat me - had to stop for a breather half way up. Managed to feed myself ok with gels and shot bloks and energy drink, would have needed more to run after!

Overall, happy with the ride - my ability to deal with hills is far greater than previously, especially in a 115km ride, so just need to keep pushing distance and hills.

Some doubt at present about whether I can manage a hilly 180km in 07:30, but my GPS said I did 1200m climb today (bikeroutetoaster reckoned 1000m, not sure which is more accurate) and the course has 1260m.

Probably worth finding some hills that are like the IMCH hills to give an idea what they're like.

Full details at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/28181822

Tyre pressure matters!

So, a sluggish start to tonight's rollers session. I tested that the rollers weren't obstructed, that the wheels were turning fine. What I didn't check was tyre pressure.

After 30 mins of an awful session, I got the pump out. Plugging it in I found my tyres were at 40 PSI! Oops!

Pumped them back up to 90, and what a difference - from struggling to exceed 24kph for longer than a minute at a time, to exceeding 30kph for the rest of the session.

Yet another chink in the armour stopping me shelling out on a powermeter - I'd at least have spotted that the effort required was much bigger than it should have been.

Ironman goals

I plan to do Ironman Switzerland in 14 hours, broken down as follows:

  • Swim: 1h30
  • Bike: 7h30
  • Run: 4h40

plus 20 mins for transitions (very generous but allows for full changes of clothes from swim to bike and bike to run)

All of those should be doable, and indeed the run is 40 mins longer than I'd expect a standalone marathon to take. It may be the case that with a wetsuit on, I can do 3.8km quicker than 1h30, but there's no rush for me for that leg.

Other than injury, which obviously I won't seek out, what are the major obstacles to achieving this?


I will create a proper nutrition plan for the day - in summary I plan to use provided water and add energy powder, and also eat bars, gels, and shot bloks. I haven't yet decided how to add savoury to my diet - mini cheddars have pros and cons.


Basically be as comfortable as I can (so wear cycle shorts rather than trishorts) - training will hopefully improve my stamina to stay in one position for that long, my main aggravators currently are my hands and wrists (aerobars could help there) and lower back (made worse by hills). My knees are another possible source of pain, especially on hills. Speaking of hills, they are probably my main limiter, in both directions - so I plan to do more hill intervals, probably on weeknights once it gets dark later.


As long as I don't destroy myself on the bike, and can provide myself sufficient calories, I see the run as mostly mental - being able to just keep pushing forward even though I'm tired and would like a nice rest now.

Ironman Switzerland - 18 weeks to go

After a week off for skiing, and accompanying weight gain due to excessive reblochon and vin rouge, I had plenty of motivation for a solid week's training. The Cheltenham horse racing festival meant that lunch break training was a little more risky than normal, but by Friday I'd decided that I could escape for an hour.

This week I managed two swims, two bikes and three runs. The long bike was my longest ride ever, at 125kms, but it's still a long way short of the Ironman bike leg. My run today following that long bike really hurt towards the end - again, at 25km it's well short of the run leg distance.

I'll just have to keep extending my distances until they're a lot closer to IM distance. I'm going to move over to the FIRST marathon plan from now - there are 16 weeks on the plan, which will fit realistically with my schedule, as I have two weeks where I doubt I'll get any decent running in.

I have plans to post a separate update about my nutrition thoughts for the race day, and another update finally stating what my goal times are (while I could just say it's my first IM and I'm just aiming to compete, I wouldn't be training as hard as I am if I didn't have marginally more ambitious plans). Along with my goals I'll also detail what the limiters are, and how I propose to overcome them.

A quick update

Missed quite a few weekly updates - it's now less than 19 weeks to go! Scary! I should probably be in the build phase now, but I need to remind myself what that looks like.

Although my training log should shortly show what I've been up to (I've been a bit remiss there too), it's worth briefly laying it out. I spent last week skiing in Les Arcs, which probably wasn't ideal triathlon training but did make for a lovely holiday. Since my return I've been active nearly every day; before I left I had a pretty active week too until the Thursday at least.

Need to get properly into the swing of things, although the calendar isn't looking great for the long rides - there'll be a few missed ones in the next few months, due to holidays (although hoping to get a bike or two done in Lanzarote) and weddings (three in six weekends from May to June).

Grrr! Pool closed!

Fitting in three pool sessions around everything else is tricky. As a result, I typically swim in the morning on Monday and Wednesday, due to other constraints. Yesterday I restricted my alcohol intake to a glass of wine with dinner, and went sure we went to bed at a reasonably sensible hour, and set my alarm for 06:45. I didn't sleep brilliantly, so I didn't quite get up then, but nevertheless I was at the pool for 07:30. I could see the pool was empty, excitingly, as I love having the pool to myself.

Unfortunately this was accompanied by a sign saying 'Pool closed until further notice' - apparently they are having technical problems. So no swim for me today :(. I hate getting up early for no good reason!

Ironman Switzerland - 22 weeks to go

Type Hours done Hours planned Total distance Max distance
Swim 1.25 3 2.3km 2.3km
Bike 5 7 107km 107km
Run 4 4 45km 26.2km
Core 0 0.5    
Total 10.25 14.5    

What went well

Excellent long bike, excellent long run, a reasonable number of training hours done.

What didn't go well

Fell off my bike, which hurt, missed a lot of swimming and cycling - mostly due to social commitments - although struggling with the front mech for an hour instead of training for an hour didn't help.

Thoughts for next week's plan

I didn't actually have a plan for this week - just a planned number of sessions. I think in general I'll continue with that - I know I want to get three swims, three bikes and three runs done per week, so it's just a matter of fitting them in where I can. Anything more structured than that seems to fail when it meets the real world.

Chilterns loop

Having been tricked several times into long hilly rides, I decided I'd plan this one. In the end, it was longer, and quite hilly, but less hilly per km, and possibly less climbing overall.

We started at Tring station, and had a long climb to start with (I'd loaded the worst of the climbing onto the start of the route), which wasn't too bad. About 10km in though, we had a major descent (signposted at 14%). This was icy and at the first bend, I hit the ice and went straight over, sliding down the hill. Didn't realise it at the time but I'd ripped my jacket and the top underneath. I did notice my elbow hurt and so did my hip, but the rest of me was unharmed and the bike was fine. We took the decision to walk down the hill. When it started flattening out, I tried again but was quickly wobbled into a hedge! Once out into daylight, most of the rest of the roads were fine, with just a couple of icy patches.

The final trip was 107km, taking in some gorgeous Chilterns villages, such as Quainton, which totally lives up to its name, and Whitchurch. After a very slow first hour we made some reasonable times (for me, anyway - anything above an average of 20kph seems reasonable at the moment)

The full course is http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=103293

Ironman Switzerland - 23 weeks to go

Type Hours done Hours planned Total distance Max distance
Swim 3.75 3 8.1km 2.7km
Bike 5 5.5 98km 82km
Run 1.5 3.75 15.8km 8.6km
Core 0.25 0.5    
Total 10.5 12.75    

What went well

Made it out for the long bike, a good solid 4+ hour ride. Did all three swim sessions.

What didn't go well

Long ride was supposed to be Saturday but got canned due to hangover and lack of organisation from my side, in terms of just getting there. Made up for it today, but meant that the long run got missed. Also missed a roller session and its companion core session.

Thoughts for next week's plan

More cycling, as usual. And also more running. Perhaps the same amount of swimming, happy with that at least.

Ironman Switzerland - 24 weeks to go

Type Hours done Hours planned Total distance Max distance
Swim 2.5 3 5.2km 2.6km
Bike 4 4 73km 60km
Run 3.5 5.25 39.25km 21.75km
Core 0.25 0.5    
Total 9.75 12.75    

What went well

Good long bike and long run, met all of my planned targets after Tuesday. Had a good but hard long ride in the Surrey Hills yesterday, legs didn't hurt as badly as last time but still need to build up to a heavy hilly ride.

What didn't go well

Monday was an unplanned rest day due to excess work. Tuesday evening was also written off. Missed one swim, one run, one bike and one core session as a result. Forgot to take my shoes in on Thursday, although just moved the run to Friday instead.

Thoughts for next week's plan

I should prioritise the bike more - I managed three runs this week but only two bikes - I can already run a half marathon, so probably need more practice cycling. Should have a great long ride next weekend - plan is for a longer, but less steep, ride.

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