20 months

Apparently there is something about being more likely to reach one’s goals if one writes them down, more so if other people know about them. The nature of the internet is that it just lets me plaster my views and random thoughts, and if anyone wants to know them other than my unfortunate friends and immediate family, so much the better.

So, after not having done a tri this millenium, and even then only sprints, I’ve set myself an Ironman in 2018, and after some deliberation have chosen Ironman Kalmar. There exists a series of rationales here, being:

  • I turn 40 in 2018
  • Kalmar is the nearest thing to a flat Ironman outside of Florida, and as I live in the next flattest part of the world (Cambridgeshire), I was looking for some specificity
  • My wonderful wife-to-be is Swedish, and I love Sweden
  • Having basically not swum in 15 years, and never run longer than 10 miles, I’m going to need a lot of work to be somewhat satisfied with a result
  • Possibly most necessary, I have hit a point with rowing that everything I do unless I train full time will be downhill from here (and probably has been so for the last few years). I need to find something to get BETTER at.

There are a few obstacles that I need to surmount first (yes, another bullet point list)

  • At present I don’t even own a bike, let alone a tri bike, having broken yet ANOTHER bike. I’ve not had a bike since 1996 that I haven’t broken. Not crashes, just JRAs (Just Riding Along). The list is long and varied (2*Specialized broken at chainstay/seatstay junction, 2*steel road bikes with brands I cannot remember broken ditto, another composite frame broken ditto, Cannondale MTB broken at seat cluster). Taught me a little about good customer service – Specialized is bloody awesome. If i could afford a Shiv, I would.
  • My swimming has been problematic recently. The last three wetsuited open water swims I’ve done have incurred panic attacks, the last one at Shiplake last year I DNFd. Breathing and shortness of breath, whilst leading the swim. Practice and refamiliarisation, and returning to a sleeveless wetsuit.
  • Running, as mentioned, I’ve never gone longer than an hour. So to shift my 98kg frame (soon to be significantly less) for 26 miles is going to be an interesting one.

In my favour:

  • Good and very experienced people around to talk to about tris and preparation and training. If I can’t learn from guys who are going well under 9:00 at 40+, and others who have done bike course records, I’ve got to be dumber than even I can possibly believe.
  • I used to be able to swim pretty well – I don’t think I ever got beaten out of the water in a sprint, so if I can get back to 80% of that,  I’ll be OK.
  • Power output is pretty good – 350 watts for an hour on the rowing machine, possibly the most inefficient way of generating power ever designed, so I’ll be looking for an FTP of a bit over 400 watts. The latest TriathlonPlus mag suggests that if I’m aiming for a sub 10, I’m looking for 74-75% of that. Yep… good luck with that.
  • A few years of training background…


I’ll break up my ideas and conceits and plans later, but for today, the first swim session.

400 w/up as 100 free/100 pull/ 2*100 build each 25.

400 drills as 1 stroke/6 kicks, closed fist, fingertip drag, and something else which escapes me.

Main set

3*100 pull on 15SR, 2*200 swim on 15 SR, 1*400 pull on 15 SR


200 m as alt backstroke/free by 50s.

Notes: None of this was done on 15 SR – various others in the lane, and not being over stressed about when I started my next. Lapped around 1:28-1:31 very comfortable (120-130HR). Struggled with maintaining correction to the water – a lot of “slip” underneath the body, and really moving very slowly indeed. Added 4*25m sprints to actually wake up, all about 14-15 seconds, which is dreadfully slow.