With just 12 weeks until Ironman Cairns it’s time to ramp up the training from ‘ticking things over’ to starting a decent build. The runs and rides will get longer as the days get shorter with Winter on the way. Four, five and maybe even six hour rides on Sunday’s will be the norm again, running 15-20km before a full days work will be a frequent occurrence and the never ending post swim hunger… Well that’s never left actually!
This Ironman will be number 4, and while anything can happen during a race or the build up (as I learnt 2 weeks before Ironman Cairns last year when I was involved in an accident) I am going into this race prep with a different mindset. Until now my training has been focussed on putting kilometres in the bank so to speak. With very little athletic background when I started the sport, then a quick transition into long distance racing that has been imperative. Getting used to being in the saddle for hours upon end was my main focus. Then building from absolutely no running background to a half marathon for my first 70.3, then building again knowing I had to do a marathon off a 180km bike ride… Well that took a lot of base training. Whilst just seeing how far/fast I can go has been good and I’ve constantly surprised myself, I’m ready to set myself some specific goals.
My goals are specific and time related, I don’t know just yet if they are possible… They are within reach, but only if I apply myself 100% over the next 12 weeks. Consistency is what it will come down to, day in day out making every session count, knowing the purpose of each and every one and executing it well. If the point of a run is to keep the heart rate low then I will do that, if the session requires 95% efforts that seem impossible, well I’ll give it everything I’ve got. Leaving no stones unturned between now and race day is my focus.
I might sound positive and motivated, which I am right now, but somehow I always manage to talk myself down and plant the seed of doubt… There’s a constant battle of ‘what if I can?’ vs ‘who are you kidding, you can’t’. So the other goal of this ironman build is to stay positive, not just towards the training but towards myself. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend.” And thats going to be on my wall, there will be fat days, tired days, slow days when I probably wont be able to hit the targets I want to. Instead of beating myself up about these, I will (hopefully) find a positive, and either do what I can to change the situation, or learn a lesson and move on. Am I exhausted or just sooky, do I need a rest day or to harden up? Am I actually the slowest runner in the whole wide world or am I exaggerating just a little bit?
I think day to day we could all probably be a little bit kinder to ourselves. Women in particular tend to beat up on themselves more than men, we are our own biggest critics. So next time someone pays you a compliment, hold your head high, accept it and say thanks, don’t brush it off or say that podium finish was “just luck”. When you look in the mirror tomorrow morning, smile, love what you see, you are more than just a little bit amazing. And if you go on a run whether it be 2km or 20km pat yourself on the back, you are changing your world for the better one step at a time.
So here goes, let the Cairns Ironman build begin, hundreds of kilometres will be swum, cycled and run over the next 3 months. To go back to what I said earlier about consistency being key, I plan to do that with both the training and positive mindset. I am going to try and share the highs, lows, key build phases, some training sessions and anything else that comes to mind along the way. Each night I will write down what I am grateful for that day, and at the end of the build that will give me something to think about during the 12 hours I’m racing Ironman Cairns (well less than that hopefully 😉 )
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Until next time, don’t let anyone say you can’t do something, even if it’s yourself.