Half Ironman training week 11

I just noticed that I did two “week 3” recaps so we are now “skipping” to week 11, with the final week before my first half ironman just beginning.

I almost dropped out this week. If you’ve been reading the blog regularly, you’ll know I’ve had quite a few issues these last few weeks – sickness, cold, car driving into my bike… I had sent my bike off to be looked at as it looked as if the chainstay was cracked so I was sans bike for two weeks and getting very fed up of taking the tube. My sister came up to visit and brought my mum’s spare bike.

As spare bikes go, it’s pretty good – a racy carbon fibre Trek. But firstly I realised that she had road bike pedals whereas I have MTBs, and as they weren’t shimano the crank we have didn’t seem to work to remove them. Then as I looked at the bike more I realised that it is set up in such an aero position that I am not used to – it would be very uncomfortable to cycle 90km on and I didn’t have time to get it set up to me.

Then I started thinking more. There are hundreds of blog posts out there complaining about people who show up for races undertrained. It’s not big, it’s not cool, it’s not clever. You have to respect the race distance. Do the training. Don’t show up undertrained.

And that was what I was planning on doing. I was planning on showing up with absolutely no idea whether I could make the distance. Showing up knowing I might be in agony on a strange bike before the end of the cycle, unable to even start the run. Showing up having done a month-long complete taper, with no long runs above 9 miles in the whole training cycle. It was not the training I would have planned for myself.

I thought about dropping out. I actually was going to drop out. I thought about how much relief I would feel if I said I wasn’t going to do it – longer to get my leg properly healed and ready, able to start my “off season” now without the guilt I’ve been feeling and concentrate on yoga and strength work for a few weeks. I was not going to do the race – I wasn’t ready for it.

Then the next day I had a call from the bike people, telling me that it was in fact just the protective coating that was cracked and there was no damage to the carbon itself. It’s being delivered back to me at work today. Then I spoke to my sister who pointed out that I had done so much training – I had trained so hard over the whole summer with this as my goal. I had been in the best shape of my life. Okay, it wouldn’t be the race I had planned, but it would be a shame to let all that training go to waste.

I decided to see it as a fun day out. Just a chance to cycle in the beautiful New Forest with my family cheering me on. Okay, I’d have to swim first, but I love open water swimming – that’s just something fun to do before the cycle. And the run? Well, we’ll see. There’s no need to finish it if I’m really pain. Or I can just forget about the time limit and take as long as I need to get over that line. It’ll be fine. It will be fun?

So I will be doing the race – sometimes it is okay to show up undertrained, sometimes there is a reason. And let’s not judge the people who show up for races in all different states of fitness, for all different reasons.

In terms of a training recap, there is not very much to report. I spent most of the week attempting to get over a horrible cold and chesty cough which saw me lose my voice entirely on Monday. Rest was the aim of the game – as per usual! I had a great Pilates class that left my core muscles burning and a good, relaxing yoga class. I had a physio session in which he gave me a couple of exercises to do, and two runs.

The first was on a treadmill – 20 minutes of 4 min running at half ironman pace (ie, very slow) and 1 minute walking. I found it hard even at that slow pace, although on the bright side, my leg didn’t hurt during the run or after.

The second was outdoors. 40 minutes with the same “intervals” as before. It had been a beautifully sunny morning, but shortly after I left for my run the sky clouded over and the heavens literally opened. And we are not just talking a little bit of drizzle – huge, heavy raindrops splattering down and drenching me within seconds. And I loved it! It had been so long since I had been exercising outside that I just absolutely loved it and had a huge smile on my face. I did have a bit of pain or, at least, discomfort, down my left thigh and in my glute muscle but it wasn’t too bad.

And that, other than a short cycle from home to Paddington station, was it for the week! A total of 3 hrs 40 min training. Plus hours and hours of dancing at my cousin’s wedding. The first of our generation to get married, we caught the train from London to Wales on Saturday morning. It was a bit of a disaster due to a rugby world cup match in Cardiff which meant all the trains were just absolutely full – we arrived in plenty of time for our train but just could not get on it. We managed to make our way to Bristol but there was no way we were making it on any train to Wales. My lovely sister and her boyfriend had driven for over an hour to pick us up from Bristol. Two hours later we arrived at the wedding, dashing in at the back in our shorts & t-shirts for the ceremony and then very quickly getting changed in between the ceremony and the reception!

Lots of dancing, lots of drinking, lots of chatting – it was an absolutely wonderful day.



  1. I think there’s a huge difference between being undertrained because you can’t be arsed and/or don’t respect the race distance and being undertrained due to injury, work/life pressures and/or unforeseen circumstances. I also think it’s awful to judge people for being in a certain shape or lack of it, as long as they don’t impede other competitors (by standing in the wrong start zone, for example, or failng to move aside when being overtaken).

    If I manage the York marathon I will be horribly undertrained, but I still want to give it a go because I love the race so much. I just don’t want to go in injured (apart from my permanent nerve impingement) and I’m still recovering from burning myself out so badly earlier in the year.

    Your sister’s dress is absolutely gorgeous – what a beautiful choice. She looks beyond stunning!

    • I’m on a commenting spree…. thank you for this Jess, it was exactly what I needed to hear re turning up undertrained. I completely understand and love the ethos of wanting to do a race because you love and enjoy it so much, even if things haven’t gone as planned. Plus everyone has different standards, person A saying they are undertrained could have in fact done double the training of person B who is happy with how much training they’ve done! (p.s. cousin’s wedding, not my sisters!! But yes, she was absolutely stunning, I was very proud and happy!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s