Ironman Cairns 2016 Race Week is Here!

With one week till the 2016 Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship at Cairns I reminisce and analyze the lead-up of this season which started 21 weeks ago after a 5 week Transition period. The transition period included a 2 week cruise to the South Pacific that helped me to my heaviest and unhealthiest in 5 years. But, now I sit here at my healthiest while again embracing a mostly whole-foods, plant based diet.

It’s hard to believe that this season almost never was. See, although Fiona and I are in a new season, the mindset and the purpose behind it all is unchanged. We had originally signed up for Cairns 70.3 as it seemed like there was a large group of Alice Springs triathletes interesting in heading East. There was a lot of excitement around it and I wanted to be part of it. So in September 2015, I signed up for the June 2016 race. But, with 4 weeks to go till Ironman Busselton, what if Fiona and I didn’t qualify for Kona? There would be no point in racing a 70.3 for us since this was not in-line with our goals. So we upgraded to the full at Cairns and got back to focusing on Busso.

After a solid race, both Fiona (2nd a/g, sub-10) and Karen (1st a/g in 1st Ironman at 60 years young) qualified for the 2016 Ironman World Championship. They were the first two athletes from Alice Springs in the 32 years of triathlon in the red-center to qualify for the World Championship. Their accomplishments were highlighted through nominations to the NT Sportsperson of the year awards with massive contributions of support led specifically by Deb Page, who also had an incredible performance taking 4th in her a/g, less than 3 minutes out of the podium, and in her first Ironman as a 56 years of age. It was and still is an honor to me to be referred to all of these amazing ladies as “Coach”.

I certainly had weaknesses to focus on after last season including pacing, muscular endurance, and cramping. I knew how I would change things up this season by ditching intervals and sticking to Strava Pursuits. I would make sure lifting lasted the entire season. I would incorporate a Wednesday long ride of 3-4 hours by lowering frequency and increasing intensity through larger single session volumes. I would also pick-up the pace on my long runs and do nearly all my long runs inside on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness. On the nutrition side, I’d practice throughout my training. I’d also look to hit my lowest ever racing weight by: not buying Coles Bakery Muffins, not having large pancakes from work, not having Red Bulls before weekday-morning swims etc. And it all worked.

With a plan of annual training hours near 1,000 hours, my plan for the season came to 458 hours by this point. I covered 413 hours. This puts me 50 hours lower than last season. This is for 2 reasons. 1) last season we had a 40 hour training week camp in the Grampians, Victoria and 2) I didn’t hold myself to absolutely hitting the hours no-matter-what.

So I stuck to my core plan based off of Joe Friels book Your Best Triathlon and kicked it up with my own self-coaching ideas. The 19.7hours per week was split between swim/bike/run at 20%/57%/24% which is in-line with my most successful seasons. All of this supported annual goals and put me on pace for swimming 500,000 meters, cycling 10,000 miles (16,000KM), and running 1,600 miles (2,600KM) in the year.

There is so much more I could tell but I’ll cut this one “short”.

Over the last few weeks some were asking me if I was ready. “I will be” was my typical reply.

Today I did my 4th key Brick session and I nailed it.

Later in the afternoon after spending a few hours putting this video together I went for my final key workout of the season in the pool. Like most Sunday afternoons, the 25m indoor pool was basically empty. The workout: 400 w/u KPC Medley, 2x100m at race pace start, 9x200m, 100m c/d. And I nailed that one too: 1:31, 1:33, 3:06, 3:06, 3:06, 3:05, 3:05, 3:03, 3:50 (was thinking about the race and did 250m, oops), 3:06, 3:05. A year ago, I did this very workout on 3:20…

This season I’m also racing for a cause beyond myself. The American-Based Wounded Warrior Project supports returning servicemen who face visible and invisible wounds like PTSD. The funds help nurture these warriors back to life after war and death. Please help me by contributing today.

With 7 days to go, or however you’re supposed to count days in a countdown, I know what to do and I am so excited to again race IRONMAN.

Kevin Patrick Coyle

Alice Springs – Australia – June 5th, 2016 

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