Training for Ironman New Zealand

In 7 weeks, Fiona, Duncan, Mark, and I will travel from Alice Springs, Australia to Taupo, New Zealand to compete in Ironman New Zealand. This will be my 10th ironman, Fiona’s 9th, and Mark & Duncan’s first. Today was the last day of rest and test week of Build 1. Unfortunately, because of our 2 week holiday to the USA, I gained weight and weighed in at 192 pounds and lost most of my fitness, the Build phase turned into a Base phase with the goal of hitting lots of volume and getting our heart rate adjusted by growing mitochondria, developing our capillaries, and all the other technical stuff that comes with consistent training. So this phase turned into a 5 weeks Base Building period.

The total volume was 124.3 hours averaging 26.4hours during the build weeks. This was accomplished by riding to work multiple times per week and training north of 5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The swim totaled 66.9km swimming only 3x/week after a 3 week break when I got a Kona tattoo in the USA and didn’t easily have access to a pool. Our swim coach has given us structured strength sets in sessions that are now in the range of 4.5km-5.2km. We took a video yesterday as well and have received some great critiques. We bought Fiona a brand new Roka Maverick Elite wetsuit; a $700USD wetsuit for $218USD from I’m not keen on buying a new $450 Roka suit since we only use them 2-3 times per year.

The bike has totaled 1,415 miles so far with rides of 94miles, 90miles, 124miles, 121miles, and todays 112miles (180KM). My metrics in TrianingPeaks Premium Edition have been based off of my old FTP of 357 but my Friday’s 20min test using the Kinetic Kurt protocal  (basically Hunter Allen/Coogans protocal) came in at only 299FTP. While I typically stick to Joe Friel’s 30min test outside, this was a 20min effort inside. But, it was the first real test of the season so there is only one way to move this needle in the next 7 weeks.

The run has been really good. We have run heaps on trails in the Outback Summer heat to keep the HR high and build muscular endurance. We’ve had 4 runs over 2 hours including one, 3hour run with decent HR and this being the focus vs pace. However, Fiona has been using a run program from Sean Foster of Fluid Movements this season. (He was a former pro who has been to Kona). Again, I have been focused on volume this season averaging 37.5 miles per week during this phase.

We were lifting 1-2x/week but I’m going to completely stop that now for the rest of the season so that I can focus on Sport-Specificity. However, my back has been killing me on the TT lately so will focus on doing core 1-3x/week which I haven’t done once all season.

This weekend I bought brand new Sidi T4 triathlon cycling cleats as well as the Shimano TR9’s for Fiona. Her shoes are 6+ years old, mine ar 4+ and starting to wear out now. We bought these through wiggle.

Overall, I’ve learned that even having been consistent in Ironman training for nearly 5 years now, I need the 26 week program. I need the Prep, Base, Build. I also need to make sure my effort is in the correct zone by keeping my FTP tests current even though I know it would be painful at the start of the season. I’ve also learned that while treadmill’s have their place (I’ve seen Rhinny and Daniela on them lately on FB), it can’t be a substitute for outside factors: inside you’re 2% faster.

The diet has been OK this season. We have had fish a few times and I didn’t really hold back at the holidays as we endulged in steak. I still don’t drink breastmilk from a cow or eat yogurt. We have had eggs a couple times of which once came from fresh hens at Chelseas farm. So I’m definitely not vegetarian or my claimed mostly-vegan this season but I don’t use whey protein at all (only plant based Fusion protein) and candy from Christmas is always tough. I am drinking wine/champagne 1-3x/week and although I’m down to 180pounds in the last 5 weeks, I will only get down to my prior 178 and lower if I adopt and stick to the whole foods-plant based diet; I’ve proven this last season.

Thursday – I supported Fiona in her 10km Time Trial Run. I went 47:36 in the nasty heat outside running 7:40/mile at 145HR. I was a bit faster on Saturday when I ran 18.4miles on the treadmill inside at 7:21/mile on HR of 129 close to IM Race Pace HR of 132. During the 2hr15min run I watched U2 Live in Concert and Bon Jovi. (I’m from Jersey).

Friday – I did the FTP test of 299 and set the goal of 238NP or 80% for the Sunday bike ride. I ended up with holding 231NP on a very low 117HR in ideal conditions. I covered the 90km in 2:23:40 but was stronger on the climb and into the wind on the way back finishing the 180KM ride in 4:58:30. Fiona went 5:55. My TSS of 298 is quite substantial at 77%IF. But I expect these to come up significantly over the next phase as my last 4 ironmans were in the 250’s.

I did become a Silver All World Athlete through Ironman this year. (top 5% in the world). Although I went to Kona last year, my performance of 125th was just too low to get enough points for Gold AWA. But with plans of NZ, Cairns, and Arizona this year, hopefully we’ll be gold again next year (since the rankings are based off of your top 3 performances). Gold AWA last year was great since at the Asia-Pacific Championship we got a free VIP breakfast and hung out with Liz Blatchford and then we had the VIP breakfast in Kona hanging out with Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and Peter Ried.

NZ Goals: 55/4:59/3:25

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to look me up if you have any questions.

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