Hello everyone and thanks for reading this blog. My name is Kevin Coyle and I am an IRONMAN athlete. I began running in 2009, became a triathlete in 2010, and have now competed in 12 IRONMANs and 32 marathons/ultras. My marathon performances spread from 3:02 (Alice Springs’16) to 4:03 (Kona’16) and my ironman performances spread from 9:22 (Western Australia’15) to 10:49 (Challenge Wanaka’13). These performances have included highs like qualifying for the Boston Marathon, qualifying and finishing the IRONMAN World Championship and lows like cramping to a walk during the 9:22 performance, and 4 pit stops at Kona. In terms of nutrition we have gone from eating KFC and Burger King after some long rides to being vegan. Please note that all 3 highs: BQ, Kona, and lowest weight all came with a vegan diet.
So with these array of experiences, what did 2017 include and how would I rank it? There were 12 triathlons including Ironman New Zealand, Ironman Cairns, and Ironman Arizona. There were also 12 separate running races in which I had a solid 1:27 half marathon. But, Kona was not reached.
The year included many changes and stressful events like moving from Australia to the USA, starting a new job, buying a house, buying an RV, buying 2 new cars, buying a 120gallon fish tank, moving our Sydney fur-child to the USA, Fiona’s green card, etc. On top of it, our diet was not taken seriously. But in another area of my life, my mom began running at 59 years old competing in several 5k’s and she became vegan losing 20pounds + and getting to a weight she hasn’t been to since high school, 40 years ago.
To be successful at IRONMAN you must have discipline and consistency. I lacked both of these traits this year; I was not accountable. But, we used it as a transition year, accepting our performances may not be there but continue to do what we love; triathlon. At the same time we can use this to see what works and what doesn’t.
Our good mate and never-die legend Rob was Coach for us in most of 2016. I had tough swims in Busso’15 (1:03) and Cairns’16 (1:01) but showed some light with a 1:03 in Kona. But in 2017 the swim quality really faded with (1:05) NZ, (1:02) Cairns, (1:01) AZ. While the latter was my 2nd fastest IM Swim, the flat water in Tempe town lake was tribute to that. I swam 434KM in the year down (9%) from 2016 and 7% from 2015. Volume was down, and Quality was nearly non-existent. I believe that lifting helped me throughout the year as well was the 12 races, but I’m way better than this. I have built the first half of 2018 around 3-4 swims /week, quality intervals, and limiting most to 1hour or 4KM.
I cycled 7,726 miles in 2017. This was down 25% from the prior year of 10,353 miles and also down 18% from the 2015 total. We did much more work in the mountains like Mount Lemmon and Madera Canyon, we also had two epic rides or 148miles and 152 miles of 7hours and longer. I did nearly match prior FTP’s with 330 as well but come race day at IMAZ my performance was just not where I planned it to be. We focused on intervals, long rides, and hill climbing, but again I lacked volume and quantity. 2018 will remove all epic bike rides and capping at 5hr-5hr30min, picking up Zwift, focusing on FTP and race pace work, and get back to cycling 4-5X/week.
I ran 1,641 miles. Up 10% from the prior year and nearly equal to the 2014-2015 averages. And while I did run 1:27, that was on a large net-downhill. I started off IMAZ season with 45miles/week on average but that quickly fell to 30/week; this is simply not enough. The quality wasn’t there, volume wasn’t great enough, and we had only 7 runs of more than 2hr30min. In 2018 I’ve planned 3-6runs/week with intervals of 3min-8min in length and tempo during long runs at race pace and slightly faster.
818 hours of total training which is down (13%) from the prior year of 944hrs and down from the 924hrs in 2015. I am a volume guy and it appears that the 900’s work better for me. I’ve planned a manageable volume for the first half during the 70.3 season. Then I’ll look for 25 – 30 hour weeks for Ironman training with a Coached plan.
The year of transition is over. We’re established. So now it’s time to roll with what works. Goodbye meat, eggs, milk, and fish. I don’t need you. I’ll go from my current 194 pounds and get back down to the 178 I was while being vegan. Stress will be removed and we will look forward to racing. The 2nd half of the season will look to be led with Fluid Movements Triathlon out of Melbourne, Australia.
This year is back to the requirements of Triathlon Success: Discipline and Consistency!