A Triathletes Holiday

I have not blogged for what seems like decades! But that’s OK as I have been too busy training. I am currently writing this blog on the flight home from a two and half week holiday in Egypt.

A triathletes holiday that is.

So in the past two weeks I have done over 27 hours and 30 minutes training. Broken down as 5 hours 30 minutes swimming, just under 15 hours cycling and 7 hours and 30 minutes running.

In terms of distance I biked 320K and ran 90K (more than two marathons). Swimming was mainly done on time not distance as the pools there are not of any given length. I did measure the main pool I swum in using the Garmin and it said 30 metres per length so I swum at least 1,500 metres minimum per session. One swim session I did was a 1 hour 20 minutes session covering over 3,000 metres.

Top sessions for me included:

  • a sprint distance tri in which the 5K run at the end I did 1 minute outside my stand alone 5K PB. With a hilly run in the heat and to be in this sort of shape already, was a nice start to the boot camp / holiday.
  • A ‘Big training day’ of 1 hour run, straight into a 2 hour bike and then a 1 hour swim – I started this set at 5.30 am to make sure I finished the four hour set before it got too hot
  • Lots of brick sessions; run then bike, bike then run, bike – run – bike, swim – run etc
  • My step daughter Leigh was with us too so I did some good rides and runs with her. Good as she is getting stronger and stronger in preparation for her 100K bike ride in circa 6 weeks time, and also good as she paces me very well and allows me to do some easier sets at Ironman marathon pace. The company isn’t bad either.

I was also very sensible. Which isn’t always the case! I did a lot of ‘listening to my body’ and adapting the excellent sessions Mark set for me, to suite. So I trained every day, but one day I was tired so I skipped the afternoon swim in exchange for a power nap and the last few days I was starting to feel the sessions I had put in so I threw in an easier session then the one planned and when that still didn’t do the trick I had a rest day the day before the scheduled rest day. So I didn’t train the last two days (the last full day and today – flight day). So I could start absorbing all the sessions I put in. This is partly to do with the second week being 15 and a half hours and the first week only 12 hours. I also didn’t want to be knackered and feel low for the flight home and catch something on the flight.

The first rest day I didn’t set the alarm, the first time all holiday, and I didn’t wake up until after 9.30 – almost 12 hours sleep!

But the sessions were absolutely fabulous. I don’t think any session across all of the days was the same. I did a lot of running, cycling and swimming but I didn’t just ride or just run or just swim. The 1 hour 20 mins swim set was easy to do as in it went very quickly (which isn’t always the case for an 80 minute pool swim). It was easy as the structure of the session meant the time flew by, so much so I actually did 85 minutes before I realized I had finished.

The run and bike sessions were mainly set to Heart Rates, so I could go harder one day and easier the next and training some time with Leigh (at a slower pace) meant I could do some extra sessions. So I did the swim session set by Mark and added an easy run off the swim with Leigh – If I felt OK.

So a typical day was up at 6 am, on the road by 6.30 am, morning training done by 8 – 8.30 am (usually a run or bike or both) then breakfast, pool, lunch, pool again or a massage or chores (limited) then a swim in the late afternoon and a run straight after. No late nights out partying, no alcohol and healthy eating.

Some days were a lay in and a swim in the morning and a longer run in the evening – mainly to fit around the heat. I had to have the run and hard bike sessions done by 8 am to avoid melting if I trained after that time. Then training after 4pm to avoid the afternoon heat.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing, some key learnings included:

  • don’t swim for a hour at 9am with no sun cream on or you WILL burn your back
  • don’t think wearing a cycle helmet, whilst riding at 8am, will stop you burning your head.
  • AND don’t, under any circumstances, ride a bike in Egypt at night time, as most car, coach and truck drivers don’t use their lights at night time.

So all in all an excellent two weeks and I feel very confident for the half ironman on the 11th May but more importantly the biggy in 8 and a half weeks time.

Hopefully an open water swim this weekend coming will be agreeable to Mark, as all of my swimming in Egypt was pool swimming, although I did practice sighting, but I want to do an open water, wetsuit swim before the half ironman on the 11th May.

Bring it on!

Thanks for reading.