After the two BIG endurance sessions last week I was ready for a recovery week. But what what does a recover week look like in a build phase for Kona?

Weekly totals

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.11.58


I can’t think back to what the swim set was today but the Monday morning masters sessions at JCC continue to be one of the toughest sets of the week. The sessions that Karen plans are generally focused on threshold work over longer sets and they are always a solid way to start to the week, especially after a heavy weekend of triathlon training. There are so many successful swimmers in each lane from pro triathletes, worlds masters swimming champions, Olympic triathletes and open water champions and record holding Channel swimmers. This must be one of the best groups to swim with in the UK and I’m so grateful to be able to be pushed by these legends every morning.

After the swim I had time for 30 minutes in the gym to run through some mobility drills and then finished with a variety of deadlifts (single leg, straight leg) and box jumps.

Swim = 1 hour
S&C = 30 mins


The usual Tuesday drill day at the masters swim. The drills and IM strokes add a bit of nice variety to just swimming front crawl every session, but I still can’t fly!

An easier threshold bike set this today of 4 x 7 minutes (@102% of VO2 ) on the turbo straight into a brick run of 4 x 2 km. Each 2km was run at threshold pace which totaled about 7.5 mins per interval. In total, I spent an hour at or above threshold during the bike and run and with short recovery.

Swim = 50 mins
Bike = 1 hour
Run = 40 mins


An easy ride to the pool and back for the morning swim.

Nothing special at all about all the ride and with no intensity. I had planned to ride an extra easy 2 hours on the way home from the pool but my legs didn’t feel great after the session last night and my rear mech wasn’t shifting properly so I diverted to the bike shop instead and had a chat to the lads at Woodrups whilst they repaired it.

Bike and Bike = Total 1 hour, easy
Swim = 1 hour


A fourth consecutive day of swimming. The session today was coached by Andy Learmonth (dad of Jess Learmonth). Andy is an old school swim coach and there was a load of kick sets involved today!

Later in the afternoon I completed an easy hour running on the trails through Meanwood Valley park. It’s so nice to get off the road or canal and onto soft ground, especially for the easier workouts like this. My legs were still feeling pretty empty and I was more than happy that it was an easier day.

Swim = 50 minutes
Run = 1 hour


A double session day of mobility and strength and conditioning. In the morning I met magic man Paul Wray, a PT and functional specialist, and we ran through a load of mobility drills and functional exercises focusing on single leg balance and hip, ankle and shoulder mobility. These sessions have been a great addition into my program in recent months and I can feel the difference in the pool and running.

After work, I was at the gym again to go to a pilates class but the instructor running it was on holiday so I went through my usual s&c program with a variety of deadlifts and a core routine.

Mobility and S&C = 1h45 mins


Part of my recovery weeks involve reducing the duration of the sessions but maintaining the intensity. That meant todays usual long ride was only a 2.5 hour turbo set. The intensity remained high with blocks of intervals of 15 – 25 minutes at 80 – 95% of FTP. The turbo is a massive benefit for sessions like these. No faff in riding outside and the ride being disrupted by traffic and n**head car drivers. In a primitive attempt at heat acclimation, I rode without the fan turned on and the squelchy puddle inside my shoes after 2.5 hours was enough of a sign that the temperature was certainly higher than usual! I’ll be doing some more specialist heat acclimation before heading out to Kona which I’ll report about in a later blog.

Off the bike I ran a hard 8km along the canal descending through each km. With 5 weeks until Kona I’ve really had to accelerate the increase in distance and intensity of my runs so that I can complete the key sessions I know I need to prepare myself to run the best marathon possible on race day. These hard runs off the bike are about building confidence and getting acquainted running on tired legs.

Swim = 1h50mins
Ride =2 hours 30 minutes
Run= 30 minutes


This was my first structured long run since before Ironman Nice. The first 12km I ran steady along a hilly route that brought me out on the canal about 7km from home. From there I increased the pace and ran at threshold for the last 7km. Physical development but also mental training to be able to tolerate running hard when fatigued. Another focus of the session was training on low fuel and I ran without breakfast or any nutrition during the workout. Really happy with how quickly my run is getting back to where it was in May when I was in decent running shape.

I spent the remainder of the day with my feet up recovering and preparing for my PhD Viva examination the morning….

Run = 1 h 25 minutes

That’s now 5 weeks completed and I’m halfway through the build phase for Kona. Just 5 weeks left until the race and 4 weeks remaining in the UK. My swim and bike numbers are looking as good as they ever have and I’m focused to continue building these over the next 5 weeks. My run is certainly rapidly improving from where I was 4 weeks ago and I’m getting to a point where I can run pain free for the first time since Nice in June. Actually, including the month of running I missed in the run up to Nice because of my sprained ankle, I haven’t been able to run consistently and with any purpose since May. Over the next 5 weeks I’ll be focusing on building my race pace for the run and become comfortable being uncomfortable. Doing this will involve a lot of runs building pace and hard runs off the bike. I have 1 key run session planned for a couple of weeks time (which is a repeat of a run I did in the build up to Ironman Wales last year). If I can complete that then I will know that my run is on track and I will be going into Kona feeling confident across the swim, bike and run.

Volume isn’t everything for a training plan but here is an illustration of the ramped up focus going into this training phase. I looked back at my training history and this August was my second biggest month of training (by hours) that I’ve completed. This wouldn’t be a equal comparison of intensity though as the bulk of my riding is now done on the turbo which has a much greater stimulus and TSS accumulation for a similar amount of time on the road.Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 21.29.22

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s