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Preparing for my first ULTRAMAN!



The thought of this scares me. 3 days and 2 nights of endurance racing is something that I never thought of trying to accomplish and yet I sit here writing this post staring down a deep and dark hole of what it would look like. Scaring even seasoned ultra endurance athletes, this daunting task remains as I look to induct myself into the world of ultra-marathons and Ultraman endurance races.

This is going to be one hell of a mental ride.

That’s actually the one thing I’m looking forward to being that little bit of a masochist that I am.


1. DOING THE RESEARCH

As any newbie would do, I Googled just about everything, from shoes, vests, underpants to caps, hats and even suggested routes. I’m not entirely new having completed numerous Ironman races before but those were in the realms of three disciplines and the run never exceeded a full marathon. If the blisters and abrasions were a gauge of how tough it would be during a marathon, would be pure torture and I needed to make sure that my run would be as comfortable as possible to last the full 84km on day 3.


Shoes have always been an issue for me due to my wide toe box and there have been many occasions where the blisters on the soles of my feet either required me to slow down or stop completely. I figured maybe I needed something that was less of a racer and had more cushion and fell back on my Altra Long Peak. Strange how after so many pairs that I actually settled on a pair of trail shoes.


I’m definitely heading for another bike fit once the shops re-open post COVID-19 to ensure the fit would be more comfortable over the currently more aggressive setup.


2. PLANNING MY APPROACH

As always, I always like to use a frame to approach my training and races and this one was relatively straightforward having planning my Ironman races before. The only difference this time round was I needed to look at self-efficacy as a much larger factor and primed it as one of the key factors.




Constructing a framework for success has always been something I use to approach my training and races. I focused more on the ultra-marathon bit because day 3 would be the real test of my mettle and resolve to get it done.


3. NAILING THE TRAINING

Any framework is great but the devil is in the execution. My training plan would involve running of course but also not forgetting the importance of cross training on the bike. This meant longer sessions on the bike and run which would be quite different from what I used to do before where my bike and run sessions were harder and shorter but broken up into multiple sessions a day. I knew that with an ultraman or ultra-marathon in mind that I would need to get used to the saddle and long hours in my shoes.


Essentially, I broke it down into multiple segments and phases and to ensure that my training would be as structured as my work would allow it to be. On days that I couldn’t clock longer sessions I would prepare for hard speedy sessions but my main focus would be a very high volume setup. The eventual goal would be 100km of running in a week and at least 600-700km of cycling during the same duration.


The COVID-19 situation has however put a real dent in my swimming preparation due to the closure of pools and public facilities but my goal was to be able to clock anywhere between 25 – 30km a week. Based on my calculations, that would require anywhere between 25 – 30 hours a week and I’m currently at best clocking 18 – 20 hours. Total volume of training would also be an issue and this is something that I knew would pose a problem with my current job responsibilities.


True to myself, my approach always has been to try my best and while I may never hit the volume, it would be a good test of my commitment to my work, my well-being as well as my physical and mental resilience.


4. PLANNING THE LOGISTICS

The plan for this can only take place after the current COVID-19 situation and may prove to be extremely costly. Hence it may be a case where I need to run my own races instead of participating in one as the world slowly opens up. Stay tuned here as i’ll be updating the blog with my own races but here’s a checklist of what i’ll be attempting to do:


30km road run

50km road run

70km road run

100km road run

5km pool swim

7km pool swim

10km pool swim

180km bike

250km bike

300km bike

I think most of this is going to be done in my own time but let’s all hope that the current situation lifts soon.


Hopefully, this entry helps some of you but it really is a way for me to stay accountable to myself as well as share my blabbering as someone who is always on his laptop.


Till the next time!


Onward.



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