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  • Writer's pictureEmily Red

Where, When, How? 🏊‍♀️🚵‍♀️🏃‍♀️

The Ironman race that I’m doing is in Bolton, UK. Ideally, I’d love to go to some far away country and do an event in a beautiful beach location, or in the mountains, but that will have to wait. Bolton is literally on my doorstep. I can cycle to the start line in 30 mins (not that I will on race day), which means I can test ride the actual course, and I can swim in Pennington Flash, and I can run the streets of Bolton, all before the big day, giving me a really good head start. Then, once I’m hooked (whether I complete it or not and after the ‘I’m never doing this again’ phase), I’ll have the confidence to branch out and try a different course, like Lanzarote or Germany/Austria.

Ironman UK Bolton is being held on 4th July 2021, this means I had just over a year to train for the race (because I decided to participate and kicked off my training during the first lockdown). I feel like that’s an ideal amount of time to gradually increase my training, increase my knowledge, increase my kit/equipment needed and fully prepare.

I started following this training plan by Josh Muskin.

It breaks the year up into 5 different phases:






During lockdown one, I started the acclimation phase (minus the swimming and cross training). I completed 10 weeks of running & cycling, brought my running from 3 miles up to 8 miles comfortably, and brought my cycling up to 1.5 hrs. When the pools reopened during the summer of 2020, I repeated the acclimation phase, but as written. This means I added in 2 swims a week and 2 cross training sessions (the cross training initially starts as squatting in the acclimation phase and progresses on to CrossFit in the later phases).

I did however, alter the plan ever so slightly. This plan is based on a 7 day week, but in the Fire Service we work an 8 day week. I work 2 days, followed by 2 nights, then I have 4 days off. Rather than try to fit in a long training session either before or after a 10.5 hr day shift, I added in another training day to make it an 8 day training plan, and moved one of the cross training sessions to this extra day, which happily, I could do as PT whilst at work. This allowed me to do only one workout when I’m between night shifts (rather than two), as typically, I don’t have many hours between work, and I’m usually sleeping for a lot of them!

This additional day also meant that every week I had time to do my long run and long ride on my days off, then have a rest day on my first day back at work. It was definitely a trial and error type thing, but it worked out well for kicking off this immense challenge.

I have now changed my training plan to the 80/20 Triathlon, which I started when the outdoor pools reopened up this year. I will cover this in a later post.

I’m gradually building up my kit list of everything I think I’ll need to comfortably compete in the race, but it’s taken time & money. I bought myself a sparkly new triathlon bike & smart trainer (by far the biggest expense), and I bought some new running trainers during lockdown one which already need replacing. I will also cover this in a later post.

But, none of the kit matters if I don’t get the training right! The next few blogs will cover each discipline & how I’m progressing.

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