Thursday, 25 April 2013

My first bonk - An Outlaw training update

This Outlaw training has turned into a valuable learning experience. I thought I would let you all know the things I have learnt so fat so that you don't make some of the same mistakes I have.

On Saturday 20th April I set off on a training ride with the aim of completing 55 miles on the bike and then following this up with a 12 mile run.  This would serve as valuable training for my upcoming Ironman 70.3 race in Mallorca.

For those not in the know, an Ironman 70.3 race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a 13 mile run. As such Saturdays planned session would have been superb prep for Mallorca.

This training session alone taught me so much.

  1. Fuel regularly - Since I have started riding a bike I have never really understood when to eat to maintain energy outputs. I've dabbled with different strategies but have never got into trouble before. However on Saturday it all went horribly wrong. I didn't eat anything for over an hour on my way out and all of a sudden I felt like I had no power (my speed dropped by about 2mph) which was a weird feeling as I had been keeping a relatively fast pace. An energy bar later and 20 minutes helped cure this. I was back to maintaining a steady pace. Fast forward another hour and I had eaten nothing again. Wasn't I stupid. I lost all power again and felt like I was going backwards. I also started to feel light headed. This must have been the elusive bonk I had heard so much about. I had never felt so awful on the bike. BONKING is really unpleasant.
    • I now know what my body is capable of maintaining on long rides and have formulated a fuelling strategy so that I don't bonk again. I hope this works for Mallorca and Outlaw. My strategy will involve me taking on carbs every half an hour in the form of both energy bars and gels. I will alternate between these.
  2. Take things steady - After I had been on the bike for about 40 miles I caught sight of another cyclist ahead of me and thought to myself in that macho way that us men do. "Right I'm overtaking you" Cue chasing the other cyclist down for about 5 minutes. I breezed past him. Job done I thought. How wrong I was. I had expended so much extra energy catching the cyclist that I quickly got reovertaken by the cyclist about three minutes later. Oops that was not embarrassing.
    • Remember to race or ride your own ride, it is not a competition, especially on a training ride. It seems I had forgotten my mantra of "Complete not Compete"
  3. Bonking is not pleasant - Sorry to reinforce this but bonking on the bike really is not fun. This really affected my planned session. I went for my run off the bike but because I felt so awful from my bike ride I only managed three miles instead of the planned 12 miles.
    • Eat regularly on longer rides especially to complete a brick session as eating on the run is difficult.
The other things I have learnt since I started my 20 week training plan is that perseverance pays off.

This year I have been concentrating on my running a lot as it is my worst discipline as detailed in the following blog posts. 

This year alone I have improved my 5km time by 20% reducing it from 33:05 to 27:33. This has not been easy but I am starting to feel a lot better about my running. I'm not saying I enjoy it yet but I am starting to reap the rewards of my hard work.

To put my hard work into context, last year in total I ran 166 miles and to date this year I have run 170 miles. We are not even a third of the way through 2013 and I have already surpassed what I achieved in 2012.
Like I said perseverance pays off. Who knows what the rest of 2013 has in store with regards to my running. I am not setting any targets for my 5km time but I think it will continue to fall.

Hope you've enjoyed reading the lessons I have learnt. 

Thanks for supporting me in my quest and for the motivation via Twitter.

Remember I am not only doing this for myself but also for charity. If you feel like sponsoring me, you can do so via my Justgiving page.



"174 days cigarette and nicotine free and going strong"

1 comment:

  1. Well done Michael, Your about the same level as me, I quit smoking 18 months ago. Since then Ive done 3 sprint Tri's, 4 Half marathons, 100 Mile sportive and I'm doing Mallorca too. Life is good!