It’s Better to Burn out Than Fade Away
How would you describe an Ironman event?
It’s a long distance triathlon, consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, then a 112 mile bike ride, finishing with a full 26.2 mile marathon run. This has to be done in under 17 hours.
What is your diet like in the run up to an Ironman event?
My diet is kept really simple and basic in the lead up to races. I usually have porridge for breakfast with coconut milk and almonds. Then chicken and rice for lunch, followed by fish and rice for dinner. My fruit and vegetable intake is minimal during race week to prevent any gastric problems during the race. In terms of snacks I make my own energy and
recovery bars and will eat these as and when I feel hungry.
What do you eat on the day to keep you well fuelled?
On the day, I start with bowl of ActiVeman Oatein, which is a blend of protein and oats, as well as my usual breakfast, which is usually around 800-1,000 calories worth.
What training do you do to prepare for a race?
Training is all about the volume in the o season and I use a polarised approach to training. It’s lots of base work and skill work in the o season and then the speed work starts in season and before big races. When it comes to functional training, I keep this specific to triathlon and work on a time under tension basis for my core foundations work and functional movement work. I will then do a CrossFit WOD 4X week to hit different areas of fitness and all around strength endurance.
What exercises would you recommend for a PT looking to do an Ironman event?
Swim/bike/run – it’s that simple to get used to the kit. Make sure you choose quality training over quantity. But at the end of the day you have to build up your base fitness. You need to ensure you are biomechanically sound and aligned before you start and you then need to do lots of mobility and functional work throughout training.
What advice would you give people who are training and taking part in Ironman events?
Get your nutrition right and make sure you know the course you are doing so you can train how you mean to race. If it’s hilly, do lots of hill reps on the bike and run. If it’s fl at, do lots of time trialling on flat courses to get used to the threshold power you’ll have to put out.
The most important thing is mindset and setting out realistic time lines for training and your first Ironman event. If you have never done triathlon before then enter some local events to get used to transition and all the different elements of racings. Also ensure you taper your training pre event so you are ready to race and not overtrained.
How did you get into Ironman events?
I used to be in the GB alpine ski team and stopped skiing due to injury and snapping the crank arm on a push bike. This resulted in 30 stitches in my leg. I used cycling as a means of rehab and then quickly took up road racing for cycling. A er a couple of seasons I had
a big crash in a road race sprinting for a podium fi nish. I decided a er that I had been in too many crashes in road racing, which is the nature of the beast and I was better suited to time trialling. I then decided to enter an Ironman and gave myself nine months to train for it.
What is appealing about this style of event?
I love ultra endurance events – I also run ultra marathons and it’s testing the mental and physical strength of human will and the human body. Each event I do I find out how much I can push and how deep I can dig.
I then learn more about myself and what I am able to do. I have always lived by the principle that it’s better to burn out than fade away. And I take that as life is for living, it’s for adventure, so when we eventually reach the end I want to look back on my life and say wow what a ride, what a rush and be proud of the things I’ve done. Many great athletes have inspired me over the years and there is one thing that is always present in every one of them. Fierce determination of the mind, to overcome the body.