Preparing for Ironman Wales - The Build Up

1 Year To Go: I signed up for Ironman Wales a year ago, since then it's been at the back of my mind thinking about everything I needed to do to ensure I could cross the finish line (and with a smile on my face!)

To complete an Ironman you need to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and run 26.2 miles back to back.

It's not just the training that you need to be on top of to complete an Ironman race - there's all the logistics surrounding it. Nutrition, race plan, kit, accommodation, travel, support, nutrition before the race, recording the race.  I needed to have a plan in place for all of these prior to arriving in Wales. Mark Kleanthous my Ironmate and Coach was a great help and spent an hour talking through my nutrition and race prep in the week before the race.

Ironman To Do List

Ironman Wales Nutrition Plan

The reason it's so important to have all this figured out before you arrive at your Ironman event, is because when you get there you have a whole new list of things to focus on.

Ironman Kit and race preparation lists

Leaving London, got the supporters kit ready!

2 Days To go:

It was a really helpful to arrive in Tenby on Thursday evening giving me plenty of time to prepare ahead of the race on Sunday. On Friday morning we headed down to the sea first thing and took a beautiful dip. It was as flat as a pancake and made me feel amazing. What a start to the day

Sunrise swim

Food for the soul

No wetsuit needed, bliss

Next we headed into Tenby, registered for my race pack, did the official sea swim session, went to the race briefing and most importantly - bought 'Ironman Wales' kit in the Expo. Mum and I had a lot of fun in there!

Registering for my race pack, excited!

If you're name is on the list, you are going in!

Shopping at Ironman Wales (didn't buy all this!)

Loving the new kit

Exploring Tenby

Tenby - lovely seaside town

Flags are up, sun is out

Mum being amazing

Beach where the action will kick off

Official sea swim session

Race briefing - get's the blood pumping!

Charley and my Mother-in-Law, Nicola arrived on Friday evening, we had a lovely dinner in a local pub - I had this ridiculous steak dish with potato gratin, portobello mushroom and blue cheese on top - wow! I headed to bed around 10pm.

Charley arrived, Friday evening

Calm evening in Tenby

1 Day To Go:

Saturday morning I woke up about 6am by an orange glow filtering across the room. I knew it was the sunrise, so I grabbed my cameras and headed straight to the beach. I savoured the calm and beauty in my surroundings thinking of what I would be doing in just 24 hours time.

Sunrise in Saundersfoot, day before Ironman Wales

Morning glow on the town

Triathletes training

Ironman Wales

Calm before the storm - Ironman Wales

I had to check my bike, run and bike bags into transition before 10am in Tenby. I had 5 different coloured bags and they weren't matching the ones in the race manual! I was a little stressed as I knew anything I didn't put into transition I wouldn't have on the day. I began to feel the pressure around me of all the athletes with their expensive bikes and aero helmets. Just kept telling myself, it's not all about the bike...

Our lovely cottage on the bike route

Checking into transition - looking a little anxious!

Bike in transition

After checking in, we went back to our gorgeous cottage in Saundersfoot and spent the day relaxing. It was ideal. I put my feet up and watched James Cracknell's Ride Across America (to get me in the endurance mind set!) Mum got really into reading the triathlon magazines they had given me at the expo and Charley busied himself in the kitchen making us nutritious food to eat and a chocolate cake for post race.

Charley Baking

Nutrition for bike ready

Mum showing me the cycle route on the map

Ironman cupcakes!

Aim: to be as calm as the sea

On Mark's orders I had dinner at 5pm and was in bed by 8:30. Was actually quite tired the night before the race and my throat felt sore so I wanted an early night.

It really helped me to have such great company and supporters before, during and after the race. Tenby/Saundersfoot is a perfect place for a long weekend break and we all had a great time. If you are thinking of racing there, it shouldn't be difficult to convince your nearest and dearest they are coming for a 'holiday'. My Mother-in-law's parting words were "I couldn't have had more fun if I had done the Ironman myself".

Ironman Training in Spain - Hills, Sweat, Beers and Skinny Dipping

Ironman Training in Spain - Hills, Sweat, Beers and Skinny Dipping

Last week I travelled to Spain with 27 triathletes to immerse myself in a week of intensive training for my impending Ironman. My aim was to train as hard as I could, to learn about how I should be training rather than the 'winging it' style I've had up until now, to feel motivated about my training and to have fun.