UK Deca Ironman: 10 days to go…

The countdown begins…all my big blocks of training are complete and I am tapering before the start next Friday.

The nerves are starting to grow and I am busying myself making the final arrangements (buying tyres, inner tubes, chamois cream, etc.), adding content to the blog (please ask any questions below about the event, preparation, etc.). I even tried to fix the dishwasher to take my mind off things…bad idea..!!!

Now, we wash up by hand...oops!

Now, we wash up by hand…oops!

Because the event is so long I am going to burn a lot of calories. I did a lot of base training on the bike at low intensities throughout the Winter which has conditioned my body to burn fat more efficiently. In ultra endurance events of this kind it is not carbohydrate you need to worry about but eating enough fat. Takeaway pizza is my food of choice. So if you are coming to visit me at the event bring a large pizza, bbq wings, garlic bread and a tub of Haagen-Dazs all I ask is that you do not expect me to share it.

Before big events or key races I get nervous about becoming injured. As well as the money aspect, I have been training over six months for this event and the thought of tripping on a curb, getting stepped on by a large stiletto or being hit in the achilles with a shopping trolley in the supermarket frightens me – all of these have happened in the past. I do not wrap myself in cotton wool but it is on my mind. I do not really get ill so that does not bother me as much. I put that down to a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Deca: Body Management

I am hoping to go in to the deca relatively injury free, how I come out of it is another matter.

I’ve been very careful in my build up to never push my body too far. Progressive overloading is a valuable coaching practice but knowing when to back off is equally important if you’re going to make it to the start line.

Like most people, I get pains in various places but unlike most, I never train on an injury. I’ve learned over the years that ‘running it off’ doesn’t work and can cost you severely in the long term.

My experience helps me to decide how I should manage an injury e.g. I had an inside left knee issue, which was solved by getting a bike fit (Freespeed), calve pain meant having orthotics made (The Gait Lab), an ITB issue – foam roller and more stretching.


I used to suffer with shoulder discomfort but I’ve since out that down to a bad catch. I’ve been doing a lot of technique work throughout the Winter an attempt to improve my catch and use my back muscles more than my shoulder muscles. My shoulders haven’t been as bad as previous years so either my technique is improving or I’m not swimming enough.


During the big blocks of training a couple of months ago, I did a lot of back-to-back bike rides of varying distances and intensities. The main issue I discovered was saddle sores. Apart from being amusing, it’s a real concern. In recent rides I’ve tried all kinds of creams, clothing and saddles. The best saddle I’ve used is a Cobb V-Flow Max, which was fantastic at the TriGrandPrix. I’m also going to use two pairs of cycling shorts and Assos Cream, which is great.

As you may know, there are a number of considerations to take in to account when setting up your bike. For short races, like sprint and standard distance triathlons, I want the most power possible and I’ll suffer some discomfort to get it. In Ironman races and for the deca, comfort and the ability to run off the bike are my main concerns. I will have a road bike as backup (in case of mechanicals or a crash) but I will start the event on my TT bike, which I got Retul fitted by Richard at Freespeed. I raced the TriGrandPrix (92km) in the new position and had one of my best rides to date considering the the amount of wind. Running off the bike was also good. And, I was also happy to find that my shoulders, back and neck felt great the next day.


An obvious concern due to the impact, I always get some issues in a year. What has been niggling me recently is my right hip. Current thinking is that it’s down to changing my running shoes between a long distance pair (Saucony Pro Grid Guide) I use for the majority of my training and my preferred racing pair (Newton Distancia S) that I use in events (Paris Marathon and the TriGrandPrix).

To tackle this, I’ve been doing more focused stretching and some yoga aimed specifically at athletes. I also use a foam roller (for my back, ITB, Quads, hamstrings and calves), tennis ball (for my glutes, ITB and back) and a massage stick (for my quads and calves). All of these will be coming with me to the New Forest.