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  • Writer's picturefinnfitzgerald2

Winter Update

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Right, it's been a little while!

The second half of last year didn't go entirely to plan, so I haven't been all that motivated to post on this blog. After Outlaw Holkham I planned to get stuck into training for 70.3 Venice. As ever, life had other plans and the Italians called a snap election meaning that the race had to be postponed. I then moved house and changed job which meant training took a little bit of a back seat. In the end I decided that rather than rebook my flights at a ridiculous price, I would skip the race and apply for a refund. On the bright side, removing the pressure of racing turned out quite well, because I went out a few weeks later and set a marathon PB!

At least we got some cool pictures at Holkham!

Anyway, on to 2023 and life is a lot more settled meaning I am back to spending nearly all my free time training or thinking about training. As has been the plan for a couple of years now, I will be doing at least one full distance race in 2023. I'm already in training for the Ironman European Championships in Hamburg and could add another later in the year depending on how I come out the other side. After Ironman Vichy, it took nearly 6 weeks before I felt like I could train properly again so I don't want to commit to a second Ironman this season just yet.

While Hamburg is the big focus, I have a few other races already in the calendar which I'm also hoping to do well in. The first of those is 70.3 Lanzarote in March. This is far earlier in the season than I would normally race, but it comes almost exactly 10 weeks before Hamburg so it should act well as a prep race where I can dial in my nutrition and get any silly mistakes out of the way. It's also quite a tough 70.3, with a bike leg that takes in 1017m of elevation, a rolling run course and temperatures that I won't be aclimatised to so early in the year. I'm hoping this makes the race a little closer to an Ironman effort than a super flat and fast race would.

Lastly, I've signed up for the Helvellyn Triathlon in September. This is a bucket list race for many people and one that I'd heard of even before I made the transition to triathlon. The course is incredible, with a swim in Ullswater lake, a brutal bike leg on harsh Lake District roads and a trail run up Hellvellyn itself. There are plenty of videos on youtube of the athletes forced to hands-on scramble over the top before they descend towards the finish. It's the first time I'll have done a triathlon like this and it'll be quite a nice change of pace.

I also have some pretty big news... I've got a coach! Yep, to take things up a level, I thought it was time that the aspiring coach, got a coach. It's been really refreshing having someone able to look at the bigger picture and give feedback on my training. Volume wise, not much has changed, but since November I have done a significantly greater portion of my workouts at a higher intensity. I neglected a lot of VO2 Max and Threshold work last year, scared that I could be doing too much and might burn out. Having a coach on board has reassured me that I'm not overdoing.

It's quite a big change from last season, where I fell into the trap of trying to copy what was trendy at the time. The 'Norwegian method' is very effective if you have 30+ hours a week to train, but I don't, so doing 15 hours a week with very little intensity kept me fit but I probably wasn't getting the best bang for my buck. Having said that, it's given me a good platform to up my weekly TSS without increasing volume this year, and I've remained largely injury and illness free despite quite a big increase in weekly TSS. For comparison 5 weeks out from my first major race last year, I was averaging 566 TSS/week. This year, again 5 weeks out from my first major race, I am averaging 687 TSS/week, but my weekly training volume has not increased.

I already feel really fit this year, but the proof will be in the pudding, and I don't know yet if the change in approach is sustainable long term or whether it will translate into good race results. Regardless, I am enjoying training a lot at the moment, and it's really fun to run and ride fast again. I'm even feeling strong in the water for the first time in a long time.

I've got a trail marathon up in the Scottish Borders this weekend which should be fun. I'm doing the race with a couple of friends and we've all agreed to treat it as a long training day although it'll be interesting to see if we can keep to that come race day. If I can find time I'll post a race report on here next week which should include some stunning pictures of Scotland's best trails.

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