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Latest blog from Robbie

Blog 1 from Robbie Whitaker

After finally achieving my main goal of 2012 by qualifying for Kona at Ironman Wales I finished off the year with an attempt at the Preston marathon to see what I was capable of in a standalone race. I thought I’d made myself suffer in races before but marathon running brings a new high (or low depending on which way you look at it). It hurt from the minute I set off to the minute I crossed the line, and then somewhat for the following few days. However crossing the finish line also signified the end of structured training for 2012 as I decided to focus on my up coming medical finals. I still tried to get out whenever I could however the turbo trainer became my new best friend.

Now that my exams are all done and passed I can finally look forward to all that 2013 has to offer.

I am starting the year with 4 weeks out in New Zealand working in the A&E department of Rotorua Hospital. Although this is primarily a medical placement, I won’t lie, I am using my free time to catch up on a few base miles. In fact riding and running out here is one of the best ways to see the local scenery (its pretty impressive) so its kind of killing two birds with one stone. The only problem is I often find myself just rolling along taking in the views rather then turning the pedals. Its definitely been a shock to the system going from only a few hours a week on the turbo to getting in close to 20hrs of training this week but I want to make the most of it before I return to the UK.

I am going to be focusing on two main races this year. The first is IM Austria. I won’t hide the fact that I entered it purely based on the fact it’s a fast course and I’m aiming for a fast time.  Whether or not I can better Sweden’s 9:02 I’m not entirely sure but I would like to think that my running is getting better and my bike will be in the same region. There were still a few mistakes I made in that race and I’m only looking for a few minutes to break that 9hr mark.

The other will be Kona. I have no targets for this race other then to get round, finish the course and get the t-shirt. It may seem a little defeatist of me but realistically I wont have the time to train as I do now and I have struggled to race in the heat before. It doesn’t mean that I wont give it my best, just that my dream was always just to make it to Kona and now I want to go there and enjoy the race rather then set myself up for disappointment.

There will be a few races before that but as of yet I’m not sure what I plan on racing. Last year I raced a lot and I think it started to tire me out by then end. I was using races to replace interval sessions as I’m not very self motivated when it comes to the hard sessions. In fact the only time I ever ran faster then my marathon pace last year is in a race. Up until now I don’t think this has been a problem as I like to think of fitness as a pyramid. You have your base endurance at the bottom and then the speed and interval sessions form the peak. The height of the peak is limited by the size of the base. Building a good base takes years of training and I still don’t think I am quite there yet. I see too many people jump straight into interval training looking for that quick fix and finding themselves injured or burnt out. If your main goal is weight loss then yes you’re on the right track and don’t bother with endurance training, intervals are the way to go, but if you’re looking to reach your potential then give your body time to adapt. I started to incorporate some intervals into my cycling last year and hopefully will do the same for my running this summer.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned swimming at all. The short answer is because there is nothing to say about it. A) I have swum properly for at least 2 months and b) I don’t intend to start again until I am back in the UK. I worked hard on my swimming last year but never really felt I made the improvement I deserved and as such felt a little frustrated with it. I lost my motivation to swim and decided the break was needed. I am only now just starting to feel like I want to get back in the pool. I know the break won’t have helped but mentally I needed it.

I will post again when I am back in the UK and have a firm out line of the up coming season.

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