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Ironman Wales

London cyclist

Last year I declared that in 2013 I would do an Ironman race. Well I have now taken the crucial first step: I have signed up for Ironman Wales.

I immediately launched into an enthusiastic fitness campaign. It appears that the fitness gained by walking 1000 miles across a desert is not particularly transferable. Here is how I got on in my first training sessions:

  1. I ran 2 miles and was knackered. Still stiff 3 days later.
  2. I cycled 6 miles then got a puncture. Walked home.
  3. I swam 2 lengths of front crawl and was completely out of breath.

Here is what I must be able to do, consecutively, by September:

  1. Swim 2.4 miles
  2. Cycle 112 miles
  3. Run 26.2 miles

I’ve got some work to do!

What are you going to do in 2013 that seems exceedingly difficult / unlikely right now?

[UPDATE: I am ashamed to say that I withdrew my entry and did not do the Ironman. I had no very good excuse.]

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  1. A few resolutions in the howies office: Ruben’s aiming to total 3000km running this year, Chris is training for the UTMB next year and I’m trying to cycle 2013 miles in 2013 and knock some minutes off my 100 mile ride time.

    Keep it up Al, you’ll get there.

  2. Good luck with the training – I’m sure after a month you’ll be powering away making fantastic headway. Already over that first hurdle of signing up!

    The ‘off – road’ version of my work commute is a good training schedule for it – The Rossendale Way isnt especially bike friendly it turns out – hauling your bike over walls, gates, fences and peddling over those lovely grass tufts…. I only did it once.

    Got my first weekend bike tour of the year tomorrow- oh the weather! Legs not back in their usual cycling shape after all the last few months of rain, so pushing through snow might feel harder than it should.
    Thanks for the Other Rivers foldsheet – it’s really cool. Going to have a good look over it on my morning off on monday when I can relax for a bit.

    My challenge that seems insurmountable this year is actually work sad to say. Absorbing a full time sick leave post & someone’s half week reduced post is getting really hard after six months. So making the most of a slightly longer weekend 🙂

  3. In my case, the hardest challenge for 2013 will be cycle from Valladolid (in the middle of Spain) to Dunnet Head (the northest point in Scothland) and return.

    I’ll cycle to Santander (north of Spain), then I’ll take a ferry tu Plymouth. One day later I’ll start cycling across west England until Highlands and then return to Portsmouth cycling across east England. And then I’ll take another ferry to Santander and I’ll return home.

    I’ll do it during the summer with a hand-made bike lorry and a tent to sleep anywhere. I’ll spend more than one mounth doing it. Adventuremates are available for a part o whole journey.

  4. Good luck with your challenge, you’ll love it!

    I thought you might like to have a read of an interview I published on my site. Olympian Cassie Patten is training for Ironman Wales and shows its not an easy challenge even for a former world champ!

  5. Matt Carter Posted

    Well I finally got a place in the London Marathon after completing my first one in Paris last year, I started my marathon journey the previous year only to discover a heart defect from birth that needed surgery.

    Then someone I ride mountain bikes with suggested a group of us should do the coast to coast in a day, but there and back over 2 days (300miles). So I signed up for that having never done more than 50 miles before. I am blaming that one on you as I am just nearing the end of your round the world adventure. I figured if you can do it in Russia, I should be able to do it pampered in England.

    I’d also like to try a short Triathlon if these go well. Plus my home town is to host it’s first marathon this year and I thought it would be a shame not to enter that…

    All good fun with 3 kids…

  6. Peter Wallis Posted

    Hiya not a sporting activity, but to me this will certainly be difficult and success seems unlikely…finish decorating my flat! After three months work so far, it’s so hard to keep the motivational and procrastination demons at bay. I’ve got to say thanks to you Al, because I found a couple of your talks online which helped keep me going when I got stuck over the Xmas break 🙂

    Good luck with everyone’s training this year!

  7. Now I feel great! Cycled over 500 miles already this year with over 25,000 feet in elevation. Swum a mile this morning and could have done more. I’m not going to run anywhere. I need my knees! Get yourself back up Scudders Hill Al.

  8. Cycled all around the world and didn’t learn how to fix a puncture? 🙂

  9. raph taylor Posted

    Challenge of a different sort..:

    I upped sticks after 26 years on-and-off living in Yorkshire – the last 8 with my wife, and moved last August to start a new life and work just north of London. This lasted 4 months until my wife decided we needed to separate, which results in me leaving my entire life as well as my work as it was with her.
    I lost my dad to a freak cycling accident in October 2011 – he came off his bike, broke his neck and severed his spinal cord, and died two days later after being kept alive on life support.
    So after three very traumatic events in a relatively short space of time, I have a totally new direction to head in: I am applying for a work visa for New Zealand, and hope to be able to live, work and travel there for 12 months and see what comes. Hopefully it will involve some cycling and walking/camping, and ideally some WWOOFing (working voluntarily on organic farms), as well as a good chunk of whatever work I seek out. All to be recorded on an obligatory blog…

    Bring it on!

  10. Jim Hardy Posted

    I’m going to cycle from Seattle to LA this summer.

  11. Hi Al,

    I’m undertaking 10 Challenges 4 Cancer this year with the aim of raising over £2000 for cancer research. One of my challenges is an ‘Ironman’ over three consecutive days culminating in the London Marathon.

    I have three months until the challenge. I’m currently struggling to get past 10k running, haven’t swum in about 2 years and only bought a bike for Christmas. So I have plenty of work to do too!

    Training of any variety has never been a strength of mine however I am hopeful that these types of endurance challenges will mean that, one day, I’ll be able to complete a proper Ironman too…

    Good luck with your training,


  12. Ben Parish Posted

    Hey Al,

    Not quite sure how it has happened but I’ve signed up for two marathons this year, having previously only done a half.
    The first in April was both a sub conscious wish to push myself and do a marathon and also a competitive reaction to a question by my brother, which I hope will keep me training through the snow!
    I then signed up to the second one far to easily, on hearing that Yorkshire has a marathon this October organised by Jane Tomlinson’s For All charity. Must be crazy.
    Good luck with your training, are you doing smaller Olympic and Sprint events in the build up?

  13. Andy Jones Posted

    Your article years ago about the Devizes to Westminster canoe race inspired me to give it a go, so that’s the challenge for 2013 (+ a lot of cycling!)

  14. Philipp Pastor Posted

    Wow … I`d love to do that Ironman thing as well. The thing is … I came to Wales last year in September ( Im from Germany and 26 years old ) and live down in a village near Swansea and totally got into the sports thing because the nature is absolutely stunning here. I had 125 kg when I got here and was smoking a lot and was a lazy person pretty much ha but now I gave up smoking since I got here and I love to run and Im on the 85kg now But Im still worried that I couldnt make the race … I mean its ages ago since I had time to swim or ride my bike and I dunno if I could last that long in a swim haha maybe I can push myself to give it a try

    • Alastair Posted

      Maybe start with a smaller triathlon so you don’t get discouraged, then build up to the Ironman?

      • Philipp Pastor Posted

        Yeah that might be a the better way … I thought I should just sign in and do it but it wouldn’t be worth it if I wouldn’t even finish the swim 🙂

  15. Hi Al,
    Wow, best wishes on your Ironman race & training!
    My resolution #1 this year is to get to the goal of my first ever full marathon. I’ve never even been in a 10k race before, and now the race is a month away. My knees have been woken in surprise to say the least. Two years ago I cycled the length of Japan from Okinawa to Hokkaido for the reward of Japanese food. Now that feels like a cake…! A little more to go! 🙂

  16. David Chadwick Posted

    Hey good luck with the training fella. After completing many challenges last year. Im doing tough mudder in May 2013, and then moving on to complete my first ironman in 2014.
    Dont overtrain when it comes to the running. I screwed up my knees progressing too quickly. Went from 1.5 mile runs to 9 mile runs in 6 weeks. Bad idea, lol

  17. Good look in Tenby! Apparently the ride is pretty brutal though. Well my main challenge for 2013 will be to cycle from London to Vichy in France in just 3 days…

  18. Dave cooter Posted

    I too am committing to ironman Wales but I’ve completed this distance before-the challenge for me is the relentless hills. Good luck, it’s not a first race I’d choose!

  19. Alastair,

    I just stumbled upon your blog – great stuff. We think alike.

    Did you complete the Ironman Wales or another Iron distance race? I went from being out-of-shape to completing one in about 2 years at age 30, and am tempted to try it again now that I’m in my 40’s.


    • Alastair Posted

      I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t done one! Lazy!

      • I wouldn’t say ‘lazy’. It’s a big commitment and looking at your site, it looks like you have a lot going on, so you ‘chose not to’, which is not always a bad thing. You’ve chosen to do other noble pursuits. Given your fatigue after your first workouts, I’d say you’d want to plan about 18 months to reach your goal. You could try to do it in less, but then you risk injury. There’s nothing worse than training 8 hard months, only to miss the race date due to a pulled muscle. So when you know you’ve got 18 months to dedicate to this (allowing for the last 6 months your training be one of your primary focuses in life), then you’re good to go. Also, if you make it to the USA, Ironman Florida is one of the flattest courses out there.

        Love your videos. I’m as big a fan of backyard exploring as I am world exploring. Keep the great content flowing, and I’ll see you at the finish line someday.




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