It has been suggested that I document my training in the lead up to Ironman Lanzarote (May 22nd), so here goes!
Training is different for everyone, and what I do works for me but may not be everyone's idea of fun, but hopefully people will identify with some of it and even find it of use.
This morning was a gentle 10k run around Tooting Common - I must confess to not being a morning person and not doing anywhere near enough mileage as a result. I personally find running in the morning tougher - maybe because I don't drink or eat anything beforehand. The answer? Well, of course, it's to get up half an hour earlier, drink, eat something light (add an energy gel maybe), stretch and warm up a bit. I'll give that a go on Monday ;)
To be honest, I prefer to use racing as training where possible (far more interesting!) and have run 6 this year so far. It's a great feeling at start line -surrounded by hundreds of other competitors. I have two more before May 22nd - Paddock Wood half Marathon & Brighton Marathon. I should be running 60m a week at this stage in my training, so have factored a few longer runs (15m+) for the next couple of weeks.
A lot of my cycling training is my ride to work (!) - 9m each way between Streatham & Richmond - good for consistency but bad for mileage. I should be doing 100m rides, so anyone fancy a couple of those in the next few weeks, let me know!
I add a brick or two each week, so after my cycle home I jump straight into my trainers and I'm off around Tooting Common - I actually find it easier to run after a ride.
Swimming - hmmm ...! I don't do much of this at all. It's often the most daunting discipline in a Tri but it's my favourite one. Luckily, I used to swim for Chelsea swimming club in my youth so am comfortable in the water and managed an Ironman swim (3.8k) in Bournemouth last Summer with no training (apologies to anyone who finds swimming difficult - but, hey, I'm a rubbish runner!) I get into a rhythm as soon as I can, try and lift my bum so I'm swimming flat (wetsuits help with this too), kick more that I should but still keeping it light (I get cramp in my feet over long distances otherwise, but have never experienced leg tiredness on the bike as a result of kicking hard personally), almost over-reach with each stroke (gives more distance per stroke and a less 'thrashy' style (and also turns the body more so you're 45 degrees in the water which seems to offer less resistance - but maybe that's just me!), breathe in hard, deep and fast so your head spends as much time straight ahead in the water (important for the longer distances to keep neck stiffness to a minimum) and exhale under water through nostrils as well as mouth to avoid swallowing water through your nose - yep, that's how it happens! (I've tried nose clips but have never completed a swim with out losing them on the way around!)
Whilst Tri specific training is clearly key, other types of training are important and also adds variety (long runs in particular can be quite dull!) I get to the gym 3-5 days each week for strength and core training. Circuit and body pump etc classes are great for conditioning and the different exercises strengthen areas of the body that may get less attention normally (tendons take twice as long as muscles to strengthen I believe). Upper body strength through weight training builds chest, shoulders, back and arm muscles that are useful for a strong pull in the swim and leaning / pulling on the bars on the bike. I also do as many different stomach exercises as I can - sit-ups, crunches, reverse sit-ups, scissors, alphabet (feet together, legs straight, writing A-Z in the air - no putting feet down 'til Z!)
Rest - the hardest part of training for me! I feel guilty taking a day off but, boy, do you need it! Everything I've read about training says the importance of rest cannot be stressed enough. I'd say take two full rest days a week and if you're training in the mornings, go to bed early! (no later than 10pm). I usually rest two days before half Marathon distances or more and Olympic distance Tri's - it really does make a difference in the race.
OK, that'll do for now - wouldn't want to get boring ;)