Training For My First Ironman 70.3

The date was November 2019 when I decided that I would like to run the Melbourne Ironman 70.3 in November of 2020. So I purchased the entry (without discussion with my wonderful husband Brendan, whom I know would completely not agree with this decision lol). I knew I had plenty of time to train for the event as it was still 12 months away and what could go wrong. 

‘They’ suggest that you should start training for an ironman approx. 6 months prior to your event and that would take me to June 2020, however, I didn’t know it at the time of purchase that we could be right in the thick of a global pandemic by mid year and my idea of competing in the Melbourne Ironman 2020 was moving further and further away. 

Training began by increasing my running to about 10KM Monday – Friday  (due to this being the only thing possible in a 5KM loop from my home) in the months of July to September, knowing that I would bring swimming and biking into the mix once outdoor pools reopened in October and the 5km zones were lifted. This would give me one month to train in a pool and bike before the big day. Sadly, this was short lived when they cancelled the event early September and my sights then moved to Ironman Geelong February 21th 2021. By this point, Brendan had come around to the idea of the Ironman and with the extra time, could also start training, so without too much discussion and chance to say no, I entered him too! 

One good thing about this was it gave me 2 ½ extra months to get ready – but, my foot had other plans when I stumbled and caused soft tissue damage on the inside of my left foot in late October – pulling me off of running for the 2 months! During this time I knew that I could still focus on Swimming and Cycling so I increased my swimming to 4 – 5 days a week 1.5-2KM session. Cycling too increased and I took the perfect opportunity to cycle to work 10KM each way 2-3X Week with a long ride on Saturday with Brendan – increasing to a max of 90KM in early February, just in time to taper and be ready for our Ironman. Things were working out perfectly and I began running again after the advice from my podiatrist to tape it, I even managed to get in a 16km run with no pain 2 weeks out from the event – we were both prepared and ready – Nothing could go wrong!

Friday February 12th – The Victorian Government announced that all of victoria would go into lockdown from midnight for 5 days until Wednesday Feb 17th, causing ironman to announce they have postponed the event until March 28th, 6 weeks later. Our tapering efforts now needed to be a valley, before peaking our training again 4 weeks later.

By the end of February, I felt a pain in the bottom of my right foot shooting out from the heel along the side of my foot. To my frustration, I learned of my new acquired overuse injury – plantar fascia. The pain feels as if stepping on a nail every time you get up after sitting down for more than 5 minutes, you learn to walk on your toes and Brendan would make fun to say I’m walking around in my imaginary high heels. 

With this newfound injury, I needed to again reduce the running and completely stopped for 30 days to allow for healing, however teaching 5-10 fitness classes weekly did not allow for ample healing and my foot pain needed pain management until the event, rather than healing completely. So I began running again, shorter distances, so that my body wouldn’t completely lose it’s endurance. 

So finally the big day arrived and all that extra swimming paid off, surprising myself and Brendan, completing the swimming portion 1.9KM in 31 minutes or top 20 in my category. Cycling proved to be both of our most challenging legs at 3 hours and 15 minutes on the bike for 90KMs and finally, my foot held out for all 21KMs of the run portion for 1 hour 50 minutes, brining my total time to 5 hours and 45 minutes to complete my first ever Ironman 70.3. 

Many people have asked us, would you do it again? What’s next? At first Brendan said – ‘never again’, but I’ve slowly got him to ‘if I ever do it again’ – for me on the other hand, I will definitely be letting my body fully heal before the next event, hopefully in the coming year or 2 complete another Ironman, preferable i would love to do the Melbourne Ironman 70.3, then move on to an Ironman 140.6 or Full Ironman. But for now, it’s time to rest these feet of mine!

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