This report should have been written a year ago but as a result of a stress fracture I missed the second half of 2016 with injury. Planning for the 2017 race started in August last year and with Jimmy’s support I was able to maintain and improve both swimming and cycling fitness until I was able to start a rehab running programme in late November Fast forward 8 months that included one average 70.3 and one poor one and god knows how many hours and KM’s of training finally I arrived at the start line in the best condition I’ve ever been in in my whole life, not bad seeing as turned 50 earlier this year.
More importantly, I had a rock-solid plan that had started at breakfast 4 hours earlier and “all” I had to do now was just execute it…..
Not my best discipline, in fact, the only one I’m pretty good it is transitions. I wanted to do under 1.15, I’d practised pacing over and over again but always struggled gaging if I was swimming too slowly. Copenhagen is a rolling start in man-made saltwater lagoon, water temp was a couple of degrees higher than expected at 18c and when we started I just try to settle into a steady rhythm and not worry about the time, a couple of minutes here or there is nothing. Everything was good until I went under the 2nd bridge on the return loop and as I was thinking “great only 1.2km to go” my goggles started to leak and in slow motion, I realised they had broken or just slipped off along with my cap! I couldn’t stop to try and find them so just kept swimming, opening one eye when I took a breath to make sure I still had other swimmers around me. Sighting was a nightmare, I was having to try and stay up longer to let the water clear from my eyes, this messed up my breathing and I ended up swallowing several mouthfuls of water until I finally got the hang of it – I hated those “breath 3, 5, 7″ swim sets but they were definitely worth it! Swim time was 1.11.
Copenhagen weather literally changes every 5 minutes from bright sunshine to heavy rain and everything in between, the wind was very inconsistent and strong at times too, there were a couple of scary moments with side winds.
Aside from a minor issue that cost me about 3 minutes I stuck to my plan of 70 IF with an average power around 205, used my energy drinks first before switching to the course provided H5 during the final 3rd of the course.
The bike course might be fast but its definitely not easy, the rolling and windy nature of it mean you are on the pedals 99% of the time. Road quality is excellent on the major roads (up the coast etc) but on the inland section, it’s much poorer and like some of the UK country lanes.
Bike time 5.28.
Wow. This is absolutely the best bit of the race, its a flat 4 loop course (with a few slopes for bridges) around the city, the support is simply amazing and rammed with supporters for all but a tiny part of it.
After T2 I knew I had 4.15 minutes to go sub 11 which was my goal, I ran steadily keeping my heart rate under control, the atmosphere made it feel much shorter and easier than any of my long training runs. The only minor issue I had was I couldn’t find my special needs bag in the disorganised pile which meant I had no gels for the 2nd half of the run. I grabbed a couple of H5 gels for an emergency but I hadn’t used them since IM Austria in 2015 when I’d had major GI issues so switched to drinking the flat coke and walking through every second aid station from then. Despite training with it I wasn’t sure how much energy Coke would give me but it worked out OK and I didn’t have to resort to the course gels.
Run Time 4.01
Finish Time 10.48.31
Use new ‘ish’ equipment particularly googles.
If you’re using a power meter then use it properly and stick to the plan.
Nutrition – find what works for you and practice it again and again, if you have a plan B (eg coke or other course provided) then know what the carb values are!
And finally, listen to your coach, don’t overtrain but do get everything you can out of each session – it’ll be so much easier than all the training but ONLY if you’ve put in the hard work.