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Doing it properly

With the "slothfulness" of Christmas behind him, Peter Phippen gets serious in his bid to race Ironman 70.3 UK exactly a year after a triple heart-bypass

I’m now getting into the training for Ironman 70.3 UK. The slothfulness and over-indulgence of Christmas and New Year are becoming a distant memory. The twisted knee from skiing is also behind me.

First, I’m trying to lose weight. I’m aware that I’m dragging a completely unnecessary stone, at least, up hills… and I don’t want to do that over the whole Wimbleball course. I don’t know how that weight crept up on me… well, I do, but it still came as a surprise. I’d lost weight in hospital and then I had imagined that if I was training, I could eat and drink what I liked. Clearly not. I’m trying a low-carb diet for the first time in my life.

I’m also joining a cycling club, with the first ride this weekend. Because I’m doing the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, I’ve got to keep one eye on that beyond Wimbleball. I need to learn to build the miles, way beyond what I’ve ever done before. I’ve also entered a couple of Sportives, my first ever.

And it became obvious that I needed help with the motivation tri behind my training. My wife pointed out that since I’d signed up for this thing, I needed to do it properly. Can’t argue with that.

So I’ve signed up to an online training programme advertised by Ironman UK. It was eye-wateringly expensive for a simple bit of online communication… but I have to say it already seems worth it. I get an email every day telling me what I should be doing that day. Two weeks in, I’m following it nearly to the letter. I’m doing the ‘easy/low time commitment’ version. At the moment I’m only doing about seven hours a week.

Looking ahead, I can see it will build to 11 to 12 by March. But it’s really clever psychologically. Frequently the message is something like “go for a gentle jog for 40mins today; enjoy it”; and you do it and don’t feel guilty because it’s part of the programme. On my own I found that if I did something ‘easy’ I felt guilty….but I rarely pushed myself to do something more challenging, which was the worst of all worlds.

I think someone should create an online coaching programme for the rest of our lives: “Today, it’s time to suck up to the boss, buy your wife some flowers, check in with the children about their homework and don’t forget to treat yourself to that well-earned time watching the football.”

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