So this is Christmas?

Spooning mincemeat straight from the jar or training for the Outlaw? The magnitude of the iron challenge is getting clearer for our blogger Matt Kurton

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So when I entered the Outlaw iron-distance triathlon a couple of months back, I hadn’t really given much thought to actually starting training. No need to rush, I thought. You’re in, that’s what matters. Just gloat about for a bit and then think about getting things moving in the New Year, right?  
 
Well, no, as it turns out. Not really. Most Ironman plans are put together on the basis that you’ll need 30 weeks to get yourself ready (or at least as ready as you’ll ever be).
 
And counting back 30 weeks from Outlaw Day – 1 July – I ended up with my finger on the square marked 5 December. Or what I would usually refer to as ‘about the time I usually start surviving on nothing but Quality Streets, mulled wine and mincemeat spooned straight from the jar’.
 
So that means this December is already looking pretty different to previous ones. I’m still happily embracing the many and varied opportunities for gluttony that present themselves, trailing mince pie cases and Christmas ale in my wake.
 
But I’m also suddenly getting to grips with with things like brick sessions and surprisingly long swim sets (3k? Already?) – at a time of year when I’ve never really trained seriously before.
 
Following advice from various experienced iron-people, my plan is to approach the pre- New Year training in what for me is an uncharacteristically relaxed way – not beating myself up if I miss the odd session, taking things nice and easy, putting family and friends before training (because, as one of them put it, that’s going to get harder and harder). And it’s already been an interesting process. 
 
It’s making me think about the yin and yang of excess and exercise – and how they just go so well together (well, most of the time).
 
It’s making me think that taking sessions easy – and listening to my heart rate monitor – is exactly what I’ll need to do to get through this.
 
It’s making me think I’ll need to get a bank loan out to pay for all the food I’m going to need. (Not sure if the cold weather is making things worse, but I’m already starving all of the time. If it carries on like this, come March/April I’ll be training with a whole ham tied to my aerobars).
 
And it’s also making me think just how much of a time commitment this is going to involve – and how tricky that’s going to be, if I’m honest. I’m totally determined, but like everyone, I’ve got a life to live beyond Ironman, and just fitting the few, short sessions I’m doing now around Christmas parties, dinners, drinks and so on is proving tricky.
 
I was never under the impression this would be easy, of course. But in the space of a couple of weeks, the magnitude of the challenge is starting to get clearer.
 
For now though, the Christmas spirit is finally upon me, following a charity 5k Santa run at the weekend (I realise I shouldn’t know/care that I was the third Father Christmas to cross the line, but you know how it is…)
 
So I’ll end by wishing you a very happy Christmas. And should you fancy sharing your own ironman advice/wisdom/experiences, I’d be delighted to hear from you on Twitter, where I’m @theironkurton.  As I’ve said before, I’ll need all the help I can get.

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