The Northern Ireland Decaman begins tomorrow, with three athletes – Andrew Hassard, Robert Davison and Keith Clarke – braving 10 iron-distance challenges in 10 days (more here). But, with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and then a marathon (26.2miles) to complete each day, what preparation has this entailed? Andrew Hassard explains…
Training wise each week has been a mix of swimming, cycling and running with some weeks biased more towards one. March, April and the start of May were always planned as the heavy duty months with plenty of long hours and high mileage sessions. Each weekday consisted of an alarm going off at 5am and out the door by 5:30am.
The mornings before work were cycle or swim sessions, which also worked on the mental toughening as well; heading out for a cycle in the dark when it’s cold and wet definitely tested my resolve a few times, getting out of the warm car at 6am to pull on a wetsuit and take the plunge into the Irish Sea was equally as appealing (at 9 or 10 degrees it's really not the Med!).
There were a few big weeks in the middle block, one of which involved a 50-mile cycle every morning followed with running just under a half marathon at night. I managed to do this seven days in a row with a longer cycle at the weekend. It gave a good insight into how tough the Deca is really going to be.
Training plans from May into June were based more around events, maintaining fitness levels and just staying injury free. There were a few marathons, a tough Olympic-distance test (The Slateman), a couple of half iron-distance races and then, finally, two weeks before the Deca, my second full distance race of the year, The Celtman. This allowed me to assess physical and mental strength, and to see how well (or otherwise) all the training had come together – and what a race to choose!
This training and competing has put a considerable physical workload on my body. Without proper maintenance my body would have, at best, only struggled through without getting full benefit, or, at worst, shut down and packed in.
The Northern Ireland Decaman starts tomorrow morning at 0700 – see the facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/#!/nidecaman.irondistance and charity info at events.ulstercancer.org/ps/event/NIDECAMAN1.
Newtownabbey based Physical Lifestyle Clinic Body Lab NI has been providing Sports Massages, Physiotherapy and Nutritional advice leading up to, and throughout, the Northern Ireland Decaman.