The road to Ironman New Zealand 2014 – July 2013

This is what it s all about!

One thing I will never be accused of is going in to a race over trained. I take the rest part of my training very seriously. This is something that my coaches Spot Anderson and Debi Hazelden (Debs) of Bondi Fit are struggling to come to terms with. Kiwi Debs has no idea what she has signed up for I am sure. I am hoping that Spot (Mr Anderson as he has asked me to address him as) has given her the good oil. They both have Pete Jacobs to thank for this. PJ keeps telling me how important it it to rest and also to relax. I am taking the ‘relax’ part seriously. In all serious the relax part is used when actually training. When running or swimming I am focusing more on relaxing my body and feeling how I move often more than the set I am supposed to be doing. I am constantly amazed how much quicker I swim and run when I relax.

Ironman New Zealand

Hold on to your seat!

Hold on to your seat!

If you have never heard of Spot Anderson I encourage you to take a few minutes to view this Channel Ten interview from 1990. Spot is one of the greatest characters ever to take on a triathlon. He was one of the best ever!

With this new arrangement, which includes at least two people glaring at me every two weeks or so over a soy latte at the new Prince Alfred (free entry for 6 months) Park swimming pool near Central Railway Station in Sydney, I feel obliged to at least make some sort of effort to resemble an Ironman in training.

In consultation with Mr Anderson, Debs has put together a base training program which she sent to me two weeks ago. As I am writing this I am printing it out and hope to have read it before I hit ‘publish’. In saying that my main concern is that I may spill my red wine over it before I get a chance to read it thoroughly.

Looking at the high level spreadsheet that I have printed out, the first thing that hits me is that on Monday 8/07/2013 I have to swim 100m easy. I am confident that I have that covered. Although I note that there is a #1 beside it which refers to something else. On checking this out I actually have to swim 2400m. Hmmmm. Two weeks ago I surprised Mr Anderson and a few others by turning up to my first swim squad since June 2012. My approach to swimming over the last year had been to take a few tips off Mick Maroney and have Alex Price tell me that stretching my hip flexor will help my swimming. None of this included actually entering a swimming pool.


No words describe this!

So two weeks ago I had my first swim squad in 12 months. Mr Anderson kindly threw me in to the middle lane. Although he did ask me to lead. This was not his best decision of the day although I will acknowledge that it was 6am and he hadn’t had coffee yet. Things didn’t start off well for me. When Mr Anderson says 50s on 1min he means swim in to the 50 on 1min, turn and go. Not swim in on 50sec, wait 10sec then go. Fortunately for me Mr Anderson caught this on video.

The next curve ball was thrown to me after our warm up. We had to do 4x400s descending x four. Normally I would be swimming at the tail of the fast lane which requires me to simply follow the person in front. With the responsibility of leading the lane I wanted to know whether we descended on each 400 or or the first 400 was slow, etc, etc… So I asked.

As I looked around at my fellow squad members, noting that they all stepped backwards one step and looked towards the bottom of the pool (wasted as there is no money down there), I knew that I was going to be the sacrificial swimmer today. Normally the Irish carry this cross but today I was going to lift them to a level they had not transcended before. I now had a new loyal band of followers.

After the early confusion I was able to string together something that resembled a respectable 3.8kms. I did my calculations and with the help of a few facebook comments knew that I was going to get around the 3.8kms at Ironman New Zealand next year without drowning. The following Wednesday I once again made it to swim squad doubling my annual squad training. This time I managed to convince Christie Sym to come for a swim (that rhymes). Once again I managed to knock out a 3.8km set with a 1km TT in the middle. I managed a 16:01. With the inability to tumble turn and lack of a wetsuit I am confident that something around 1hr would see me get out of Lake Taupo with a level of respectability. If Debs can pull up her sleeves between now and March 2014 I might even go a bit faster or maybe just do 1hr or thereabouts easier.

Whilst I was pretty chuffed with my swimming effort I was reminded by Mr Anderson and Debs that I had to ride a bike after the swim and then run. To do this I would have to train. Damn! This would eat in to the rest part of my training. So I went for a 24km run a week ago. One reason I did this was because I had committed to the 32km King of the Mountain running race from Cambewarra to Kangaroon Valley, two hours south of Sydney. I had originally planned to smash this run and train with a few fast old blokes down south. What I didn’t plan on was getting an injury 6 weeks ago. I was given a new pair of running shoes from a company that raved about the ‘boost’ their new foam would give a runner. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Free running shoes ‘try our new foam’ they said and the rest, as they say, is history. Needless to say I tried a few running shoes and surprisingly came up with the Nike Zoom Elites. Not the usual lighter weight shoes I wear but they worked brilliantly. Niggle gone instantly. I did try the other shoes again just to give them the benefit of the doubt but straight away the same issue flared up.

On to today and I am suffering from a wee bit of leg soreness after running the Shoalhaven King of the Mountain. 32kms of brutal running including 555m of ascent. One stage was 2kms straight up!!! I managed to knock off 18mins from last year and run a respectable 2:39 for 30th overall. I feel strong! My first marathon and 2nd KOM in one year!

In my pursuit of fine tuning Shimano have kitted my bike out with a set of Dura Ace C50 wheels. These wheel are sweet!!! I am loving riding them and am excited to be out riding again. They are super smooth to ride on and their aerodynamics are class leading. In fact for a set of 50mm aero wheels they punch well above their weight.

This week I have answered the call of the Lesser Spotted Luxford Bird and will be riding up over Mt Cambewarra on Thursday with a former ITU World Champ and current Asia Pacific 70.3 champ. Annabel has embarked on a long course career herself so I’ll be asking plenty of questions! For the record the last time we rode up Mt Cambewarra Annabel absolutely canned me. She has the bike strength of a pro male and weighs 20kgs less. You do the math.

If you haven’t got an ironman planned for next year I encourage you to enter Ironman New Zealand. My family lives around Taupo. I love going there. It is one of the most scenic places in the world. You will retire from triathlon happy if you have ticked this one off you list.

To enter Ironman New Zealand click here

Why would you not do this race?

Why would you not do this race?





Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.