Ironman UK race report: Lawrence Cronk

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Ironman UK in Bolton, my fourth Iron distance race. Why Ironman UK? A question I got asked a lot when as a Welsh

man Tenby would be your first choice. Simple answer, it fitted in the calendar nicely with my best mates wedding in Barcelona the following week.

As usual that final 4-6 week block before the taper throws up all the doubts as to whether you will be ready, the training gets more and more monotonous, the fatigue builds and your food bill escalates! I’ve been here before, trust in the plan and trust in the taper, you’ll be fine.  

In the two weeks leading up the race Ironman warned us that a key part of the bike course had been affected by wildfires and they were exploring solutions. The solution was a 95 mile alternative. A bit of a blow for those first time Ironman athletes and social media saw plenty of opinions as you can imagine, some even suggesting they would ride their own extra 17 miles then re-join the race! Ironman confronted this in the pre race briefing and made it pretty clear that between negotiations with the council and emergency services the extra 17 miles of closed roads couldn’t be found. I wasn’t particularly phased by it, just mildly annoying that I have to mention the caveat when someone points out I went sub 10 hours. 

The day before the race was hectic. A split transition with the swim being 16 miles away from the run meant a lot of prior planning, bouncing between the hotel, registration, briefing, two transitions and then finding time to drive the new section of bike route. I’d travelled to Bolton twice in recent months to ride the course, I thought it would be daft to leave the new bit to chance given the prep that had gone into this.  

Read more: Ironman UK race report: Lawrence Cronk

Ironman Finland 70.3 race report: Emma Edworthy

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What an amazing day it turned out to be!

Arriving in Lahti, Finland to wind and rain the day before was not the best. But as so many people reassured me ‘these conditions suit you Emma, you train in Wales’!  How could I argue with that! Our apartments were about a 20 minute walk to where all the action was by the lake so after dumping our stuff we  braved the weather and wondered down to register and meet Elo and Kim (two wonderful inspirational pro ladies) to drive the bike course.  The bike course looked rolling with what us folk from Wales would call, one real descent and climb, so none of us seemed too worried, although bits were very exposed and we could feel the wind in the car! Funny enough though when we all talked about the course after the race we all agreed there were bits we did not remember – but then we did recall a lot of picture sharing of dogs.  The night before the race was a lovely meal in an Italian with my wonderful support crew (mummy, Lucy and Christianne) and Elo and her mum – my diner consisted of pizza and lasagne and Elo’s was pizza with a side of plain rice.

So race day came and given how awful the weather was when we arrived I did not spin the bike on the Friday so I needed to do that as well as source some food. We found a hotel with a buffet breakfast which was amazing and perfect. Despite the forecast for an improvement in the weather, that was debateable – it was windy still with heavy showers. But in between those  showers when the sun came out it was warm.  I wondered how the long wait would be on race day, what with it being a 4pm start, but it was fine and I loved lounging around and relaxing. I literally sat in bed messaging everyone back home whilst my wonderful supporters  cracked on with the alcohol at 10.30 in the morning – so proud.

Read more: Ironman Finland 70.3 race report: Emma Edworthy

The Wales Triathlon race report: David Hawkins

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The Wales Triathlon would be my second ever middle-distance triathlon and after months of hard training since then, I’m gunning for a big PB today. Unfortunately, the forecasts of strong winds and rain are accurate and according to the crazy folk who have been for a pre-race swim (no thanks!), the water is absolutely Baltic, but I’m stood here with my good friends and training buddies Lars Luckoff and Hopcyn Matthews so we’re in good spirits and looking forward to some friendly rivalry on the course.

The claxon goes and we hit the water. They weren’t exaggerating! This has to be the coldest water I have ever swum in! I’m no good in the cold, I just don’t function. My hands and feet go numb and I am even more prone to cramping.  There is only one option. Swim hard, find some fast feet and get this done as soon as possible!  It’s a 2-lap swim with an Australian exit and the first lap has gone well. As I run to the start of lap 2, I check my watch and am pleasantly surprised by my pace. But I also notice that lap 1 was 1,300 metres and it was supposed to be 950. I’m confident that I have swum reasonable straight which means the course must be ridiculously long…not ideal. For a brief moment the self-doubt kicks in as the swim is by far the worst of the 3 for me and I haven’t really trained to swim hard for 2,600m! The second lap is slower but still ok and I finish the swim in 44:20, which puts me in 29th position.

Read more: The Wales Triathlon race report: David Hawkins

Endless Pool swim coaching dates for July

We can now release the dates available for July for our 1-2-1 Endless Pool swim coaching as:

  • Monday 2nd July (9am, 10am, 11am &12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Thursday 5th July (5pm, 6pm) with coach Vicky
  • Saturday 7th July (10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Saturday 14th July (10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Monday 16th July (9am, 10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Thursday 19th July (5pm & 7pm) with coach Vicky
  • Saturday 21st July (10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Monday 23rd July (9am, 10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Thursday 26th July (5pm, 6pm & 7pm) with coach Vicky
  • Saturday 28th July (10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys
  • Monday 30th July (9am, 10am, 11am & 12pm) with coach Rhys

 The Endless Pool sessions are taken by our experienced swim coaches, coach Vicky and coach Rhys, who’ll take the athlete through the 1-2-1 coached swim session. Each hour long swim session is £45 and will consist of:

  • Visual analysis of swim stroke
  • Video recording of swim stroke
  • Feedback of swim stroke with athlete (via video)
  • Correction of swim stroke via drills and full stroke amendments
  • List of take home drills to do post session
  • Video of swim stroke emailed to athlete post session

 If you're a triathlete or swimmer in the Cardiff or south Wales area and want to improve your swim for the upcoming race season, drop us a message via social media (we're on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @WhittleFit) or CONTACT US via our website. 

Ironman Staffordshire 70.3 race report: Luke England

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2018 was not supposed to start like this. During the off-season, races were chosen and in a bid to improve my running I had decided to take on The London Marathon. The marathon was supposed to get my running legs up to scratch ready for an Ironman 70.3 later in the year. However, playing football on Christmas eve put all my best made plans to rest. I somehow managed to tear my calf which resulted in no running for 6 weeks. I was devasted and for a few weeks I lost all direction and motivation for training, the downhill spiral was well and truly in full swing.

I needed to find something to focus on and I needed to find it fast. Due to family and financial restrictions I decided Sweden, my original “A” race for 2018, was out of the question and it became more apparent that doing Staffordshire again was one of very few options left to me.

Training: Switching races meant that I only had 11 weeks of intense training before the race, and I knew I’d need to taper so that didn’t really leave much room for error.

During May, my coach and I managed to beef up the hours and we got some really good sessions in. My legs were starting to respond, and power was on the increase. I finally found some running legs and things were starting to look up.

As well as focusing on the running, we also got some 1900m TT swims in. The sessions were great for understanding the pacing of the swim. Going off too fast on the first 400m really does come back to bite hard on the last 600m. Doing this gave me a feel for a swim speed and the sessions increased my swim confidence even more.

Read more: Ironman Staffordshire 70.3 race report: Luke England