As Adam prepares for Dublin’s Ironman 70.3 Triathlon we caught up with him to learn about his busy training schedule, his diet, and everything else that should be considered when undertaking one of the most difficult sporting events in the world. When facing a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile half marathon (without a break!) THIS is how Adam gets ready…
- How many Ironman races have you completed?
One full and three halves. I’ve raced in Barcelona, Florida, and Dubin’s coming up on August 9th. I was meant to take part in France a few years ago, but about a week before the race, whilst cycling up a steep hill in the South Downs, I tore something in my stomach and ended up with a hernia. I still went out to France as I had a client who was taking part and wanted to be there, but I was gutted.
- How are you training for it?
I train six days per week, and mix up swims, bikes and runs in brick sessions. I also throw in hour-long conditioning sessions. Here’s how this week is looking:
- How do you balance working full-time, training and family life? What’s a typical day for you?
It’s tough, there are no two ways about that. I usually work from 6am until noon, then have a break for training, then return to work for around 4pm and work through until 9pm. Obviously there is some flexibility to this, but on the whole that’s my routine. I grab as much time with my family as I possibly can. I’ve been a little more lenient with myself this year in terms of spending time with my wife and son – if the weather is nice we’ll just go down to the park or beach or something. Getting this balance right is really important to me.
- How do you adapt your diet?
I eat five times a day; what I eat depends on the training sessions I have coming up. I’ll start with a good breakfast, usually of eggs, smoked salmon and fresh spinach. If there’s heavy training involved I’ll have porridge, and if I’m getting on my bike I’ll have toast too, with regular (hourly) carb bar or banana snacks. I’ll have electrolyte drinks too. Protein is incredibly important, so I might have chicken breasts for lunch, and top up with plenty of milk. I’d say the key is to eat little and often, and eat slowly so your body can process the food effectively. For dinner I’ll have vegetables and protein (meat). I avoid carbs in the evening unless I know I have something heavy coming up, in which case I might have a portion of complex carbs – pasta for example.
- How important is rest and sleep as part of your training?
I’d say nutrition is more important, but this also plays a big role. In an ideal world you’d get nine hours of sleep each night, plus down time just before the race. In this last week you should have a decent taper, where volume slows down, but speed is maintained. You should also stay off of your feet as far as possible. Unfortunately both myself and my clients have busy schedules and this isn’t always possible, but bearing these considerations in mind should help.
- What can you do to prevent injury in training for big events like these?
Start early with your base training and build gradually. Stretch often, and make sure you allocate adequate stretching time.
- In less than three words describe how you feel at the start line
I’d have to say anxious, focused and powerful. Powerful might sound strange, but I’m a confident swimmer. In past races I’ve always finished with the fastest group, so on a start line I bear that in mind and just keep my head down.
- How do you deal with the pressure of competing against your clients?
I use it as a positive, as a motivation. What matters is my confidence in my own ability on race day, not theirs. Sure, when I’m tired and don’t particularly want to train it definitely does motivate me knowing they’re out training; it can give me that extra nudge. It helps that I know my clients capabilities, so I know the areas that I could work that little bit harder on myself. It’s lighthearted really, and I have good banter with my clients, but by the same token I know that I must perform well otherwise I’ll never live it down!
- Are there any tactics or tips you want to share?
- Practice getting your nutrition right. Don’t make any changes just before a race. This can really backfire, particularly with a bike element on the course.
- Practice drafting when swimming with friends. In a race environment you need to find someone slightly faster than yourself and stay on their hip or toes. If you do this well you could save about 30% more energy. If you get it wrong and disrupt them it messes everything up.
- What’s your advice to someone thinking about taking part in an Ironman Triathlon?
Do it! Honestly, anyone can do it, you do not need to be a professional athlete. Sure, you may not come over the finish line first, but these races are all about taking part, and you’ll feel great when you do. Completing these courses is enjoyable, as is the training, because it includes swimming, bicycle rides and running. The mix keeps it varied, and interesting. I recommend highly!
- When will you stop competing?
I don’t plan to!
- How do you feel your training has gone this year, and what are your goals in terms of completing the race?
I’m feeling good, and particularly strong on the bike. I’m running well this season too. I haven’t put in as many hours as I’d planned due to other priorities, but once I get out on the start line I’ll give it my absolute all. We’ll have a brilliant network of supporters coming out there to cheer us on, including clients (Team Twist!), friends and family. It’s a big help knowing my son Arthur will waiting by the finish line, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to cross it with him.
- Are you doing Ironman for fun, or is coming first what’s important to you?
Right now it’s for fun, but over the next few years the plan is to train really hard and finish in the Top Ten in my category to get a place at the World Championships. For Florida I was almost in a position to do this, but my run let me down (I had issues with cramp). It was really encouraging to know I’m so close to achieving my ultimate goal though. Watch this space.