Monthly Archives: October 2012

Username: 1stIronMan Password: I*****n

I’m nearly 10 weeks into my training plan & things are really starting to turn a corner. I eased into the whole process & looking back at my first weeks training to what this weeks has in store is quite a nice step up. Scrolling down my training log the changes in what I have been doing each week has been so gradual I hadn’t actually noticed and taken stock of what I am now doing. It’s almost become a little bit more realistic that I can probably do IronMan if I can keep up my motivation which hasn’t wobbled so far. OK, I had man flu for a few days, but the fact that made me pretty pissed with myself is a good sign. I had catching up to do!

I have a rekindled love for my bike, which is important as I spend a lot of time on her, and this week I have started back running again after an 8 week sabbatical. I also clicked over my first 3, 000m in the pool. This was in a midweek training drill session all together. Each Saturday I test my progress with a time vs distance assessment as per my coaching plan. My aim is to hit that 3k in under an hour. 10 weeks ago I was struggling through a 500m swim and was beasted afterwards. My technique and fitness has improved that this goal is strangely within touching distance. This is kind of what has prompted this post, more of an update on what I’m doing than the previous posts. Ticking these boxes has actually proved to me that things are working and goals are there to be broken. I have been an atrocious swimmer all my life and openly admit I shied away from the pool in my previous sprint tri training. In sprints I always thought if I could just do enough to get away with it, I’ll make it up on my bike and run. My swim has slowly become almost my strongest part which is crazy. My recent knee injury has probably helped by making me concentrate so much on the swim and cycle, hitting the pool 3 times a week was the only way I could compensate for the lack of running and be easy on the knees at the same time.

So taking stock at this point sees me on the verge of a milestone I thought would not be possible – sub 1 hour 3k swim. My cycle is not being deprived and to start back running has given me a great lease of life at this point in the plan. OK, they’ve only been 2 x 1 mile runs, but these are baby steps. I cannot afford to spend any more time on the sidelines with my running, I need to gently start back from scratch and be so careful. I takes me longer to get my kit on than do the run itself, but combined around a good rolling session and stretching routine it’s got its own little place in the plan.

It’s so good to see things working! I like smoothies now. I stop for a coffee instead of a pint. My work password is now IronMan related so I have to type it every single day to remind myself. This blog and twitter account are more for me to occupy my mind and have a digital log from start to finish. August to August. Man to IronMan. I don’t care how many followers or re-tweets it gets. I played football up to 15 and rugby until 23 but I’m an individual sportsman. Racing motocross, mountain bike and triathlon means there is nobody else to blame. Nobody didn’t pull their weight apart from me. I get given a plan and it’s me who has to stick to it. Watching boxers like Carl Froch & Kell Brook are amazing to see how single mindedness can work towards one goal and put it all on the line. A sold out arena on a Saturday night is just what we see. Those fights are won  & lost months in advance in training. Love it, Team Froch!

Sorry about that, got a bit carried away with me me me just from updating my training log! Boring Tuesday night catching up on Ringside on Sky Sports!

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What Can IM Kona Coverage Learn from Team GBBC?

This was the first year I have watched the Ironman World Champs live. It was more by word of mouth that I found the coverage as a google of ‘IronMan Kona UK TV’ came back with nothing, but the online coverage was excellent. Commercial to the hilt, but lets call a spade a spade and admit that the commercials is what pays for it to be so good.

I watched it via the official IronMan.com live feed on IronMan LIVE. I know there are strict copyright issues involved with anything about IM ahead of the official coverage. If you are media accredited you have as much responsibility to not broadcast as much as you do to retrospectively broadcast.

This is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of gaining media accreditation for any event. You have to promise a return on transmission (ROT). Apart from IM Live, where else did you consume Kona coverage? Who told you what first?

This is the biggest event in the IM calendar therefore the most likely to be talked about – make the most of it. Here’s a quick look at how the BBC sports coverage has set the standard.

Coming off the back of London 2012 this fell at the best possible time for the BBC. Their coverage was exceptional. They utilised every resource they have.

If London had have hosted the Olympics 4 years prior, Twitter hadn’t even launched. The red button was in its infancy and not even half of households had a digital tv let alone a smart phone or tablet. The behavior among the audience wasn’t in place. Nor was Jake Humphrey!

On the flip side, had London hosted the Games in 2016, the moment would have passed. They would have been ‘old technologies’ in terms of how quickly these things move on nowadays. London 2012 was to be the multi-platform Games thanks to timing.

The bedrock of the BBC’s sports coverage in football and cricket is live text commentary. This suited things like Twitter down to the ground. An instant service whereby no matter which point of the match / game / race you were joining the coverage, you were never far away from 140 characters of a real time update.

To me, for the first time the Olympics have become more than just athletics and rowing. With Connected TV, the iPlayer and App’s, I was exposed to more sports than ever and actually got in to them. Have a look here for a blog by a BBC tech nerd.

The missus is a big hockey fan, so I watched that, knowing I would still be able to watch the football semi-final in my own time. Relationships are all about compromise!

The media savvy audience that every broadcaster is faced with nowadays means there is no smoke-screen or ability to ‘pad’. If you can’t provide instant, digestible coverage you are hanging yourself by your ability to provide the biggest thing of all – content.

The promise to broadcast every event from every venue was a huge goal to set by the BBC. They did it. They were as much aligned in the UK with the games themselves. They were an integral part of everything that happened. If you were in the Olympic stadium or in the bath, you could see Bolt win the 100m. The Brownlee brothers in the Triathlon. Ennis’ heptathlon progress. Even my Grandad was using the red button.

The BBC has set the standard for 2016 in Rio. Their coverage has left as much a legacy as the sporting moments they beamed to our living rooms. They played just as much a part in bringing those moments to us as the athletes did. They were there by association.

Tweets get re-tweeted. Word spreads. Does it really matter who does it? Just as long as word gets out. This is something Ironman maybe need to ease up on and just let the word spread about the sport organically and reap the rewards when take-up increases, IronMan.com hits go sky high, and their athletes become famous as well as infamous. OK maybe a bit unfair to compare IronMan with the Olympics and the BBC, but why not look at who does it the best and what works? Maybe the exposure will one day produce an IronMan as Sports Personality of The Year. The perfect outcome for this blog post!

What to look forward to in Rio from the beeb? An extensive online live coverage service, a major step up in mobile offering for smartphones and we’ll probably say goodbye to the red button with a replaced connected TV service that marries content and delivery by which time we’ll no doubt be using as second nature. The IronMan World Champs are an annual event that will no doubt get stronger and stronger in terms of coverage if it allows itself to.

However I think its important for the BBC to continue their coverage of the sports they covered so well at the Olympics. For example, I was into hockey for a fortnight. I watched canoeing and thought it was awesome.

For those sports that are picked up and put down every 4 years they need to cover these minority sports major events. The Brownlee’s should be a household name by 2016 rather than for the duration of an open top bus tour. Use the momentum from that epic race on our London doorstep to drag people into last weekends ITU world champs in New Zealand. Maybe cover the Hockey World Cup? The canoeing European Championship?

If the BBC can tick over these sports and even use them to pilot their services for 2016 then we’ll be going into Rio ahead of ourselves in sports knowledge and media consumption. We’ve proved we’re good at winning medals, but crap at getting anywhere in a football tournament, yet we’ll still have primetime disappointment from an overpaid soccer star ahead of a GB athlete doing the business week in week out.

All in all, 3 cheers to Team GBBC & the unique way in which they are funded!

Brands, Sponsorship and Scandal follow up

Since that last blog post about brands, sponsorship and scandal it has emerged that Nike have dropped Lance Armstrong. There’s an article that recently appeared about it here by Jeff Bercovici in Forbes and The Independent published the Nike ad featuring Lance on their website.

Check out the video below knowing what we know now.

Bye Brand Names – Sports & Sponsors

I’m not going to pretend I am some sort of oracle about cycling, but I think everyone has an opinion on the Lance Armstrong case. Even my housemate came in from work the other night not quite believing it and he defiantly knows nothing!
With the extraordinary allegations surrounding Armstrong, he cannot go back on his stance as the innocent party. Maybe this is why it has escalated so much. Perhaps there are some personal vendetta’s or shades of a ‘whitch hunt’ but denying it has arguably prompted the doping officials to peruse the case even more and wipe out the farcical clean cut image. Armstrong has no option but to continue his denial because he’s in too deep.
There is no doubting Armstrong as a dedicated athlete. You don’t simply dope and win. He trained his ass off. Everyones favourite football thug Joey Barton even had a rare moment of agreement on his twitter account:

Armstrong has undeniably done a hell of a lot for charity – Livestrong. A foundation he started after overcoming testicular cancer himself.
However, from a brand point of view when sportsmens images are tarnished they take with them their brand associations. A look at brands and how they stand by their most prized assets is interesting especially in cases like this.
Nike, maybe considered a more edgy brand, have stood by Tiger Woods throughout his off field actions, although that was nothing to do with cheating (in sport anyway!). Kellogg’s cereal were quick to drop American swimmer Michael Phelps after images of him hitting a bong were revealed in News of The World.

The good guys like Roger Federer are not earning $54m per year without reason. Only $9m of this is actual prize money, the other $45m comes from endorsements. His record speaks for itself and his image is squeaky clean, which is why Gillette, Credit Suisse, Rolex, Mercedes Benz & Nike are top brands associating themselves with the top athletes. They are safe. Tennis players do pretty well to be fair, according to Forbes!
Floyd Landis, an easily forgettable name from cycling, won the 2006 Tour De France but was later found guilty of doping and was quickly dropped by hearing aid manufacturer Phonak. This scared off Phonak so much they left sports sponsorship for good and went into the arts! Landis, like Armstrong denied the allegations to the hilt until he eventually admitted taking drugs his entire career. He was also early to call out Armstrong about his doping antics but was shouted down after his own credibility was shot. There’s a piece on Landis and sports sponsorship here on Brand Channel.

Probably most scary of all is the case of Marion Jones. She lost her 5 medals from the Sydney 2000 games after finally admitting drug use. However she then served 6 months in jail for making false statements. Armstrong has been in court in Dallas denying his allegations.
If there is ever a way back for Armstrong, he needs to fully admit his history of drugs and explain everything in detail. It would be a hard justice to be remembered as a cheat rather than an inspirational figure in and outside of sport. The Tour De France and Armstrong are synonymous with each other and even though his name will no longer appear on the winners roll, it’ll be hard to totally re-write history and forget about Armstrong’s achievements all together.

Tri-Cross / Moto-athlon

Training has been going great recently. Lots of swimming and noticeable improvements to back that up. Triathlon training is a full body work out when it’s all put together so I was curious as to how this would have impacted on my other sports that I do.

I race motocross at a reasonable level and always suffer with my arms building with lactic acid from holding on. The 20min races 3 times a day can really take it out of you. My quads are always in pieces too as i wrestle the bike around jumps, bumps and rough corners.It really is a marry between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. I need to consciously remember to breath and relax at the same time going through an intense non-stop pounding.

I was happy after this weekend to say I actually did feel a slight improvements in my stamina on one of the rougher tracks of the season. Motocross is a difficult sport physically and the transfer of tri training and mindset can marry up. In the first race I made a good start so just needed to hold a steady pace with the lead group and keep it on two wheels. The second race, I had to push towards the end of the race to make a couple of spots up as others began to fade. Then in the final race I had 2 accidents on the first lap, leaving me in dead last. I had to go balls out just to catch the guy in 39th place. This is where I would usual struggle to put together a good set of 3 races especially saving my hardest work for the end of the day. It’s all about relaxing when the track gets rough and letting the bike flow and become one so to carry momentum.

From my brief tri experience at race level, the swim / bike / run each represent the 3 races of the day. Consolidate the first leg and be in contention. Take control in the middle part of the day and see the lie of the land and what the overall feeling is knowing there’s one more to go. And finally, put it all on the line and push, leaving everything on the course so you don’t get in the car on the way feeling there is something left in the tank.

Physically I am drained after a weekend on the motocross bike. My recovery is like nothing else. I walk a bit funny, make some odd noises when I get up in a morning and pick out dirt from all sorts of places up until mid-week.

It’s not an easy decision to make, but it’s looking like I am going to call it a day for the motocross at the end of this season. I have one race to go and there is no way I can let my motocross interfere with my IronMan UK project next year. I ended up 10th overall last weekend in a strong field and need one more good result to secure 6th in the 2012 championship.