20 Weeks to IMUK

When you set out your ‘A race’ of the season you tend to work backwards. So I hear anyway – I’ve never had an ‘A race’ – but in the case of IMUK 2013 I do. 4th August 2013 to be exact and this is now exactly 20 weeks away.

I have spent the winter really working hard on my base fitness, just getting time in the pool, miles in the saddle and a gradual return to running and upping the mileage on the knees. However, the last 5 week training plan has become slightly more tailored to refining that base fitness and working towards making me more triathlon specific fit. Mapping the progress has been half the fun. I’ve logged it all in my Training Log, but below I’ll try and go into a bit more detail of what each of these session has consisted of.

First of all, my week has had to some consistency. I like routine and to know what days I am doing what. It means I can balance my life outside of training and I also associate my days with my training. This is how my week has looked for the last 5 weeks, and I’ve have not missed a single session. My coach Paul is fantastic at putting together realistic plans that work for my ability, my work and also to keep her happy!

Monday – Run

Tuesday – Endurance Swim

Wednesday – Turbo Interval Session

Thursday – Run

Friday – Speed Swim & Turbo Build Session

Saturday – Long Ride

Sunday – REST

This all adds up to around 10 hours per week of training.


My endurance session on Tuesdays are tough. I work my butt off in 400m drills, which originally clocked in at 7min 40sec per 400m. By the 5th week of this plan, I was hitting these same 400m sets in 7min 10sec.

My speed work on a Friday varies between 50m, 100m and 200m drill sets. Again these have shown big increases in improvement and beast you all the same over 2, 500m. The marriage of these two swim sessions is obviously working if I am improving by 30 seconds in the space of 5 weeks. When I did my first sprint triathlon in August 2011, I swam the 400m leg in 9min 12sec, then again in 2012 in 8min 37sec. In less that a year I have taken a massive chunk of time off my short distance swimming.


I put a  lot of focus on my bike session as that is where I will be spending most of my day in early August! IMUK is one of the hilliest bike routes on the Ironman Calendar, and arguably the most difficult in Europe, so I need to give this leg the respect it deserves. My long rides at the weekend are an over hilly 4 hour trip from Manchester to Derbyshire covering 60 miles. This is essentially just bike time. In the recent temperatures and winds across those hills, there is no room for heroes so It’s just hardening the ass for more of the same and also a good chance to test nutrition.

bux route

My turbo session are where the real hard graft can pay dividends. I work of various interval sessions over a 90min period – 10min, 5min, 2min & 1min respectively, each within a specific range of perceived effort on the Borg Scale. Aside from the training benefits of the turbo sessions, its a good chance to tinker with your bike fit, rehearse transition and catch up on Paris-Nice! Physio-Coach Paul Savage has recently uploaded a video on his website of how to get the best from your turbo session.


My return to running has been a real confidence booster. Having worked back up literally from scratch to be now running distances that are more familiar to me is a great relief. My Monday runs involve negative splits, usually around 3 x 8min mile and then 3 x 7min mile. On Thursday I’ll do a slightly longer run, trying to stay around 7min 30sec per mile. Before and after each run I have an inbuilt habit of foam rolling and yoga stretching to keep the injury wolves from the door. There is no getting away from it, I have to do it. It’s part of the running and cycling days whereby a good 15 minutes spent on the roller is no hardship, followed by a series of specific stretches and planks to keep a happy & hard core!

That’s just the last 5 weeks. As we hit the 20 week countdown, I’ll be incorporating more brick sessions and some really specific turbo session to really hammer those legs! That will cover the next 4 weeks.


About James Wilson

Trying to get to Kona over a 3 year period. Starting from scratch, to targeting the Big Island in 2016

Posted on March 14, 2013, in Cycling, injury, Nutrition, running, swimming, Training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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