Fundraiser Focus Ironman
Fundraiser, Phil Cox, is currently training for an Ironman to raise money for The 14 Club – we catch up with his progress in the run-up to the big event…
Phil is pushing himself to the limits by taking on an Ironman, in order to raise money for The 14 Club, an independent social club for people with learning disabilities in his local area. So what is an Ironman? Put simply – it’s a very long triathlon. Although Phil will be covering the same distances as a standard Ironman, he will substitute running a marathon for rowing the same distance on an indoor rower (due to very dodgy knees!). Make no mistake, this is not an easy feat – Phil’s gruelling challenge starts with a 2.4 mile swim, he then takes on a 112 mile bike ride and finishes with a 26.2 mile indoor row. He aims to complete the challenge in 13 hours and will be starting at 6am on 28th August, in the pool at Wantage Sports Centre. Phil tells us more…
This event, named Team 14, has been a long time in the making. I started training at Christmas, after contemplating what sort of challenge would raise interest in my local community. No stranger to the odd endurance event or two, I plumped for the Ironman. I felt that this was out of my comfort zone, so it was something to aspire to.
My gym, tfd Health & Fitness, have been very supportive – they put together a conditioning programme and I have been working with a sports psychology student, which has been very interesting. Preparation has been as diverse as it has been tough. Not only do I need to ensure that I get the right volume of training to see me through a 12+ hour event, but I also need to improve my top-end fitness too. Typically I train 6 times a week, sometimes twice a day when I cycle to work.
I regularly cycle to work and incorporate an interval spin class in my schedule too. Riding long distance is something I do fairly often, but I need to work out how quickly I can cycle the 112 miles and still leave enough in the tank for the rowing. Initially, my biggest worry was the rowing – I thought my back would really complain. Bizarrely, my back has been fine – even coming off a 2 hour bike ride! I have completed ‘brick sessions’, which essentially rehearse the cycle-to-rowing transition. So a typical brick would be 2 hours on the bike, followed by a 2 hour row session. I quickly realised that a seat pad mitigated a lot of the pain in the buttocks and that I need to stretch the glutes every 5k to make the rowing bearable. To date, my longest row is 2 and half hours, covering just over 30k – I’m aiming to cover the marathon distance in 3 and a half hours.
I began swim training during the first week of June – all of the post-Christmas work has paid off and I am now the strongest I have ever been in the pool. The only issue I have is a crampy right calf after 40 minutes in the pool, which limits performance. I have some strategies for this, but they all need testing in training, which can be very frustrating.
I have three 30k rows scheduled in before mid-August and completed a huge training milestone on 15th July – doing a slightly more than half Ironman. It helped put all the elements together and get some experience before the big event on 28th August.
It’s not long now until the real thing. When it gets tough, I simply remember why I am doing this and everything seems worth it. If you’d like to sponsor me, visit my fundraising page or more information can be found on my website.
Support Phil on his fundraising page
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