I entered my first multisport race about 4 years ago and loved it.Id been doing martial arts for the previous 30 years so it was a huge change.I trained hard for a few races but discovered I didn't need to really train that hard to compete in them. The best I got was 2nd place in one and I took my foot off the pedal after that.
When I heard of the race last year I knew that this was what I was waiting for,going from 5hrs racing to 24hrs and having 6 months to do this (and a newborn baby lol)I knew would be a massive challenge. When I was competing in judo tournaments you could train and fight perfect but your opponent could be just better then you on the day and you could lose,with a race of this size if YOU can't finish,if YOU give up,there is no one to blame but yourself and I couldn't resist this.
The furthest Id run was 12 miles and cycled 40 km so I knew I had to be ruthless with my training.I approached this with a simple plan....I'd do two to three 1hr sessions between running and biking during the week, take a rest day,then run or cycle as far as I could go and take another rest day,the following week I'd just make sure I ran or cycled further then the previous week. Whenever I knew the weather was going to be bad I'd make sure I'd be training in it.
My last running session I ran 30miles and my last cycle session was 170km so the training alone for this race has completely changed me.
This week we received a great story from Diarmuid O'Conchubhair who ran a marathon in his local gym, NRG Bohermore in Galway as a means of raising awareness and funds for our charity partner Gorta - Self Help Africa
His aim was to organise a fundraising event that was a bit different, the gym helped out by offering to give anyone who supported Diamuid free entry for the day. About 50 people came to support him as he ran a 4 hour marathon.
With a little over two weeks to go until The Race, Diarmuid commented "it was one of the easier marathons i've run. My coach John Greaney has me in great shape for The Race and at this point the hard work is almost done"
The Race is a not for profit event with all proceeds going towards the work of Gorta - Self Help Africa. We would like to thank all competitors taking part in 2015 for the massive contribution they have made towards the work of our charity partner.
Events I have completed in the past have usually spanned 5-10 hours in duration, some over three to four days. This allows for much more manageable training and nutritional plans. Given that The Race is a multi-stage 24-hour event, several factors have to be incorporated.
This is obviously crucial for such a multi-stage ultra-endurance event. This simply requires time on the road, running at a steady pace for several hours, staying on the saddle for five/six hours at a time, and appropriate recovery after each session. A coach to have taken triathlon training by storm in 2014/15 is Johnny Greaney. His new venture, ‘The Hurt Locker’, has been putting several of The Race competitors though our paces since November. His coaching has fine-tuned our training, recovery and nutrition, keeping us psychologically focused on racing season, which for some of us is starting a little earlier than usual in Donegal!
The Race is physically challenging, but one can train your body to endure and recover, if appropriate nutrition and hydration is seen to. The psychological preparation is a whole different realm. Just like the scene from ‘Cool Runnings’ when the bob-sleighers practice their route in the bathtub, competitors must go through each stage, plan every section carefully, and have back up plans if any section takes significantly more time etc. The competitors with the best psyche will complete The Race far more easily than those that come with huge physical but poor psychological reserve. ‘Tick-Tock-Ten’, the story of Irish Deca-Ironman legend Gerry Duffy, has given me great insight into how one prepares physically, but more importantly psychologically, for events such as The Race. I work as a trainee in the field of Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, so 17-26 hour working days are a weekly occurrence for me. I think this will give me a huge psychological advantage during this event. The ultimate test will come when darkness falls on the evening of the event. Preparedness will become crucial for completion of the second bike stage and marathon. As the stages progress, each stage will have to be broken down into sections, and each of those completed before moving to the next. For example, I am approaching the marathon as 4-10km or 5-8km stages, depending on how strong I feel when starting it.
Oisin completed the The Race 2014 in a time of 22 hours and 3 minutes.
We caught up with him this week to chat about The Race and his advise for others taking on the challenge in 2015.
Not really. I would say my training is similar but my use of time has been smarter. For example I’ll get a lift with my wife to the gym in the morning, do my strength or conditioning work then I’ll run home afterwards getting a 16km run in as well.
I have tried to run/bike on hilly routes during the majority of my training this time around. The Donegal landscape is relentless and I was totally unprepared last year for that aspect of The Race. The only flat part of the course is the kayak leg!