Beat the Bounce



If you have your heart set on competing at Ironman 70.3, one of the most important things to do BEFORE your next training session is to ENTER the race, because entries are selling out fast! Due to the 2011 event selling out, the entry limit was increased to 3 000 for 2012, but over 2 000 athletes have already entered (as of 18 October). Entries close on 4 November, but enter TODAY at

Download the November training programme here.

World Endurance South Africa (WESA), the Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3 South Africa, Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa and affiliates do not endorse nor promote this training programme in any way.  This programme is not an officially endorsed Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3 South Africa or Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa training programme and has been independently created by Modern Athlete.  WESA assumes no risks or liability for any injuries, loss or harm caused by following this programme.

The Modern Athlete DARE TO TRI Launch was recently held in Bedfordview, Gauteng, and what a great start to this incredible journey. The second in our series of four workshops takes place on 30 October, and as was evident at the launch, the biggest fear for most novice triathletes is swimming. Well, now is the chance to overcome that fear by learning to swim with the correct technique. Georgie Thomas, operator and owner of Total Immersion Swimming South Africa, will be at the workshop to teach you the correct swimming technique. (Click here for more info and bookings.)

Judging by the team’s comments regarding their first week of training, it seems as if things are mostly going well. Visit our facebook page as well as the Modern Athlete website to follow their progress.

The first week saw me taking delivery of my new bike – thanks to Dave and Steve at Tribe for all the advice! Much of the week was spent admiring the new purchase and making sure everything was 100%. Sunday saw me take part in the BSG Tri Series at Hartbeespoort Dam and I had a good race. The biggest challenge was getting into a nice running rhythm after the bike, but hopefully the coming weeks of training will address that.

My first week of training has seen me preoccupied with practising how to breathe when swimming. I managed to cover more than the specified distance, as I also swam on my rest days, but swallowed most of the pool! I haven’t compromised on the running and cycling, though. I had consulted coach Derick Marcisz regarding being able to participate in weekly road running races, as it can be lonely running by yourself, so for my weekend ‘long’ run I participated in a half marathon, but took it easy, as he advised. My cycling consisted of spinning, working on my cadence, strength and endurance.

Life is what happens while you’re making other plans, or in this case, sore throats and alien invasions. I managed my run and a spinning class the one evening. Felt great and life was looking peachy. The following day I did sprints in the pool with a 2km recovery run in the evening. Then I woke up feeling like a mangled wreck and took the rest of the week to recover. Week 2 is now in session and we’ll see how it goes.

The day our programme started I was up early with Christelle to ensure that she gets her training session in on the indoor trainer. I got back in bed. On Wednesday I was not up to our run due to bad sinus. I was worried that I am already skipping sessions, but I know that getting better is the main priority. On Thursday I managed my first cycle – perfect weather and seeing the sunrise while riding is the best possible start to a day. But my run did not go as planned, because 700m into the run I felt a sharp pain in my left knee and had to stop. I am worried about my knee, but I’m seeing a biokineticist soon.

My cycling training is going very well and after learning more about ‘brick’ sessions, I’ve tried to run immediately after a cycle. I found I felt energised afterwards, to an extent that I was tempted to do more!  But I remembered what Coach Derick said about ‘less is more.’ I have not done much swimming though and I realise I will have to work on this! 
My first week of training went really well. I even did my first cycling race: the Campus 2 Campus in Vanderbijlpark. I really enjoyed it! I’m still struggling a bit with the swimming, but I am feeling a lot stronger in the pool!

The first day of training saw me doing my cycle on the indoor trainer, which I really enjoy as I get to do the kilometres needed without too much of an adjustment to our morning routines and getting the kids to school. I did my run at lunch time, which not only gives me a chance to train, but also gets me out the office for a bit of a breather. On our swim session, I initially battled to get into a rhythm and started feeling despondent, but one of the added advantages of doing the training with my husband is that he gives me those little pep talks when I need them. On my second swim I felt really comfortable and was glad to see that Friday was just an “off day.”

My first week of training did not go according to plan, and I am quite frustrated. I have been battling with sinus and asthma over the past couple of weeks and it has really impacted my training. I am on the road to recovery, with my doctor’s assistance, and I am hopeful that I will be healthy soon. I have learnt over the past few weeks how important it is to listen to your body. I will remain positive, as I am not giving up my dream to complete the 70.3. I will do whatever it takes!

I have made some adjustments to the training plan to fit my schedule. Since swimming is my weakest discipline, I am trying to get in the water as much as possible. I am not a morning person, so the morning run was a challenge and will take some getting used to. I ended up doing a little more than on the programme, and as a result I was exhausted on Wednesday, so I took a break. When I got in the pool on Friday night, I felt like I had forgotten how to swim! Sunday saw me competing at the BSG Energade Triathlon at Hartbeespoort, where the bike and run were great. As for the swim, it’s miraculous I even made it. I have plenty of mental preparation and practice ahead of me!

I had to swap a few of the sessions around to fit in with other things, but somehow managed to get it all in. Note to self: Rather train in the mornings, as it is more difficult to fit a session in as the day goes on. So far I am most pleased with my swimming progress – it seems to feel better each time I get in the water. I’m still not feeling great running, really don’t enjoy cycling, and I’m finding hills particularly difficult and unpleasant. I have still not been brave enough to use my cleats, but know it has to be done. Thank goodness for the rest days, I love them!

Let’s revisit the basic principles outlined in the first article and apply them to the next phase of training.
1. CONSISTENCY: Hopefully you have managed to do the three different sports at least twice a week, for at least a few weeks. We will now aim to increase this slowly, but if you are not able to increase the number of sessions, try to keep a constant two sessions for each sport.
2. REST AND RECOVERY: The programme is only a guide – listen to your body and rest when necessary! Change your rest day to suit your needs and always train today so that you can train tomorrow. Finish every training session with something in reserve.
3. TRAIN SMART AND SPECIFICALLY: The key to success in triathlon is putting together a performance over the three sports, so when training for three sports there is no room for sessions without purpose.

Having done a few weeks of two sessions per week of each sport, the plan is to build up to three per week, with a minimum of two. Add one session per week until you get up to nine and hold that for two weeks. Then go back to six and build up again. The basic training for each sport will be as follows:

• The longest run so far has been 17km and we will build this to 20km.
• The pace should be easy and relaxed.
• We will also introduce one quality session per week, alternating between a hill repeat session and a tempo run.

• The longest bike ride you should have done is 50-55km and we will now build this up to 90km.
• These should be at a relaxed pace and getting used to spinning a fairly high cadence of around 90 revolutions per minute.
• We will also introduce some hill work, either repeats or a ride over a hilly course during the midweek shorter ride.
• The 70.3 bike course is quite hilly and you need to get used to riding hills.

• The swim distance to date is around 1.6km and we will now take this up to 2km.
• One open water swim per week is essential, doing a 2km straight swim in a dam or in the sea.
• Always swim in open water with other triathletes and use these sessions to practise ‘sighting’ the swim buoys as well as swimming in a group.
• Pool sessions should focus on good technique, and include some drills if you can.
• Wetsuits are allowed for the 70.3 swim leg, but a wetsuit is reasonably costly. Therefore, use one if you can, as this will definitely help, but the distance is short enough that it is not essential.

• Swimming to bike bricks are best done at the gym: Swim a continuous 1km at a good pace and immediately ride a stationary bike for 30 minutes, again aiming for a good speed on the bike.
• Biking to running bricks are much harder: The aim is to run a few kilometres after both the long bike ride on the weekend and a shorter midweek ride. The run should initially be short, starting at 3km and working up to a maximum of 8km. These sessions are difficult as the muscles you use for cycling and running are very different. Work on your running form and ‘cadence’ (number of strides per minute), and try to do these runs at the pace you would expect to run in the 70.3, which will be significantly slower than your usual 21km times.

There are many triathlon events on the calendar leading up to the 70.3. It is important to experience these events as part of your preparation, because training is no substitute for doing a race to experience swimming in a large group, transitions, pacing your ride, and then running on tired legs! Start with one of the BSG/Energade sprint events (600m swim/20km bike/5km run) and then in November try a standard Olympic distance race (1.5km/40km /10km). Visit and check out the events calendar.