Welcome to the ESPA Life at Corinthia Fitness Blog

Written by us, the Personal Training Team at ESPA Life at Corinthia London. We wanted to create a blog to write for fitness advocates and beginners alike, a place to share everything from tips & truths, effective workouts, dietary advice, words of encouragement , our thoughts on the what works (and what doesn’t) and what music is on our playlist. We will also run competitions, encourage you to join us for a morning run and provoke discussion.

We welcome your views and if you have any questions, please post them on the blog so that others can join the conversation! You can also email us at espalifefitness.london@corinthia.com

Best wishes,
Ross, David, Tom & Marina
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Tuesday 8 January 2013

The Ironman Part 1 – Introduction

David Griffin

As a Personal Trainer I love Performance Goals. So when Tom Freud entered the gym here at ESPA Life, and told me he was planning to do a Half Ironman a smile quickly spread across my face (not that I don’t smile anyway...!!!). It’s a huge challenge, particularly as Tom has never participated in an extreme endurance challenge before. Although I think it’s fair to say both I and Tom enjoy challenges and we quickly developed an understanding. It is going to be a test of strength, endurance and character, but I’m confident he can perform well with the correct structure to his training.

As a Personal Trainer I need to know everything about this event, so appropriate initial research is the first thing to do. I have raced over Half marathon before and also over distances on the bike, but have never competed in a 70.3 Ironman. This is another reason why the initial research is so important. It is also fair to say, training for an Ironman is unlike any other event. It is the ultimate endurance test, and to get results, preparation is vital.

  • Competition: 70.3 Ironman. (Half Ironman)
  • Location: St Polten, Austria.
  • Exercise Type: Long duration Aerobic exercise. 1.2 mile swim (Lake), 56 mile bike (road), 13.1 mile run (road).
  • Typical Environmental Condition, St Polten, May: 
    • Avg low: 11°  |  Avg hi: 21°  |  Avg precip: 0.16 cm
  • Exercise Frequency: One off Event. Sunday 26th May 2013.
  • Causes of Fatigue: Hypoglycaemia, Dehydration and Hyperthermia, Depletion of Muscle glycogen and Liver glycogen, impaired SR and mitochondrial function (due possibly to free radical damage), Heat Exhaustion, Cramps, GI Disturbances.
  • Other causes of DNF: Crash, Punctures, GI distress, Heat Exhaustion, Acute injury (Breaks, muscle strains, sprains), Chronic injury (Achilles tendonitis, Calf tightness etc...)
  • Possible Sports Nutrition Strategies: CHO Loading, Pre CHO intake 1-4 hours before event, CHO/Fluid intake during event, Hydration strategies before event, Supplementation PRO, antioxidants, Fe, Zn, Mg.
  • Time of Competition: 07:00 Swim Start – Expected finish Approx 12:30
    • (Swim 45-60 min), (Bike 160 min-200min), Run (105min-120min)
  • Estimated Total Duration: - 5Hours - 6hours 20min.

I will refer back to this information often. The main reason is that training has to always be specific to the task in hand. There is no point, for example, regularly training the ‘Phosphagen’ energy system when the causes of fatigue are predominately a depletion of muscle and liver glycogen through the ‘Aerobic’ energy system. Training at a higher intensity serves its purpose (discussed later), even in an Ironman, but with a total expected competition duration of over 5 hours, training for long durations will be essential.

Another important requirement is the Initial assessment, including a comprehensive health check, exercise screening, Body composition test and Cardio and pulmonary exercise testing (CPEX testing). With this information I can then start to individualise the training, according to the results of the testing and in relation to his goals.

Next week Ironman Part 2 – Assessing an Athlete


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