Professional Ironman Triathlete

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Birmingham Half Marathon

To end my peak period for IMFlorida, I did my last mixed tempo run today - combining with the work schedule, this happened to be in Birmingham - the EDF Energy Birmingham Half.

Its difficult to be in a race and not intend to race it, but today was not a day for racing - that will be next weekend. To ensure I didn't blow my load in Brum, I made sure that I was pretty tired heading into it, this week having been fairly high on the intensity scale (for ironman anyhow!), including a full on training day yesterday. I also ran with the ipod to make it seem more like a training run, and (purely by accident as my number didn't turn up) raced under a pseudonym, which took the pressure off having my name next to a slow result in the listings! So Chris Gowland (yes, I'll admit to it!) put in a solid 1:21 (and 33rd out of 9000!)- which was an easy-steady-hard build run. Overall pacing wise this was quite easy thanks to the codl start, so the first few kms had to be a warm up. What did take me by surprise was the course was unulating throughout - which made it seriously fun! All in all a great training day.

Good to catch up with Martin (first timer) and Chris there to - both posting awesome times! Well done!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Kona 2008 photos...

... courtesy of Kari Davis. Thanks Kari!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Guardian article

What's rocking sport from Monday 20th September - read here for a laugh!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Kona Race Report

We’ve just got back from a very wet awards party... cut a little short due to torrential downpours. Despite this it was very entertaining – mostly Brits remained to the end enduring the rain or under temporary shelters constructed with tables!

As for race day: My body decided that the race wasn’t meant to be. Shame, but not completely unexpected. The timing of the race was always a bit of an experiment, and the 2 week lay off running into one week taper between IMUK 5 weeks ago meant that I was seriously underdone. The result was no ‘on button’, leading to a slack swim and about 30kms on the bike trying to find the next gear, and then I basically pulled the pin. I was having trouble getting anywhere near race wattage let alone holding it for 5 hours. I kept plugging away initially to see if something would come right – there were moments in the first 30km that felt good, but around 90 mins in I knew I was underperforming too badly to be able to pull it back even with a small miracle. The next four hours were a slog of a training ride... at the very least I was here to see the bike course and experience it first hand. That achieved, I’m concentrating on getting back on plan for IMFlorida in 3 weeks – the main reason I didn’t go run the marathon just for the sake of it. As its not the end of my season, I felt no compulsion to put my body through a sloppy run just to finish the race. For me, it was a choice of finishing poorly and ruining myself for the next month or pulling the pin and cracking on with training and the rest of the season. I chose the latter. This was actually my ‘b’ scenario – ‘a’ being that I was recovered and ready to race and knocked out a good day. ‘B’ was blowing early and not having to ruin myself running. The worst case was blowing on the run and finishing with both a slow time and ruined.

Despite the fact that my body wasn’t playing ball, the experience has been AWESOME!!!! I got my first pro start at Hawaii, lining up with the famous faces of IM triathlon, and got to soak up the race week atmosphere. As part of the long term plan, the trip achieved everything it needed to: got my head round the week, the logistics and how everything works; rode the course and felt the Hawi winds; enjoyed the atmosphere.

So now I’ve got to get on with prep for Florida, again the ‘bonus’ race here has messed up the schedule substantially, but its all good experience, and interesting trying out new race prep regimes.

Timex had some notable results, and great performances (and a lot of guts) all round. Its been a realy pleasure meeting a few more of the team and having the camaraderie that goes along with it.

Thanks go to Rotary, without whom this trip was probably not going to be possible for another couple of years. You guys are awesome! Thanks also to Swim for Tri, Cycle Doctor, Timex (of course!) and Steven (Lord) and his family for amazing support.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Countdown to Kona

Its mid-afternoon, the day before Kona. My beautiful orange Trek TTX is racked, the bags are in. The final prep was done first thing, a very short swim/bike/run set with some 30 sec pick ups in each section. I’ve done the most part of the carb loading, out for a small meal in about an hour or so, but now its just about winding down before getting an early night.

To everyone racing: have a great day, especially those in Timex kit!


Checkout the Timex Team here

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Article in Birmingham Post

Getting ready for the Birmingham Half-Marathon
Oct 6 2008 By Emma Brady

With just three weeks to go until the inaugural EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon, Post Health Correspondent and regular runner Emma Brady joined top triathlete Toby Radcliffe to find out if she is ready for race day.

With more than 8,000 people preparing to take part in the city’s first half marathon on October 26, getting the right training is vital if all is to go to plan on race day.

Having run a personal best time of 1:50:48 in the Wolverhampton Half Marathon last month I had lulled myself into a false sense of security, thinking all was going well.

But if my eyes had been opened to the challenge at hand during a training trot along part of the route, then a hardcore session of intervals with professional triathlete Toby Radcliffe shattered any remaining illusions I had over my fitness levels.

Having asked for my running history, the 30-year-old’s eyes lit up when I told him my times. “So I can push you hard then!”

After a gentle jog around Cannon Hill Park, in Edgbaston, and some strange-looking dynamic stretches, which no doubt amused the patrons of the coffee shop as we swung our arms and legs about, it was down to serious business.

On paper the main session may look easy: 5 x 1 min (5k pace)/30 sec recovery jog, 3 x 90 sec (5-10k pace)/45 sec recovery, and finally 3 x 30 sec (as fast as possible)/30 sec recovery.

But after the first set of reps I was puffing and panting like a pensioner. Toby assured me this just meant I was working to my V02 max, giving my lungs a good workout. Then again, he barely broke a sweat.

“Come on just two more sets to go,” he said cheerily. I looked on in disbelief, having really pushed myself, but dogged determination and professional pride would not let me quit.

While I do not mind being shown up by professional athletes, I will not tolerate being effortlessly overtaken by plodding pensioners or fun runners in fancy dress.

Even with this in mind, after three sets all I wanted to do was collapse in a world of pain, but I knew that was just a sign of old fashioned hard graft.

After the session, Toby said: “You’re in great shape for the half marathon so now’s the time to work on your body’s effectiveness, which you know after getting a PB in Wolverhampton.

“But that kind of session isn’t just for experienced runners, it’s all about tailoring it to your own pace, the important thing is it should feel like you’ve really worked whatever your ability. It should be a challenging session.

“It’s always good to challenge yourself, not just physically but mentally, so if you make this a hard session it will give you the psychological tools to help push through those last miles of the course on race day.”

Organisers of some of Britain’s major running events, including the Flora London Half Marathon, produced an advice sheet following serious concerns by medical teams at the lack of preparation by runners. This can be found at

Toby will fly out to Hawaii this month to compete in the Ironman World Championships for Timex Multisport Team – which involves a 112-mile bike ride, 2.5 mile swim and a full marathon of 26.2 miles.

As a sustainability consultant for Athletes for a Fit Planet and Birmingham Half Marathon’s race sustainability director, he knows how hard it can be to timetable sessions.

“For me training is a full time job which I can fit my consultancy work around, but I probably train about 25-30 hours a week across all three disciplines, so it takes a lot of dedication,” said Toby. “I know how hard it can be for people to fit even half of that around their own working lives, but anyone taking part in the half marathon, whether they are club runners or first timers, should not get complacent in their training now, even though there are less than four weeks to go.”

He added: “I think the Birmingham Half Marathon has the same ability to inspire people to exercise in the same way the London Marathon does.

“The city has great sporting facilities but that doesn’t mean people are using them, so events like this are important in turning people on to sport and exercise, especially if it makes them think about improving their nutrition and looking after their health better.”

The EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon starts from Alexandra Stadium, in Perry Barr, and finishes in Centenary Square, in the city centre.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Team Timex does Kona

Checkout the Timex team members racing in Kona here

Rookie First Impressions of Kona

First impressions of Kona? It is definitely living up to expectations.

Yes, every athlete here is super-competitve, ultra-fit and out to kick your ass. Yes, the wind is ferocious. Yes, the lava fields do stretch on FOREVER. Yes, the run out to the energy lab early afternoon is basically like running in a sauna. Who thought this was a good idea?

But there’s also the fact that you get to see turtles and fish swimming beneath you in the bay; can put your feet up in one of the numerous coffee places overlooking the bay and seriously chill. There’s also a couple of thousand really friendly people all hanging out here who are all into the same sports as you. And at the end of the week you get to line up with the world's best ironmen and push yourself to the limit.

I’ve only been here a couple of days, and the jet lag is starting to fade, though I am writing this at 5am local time so its clearly not gone completely! From the outset, Kona’s been super-friendly – on the flight from LA to Honolulu I got chatting to a Kona resident who promptly offered me a lift from the airport upon arrival. My heat acclimatisation still has a way to go though – I looked like I’d just had a shower in my running kit yesterday after a short easy jog mid afternoon. Its a slight change from what I left in the UK on Saturday morning. Here it has been hitting 32degC and gets fairly humid after midday.

The first few days have been relaxed. After an obligatory swim first thing, there’s breakfast to look forward to a somewhere like Splashers, one of the many cafes and restaurants offering relaxed meals and unlimited coffee at pretty much any time of day. Then its on with the taper plan – and yes, coach, I am being good and not getting sucked into doing far too much this week.

Athletes seem to have arrived in droves over the weekend – the morning swim is heaving with people, and our ride yesterday saw hundreds of expensive bikes rolling out on the road towards Hawi. With them comes more of the build up to race day. With the official expo and registrations due to open today, the countdown to the start really feels like it has begun.

Monday, 6 October 2008

EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon coverage

More coverage in the Birmingham Post here
More than 8,000 to run in Birmingham half-marathon
Oct 6 2008

More than 8,000 people have signed up to take part in the EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon.

Organisers of the city’s inaugural event, on October 26, initially predicted entries would top 5,000 but reached 8,000 by the cut-off date of September 26.

Councillor Ray Hassall, cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: “We are absolutely delighted that people have now signed up to take part in this event.

“It is going to be a fantastic event for Birmingham and I am delighted that so many local people have been inspired to participate in what is going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the city.

“A half marathon is a big challenge for many people so we do want to encourage every single runner to make sure that they are fully prepared for this event.

“The recent wet weather may affect some people’s training schedules but I’d like to remind runners that with the huge number of Birmingham City Council leisure facilities across the city, there are plenty of indoor training options for people to take advantage of.”

Triathlete Toby Radcliffe, of Athletes for a Fit Planet, has been appointed as EDF Energy’s sustainability expert for the race, also known as the Race Against Climate Change.

Every entrant has been invited to join the 2012 Carbon Challenge at, which was launched to encourage people to reduce their home energy carbon footprint by one tonne by 2012.

Mr Radcliffe said: “We’ve come up with some simple ideas and suggestions so that people can try and save energy and be greener whilst they are training for the EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon.

“For example people should be drinking more water while they are training, so we suggest using refillable bottles rather than buying bottled water. We’re also encouraging people to eat local fresh produce, which as well as being good for you means fewer food miles so less carbon will have been used to transport the food that you eat.”

Volunteers are also needed to help man water stations and marshall the course, start and finish areas for the inaugural Birmingham half marathon.

Anyone interested in helping out can contact Birmingham City Council on 0121 464 2012.

Sunday Times article