Road to Ironman Argentina

On the 1st December 2019, I will be competing at an Ironman triathlon in Argentina. That’s 3.8km of swimming; 180km of cycling; 42km of running. My goal is to complete the race in anything between 9h 45min and 9h 59min 59sec.

I’m a husband, father of two beautiful daughters, and an endurance sports coach. My goal one day is to qualify for the World Championships in Hawaii, and this race is part of the plan to build experience.

I hope to inspire you to try one day a triathlon, and why not an Ironman? If you have any questions about training, email me at thierry@jurasports.com . Here is my journey !

Week 11 : November 18 – 24

It’s race week ! This is so exciting, I cannot wait to race on Sunday and have a good time out there. Last week’s training went really well. Volume is a lower, and I really focus on good quality : technique and respecting my easy zones. Now is the time to take extra care of my body and avoid injuries at all cost.

I managed a beautiful ride in the Geneva countryside; there are some gems of roads around from Satigny, Dardagny, Avully, Soral… In fact I was playing the delivery man as Connie had forgotten her passport so made the delivery around lunch time. It was a cold ride but good to be outside !

What I’m also very pleased is I managed to go for 4 swims this week. Not very long ones, but swim frequency is something we can really benefit from. I know that when I swim more often (not necessarily longer) I swim better. It’s all about the feel in the water !

To cap off the week I ran a steady 20km and it felt very easy. It’s a good feeling when long runs are now very easy.

On Saturday night it was my wife’s birthday and we had friends over. Had to avoid the booze as plenty was drunk that evening and we had a really good time. Connie cooked 3  amazing curry dishes, incredible !

Weight dropped perfectly to where I wanted it to be, slightly below 72kg on average . Weight is obviously a factor but dropping too much weight can make us feel lethargic and no power on race day so it’s a fine balance.

It was also time to harvest our Jerusalem artichokes. I thought we’d get a few roots, no no no… we got 12kg ! And it tastes great! However, maybe not a good idea for race week as it’s a high diuretic food ! Hi highly recommend planting what we call Topinambour, it’s very easy to maintain, literally no work at all, and it yields very well, and very easy to harvest.

Summary : I feel great and I cannot wait to race !

Stats : Swim : 7.8km / Bike : 210km / Run : 40km

Total training time : 12 hours 48 minutes

For those who want to follow me even more closely, I will be number 533 ! You can download the IM app and see my progress during the day. I can’t thank you all enough for the words of encouragements, it’s been a pleasure to write this blog and I hope to have inspired some of you to maybe try a triathlon, or perhaps even go the full distance or just go out for a run. Next post will be from Argentina ! Hasta luego !

Thanks for following me ! BE EPIC.

Week 11 : November 11 – 17

Sometimes you have perfect weeks, and that was one of them ! I hit almost all the workouts and got some serious time cycling and running. It’s all coming together very nicely and now it’s all about managing effort and fatigue. This week was the last “big week”. With the cold weather it was tough and impossible to find some outside riding time so I had to suck it up and spend 4 hours on the trainer. Yes, 4 hours. It was long but I got the job done and it was a victory for the mind ! I watched two documentaries, Queen at live aid and listened to a podcast. 4 hours…

I also saw my masseur Petri who always seems to put me in the best possible shape. I felt amazing at the Geneva 20km run and I have no doubt his massage helped big time. It’s a luxury to see masseurs but when you take your hobby seriously, want to progress and see results it is essential to take care of our bodies. I would certainly advise people to seek a massage at least once a month.

This weekend we travelled to Vienna to visit the family and we had a very nice weekend, with a little bit too much food… Vienna is an amazing city to visit. Make sure to bring running shoes to run along the canals or the “Donau Insel” or run around the ring road as a sight-seeing run. I also managed a little swim in one of the most beautiful pools I’ve ever seen : Amalienbad. It was built in the 1920’s in full Art-Déco style and has the odd distance of 33.3 meters long. There were a lot of people so I couldn’t properly swim but it was nice to feel the water and enjoy this amazing venue. Vienna is in full Christmas mood with its lovely markets and food stalls. Maybe a few beers and Glühwein too many but it was certainly worth it !

I also received my new wheels from Swissside and cannot wait to try them out ! They look FAST and furious, I hope I can make them proud ! Same goes for my new running shoes from On Running : I love the Clouds ! Although they get used relatively quickly I really feel great when I run with them. Lots of new gear for race day, can’t wait !

Summary : Perfect week and I’m eager to race !

Stats : Swim : 5.3km / Bike : 291km / Run : 47km

Total training time : 14 hours 19 minutes

Thanks for following me !

Week 10 : November 4 – 10

Last week’s success at the Geneva 20km had an impact on me; I felt really tired earlier this week as I had really pushed myself in the race. Lesson learnt: maybe not a good idea to do short course racing in the build up to an Ironman ! So Monday and Tuesday were almost written off and could only manage easy training (sometimes a blessing in disguise!). But had the luxury of seeing my masseur Jerome in Geneva who cracked all my bones pretty much; and on Thursday it was a big acupuncture and cupping session with Jennifer in Gland. I highly recommend their services and they definitely keep me away from injury !

The week built up nicely in intensity and length and form started to come back. Friday was my key day being a race simulation. Unfortunately due to bad timing I had to skip the swim so only managed the bike and run; but had a very good day which gave me a lot of confidence for the IM. Long runs are getting “easier” despite tired legs and I really hope this feeling will be the same next month !

Something else that is tricky to manage is spending time on the saddle despite the bad weather. I love the turbo trainer, but above 2-3 hours I need air. On Saturday morning there was a window of opportunity and I took it; many thanks for my very understanding and supporting family. I had a great 4 hour ride with lots of time spent on the aero bars and power felt relatively easy ! I was wearing about 5 layers of clothes and managed to stay warm despite the chilly 5 degrees temperature ! I even made it on time for the family outing at the cinema to watch “Shaun the sheep” , brilliant animation movie and the kids loved it !

Summary : Little tired from previous week; but good training overall hitting most of the numbers. Missed one swim 🙁

Stats : Swim : 4.4km / Bike : 256km / Run : 50km

Total training time : 14 hours 36 minutes

Thanks for following me !

Week 9 : October 28 – November 3

Slight panic… the race is in 4 weeks ! I think it’s actually good to be nervous. It means we’re putting ourselves out of our comfort zone, think big and reach for the stars ! After the holidays and the kids camp, it was time to put some big efforts and push that fitness level to the top. I was in desperate state of swimming and cycling time. But I felt confident that the rest weeks did me good.

Weather is against me though… it’s November now and its grey, rainy and cold. However I found a window of opportunity on Tuesday and rode around the lake which is about 176km. I wanted to ride more but I was too cold (and a little bored). The following day I managed my longest run of 30km and absolutely nailed the session. These two workouts really boosted my confidence. Now the question is, can I put it all together?

On Sunday I ran the 20km trio relay running race in Geneva. We came 2nd last year so the pressure was on ! Actually it wasn’t… Patrick and Alec hadn’t prepared as well as last year, and I was preparing for ironman, definitely not speed ! But we put our bibs on and the magic happened. They put me in a very good spot and I had to run down 2 teams to reach the second step of the podium. I overtook the eventual 3rd within 200m of the finish line. It was ALL OUT ! Wow I didn’t know I could run that fast without almost any speed play in my training.

The week finished with the birthday of my wonderful daughter Lucie who turned 5 year old on Halloween so we celebrated in style and dressed up for the “Dia de los muertos”. I also sang a couple of songs for her and she was very happy, proud father !

It was also harvest time for our butternut squash, directly from the compost ! 11.5kg of tasty pumpkins and finally my new compost bin is up and ready. Final work in the garden as “winter is coming” and well done to South Africa for winning the Rugby World Cup. I did a a great workout watching the game 😉

Summary : Solid training week with a fantastic race result !

Stats : Swim : 8km / Bike : 264km / Run : 54km

Total training time : 15 hours 24 minutes

HRV is great. Weight is playing up a little due to inflammation from long run but it will come back.

Thanks for following me !

Week 6+7+8: October 7 – October 27

I’m so sorry for having missed a few weeks, but between school holidays and my kids camp it’s been all over the place ! But here is my summary of the last few weeks

Week 6

This was almost a “perfect week”. I hit all the numbers and was very pleased with my swimming technique and increasing ability to feel good in the water, my biking was improving thanks to better structure and order, and I managed a very nice long run at harder than race pace and I felt great ! It really feels like everything is coming along, but I knew I’d face a few tough weeks ahead with holidays and kids camp…

Week 7

Holidays! Although we all deserve a rest and a holiday, this one is right in the key part of my preparation, so I did what I could without (too much) disrupting family life. Unfortunately it was too dark to run before the kids woke up, so I ran a few times quite easy and it was nice along the canal of Carpentras. Cycling wise I only managed a couple long rides, but beautiful rides, one with my Alpe d’HuZes partner Patrick. To reconcile family and hobby we cycled back home from the zoo. We had a very nice holiday, probably ate and drank a bit too much, so put on a couple kilos… but hey it will (or at least should!) come off relatively quickly once I’m back in a nice routine !

I also want to congratulate my two beautiful daughters Romy and Lucie who are only 3 and 4 years old and we can already go out cycling together, they are AMAZING !

Week 8

Straight from the holidays and onto a kids camp ! These weeks are basically almost zero workouts for me as those kids take all my energy… But it’s not without effort as we’re on the bikes or on our feet the whole day. I see those kids camp as “active recovery”. In any case, the camp was great fun and the kids loved it, so who cares if I lost a little bit of racing edge but made 20 kids happy !?

On the weekend we did a family bike ride, but I was running ! So nice to spend family time AND doing my training. Kids are almost too fast but it pushes me and it’s somewhat a nice interval workout as they learn their pacing.

Summary

3 very mixed training weeks and now only… 4 weeks to go until race day ! I’m getting the butterflies just thinking about it. Like ALL my athletes I wonder “have I done enough”, “I dont know if I can sustain that pace”, etc… I just have to follow the process and the training and believe in myself. To be nervous is ok, in fact I would say it’s necessary as this means we’re getting out of our confort zone! That’s what we should all thrive to : push ourselves to new levels !

Thanks for following me !

Week 5: September 30 – October 6

Finally a rest week ! My goal this week was to increase my time in the pool and really work on technique. I was really happy to get 5 swims done, including two open water swims in Barcelona. The rest of the workouts were all about technique and easy recovery on running, and some v02 efforts on the bike, but very short intervals to keep (and increase) the top speed.

On Thursday I flew to Barcelona as three of my athletes were racing the Barcelona Ironman. It was odd to go to a race as a supporter and not a participant, and it was a great experience. On Friday I was able to swim, bike and run the course to give as much feedback as possible. The swim looked choppy, the bike was extremely fast, and the run was pleasant along the beach. They were set for a great race !

They had all different goals. Jamie wanted to go as close as possible to 10 hours, Andrey for his first one wanted to go around 13h30min; and Louise for her first full ironman and only after giving birth 18 months ago wanted to simply finish it and make the cut off of 15h30min. Different expectation, but they all exceeded by far their expectations! Jamie did an incredible 9h42min (including a handstand on the finish line…); Andrey did a brilliant 13h08min in a very controlled manner; and Louise finished in 14h06min way ahead the various cut offs, and looked relaxed and totally in control all day. Goes to show that preparation is key; all these athletes nailed their preparations, barely missing any sessions. WELL DONE !!!

Oh, and at our hotel I met the Kona 2013 World Champion Fred Van Lierde. What a nice guy, had a quick chat and took a little photo, slightly starstruck 😉 He won IM Nice in 2011 when I did my first Ironman, so I always followed his career a bit more closely than other pros. Unfortunately he only came second in Barcelona this time.

Summary : Nice rest week with a very cool trip to Barcelona, now time to work HARD !

Stats : Swim : 12.6km / Bike : 155km / Run : 32km

Total training time : 11 hours 51 minutes

HRV is great. Weight started to drop big time; need to be careful not to yo yo too much and lose too quickly to not lose too much energy.

Thanks for following me !

Week 4: September 23 – 29

This week was the last push in my build period before a well deserved rest week ! It was hard… resting is key for our bodies and our general progression, and I think I was very close in needing this rest week. I had to push on one more week and mentally it was challenging, but I got it done but with a few mishaps… I totally failed a bike workout on Wednesday having overdone the Compex workout the day before so I had no strength in the legs; and I completely bonked on a supposedly easy run post bike having not fuelled enough. We need failures to learn and here are my lessons learnt (something I am good at giving advice but not doing myself…)

  • Dont go (too) hard the day before a key session.
  • Always fuel appropriately (depending on the workout intensity and purpose)

Overall a solid week. 3 swims, 3 bikes, 3 runs, 2 strengths. Consistency is key, and I’m going the right direction so very happy with that !

On a completely different note I built my own compost with pallets after the old one collapsed. Very happy with my work ! Why composting? You can compost all the natural product wastes and therefore not use a regular bin (in Vaud we pay a tax CHF 2 per bin bags…). Moreover, you create a soil with high nutrient content. Think of the calcium in egg shells for example; no longer a waste product ! Comes spring I will be able to use this soil for my plants and hopefully they will grow nicely. Talking about my plants, it was our final harvest of carrots and onions and we got a LOT ! Delicious too !

The week finished nicely on Sunday with a “parent-child” running race in Chavannes-de-Bogis called “La Chavannaise”. For kids it was a very long distance (1.6km) but my two daughters did amazing and really enjoyed it. So proud of them ! Especially since we cycled to the race and back. Triathletes in the making ? 😉

Summary : I need a rest !

Stats : Swim : 6km / Bike : 230km / 45km

Total training time : 15 hours 21 minutes

HRV is great. Weight is down to about 72.2 average due to a consistent diet and being mindful of not snacking too much…

Thanks for following me !

Week 3: September 16 – 22

The key to Ironman training is consistency. This week I’m very happy to have carried on the solid training I’ve been doing, and only missing my short swim. I managed to find more time for stretching and some Compex. Very happy about that ! The strength sessions are getting “easier” and I’m less sore.

Monday was a day off in Switzerland; and I celebrated by going for a big ride ! 6 hours on the saddle through vineyards, mountains and lake. Some of my favourite places including Romainmôtier, Vallée de Joux and the Route des Montagnes (where I cross country ski in the winter!)

The negative point this week is that I almost had an accident on the bike on Friday. A car ignored me on the roundabout and cut right in front. I managed to break in time, fell of my bike, and confronted the drive who just simply “didn’t see me”. Please people, be careful out there when cycling ! To avoid this from happening again I went to buy bike lamps from Knog for me and the kids. We look like Christmas trees when we ride but we are safer. Cycling is a dangerous activity, so I’d rather be safe than sorry !

On a very positive note, my friend George from Epic Camp qualified for KONA ! He had an absolutely amazing race in Italy and completed te Ironman race in 8h46min. WOW. But he only came fourth in his age group… the level nowadays is out of this world. On the one hand it scares me on the level required for qualification, but on the other hand it’s giving me belief that one day I can also do it and I won’t stop until I qualify !

This weekend we took the girls to Yvoire. We cycled from Founex to Nyon and then took the boat across the Lake Léman to have some nice “filets de perches”. I am so impressed how are girls are cycling… only 3 and 4 year old and already riding for 20km !

Summary : Keep this nice routine going (hopefully the weather agrees!)

Stats : Swim : 5.2km / Bike : 295km / 37km

Total training time : 17 hours 56 minutes

HRV (Heart Rate Variability) is good and resting heart rate is getting better. Weight is yo-yoing a little around 73kg after some nice dinners!

Thanks for following me !

Week 2: September 9 – 15

The road to Ironman Argentina takes me to the…. Seeland Triathlon in Morat (Murten for the German speakers) ! It’s one of my favourite races in Switzerland. There are sprint, olympic and half distance formats and you go through amazing scenery in canton Fribourg and Vaud with views of the Lake Neuchâtel, after a beautiful swim in the Murten See.

So how did I do ? I raced the half distance format (1.9km swim; 83km bike; 20km run) and did really well. I finished 34th overall and 18th in my age group, in a total time of 4h20min to improve my 2015 time by over 10 minutes ! I swam well, kept a good pace with high turnover and straight arm which meant my swim wasn’t pretty but it was efficient. I rode conservatively on purpose to save energy for the run. My power on the bike was similar to what I will aim in Argentina. I felt amazing when I got off the bike, but I started the run too quickly (the only negative aspect of the day) and this I will have to be very cautious during the Ironman. All in all, a strong performance and very happy with the result !

The race came after a solid week of training; the highlight was definitely Wednesday’s ride where I met a young cyclist from Belley in France near the Grand Colombier, and we ended up riding together the whole ride ! Nice to make friends along the way and I showed him our beautiful region as we rode through the vineyards of La Côte.

The only negative I will give me this week is I didn’t stretch enough and didn’t use my Compex. Nutrition side it was almost perfect this week and I felt great during race day. Shoutout to Four Sigmatic mushroom elixirs, I love it ! It’s basically a mushroom powder that you blend with hot water and it tastes like a coffee with great health benefits but no caffeine (I drink too many espressos otherwise…). That was a tip from my Epic Camp friend George who is actually racing IM Italy next weekend and he is hoping punch the ticket to Hawaii ! I’m sure he will do it ! I also loaded up on spirulina (from Flamant Vert) as this really helps me with energy levels and make sure I get all my micronutrients !

The week finished in style as we had a cheese fondue on the terrasse at our best friends Patrick and Renate, washed with a few glasses of white wine. Hey, it’s always good to celebrate and take off your mind from training ! Check out Renate’s website, Coppet Coaching, she’s a great life/personal coach and always asks the right questions to get me to open up a bit !

Summary : stretch and use Compex more. Keep good swim routine. Keep healthy diet.

Stats : Swim : 5.7km / Bike : 258km / 36km

Total training time : 13 hours 12 minutes

HRV (Heart Rate Variability) is trending positively (not on Sunday due to race fatigue…) and resting heart rate is getting better. Weight is stabilising around 73kg.

Thanks for following me !

Week 1: September 2 – 8

Well this is quite exciting as I registered this week for the Ironman Argentina on the 1stDecember 2019 ! The race will be part of a wonderful holiday with my wife as we visit her best friend and bridesmaid Carolina. Somehow, I managed to sneak in a race during our holidays…

As part of my training journey, I will be writing a blog detailing all the sessions I do, what I eat and the life in general of triathlete! As a coach I probably have more time to train then my athletes that are working in offices. I’m lucky to have the outdoors as my office, and will try to inspire all of you to reach your goals or set ambition ones.

The highlight of this week was definitely Wednesday’s ride in the Jura. The weather was amazing and even managed a PB on the local climb La Baudichonne, averaging 278 watts for 46min on the 9km segment with 900m elevation. Also, had an amazing time on the Barillette Jura Trail Run. We luckily escaped the rain and had an amazing time, great for my long run !

The lowlight was definitely my wife falling from her horse and she luckily escaped with only a big bruise and could have been a lot worse !

My weight is a little over than normal, and will target to lose at least 1.5 to 2kg. I must be a bit more careful on cheese, chocolate and alcohol…

It’s been a very busy week as well meeting new athletes and writing all the blogs and making the videos of the Kids Camps, so overall I’m very pleased with this first week of training !

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2019-11-26T13:17:30+00:00 November 26th, 2019|Blog|