As the weather heats up we’re all thinking ahead to the coming weekend, perhaps you’re thinking about a BBQ, Sunday lunch or if you’re feeling energetic a stroll with the dog or a bike ride. Blueleaf CEO Adrian Lomas has different plans altogether as this Sunday (21st August) he's tackling the epic Ironman challenge in Copenhagen.
If you've not yet supported him, you can do so here.
We’re pretty used to Adrian taking on crazy sporting challenges (remember the Tour de France?) but if you know Adrian, you’ll know that this challenge is not going to be an easy one for him. The bike bit maybe, but as well as a 112 mile bike ride, Adrian has a 2.4 mile swim and a 26.22 mile run – yes, that’s a marathon! Both swimming and running are new sports for Adrian.
We caught up with him ahead of this Sunday’s race to find out how he’s feeling and what times he’s hoping for.
What's inspired you to take on the Ironman challenge?
As a teenager, I remember getting a book about triathlons, it's stuck in my mind as an amazing challenge. Over the years I stuck with cycling and never really took up swimming and certainly not running. I guess the thought of the Ironman raised its head again after riding the whole Tour de France route in 2013. After that I thought, "OK, what next?"
I didn't really fancy the Bolton one, it just doesn't feel right to me for some reason, nor did I want to travel too far. I heard about the Copenhagen event and there were a few things that appealed to me. It has a “safe” swimming course which means it isn’t out to sea. The cycle course is not too hilly (more rolling hills). And finally, the marathon goes through the city, so there should be a great atmosphere and heaps of support. It just sounds like the ideal course for my first venture into this magnificent race.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I feel I've three key strengths: cycling, carb loading and rest. As for the weaknesses, open water swimming holds a bunch of concerns for me. At the beginning, when around 3,000 racers start, it’s like being in a packed washing machine.
I did an event earlier this year to experience what it’s like and strangely, as soon as the gun went off for the start, my heart rate went through the roof. I struggled to swim. In fact I almost forgot how to swim. I couldn't breathe and ended up doing breast stroke to the first turn at 400 metres. Only then, once all the other swimmers had left me to it, did I get into some sort of routine and ended up swimming OK.
What has training involved?
This has been the tough bit. Some people love training and I like training in groups but not on my own. Getting the mix of all three disciplines has been the hardest challenge, and linking the training to my available time has been a juggling act. To help measure distance I've used software called “Training Peaks” and I've plotted my programme week by week to see how the body is performing.
I started training in January and built it up in 4-week blocks, using a mixture of techniques. I’ve certainly been behind on my ideal plan but I know I’ve made progress.
Swimming has needed the most attention. It’s been great to have other people analyse the stroke technique - well perhaps more than analyse, more actually teach me how to swim front crawl! I started with a length, my legs almost dragging the floor for the whole length. Now they are much higher with the focus being on getting the whole swim technique smooth.
What time are you aiming for?
If I break 12 hours I will be totally made up. On paper it’s achievable but in reality it's my first event so there are many unknowns. Keeping the energy levels consistent is going to be key to getting this right. Given the distance it’s not going to be a sprint so getting the fuel consistent to cover a burn rate of around 10,000 calories during the race will be critical. Get this right and I could crack the 12 hour time. Get it wrong and I may still be out there the following Sunday!
I’m sure you’ll join us to wish Adrian well this Sunday. From 6am you can track Adrian’s progress here. His race number is 1895.
And he’s not only doing this to push himself. Adrian is also raising funds for the remarkable Claire House Children’s Hospice, an extremely worthy charity.