Our last members' blog was in our usual Q&A format and discussed the experiences of 3 of our members who had raced in Ironman 70.3 Dubai.
This is our second blog relating to Dubai and covers Mark Billyard's (our Head Coach) experiences during the build up and on the day.
As you will see, Mark managed to secure his second 70.3 World Champs slot for later in the year, which was a great achievement.
What was the atmosphere like on the morning of the race? How did you feel?
The race atmosphere was extremely relaxed all the way down to swim start... and even as the first swimmers starting entering the water with the rolling swim start advanced bleeper system sending 4-5 guys into the water in 5 second bursts. Everyone was eager to go!
What part of the course did you find the toughest? Which part did you most enjoy?
I found the bike the toughest. The TT course nature makes the course quick but not necessarily
comfortable as you remain in the same position throughout.
How often did you train in preparation for Ironman 70.3 Dubai? Did you focus on improving a specific area?
I trained around 15-16 hours per week average over winter with a few big weeks thrown in around new year.
How did the club training sessions help you to train towards this race?
They do help and provide a nice mix of sessions, aside from my solo sessions. Training with others helps push you on.
How do you feel the race went? Are you happy with the result?
The race was a mixed result. For an out season race I raced well... it's my first January race, my first middle east race, only my second sub 4:30 time and I bagged my second world championship slot... but I wanted faster and a higher finishing position on that course.
How did you recover post-race?
I recovered by not focusing as much as I normally would on post-race recovery... without the pressure of immediate follow up races... instead just winding down over the following week.
Do you plan to race any more middle distance triathlons in the near future?
Yes. I have the Challenge Herning ETU Middle Distance Championships and now the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga to look forward to as well.
What advice would you give to someone preparing for or contemplating their 1st Middle Distance triathlon?
Do it because you want to do it... not just to tick a box because it's the thing to do...
Ensure you have the backing of family and can (plus are willing to) dedicate adequate time to training. Prepare well within the time you can commit and enjoy the journey... both the preparation and the race itself.