Stupidly Warren and I worked out some stats for our EPIC7 challenge of taking on 7 Ironmans in 7 Days. With just one month to go until we start our challenge it is becoming very real, and we now have a mix of excitement and fear. Excitement that after 17 months of training we are nearly at the foot of our mountain and we get to take on our challenge, and fear that there is a huge risk that this one may beat us.
Many people have asked us in recent days how long each Ironman may take us, many are shocked when we explain that we expect each Ironman to take us around 15 to 16 hours. What we don’t know at this stage is the impact on our times the build up of fatigue will have. When we took 7 marathons in 7 days in 2014 we full expected to get slower as the week went on, but our times were really interesting. We were faster on days five, six and seven than days three and four. You would think that multi-day endurance events will naturally cause you to slow down as time goes on, but what we found with the Marathons is the body adapted as the week went on. Will this happen with the 7 Ironmans? We really don’t know, but what we do know is that we are attempting to meticulously plan the timings and pace across the week.
We are setting ourselves a minimum finish time for day one. We fully expect the adrenaline to be pumping on day one and there is a good chance that we will go out of the blocks too fast, especially on the bike, which could ruin us for the run and impact the rest of the week. With each Ironman expecting to take us around 15 hours, we will be active for a minimum of 105 hours across the 168 hours in the week. That leaves just under 1/3 of the week to eat, recover and sleep.
We regularly get asked “What if one day takes you longer than planned and you only get a couple of hours sleep?” – the simple answer is that we will just have to crack on, whether we have had 4 hours or 2 hours sleep, the approach remains the same.
At a very high level we are planning the following timings:
- SWIM – expect to start each day between 6:15am and 6:45am each day
- BIKE – expect to be on the bike at 8:00am and finish around 4:00pm to 4:30pm each day
- RUN – expect to be starting the run between 4:30pm and 5:00pm each day
Now, we have to caveat the above that it all could go out of the window on day one, but that is our high-level plan. We are going to be active well over 60% of the week, with the Marathons we knew that event on a bad day we would still finish by 2:00pm, on a bad day with EPIC7 we could be finishing at midnight, with the need to be awake and ready to go again at 5am for breakfast!
When you look at the stats of how many hours we will be active during the week it is easy to allow it to feel like an impossible challenge. It is easy to begin to over think and worry about the lack of sleep across the week and the additional fatigue this could/will cause. We know it is going to be tough, we are fully expecting to be getting nowhere near the sleep we require, so we can just avoid focusing on that element and focus on the purpose for taking on the challenge and calling on the 17 months of training we have under our belts.
4 weeks to go. Two more weeks of full training (20hrs a week) and two weeks of tapering. It’s close.
You can support the charities we are raising money for by donating at https://race-nation.com/sponsor/t/3142