How our "unconventional" training yielded great results!

Flying down the final stretch of the Mount Festival 70.3

Recently (last weekend) I did my 4th Half Ironman in Mount Maunganui (New Zealand). The Mount Festival included two triathlon distances: Enduro (3k Swim, 120k Bike, 25k Run) and the Half Ironman (or 70.3). It also had two run distances (21k and 10k).

The course is known as a ‘fast’ course, however, when and I did it in 2018 it was anything but fast. That day there were strong winds and the temperatures ended up unpredictably high- because of the conditions it ended up being the second slowest running of the half ironman that they had had. That day I discovered (15k into the run unfortunately) the glorious relief of throwing water over my head after a volunteer threw water over me and I was able to finish strong in a run that had been more walk until then.

The 2020 race ended up being ‘near’ perfect conditions. The swim was flat, the bike course had been altered to three 30k laps which decreased the time we spent on the rough roads further out and the run course had a set of stairs removed that in previous years you had to go up and down on each lap of the run course which we predicted would add at least a minute onto each lap not to mention further tire already tired legs. The wind did pick up on the second and third lap of the bike course - so there was a head wind on the way out that made the last 5k out tough, however, it meant an awesome tail wind on the way back into the transition area, and for me speeds of up to 35k an hour!

Recently I talked about doing my first Olympic distance triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) as preparation for the Mount Festival Half Ironman. During that race I got down onto my aero bars on my bike for the first time. Four weeks later I was looking forward to seeing what difference (if any) it would make on my bike time and overall race time.

My previous best time was 6:13 at the Taupo Half Ironman in March 2019, at the time I was really pleased with that race and my effort since it was almost a 19 minute personal best. Soon after that race a close friend of mine made the comment that based on the ‘little’ training I did I shouldn’t have been able to go that fast. I had been training for that race consistently since my 50k ultramarathon 5 months earlier. I think 5 months of consistent training is enough- she meant the amount of hours I spent training each week (I probably maxed out at 8 hours a week).
Starting the second lap at the Taupo Half Ironman in March 2019.

Like a lot of my triathlon friends she had a coach who had told her (and apparently this is common practice) that in training for a triathlon you should be doing swims that are the same distance as the race, your bike training should be longer than the race distance, and for the run your long run should be at least three quarters of the race distance.

I had not done anything like that for my bike training. My longest training ride had been maybe 60 kilometres long- or about 2 to 2:30 in length.
For the Mount Festival I started training consistently for it about 7 weeks out. I had a marathon (Queenstown marathon) 8 weeks before the race and had been focusing on that until then. So 7 weeks of training (but keeping in mind I had endurance from my marathon training) and for about 5 weeks I did two “long” rides a week (approximately 50k or 2 hours long- and one or two that were longer than that- we did a 70k ride on Boxing Day), we swam between 5 to 7k a week over our three weekly swims, and I ran 3 to 4 times a week and did maybe a max of 12k of running at a time.

I went into the race hoping to get a personal best time, and would have loved to go under 6 hours, and if I couldn’t go under 6 hours beat the personal best of my close friend (we are great friends but also super competitive with each other) of 6:09.

Race day: 2k swim to start, conditions were pretty flat. I managed just under 36 minutes for the swim which is more than 2 minutes faster than my previous personal best (that I got at Taupo Half Ironman). I was so busy in transition that I didn’t even look at my watch to see what time I had done.

Through transition and out onto the bike. I think Vince and I were both concerned at how I would go being down on aeros for that long, since I hadn’t really spent a great deal of time using them (and had only been on them for 4 weeks) and whether it would get too painful or too much strain on my neck and shoulder muscles. Because of that, I made sure I spent some time off them at turn around points, or going over the speed humps.

As I said earlier the wind picked up on each consecutive lap but it also meant a nice tailwind on the return leg of each lap. After I completed the first of the 30k laps in one hour I couldn’t believe it. I was well on track for the 3:15 bike ride I had hoped for (I did a 3:25 bike on the Taupo course). I knew I could afford to slow down and still make my time but I held on and finished the 90k bike ride in 3:03! Thats right! 3 hours and 3 minutes! That was a whopping 22 minutes off my bike.

On my aero bars!

So onto the run. Last time I did the course at Mount Maunganui in the heat I completed the run in 2:15. As I came out of transition I came across a competitor completing the first lap of the run and heading out on his second lap. It turned out to be one of Vince’s work colleagues. I said to him at the time “I think I am on track to get under 6 hours!” He was hoping to finish in under 5 hours (which he did). He ran with me for a kilometre or so before I couldn’t keep the pace up (we were doing nearly 5 minutes per kilometres!). He told me that Vince was not that far in front of me (but he was also on his second lap). I ended up completing the run in 2:04. Not a personal best for my run but enough to get me under my goal time of 6 hours.

Out on the run.

I finished my 4th half ironman in 5:50!!! That is a personal best of 23 MINUTES! And I smashed my “A” goal of under 6 hours. I am still buzzing about my race a week later.

So although both Vince and I don’t follow conventional training programs we are both evidence that training smarter and not harder can pay off, and our unconventional training has definitely worked. Vince managed to do his second best time, and met his goal of going under 5 hours again! And to make it even better we both got 12th place in our age groups.

What next? I am really looking forward to seeing further improvements in my bike (If I can improve that much with 7 weeks of cycle training then I can’t wait to see what else I am capable of) and I am going to work on improving my run off the bike. In training for the Mount Festival Half Ironman I only did one run off the bike, so I know I can improve that with some further work.

Vince, me and his workmate in the recovery tent post race.


AWESOME post, I'm so happy when I see a positive and very well done piece like this. GOOD FOR YOU on your accomplishments. There are not a ton of fellow females on here so I realllllly hope your work on here gets noticed because it is stellar and your attitude shines through.
Featuring this in my Curation Nation post about to drop. Then coming back to full uv this ;)

Thanks! I appreciate the support!

Nice work thats an awesome result and your coach sounds pretty cool. I think a lot of thought usually goes into training smarter, and fortunately your coach probably knows you well enough to implement a pretty smart training plan.
Look forward to hearing more about your races soon.

My coach does know me well, and he's great at knowing what I am capable of- even better than I know myself. It also helps that I think he's wonderful!

+vote for yer Old Man 🤣

you have a unique sense of humor
ol' womyn ;) this blows most of the other sports posts I've read lately out of the water, checked out the blogs of a lot commenting on here, STELLAR
gonna do a Sportsball curation initiative, can prolly just go down this list lol

Congratulations, very impressive!

Congratulations! Sounds like an absolutely amazing race. I'm buzzed just reading about it. Bravo to you both. I know quite a few triathletes (and just runners, too) who smash themselves in training at such high volumes that they are constantly overcoming overuse injuries. I think you both are definitely on to something with the training smarter thing. 😉 Good luck on the next goal!

Posted using Partiko Android

hello dear, this is amazing !! I had an ex boyfriend who did triathlon and did some iron man and I know how much work and determination it takes to get good results;)) I am very envious of your energy !! congratulations and keep on

Hi, congratulations

For this type of competition you need a lot of resistance and willpower to do these tours, it looks pretty strong but your result was incredible, it is always good to work hard on what we want and then thank you. I can see your commitment and your desire to succeed, you are incredible and I admire you a lot.


First, I congratulate you for the places achieved in the competition. You see the happiness in the photographs! When you train well the goals can be achieved. A big hellooooo

Found your post on @scarletreign's curation initiative. It's awesome to see such positivity on the platform; keep on running! :)

Nothing can stop a consistent Runner.

Resteemed by @runningproject

...and enjoy a good recovery !BEER .

Excellent performance!

positive intent makes things possible.


This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Welcome to Steem and hopefully make some Money!!!


Awesome level of fitness, plus you do not look emaciated like many gifted female athletes...


Sorry, out of BEER, please retry later...

Congratulations! You have completed the following achievement on the Steem blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You received more than 500 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 1000 upvotes.

You can view your badges on your Steem Board and compare to others on the Steem Ranking
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

Vote for @Steemitboard as a witness to get one more award and increased upvotes!

That is so awesome! Congratulations and keep on running!

Hi I'm @justclickindiva. I read your post and was in awe of your accomplishments. You and you friend Vince are a perfect examaple of how unconventional approaches can pay off for you. Thanks for the detailed post explaining how your accomplished your goals using alternative methods. I'm happy it worked out.

I don't know any triathletes personally, only what I've seen watching on TV and learning about their personal experiences while oompeting. I do know from watching those programs the intense training involved. Seems like above all the desire is genuine in your efforts. It takes a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice and hard work to accomplish any athletic goals, but I think triathletes are amazing.

I applaud you for your talent and hard work. Congratulations on your achievements. And good luck on you improving your time on the bike.

Hope to see your future detailed posts on your other competitions. Stay healthy and safe.

Have a great day, and take care.

Thanks @justclickindiva. I am really looking forward to seeing what I am capable of in the future.