Project 1% applies to YOU.
We can all improve and no matter what level you’re at it’s all about being the best YOU can be.
I’m a British Triathlon qualified coach who has coached over 30 people to Ironman and various distances in-between. I no longer coach and nor do I want to. Life is too busy for that with three children, a business and some athletic goals still on the shelf.
Over the next 12 months I’m going to dedicate this website to the things that could make a difference for ALL of us. I’m looking for just a 1% improvement at Ironman UK on the 20th July 2014. Why 1%? Because 1% is around six minutes over the Iron distance and it’s what I believe will get me to the Ironman World Championships in Kona in October 2014.
Having been an athlete since 13/14 years old and a triathlete since 2002 Project 1% is about taking a long hard look at everything. This includes nutrition, strength, swimming, bike, run, equipment, training etc. In fact anything really that could get an edge.
So what does this project mean for me? This story goes right back to 1992. Back then I was a 16 year old keen cyclist who had seen the Hawaii Ironman on Transworld sport and generally thought that Triathletes were a different breed and super fit. Having swum competitively as a 13/14 year and done a little bit of running at school I was fascinated by triathlon. So I bought a book about triathlon written by Steve Trew – “Triathlon – The Skills of the Game”. I read it cover to cover and was captivated by the imagery in the book. People like Mark Allen and Dave Scott featured inside and the book covered the Hawaii Ironman. Something deep inside me wondered if I could do this. Something deep inside me really wanted to do the Hawaii Ironman.
What happened Next
I continued to be a competitive cyclist competing in Road Races and Time Trials mostly. One evening in 1992 I went along to an evening seminar at Hyndburn sports centre in Accrington. It was run by the now defunct Hyndburn Tri Club and there was a swimmer there who I knew from Pioneer 79 swimming club called Chris Goddard. He’d been in the paper for his exploits at Ironman and was a real hero to me. I asked his advice about whether I should get involved and he said I was too young and to come back when I’d matured. I listened to him.
Advancing quite a few years late in July 2002, ten in fact, I was working at Pentland Group in Finchley when I got chatting with one of my good friends there Kevin Rooney. He knew someone who’d done an Ironman. Knowing quite a bit about the specifics and assuming this person must have done an Olympic or Half Ironman I asked more questions. In fact I doubted it so much I even asked Kevin to get this chap to email confirmation he’d done an Ironman. Sure enough, the email came through from Mitch Phillips who is now a good friend too. He had in fact done Ironman Roth in 1997(ish) and really was someone who’d done an Ironman. I was in awe and when I finally got to meet him it was like meeting a famous person. I just wanted to talk to him about what it was like. I wanted to do an Ironman too now. I wanted to do the Hawaii Ironman and was disappointed to find out that you couldn’t just enter and you now had to qualify. So I entered Ironman Lake Placid 2003 and started to think about how I’d prepare for this race.
The 12 months from July 2002 to July 2003 were crazy. I totally over trained not really knowing any better. The graph below shows my training in the year prior to July 2003. Not for the faint hearted and I wouldn’t recommend jumping in to the deep end like this.
So did it work? Well yes and no is the answer. I went 10 hours 30 at the tough Ironman Lake Placid for 82nd place overall, 13th in age and just two places and five mins away from a Hawaii slot in only my third triathlon. Despite this I was disappointed and vowed to chase the Kona slot another time.
In 2004 I did Half Ironman UK in Sherbourne and finished 4th in Age but there was only two slots. It rolled down to 3rd and I was only 16 seconds behind. I was gutted.
In 2007 in Arizona I didn’t have a great race but improved my Ironman PB to 10hrs 3 mins but missed out on Hawaii by 3 mins.
I haven’t put myself on the line again for a WTC Ironman World champs slot since. In 2011 I raced Challenge Copenhagen and reduced my PB down to 9hrs 21 finishing 9th in age. That year I also finished 3rd in age at 70.3 Antwerp qualifying (but not going) for the Las Vegas 70.3 Worlds and ran a 1.19 half marathon during that race.
So here we are in September 2013 and the fire is still burning. I’ve literally dreamt about qualifying for Kona and the fire is burning strongly. I’ll not stop now until I achieve my goal. Hopefully at Bolton on the 20th July 2014 but if not. So be it. It’s going to be a sweet day when I finally achieve my goal.
Project 1% will hopefully be the small difference I need. 1% of 10 hours is 6 mins.