UK Norseman winner...the journey to black tshirt part two


Mike Tate UK winner of our Norseman competition is now less than two months to jumping off the ferry, cycling through the beautiful Norwegian countryside and finishing his marathon on the mountain top to claim the famous black tshirt.

His training journey started with some expert swim analysis from top UK coach Andy Bullock, who then handed over the reigns to Simon Ward, The Triathlon Coach to guide Mike's training up to race day. SImon is an old hand at long course racing and has completed Norseman before, putting his in a great position to advise Mike. Mike talks us through the latest chapter in his training......

"It seems a long time since I first heard that I was doing Norseman. My last blog documented the start of the journey with the initial swim analysis and the excitement of what lay ahead.

The excitement is still there but I am now heavily into the actual training that will ensure that I reach the start line of the Norseman in the best possible shape. With over 20 seasons of self-coaching I was relishing the opportunity of handing myself over to the vast experience of Simon Ward at TTC. A multiple ironman finisher himself, with Norseman amongst his palmares, as well as awards such as BTA coach of the year it really was a no brainer.

My initial thoughts of being sent an off the shelf programme to follow were quickly dispelled after my first in depth chat with Simon. It was quickly clear that his coaching philosophy resonated with my own ideas and within a short space of time I was preparing to hand my journey over to him. With a busy job as a Headteacher as well as a family juggling the demands of preparing for any ironman distance race is never easy but Simon, after our initial discussions and filling in an extensive questionnaire, came up with a detailed overview of the year with each key area broken down into segments. My training would be delivered and logged using a programme called Training Peaks which allowed me to download each monthly block onto various devices – this also meant that Simon could keep a very close eye on my progress!

I’m working on a ten day block of quality training followed by 4 easier recovery days with one day off every week. On this day I have been getting massage with a local physio to complement the programme. The rationale behind this approach was to ensure that I was never over doing things or becoming over tired so that I couldn’t undertake sessions. So far this has ensured that I have managed to undertake all bar 2 of the planned sessions. 

Another change from my normal approach is that I am doing more quality work. I spend more sessions on the turbo trainer at higher intensities and my running sessions so far have all been under an hour in length but including drills and tempo work. I have been up early doing sessions and even done a number of days of multiple sessions but have found that all the training is manageable without becoming a chore and more importantly I get to the recovery block at just the right time. What has also been evident with Simon’s approach is that he is very hands on. Always available to answer emails or take long phone calls (sorry!!) Simon has listened to my feedback, tweaked my programme and incorporated my lifestyle – even scheduling two rest days into the programme for my wedding!!

But I suppose the proof of any plan is in results. In the last few months I have competed in a number of events and have been pleased with the outcomes. My running times are coming down significantly as are my swim times and I am running off the bike better than I have ever done. I am more consistent than I have ever been and feel that I am faster with less effort. Two real indicators will be Cotswold 113 and the Outlaw Iron distance race in the coming six weeks. There’s lots of work to be done in the coming weeks as well as my wedding to Tara in less than two but I’m loving every minute of the plan for Norseman. Thanks to the work of Simon and the on-going support of family and friends I’m confident that I will be as prepared as I can be"

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