In this interview we speak to Chris Beckmans and Andy Page, who both have taken on and successfully completed Triathlon and Ironman challenges. They offer their experiences and advice on training for and taking on these events whilst aiming for new PBs and staying injury-free.
Chris: I decided to enter my first triathlon with a group of running friends in 2016 — trained for 3 months and had a blast. I fell in love with the sport from that day on.
Andy: I worked with a patient back in 2018 at Pure Sports Medicine who had competed at world championships and had done a number of Ironman races. He started talking it up and it got me set on the path!
Chris: Ironman Busselton 2017 — No swim due to sharks in the water. 35deg heat. Absolute brutal day out. Biked too hard and cramped front he start of the run. 42km of walking with cramps. Loved every second and was hooked.
Andy: Ironman Portugal 2021- After a few years of doing Olympic and 70.3 races finally got to do this (race was delayed from 2020 due Covid-19) — amazing experience- beautiful blue sea for the swim but a tough hilly bike course.
Chris: I thought I was prepared for each of the disciplines but soon came to realise you can’t treat triathlon as 3 different sports. All three have to complement each other.
Andy: To survive the day. I knew I could navigate the whole day as long as fuelled well and didn’t try and push beyond my limits during the Swim and Bike.
Chris: My first few Ironman events, I did not have a suitable nutrition and hydration plan. Something that needs to be practiced in training to ensure you are fine for race day.
Andy: The mental game of being out there racing for such a long day. No music/headphones allowed (and it’s enforced unlike marathons), is a long time in your own head when it got tough, made me question my own preparation and slowed me down.
Chris: I plan on racing more across the 2023 season. 3x 70.3 events. 2x Ironman events. Austria Ironman — June 2023, Challenge Almere — Sept 2023.
Andy: Ironman Hamburg 2023- That will be the A race this season, will look for a half distance race in prep for end of April. May eye up something for September time but will judge that on how early 2023 training goes.
Chris: As I learn more and more about the sport, my training plan is constantly evolving. Finding the right balance between work, social and training life is so important. It is also evolving to find the right mix. Training, work and life stress all need to be considered when training. Recovery is integral in the process.
Andy: So much of it is structuring training weeks in a sustainable way, hitting training targets without burning yourself trying to fit in too many sessions. At first I was trying to do too many long tough sessions, rather than focusing of the quality of what I was doing. Bike and swimming will be a big focus this season, and not just slogging through tough sessions because I can.
Chris: Physiotherapy compliments triathlon training perfectly. It allows a greater understanding of the physiological demands of the sport and how best to train. In terms of injury prevention, injury management and recovery it is perfect to be able to know when you need to back off or able to push on.
Andy: Having a good Strength and Conditioning base makes a huge difference. I have noticed how ignoring strength work leads to a number of problems creeping over time. From injury incidence increasing, to ability to sustain power output on bike and speed on faster runs, strength work is such a key part of the whole picture.
Chris: I have been fortunate to achieve many goals over the last couple of years. Winning the 25 – 29 AG at Arizona IM and qualifying for the World Championships in Kona in Oct 2022. I also set myself the goal of a sub 8:45 Ironman which I achieved at Challenge Roth in Germany in July 2022 (8:37). Next, I want to podium the overall amateur race at an Ironman event and aim for a goal time of 8:30. It’s an audacious goal and one that will challenge me a lot but I am eager to give it a good crack.
Andy: For a number of years, it was looking to do firsts and fighting around covid restrictions/injuries. Now i’m looking forward to approaching races with a more experienced head and less factors holding me back (and improving my times!).
Chris: Plan ahead. Knowing what you are doing across the week is key to completing the training in a timely manner. Using Sunday to organize your week is the best way to go about this. Once you are in a routine with training, work and life, it makes it easy and second nature.