We recently caught up with Emily Young (@emilys_journal) to find out more about how she is preparing for the Iron Man race in Austria later this year. We hope you enjoy this interview.
1. Hi Emily, great to meet you! You are training for Iron Man this June, could you tell us a bit more about the race?
I sure am! I am training for Iron Man Austria which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile race (marathon)! It sounds crazy every time I say it when people ask me. I am really looking forward to doing the one in Austria though, it looks absolutely beautiful so hopefully the surroundings will distract me from how hard it’s going to be! It will be nice to compete in some good weather too after putting in the worst of the training through a Yorkshire winter.
2. What is your motivation for entering the race?
I have been itching to do one since I watched my dad do his first one. I lived with him throughout all this training and often joined in on some of the shorter training sessions (minus any brick sessions!), when it all came together on the day I felt like I just had to do one. I am self-admitedly a very obsessive person and Iron Man requires that!
3. What is your training regime like leading up to the event?
My training plan is 9 months long which seems like such a long time, but It’s going scarily fast! I started doing around 8-10 hours a week training and its continued to creep up. I am up to about 15 hours a week at the moment and I am still 4 months away from race day, it soon goes up to around 19 hours a week at most. The biggest aspect of training is the bike because it takes up the majority of the race. I am following a plan so it varies each week but it generally involves a swim on a Monday so your legs can recover from the weekend, a bike and a run Tuesday, a swim and a bike on Wednesday, a swim and a run Thursday, a rest day Friday which gives me a chance to recover before a big weekend which usually consists of brick sessions both days, a big ride followed by a run on the Saturday, and a big run followed by a ride on the Sunday. Its pretty intense! Leading up to my training plan I spent a lot of time doing strength and conditioning work in the gym which I really feel has been beneficial.
4. Do you enjoy your training all the time? What do you love and hate about it?
I used to be one of those people that hated a rest day, it was the worst day of the week and I often never took them unless my timetable meant I had to. Now, its my favourite day of the week! I do love training but I would be lying if I said I was enjoying every aspect of Iron Man training. I really love seeing how I am adapting and how my body is now capable of recovering quickly after big training weeks, I genuinely love running and biking and getting outside. I love triathlon too because it is mentally challenging as well as physical, it would be so easy to just get up and go to the gym 5 times a week for an hour a day, this requires so much more dedication and commitment and I think that’s a really good trait to have outside of sport too. Right now though, I hate being tired all the time! When its chucking it down with rain, its early and still dark outside, sometimes the last thing I want to do is get out of bed and go running in the cold! I think the biggest struggle I am having with the training is the fact that my social life definitely is starting to take a back seat. I spend the full day Saturday and Sunday training, and by the time I’m done I’m so tired! I love to go out and have fun on the weekend (I’m only 22), but I definitely pay for it the next day when I have to get up and train for 4 hours!
5. How does training for Iron Man compare to training for marathons?
I don’t think its anything like it! I honestly had no problems in the past fitting in marathon training. I don’t think it requires as many hours a week as people assume, I love running the most, so I find it easy to hit the kind of milage you require when training for a marathon. Iron Man training is a whole different thing! I always get some running/biking/swimming in even when I don’t have anything to train for, its a hobby for me and I don’t see it as a chore, but fitting in the hours and also finding the energy for the hours on an Iron Man plan is slightly more of an effort to say the least!
6. What is your diet like while you prepare for Iron Man?
I have a huuuuge appetite, whether I’m training for an Iron Man or not, but now it is crazy how much I can eat! I am fortunate that my Mum has becomes accustomed to the kind of foods I need and want to help recovery, my house is always full of fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, lots of fish and good protein. I avoid anything processed that doesn’t offer my body any nutrition, the better I eat the better I feel for my next training session. I am pretty lucky that one of my passions is cooking healthy alternatives, I am constantly experimenting and making healthy treats to snack on! Plus, I have my own food product; Healthy Bliss Balls, which I eat daily! My dad has always taught me that it will be poor nutrition that causes you to stop before your legs do, I always eat whilst I’m training on the bike and the longer runs so I don’t run out of energy.
7. What is it about long-distance endurance training that you enjoy so much?
Like I mentioned, I am a really obsessive person! I just love the thought of being able to do something crazy that not everyone wants to do. I really enjoy pushing myself and consistently having to work at something. I would definitely like to do some ultra-marathons in the future.
8. Do you have any plans for after your first Iron Man race?
Definitely celebrate! In terms of sporting goals, I think I will have some time off without an event booked in, spend a lot more time in the Gym and get stronger. I am sure I will be ready for a new challenge after a couple months and I fully intend to do an ultra-marathon at some point. I will always incorporate triathlon training into my routine, and intend to continue racing Iron Man distances, but every alternate year.
9. Where can our users see more of you?
I update my followers daily of my training/recipes on my instagram account; emilys_journal ! I also post all of these recipes and more detailed accounts of my training, races, reviews and recommendations on my blog; www.emilysjournal.com
Thanks Emily for taking the time to interview with us, good luck with your race 🙂
We hope this inspires our readers to start running more!