ROPED in through the bonds of friendship, 40-year-old Mark Hartnett is expecting a tough day out on June 23 when he takes on Ironman Youghal with his buddy.
“A friend of mine is 40 the day of the Ironman and thought it would be a good idea to do it together. if I didn’t sign up, I’d never hear the end of it.”
The experienced triathlete is training hard for the event, which will be his first full-distance Ironman.
“It’s my first full distance. I have already done three half distances; Challenge Galway, Ironman Dublin 70.3 and The Lost Sheep in Kenmare.”
A half Ironman is a 1.9km swim, an 80-90km cycle and a 21.1km run. A full Ironman is double these distances, a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and a 42.2km run to the finish line.
The newest Ironman race on the circuit, Youghal is already infamous for its hills, something that will prove challenging for the project manager, who recently moved to the flat plains of Amsterdam.
“I hate hills and there’s plenty in Youghal, over 6000ft of climbing in the bike course.”
In terms of preparing for the race, Mark said the best advice he had gotten was to focus on the hills, something he said he is struggling to achieve.
“Unfortunately, there aren’t any hills whatsoever in Amsterdam.”
The move to Amsterdam has played havoc with the Corkman’s training, something he is attempting to cope with.
“I was following a plan before I moved in February, but that went out the window after I moved.
“I try and get two swims in a week, one long run and a brick session, which would be a long cycle with a run off the bike then.
“As I live in a place with no hills I try and get a session on the gym bike with high resistance so it gives the feel that I’m in a hill and do a run then after that.”
Despite these hiccups, Mark said he is enjoying preparing for the race and works in some hill training on regular home visits.
“I love the training. It does consume a lot of your time compared to your standard distance training, but it keeps you extremely fit and healthy.”
For Mark, nutrition plays a key role in his preparation for Cork’s first Ironman race.
"You need to eat right to see that your body recovers well. I make all my week’s lunches and most of my dinners on a Sunday evening, so they are all ready for the coming week.
"It is just one less thing to worry about.”
In terms of day to day training, Mark said the move to Amsterdam has brought about unforeseen challenges that have impacted positively on his mental toughness, which he will need to keep going for up to 13 hours or more on June 23.
“Being in Amsterdam, which wasn’t planned when I signed up, there are a lot of hours where I’m training on own."
Another addition to this, Mark has been training in a new way, trying to maintain heart rate zone two, in preparation for Youghal.
Preparing since January, Mark said not finishing the race is his biggest fear, because of the amount of training he has put into completing it.
“Injury can hit at any time, but fingers crossed I make it over the line.”