Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

My ‘It’s Only 4 Times More’ theory

Written by Fiona

March 10 2015

I have entered two challenging events later this summer. They are Half Ironmans and with lots of hills. I have entered them because I think I might be able to race slower for longer after the experience of last year’s Great Kindrochit Artemis Quadrathlon. I have no big aims, simply to cross the finish lines.


But I have not done very well with my training over the winter. I know some of you will think that I am out all the time, walking, running and cycling but it doesn’t feel like this to me.

I had planned to road cycle through the winter, get on my turbo trainer, attend numerous spin classes, swim twice a week and bag lots of steep Munros. I had also hoped to increase my running distance after almost a year of niggling stomach problems.

I have done some of this (except the road cycling and turboing) but I have also been a bit lazy, enjoyed three weeks of skiing and made lots of excuses about why I can’t face the horrible winter weather.

In short, I am worried about my lack of training and the summer races.

Currently I can run about five miles slowly off-road. I can mountain bike for a couple of hours but today was my first road cycle and it was only 15 miles.

I can swim the 1.9km distance of the half ironman but I have been doing this only every fortnight or so and in a pool and definitely not in a wetsuit in a cold lake/loch. Plus, I take forever to swim that distance.

I can happily climb mountains but I am not fast and I feel unfit. For days afterwards my leg muscles ache.

Time for a change of mindset

But then I started thinking about it in another way. Instead of worrying about what I couldn’t do I thought about what I could do.

When I was out for a three-mile run the other day I thought, if I ran four times this distance that would be almost the same as the 13 miles I need to do in the half ironman events. That’s ok, isn’t it? In fact, I can run five miles comfortably and I have been walking up mountains for years.

My first road bike ride of the season (today) was 15 miles, which is more than a quarter of the full 56 miles half-ironman distance. It was only my first outing and it felt fine. Surely I have time to build up to 56 miles. (Although I do need to factor in some beastly hills.)

I have been a regular at the Glasgow Tri Club spin sessions. These are hard work and I usually feel that hard work in my legs the next day so they must be doing me some good.

And I can swim the 1.9km required for the half ironman.

I have five months to go before the first half ironman in Norway and another month until the Wasdale in the Lake District.

I need to remind myself that I have a fairly good base fitness and although I am not getting any younger I am generally in good shape.

I just need to build on the base that I already have and stop thinking about all the negatives.

It’s only three or four times more than what I can already do, isn’t it?!

But then again…

All those sports will need to take place on one day and one after the other.

The Axtri in Norway has a very tough bike ride of 96km not 90km and many, many steep ascents.

The run is up a steep mountain.

The Axtri is described as “extreme”.

The Wasdale Traithlon is claimed to be one of the hardest, coldest, steepest, toughest…

I should be worried about training so I push myself to get out and doing more, rather than praising myself for what I’ve not done.

I am too old.

I am not fit enough.

I have been too lazy.

I do not have enough time to get fit.

Aaargh. I’m going to stop thinking about all this and go back to my ‘It’s Only 4 Times More’ theory.

I am going to need a lot of luck and support from friends.

More Like This


3 GB Ultras wins in a row for Scott Brown


Isle of arran Corbetts: Cir Mhòr and Beinn Tarsuinn


Explore hidden treasures with South Ayrshire snorkel trail


Review: Vango Alpha 300 tent 


Romantic getaways in Florida: Perfect spots for couples


Sunny Corbetts and a claggy Graham on the Isle of Arran