A China Man's Ironman – Adrian Li's Journey to an Ironman An Ironman Training Diary for Ironman Western Australia

Category Archives: Training

Training update 9/23

Week 6 (9/23) Planned Work out Intensity Zone Actual Work Out
Monday Rest & Fast
Tuesday Bike: 1:15Hr form ride 2,3  Bike 1 hr
Wednesday Swim: Swim Intervals 1.6KM 3,4  Swim 1.6KM
Thursday Tempo Run 25 mins @ 5.20 Pace 10min WU/CD 2,3  Off
Friday Swim: Steady swim 2KM 3,4  Off
Saturday Bike: 130KM 2,3  Bike: 100KM 5KM Run
Sunday Run 15KM 2,3  Run: 10KM

This week I had  planned as a rest week with a lower training volume. With the large amount of work coming in from both my business Qraved and also imaginato I hadn’t really been sleeping too well at night so I decided to reduce my volume. This was still noticable on Saturday when on my usual training ride I was barely able to keep up with my training partner Doli while cruising at around 30KM/H. Anyhow, with still 10 weeks to go I decided that this was fine to reduce my training volume.

Training update for Ironman Busselton 9/16

Training update for Ironman Busselton

This was designed to be an easy week after my last training cycle and also knowing that this week I had to take a trip to Surabaya for a wedding. Despite being an easy week my training did not all go to plan. With my start up Qraved focused on dining it can some times becme a little too tempting to eat & drink too much!

Anyway last week is past and a couple of memorable sessions including the MV02′s this week were good work outs. Also the 1.5 hr 15KM on Sunday night at 2% incline was a new treadmill PB for me.

Focus now for my next 4 week cycle before a trip to HK at the end of October. Highlight of this will be culminating at a 150KM bike ride.

Week 5 (9/16) Planned Work out Intensity Zone Actual Work Out
Monday Rest & Fast
Tuesday Run intervals 4:30 Pace x 5 0,1,2% incl.  2,3  Accordion 750M@4:40/750M@6:40 x 5
Wednesday Bike: 2Hr+ Turbo ride 3,4  MV02 6 Sets Training (5mins/ 2mins rest)
Thursday Swim 2.0KM (400×2,80×10, 400×1 Skills) 2,3  Swim 400M quick set
Friday Bike: MVo2 6 sets training 3,4  No Training
Saturday Swim 4.0KM 2,3  Swim 2.5KM @2Min pace
Sunday Run 21KM 2,3  Run 15KM at @2% 6Min pace

Weekly Training Report: 9/9

Week 4 (9/9) Planned Work out Intensity Zone Actual Work Out
Monday Rest & Fast
Tuesday Run intervals 4:30 Pace x 5 0,1,2% incl.  2,3  Bike 10 mins warm up. 5 mins VO2Max x 5,
Wednesday Swim 2.0KM (400×2,80×10, 400×1 Skills) 3,4  Swim 2.8KM
Thursday Bike Tempo Ride 2,3  Tempo Run 20 mins @ 5.20 Pace 10 mins Warm up
Friday Swim 2.0KM (400×2,80×10, 400×1 Skills) 3,4  Swim 1.6KM – tempo pace 1.30/40M
Saturday Bike 120KM 2,3  Bike 123KM, 3hrs 58Mins, 1KM transition run
Sunday Run 18KM 2,3  Run ~15KM +urbanathlon

Overall this was a great training week which ended in a high with the 123KM bike which is the furthest I have ever ridden. I am now a complete convert to riding in BSD where the open flat roads make for safe and good training.

I also did my second session of wet suit swim training in the pool. This is something I should do on a weekly basis to adapt to wet suit swimming. while the overall feeling is of more buoyancy my legs tend to tire more easily with the wet suit on.

It is now officially 12 weeks till my Ironman and i’m feeling confident with my self coached training program at present. The with the unpredictability of running a start up Qraved – it is much easier to plan week by week and and the training each day than to strictly follow a complete 13 week plan.


1 week before Cebu 70.3 tapering triathlon training

It’s just a week away from my Ironman Cebu 70.3 and with the reduced triathlon training in the past month with the arrival of baby Aaron I’m more than a little nervous! But lots of encouragement from my Tribuddies friends and my coach (email below) have kept my hopes up and I felt great during today’s swim (1.6K) and run (15K) brick.

In the week running up to the event I’ll be tapering my training further. The triathlon training plan calls for  3 short brick sets during the week:

Triathlon Training plan tapering

Triathlon Training plan tapering


“Whilst the last few weeks have not been ideal preparation for Cebu, I do think that you can still be confident of having a good race. On the positive side, you are still managing to get some training done on a regular basis, even though the volume is lower than what it would have been ideally. The planned training volume from this point forward is reduced anyway in the lead up to the race. You’ve been training for this race since March and you will not lose the endurance that you have developed quickly, so whilst I know these last few weeks have been a real struggle, you are still well prepared for a 70.3 distance race. I think that you need to go into this race feeling confident and look to enjoy the experience. The important thing with a race of this distance is to ensure that you pace yourself. The biggest mistake is to push too hard early on the bike and to therefore leave yourself struggling for the rest of the race. Ignore any other athletes who come past you, they are either very strong on the bike, or they are working too hard in which case you will most likely see them again later in the race. Keep the intensity as constant as possible and avoid any significant spikes in your heart rate. Use the bike leg as an opportunity to keep hydrated and get in your nutrition. Likewise on the run, keep the intensity under control and avoid the intensity to push too hard early on. If you’re feeling good, then try to pick up the pace during the final 4 miles, but don’t get carried away at the start…..” James Pryke

Cebu Goal Adjustment as a new father

The last few months have been quite a roller coaster. Our lovely baby Aaron Joseph Sai Yin Li was born on June 21st – just a week away from my own birthday and truly transformed our lives. After a long almost 12 hour labour my wife, Vanessa gave delivered our son in Jakarta at Medistra hospital.

Baby Aaron born June 21st, 2.9KG, 47CM

Baby Aaron born June 21st, 2.9KG, 47CM

While overjoyed with the happiness of the healthy birth of our first child it has certainly been a challenge to fit everything in and now with just 2 weeks till my Cebu Ironman and a heavily reduced training load in the past 1 month it looks like my original goal of a 5Hour 30 minute time are now greatly diminished. However, it will be an interesting test as to what my actual time will be given the reduced training. I am hoping that a sub 6Hr time is still achievable and if so that my full Ironman goal is still within reach as going forward Aaron has a more routine sleeping schedule and I can put in more  regular training.

My rough prediction for Cebu:

Swim: 1.9KM = 45 Minutes
Bike: 90KM 2 Hours 50 Minutes
Run: 21KM 2 Hours 15 Minutes

Total Transition Time: 5 minutes – not a lot of time for cushioning but here’s hoping to a strong result!


First 20K in a long time

Today was a LSR (Long Slow Run) but a few whiskies the night before never helped a morning run (tho’ the morning run always helped get over the few whiskies the night before!).

I’d rented Star Trek a good 2 hour movie to last the treadmill run so wondered down to the gym set the incline to 1% and pressed start! The movie definitely helped and the minutes went by – running at around 10KM/H by my foot pod and averaging around 160bpm. The run was a great confidence booster as it has been a while since running 20K and this one went by very painlessly!


Part II: Bintan Triathlon – Race Preparation

Part II: Bintan Triathlon



Bintan triathlon an international triathlon run by Metaman on the island of Bintan, Indonesia. The island is an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore and set in the Niwana resort. Overall it is a very well organized triathlon now in its 9th year running (as of 2013) and draws a good list of age groupers. There were approximately 600 age groupers in the Olympic distance. The course starts with a beach start for a sea swim in calm waters, a long single loop rolling hills course and a double loop resort run. The course itself presents a good PB destination however this can be weather dependent. Men’s position leaders come in around the 2+ hour mark and with some training age groupers can hit a sub 3 hour OD on this course. The race starts in the afternoon as the organizers say that this presents cooler weather than a morning start. When the sun is out temperatures can soar into high 30 deg. C and humidity can make for a tough race as well.

Accommodation/ logistics:

The race is set in the resort complex of Niwana which makes for the logical place to stay. However this comes at a price with rooms easily being more than SG$300/ night. Rooms are also booked out very early due to the level of interest in this event. We chose to stay at Bintan lodge which was significantly cheaper and still close enough to the resort complex (about 8km) however the rooms are very very basic. In terms of food – resort food comes at resort prices with “special menus” only available during the event. Staying at Bintan lodge we walked down to the hawker center where we could get nasi goreng/ soto ayam for about $1/ dish. There was also a reasonable Chinese restaurant near the hawker center. Nearby convenience stores have very limited supplies and would recommend that athletes bring their own breakfasts and snacks.


Race Preparation:

In preparation for the race we arrived the morning before in order to check the bike course. Taking advice from a blog we rented motorbikes to ride around the bike course. This was especially beneficial to give an idea of the latter part of the course which had a series of short climbs and downhills. As well as some preparation for the various speed bumps and sharp turns that were on the course. Arriving the day before was also helpful in getting to the bike mechanic early and avoiding any last minute glitches with our bikes.

This was the first race that I had done that had an planned afternoon start. Hence the usual early dinners were not as important. However we did start hydrating from late afternoon. Even whizzing around on the motorbikes had left us parched and dehydrated and with the afternoon sun some major tan lines as well. All we could do was to hope that the weather the next day would be more conducive to the race!

First ever double brick

As I prepare for the Bintan Olympic triathlon next week my training this Sunday changed to introduce a double brick versus the usual long bike and run. This was an interesting mix and helped me focus on the transition from bike to run.

Unfortunately continued rain from the night before changed my outdoor cycle plans to an indoor turbo session. However there i discovered the pleasure of watching videos on the official IM youtube channel while on my turbo.

Overall it was a good session with reasonable energy levels. Easier than my last week 5 hour long session but probably more helpful to prepare for the Olympic next week!

Stage One: Warm up

10 mins | zone1 

Gradually build the intensity through the warm up


Stage Two: Drills


Stage Three: Main Set

2 hr 40 min | zone1 & zone21 hour bike, 20min run x 2

Stage Four: Cooldown

5 mins | zone1Gradually reduce the intensity through the cool down

First century ride, a good dose of endorphines and confidence booster!

Today’s plan originally was a 4 hour brick as follows:

Brick     Print the session card - preview

Date: Sun, 05 May 13 Total duration: 4 hr
Your heart rate zone:      Zone 1: 112 – 131     Zone 2: 132 – 150
    Zone 3: 151 – 168     Zone 4: 169 – 187

Stage One: Warm up

10 mins | zone1


Warm up on the bike for 10 mins, gradually increasing the intensity


Stage Two: Drills


Stage Three: Main Set

3 hr 15 min | zone1 & zone2

Bike – Maintain your heart rate within target zone

30 mins | zone1 & zone2

Run – Maintain your heart rate within target zone

Stage Four: Cooldown

5 mins | zone1

Gradually reduce the intensity through the cool down

So after a 3 hour 35 min bike which my GPS counted as 106KM and my Polar 97KM (so I counted a century)  I headed to the gym for my 30 minute z2 run. However after 30 mins I felt so good I decided to go on – and as I hit the 4 hour 30 min. mark I experienced a massive endorphine rush. I couldn’t help smiling ear to ear and had a sense that I could just keep going.

Fortunately my Ironman playlist ended after 1.5 hrs running providing me with a perfect excuse to stop.

They say train like a horse (don’t question the plan!) but today it just felt right. I’ll be going into my usual Monday rest + fast so hope that will help my body recover fully for the next week’s of training. 2 weeks now till Bintan!


Fit for a Race – My Retul fitting session

Retul Fitting

Last week had the opportunity to do a Retul Fitting for my bicycles. I was originally fitted on my P2C when I bought it at the Bike Boutique 5 years ago however after multiple disassemblies and changing of parts the original measurements and settings have long been lost. Given both a planned century ride on my R3 and the Ironman at the end of the year I thought it would be wise to invest into a proper fitting.


Adrian @ a Retul fitting with ChoonWei

Adrian @ a Retul fitting with ChoonWei

What is a Retul Fitting?

Bicycle fittings have come a long way from simply measuring the extended knee angle when seated on a bike. Retul is the cutting edge of bicycle fitting and they employ a data backed approach along with the skill and experience of the fitter to provide a fit that optimizes power, comfort and efficiency. Essentially, through the use of motion capture of sensors attached to key points on the rider’s body the Retul program captures multiple data points as you cycle for about 3 minutes. By comparing this data to optimal riding positions the fitter then makes adjustments to your bicycle to help achieve the best position. The whole process took about 2.5 hours for fitting both my bikes which included:

- A comprehensive history of my experience
- My goals for the fitting
- Stretch test
- Pre-fit monitoring
- Post-fit monitoring

What were the results and was it worth it?

Aside from the cool gadgetry, professional fitters bring experience and qualifications that can at a minimum help you with a more comfortable and efficient ride. However a bad fitting bike can also be a source for injury ending months of training in disappointment so in my opinion it is important that you are fitted properly if you regularly train on a bicycle.

However side from the adjustments to fitting the monitoring tools also provide an interesting insight into the efficiency of your cycling. For example I discovered that I have a tendency to lift my heels which puts undue strain on the calf muscles. This could be caused by a previously ill fitting bike (for example with a seat post too high). An additional monitor also shows a horizontal trace of your knee movement. lateral movement of the knee is also inefficient and was some tangible evidence that I need to work on improving my pedal stroke mechanics.

Given my plans for a full Ironman at the end of the year and that I’ll be spending anywhere from 5-10 hours on my bike each week. I think that the fitting was worth it. I fit both my bikes for about US$450 and a single bike fit would have cost US$300. Also once you have done the fitting you have a comprehensive report with every measurement on the bike that you need to ensure a proper fitting every time you assemble the bike.


With Choon Wei & Tim Professional Retul fitters!

Below is an except from my fitting notes!


Changes during fit: Neutral cleat position.


  1. (1)  Saddle moved down 8mm.
  2. (2)  Saddle moved forward 1mm.
  3. (3)  Handlebars moved down 7mm.


  1. (1)  Saddle moved down 8mm.
  2. (2)  Saddle moved forward 15mm
  3. (3)  Armrest pad from up to level.



1) Change to straight seatpost and move setback forward by 5mm.

1) Change aerobar extension to allow arms to rest properly on armrest pad, and have a ski bend extension for more natural wrist position. 2) Swap crankset between R3 and P2, 165mm on P2 and 170mm on R3.

Stretching that hamstring and hip flexors. Relax ankles and drop heels.