Above: Killian Deasy (centre) pictured with a group of supporters that travelled with him to Ironman Copenhagen last year.
Last August, Clonakilty athlete Killian Deasy competed in his first Ironman event in Copenhagen. Killian finished in 10 hours and 31 minutes, in 460th position out of 2500 competitors — an amazing achievement.
This year Killian will compete alongside his fellow Clonakilty athletes — Maurice Shanley, David Henry, James Deasy, Grainne Caulfield and Ian Mclelland — in Ironman Sweden in August.
The Clonakilty group has already started training for the event, which consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42km marathon. Killian talks to Mary O’Brien about his training and just what it takes to be an Ironman.
“The main thing I learned from last year’s Ironman event in Copenhagen is that although you will do a lot of the training on your own — long cycles and runs, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and fellow athletes,” says Killian Deasy.
Killian’s first marathon was the inaugural Waterfront Marathon five years ago. Since then he has concentrated on endurance events like triathlons and back-to-back marathons. “I’d advise anyone interested in athletics to join a club like the Clonakilty Road Runners or West Cork Triathlon Club and to do The Park Run every Saturday morning.”
“Killian highly recommends the book ‘Be Iron Fit’ by Don Fink, which provides three different training plans and covers the mindset of an athlete before and during training.
“What puts most people off is the idea of the event. Everyone talks about the Peak Training and that scares people off. But it’s all a work in progress so you will find you arrive at that stage before you know it. You will become an Ironman before the race day.
“Just finishing an Ironman is an amazing achievement. You go there with your heart on your sleeve just hoping not to embarrass yourself.”
Killian says that family support is vital in completing training. “Time management is important but you will find the time if you have the dedication and family support.”
Killian’s training generally consists of two sessions a day, combining swimming, running and cycling, six days a week over 30 weeks. “You build up your training by 10-15 minutes every week until you reach peak,” explains Killian.
“This is the biggest challenge – the slowing down after the build-up to peak. You decrease your training by 10 per cent per week three weeks beforehand to allow the body to recover. Suddenly you become very tired and then doubts start to set in.”
Although it’s a huge challenge Killian says the whole experience is “a fantastic journey”.
“If I finish this year’s event in the same time, I’ll be very happy,” he says.