Alfie Wren is a Castore sponsored athlete, an elite triathlon coach and multiple Iron Man event competitor, having broken the 12 hour barrier on numerous occasions for the gruelling race which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. We spoke to him to get an insight into what it takes to push the human body to its absolute limits.
Give a brief overview of a typical week's training
My week generally consists of 3-4 run sessions 3-4 swim sessions & 3-4 bike sessions, I try and keep it fresh by alternating between gym/pool sessions & outdoor swims & runs. These are all broken down into segments to work on individual energy systems (endurance, threshold, vo2 max and recovery)
Describe an average day in a bit more detail
One of the hardest parts of working full time & training as a triathlete is balance, I'm up for clients from around 4am on a weekday I train most mornings between clients & I've got 3 disciplines to perfect so I often train 2-3 times in a day. When I've finished at work I head home to help out with bedtime for my 3 children, an average day for me is exhausting but definitely well filled.
Do you divide your training equally between swimming, cycling and running?
Yes, I tend to have roughly the same amount of sessions for each discipline. The length of these sessions is determined by the amount of time spent in that discipline during the race. But I'm flexible with my training too if I feel like I could benefit from an outdoor swim session and it means I have to swap it out for a run I can make that change comfortably
Do you work on other aspects of fitness, such as balance, flexibility and core strength?
Yes throughout the year I meet different aspects of all fitness needs, strength is a huge part of triathlon and you can't get all of your training done on a bike or in a pool
It's also really helpful mentally to change it up a bit, ironman is a beautiful sport but with such a long training programme for each race you would go mad just doing the same sessions.
I enjoy incorporating dynamic fitness into my training and working in a gym gives me ample opportunity to exercise with various equipment
How important is nutrition and what is your typical diet?
My day to day diet can be quite repetitive but I find it key to staying on track I don't 'clean eat' I eat food that I know is decent quality, nutritious & that I enjoy.
I usually start the day with porridge oats, milk, raisins & banana
By around 8am I've already been up 4 hours so I stop for coffee & a Greek youghurt with granola and honey.
Lunch is usually something I can buy on the go, I work in Canary Wharf & I'm massively lucky that I'm surrounded by convenience food that is also nutritionally sound
Something like a steak & quinoa salad & a soup.
Dinner is often sweet potato, egg, tuna, kale & vegetables with olive oil.
Keep it simple
Do you do anything in particular to try and prevent injuries?
This is one of the main reasons for strength and conditioning throughout the off season as it is one of the best things to do to prevent injury, and then maintenance work through out the season to stay on top of it. I'm fortunate in my job as well to be surrounded by physios, osteopaths, masseurs and Pilates instructors so am able to benefit from their expertise and help. Lucky me!
How do you relax away from training?
I'm not a one sport man and I've tried my hand at most too so I enjoy watching pretty much whatever is on a sports channel when I get home, boxing, football, UFC, MotoGP & the rest.
When I'm not watching sports you can probably find me knee deep in Lego with my oldest boy, or at Greenwich park with the whole bunch.
We don't have loads of spare time in my house so our relaxed days are the ones I enjoy most
Can 'ordinary' people – not just elite athletes - benefit from taking part in Ironman triathlons?
I think everyone could benefit from an Ironman, the event is so much more than just the race the whole day is bursting with a serious sense of excitement and commitment everyone there knows how much has been poured into one race and the vibe is amazing from the athletes and the spectators
From a fitness point of view it is gruelling, if you can cross an ironman finish you have already put yourself through some serious work and training but the real benefit is mentally, it can be a selfish sport because you have to give so much of yourself to the training but it gives you a lot of time to reflect on how you are doing too, self improvement is a huge part of any long distance sport & if you're going to spend hours a week training with in your own company you really start to appreciate the things you are doing/not doing so much more.