At Gelpacks Direct we have a passion for sport. From our own personal experiences, we understand that being a “regular guy” doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dream big.
Meet Ian Dempsey, our most recent brand ambassador, an accomplished swimmer in his younger years, left the sport to do what all young people do best and enjoy himself. At the age of 30 he realised that he needed a change. After performing strongly in several running events he found triathlon in the form of a 70.3 Iron Man in Marbella, well, if you’re going to find Triathlon, Marbella is a pretty nice place to start looking!
Feeling inspired by the Brownlee brothers in London 2012, Ian Dempsey decided to up his game and take things to the next level. Now, this regular guy from Aldridge, West Midlands, has his sights firmly set on the top age group podium position at the 70.3 Iron Man World Championships in South Africa this year.
Being a great triathlete is not just about training, but also about eating right, sleeping enough, recovery time and of course injury prevention.
We caught up with Ian to find out more about his plans for the 2018 season and what inspires him to believe anything is possible……..
Why did you become passionate about your sport?
I have always enjoyed the 3 individual disciplines of swim, bike and run and with a swimming background and achieving good results in local running events it just made sense to get into triathlon. Being extremely competitive and gaining some good results in my first 3 triathlon races made me hungry to improve and gave me a passion for the sport.
Describe your weekly training regime?
Swim - 12/15k per week over 3 / 4 sessions of variating sets
Bike - 10-15hrs per week again all different sets & distances
Run - 4/5 hours a week. 1 long, 2/3 rep based sessions
Strength & conditioning - 2 hrs a week - mobility & strength work
Have you suffered any injuries from your sport, if so, what was the impact?
At the start of Ironman Bolton 2 years ago I was on the pontoon at the start line ready for the swim and I jumped in on a rock leaving a small fracture on my knee cap, this not only impacted my race but prevented me from running & cycling for 7/8 weeks post-race. It was both mentally tough and physically i had to divert my training to non-impact sessions and then when i was finally fit to cycle and run again i had to build back up my fitness.
For most budding triathletes, the swim seems to be the least favourite. What advice do you have for those who may be struggling with this element?
The classic mistake made by a majority of new triathletes will be to jump in the pool and just swim the distance for the race they are training for eg. 750m or 1500m sets. After 3/4 weeks of this same drill you will see little or no improvement and it gets boring.
My advice would be to complete a 400m & 200m time trial (give yourself a 3min rest between the 400 & 200m sets) record the times and punch them in to a CSS calculator (you’ll find these easily on a google search) then take your CSS time i.e 1:40per 100m and adapt your swim set to something like 16 or 20 x 100m hitting 1:40per 100m and going off 2mins giving you a 20sec rest between each 100m. this set is sure to make your set far more interesting while increasing your swimming endurance and pace at the same time. Give it a go!!
Are there any mental tricks that you use to help stay focused?
I tend to envisage being on a podium in tough sessions. This always makes the hurt a little bit more manageable when you remember why you’re doing it.
So far, where has been your favourite race location and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to race in some fairly spectacular locations like Mallorca, Fuertaventura, Canada, Austria & Gran Canaria to name a few.
I have to say my favourite race is here in good old Great Britain at IM Staffordshire 70.3 for many reasons (winning my age group 3 years on the bounce helps!) but knowing the course, being able to sleep in my own bed and most importantly having the incredible support from my family and friends makes it a really great day.
What do you do to motivate yourself on a Monday morning?
I think it’s important to pinpoint a motivation for why we train hard every day. I enjoy racing & winning and that’s what gets me out the door on a daily basis, it really helps that i enjoy my sport and feel I’m in a very privileged position to be able to follow my dreams, I remind myself of this most weeks.
What would be your advice to anyone thinking of taking up the sport?
What are you waiting for? Triathlon is a fantastic sport not only is it a great way of keeping fit & healthy, the diversity means it never gets boring and you can really get stuck in to achieving some fantastic goals. With many amazing races in both the UK & abroad it’s a great way of getting out and exploring. The triathlon community is also very welcoming and most triathletes are more than happy to share training and race advice. There aren’t many sports in the world where you can share the race course with the pros on the same day. Give it a tri :)
What are your personal goals for 2018?
I’m racing in some fantastic events this year including Mallorca 70.3, Staffs 70.3, Holkham Outlaw but the main event has to be the Ironman 70.3 world championships in South Africa later in the year. I qualified for this event at the last race of last season giving me a whole year to plan my attack on the podium and with luck on my side maybe a win! Anything is possible!