Follow the plan

Matt Luxton

IronMatt: superhuman

The one thing that’s more important than having a plan, is having complete faith in that plan.

Fellow coach and friend Matt Luxton completed the Barcelona Ironman at the weekend.  It was the culmination of many months of planning, preparation, and then delivery on the day. It was a big goal, and it meant a lot to him.

It resonated so deeply with me that I asked him if it was ok if I could repost it here and share it with you, and in true super cool coach fashion he said yes.

So here’s Matt, with some punchy words of advice about following the plan

“The one thing that really hit home at the weekend which I can relate 100% to the way in which I coach people to improve their health, moods, energy, body and mind is this……..

Follow The Plan……..


You need to know where you want to end up……… if you don’t how will you know when you get there.

I knew that I wanted to finish that race, I knew the distances, I knew that at times it would be like “hell”………but when it was all said and done I knew what I wanted to achieve.

I knew exactly how much carbohydrate and fuel I would need to finish….at times my mind tried telling me otherwise….STICK with the plan!


Along the way set little goals………. we like to call them “process goals” but you know…..little goals will do…..this is applicable in every aspect of the race and the preparation for it.

The two weeks before the race I made sure I was in bed by 9pm on 4 nights of the week.

5 weeks before the main race, I used a half ironman distance race as preparation. I made sure I was well stocked up with my vitamins and my nutrition was dialled in.

During the race I broke it down, and kept reminding myself of my biggest goal….finish the race! In the swim it was 500m at a time over the 3800m course, there were 500m markers. I used them to break it down.

Out on the bike it was 2.5 laps…….I broke that down….1/2 a lap at a time…..”keep your heart rate down” ….”don’t push too hard” …I kept telling myself.

During the run, it was my back up plan (good to have one of them too….incase stuff goes wrong) to walk every 3 miles for one minute ….to be honest deep down that wasn’t what I wanted…..

I WANTED to run the whole thing! But on that 4 loop course, things couldn’t have been better until 12 miles then …..things got messy… stomach was obviously not enjoying the toxic mess that I had put in it to keep me going…… times I felt like not taking any more food on…..that would have been disastrous…..and NOT FOLLOWING THE PLAN

I know that as soon as you lack carbohydrates, you produce more hydrogen ions, you get cramp and its game over!

Mile 12 -14 were horrible…..a bit like when you give up tea and coffee….you feel minging……but its worth it in the long run…… you gotta push through that! Then I just broke it down, every 3 miles I had more foods(gels) to keep me topped up…..and not once did I feel low on energy…….so I would say that I NAILED the nutrition.

Learned from the mistake I made in June with the banana in my half ironman……and got it spot on this time!


Be prepared for your mind to tell you that you are wrong and when others try to lead you astray

Even when the plan is proven and has worked many more times than you will ever use it! I knew what I needed to eat, what pace I needed to go at and where my perceived effort needed to be so that I didn’t burn out. At the start of the race, another british dude actually from Cornwall were having a chat as we cycled in the early part of the race….another brit cycled past, pretty fast it must be said…and said “if you have the energy to chat you aren’t trying hard enough” …….that was totally cool……I knew where I needed to be to achieve my goal……so didn’t get distracted by that.


Have a mantra

This was REALLY useful

I try not to watch the news to often as I find it depressing and boring frankly…..but the Alan Jennings story sickened me! I thought, the battle I am facing is nothing and incomparable to what his family must be going through…… the mantra was ” the battle you are facing is nothing compared to others “.

So when you feel hard done by because you have to leave tea and coffee out of your diet for 28 days, or you have to get up in the dark to go to training……remember there are plenty of others who would love to have that opportunity!

Likewise I am sure there are many people who started the race on sunday who would still like to be an Ironman who collapsed or had to stop during the race……it is all relative I know…..but keep it real….giving up bread to lose inches from your waist and reduce the risk of diabetes is a small battle compared to some others.

This weekend confirmed a lot of things for me:

1. I have great friends….some of whom travelled to watch… many sent me messages and tracked me along the way. Others were my training partners, others have been my coaches too.

2. Sport is not healthy…..the processes that lead to it may be…..but that was brutal on the body.

3. Never underestimate the power of your actions on others….. they are watching you.

4. When the stakes are higher you pay more attention…… don’t set goals that are too easy!

5. Get people who know there stuff around you….

6. Educate yourself……I know it is my business and my passion but the £1000’s of pounds I have spent on educating myself on nutrition, training and lifestyle paid off…because I knew better. I wasn’t guessing, people who knew better than me, told me!

7. There will NEVER be a perfect time to start…… you MUST stop waiting for that!

8. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable….if you want to feel like you have achieved … need to get out of the comfy little bubble that fosters complacency!

9.Be accountable…..yep I am actually not great at training in the evenings, so I would send messages to my training partners telling them that I was training at a certain time and would they meet me at a point. I hate letting people down, so this was massive for me!

10. Be grateful……. to those around you, for the opportunities you have and for yourself in that you are the one that put the effort in and decided to change and decided to take action……no one else can do that……if you do something, if you take action its down to you! High 5 yourself from time to time to!

11. Enjoy the process……

Thanks for following my journey to this ironman……….

I am going to give it a few days before setting my next personal physical goal…… for now its about trying to walk properly again.



Impressive stuff, and possibly the start of my journey towards an Ironman.  Damn you Matt.

Matt also runs an online coaching service for beginner triathletes, so check out his page if you’re thinking of going multisport!