Mark Lewis Jones best known for playing Rob Morgan in Stella, First Order Captain Moden Canady in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and most recently Steve Baldini in the BBC Wales hit Keeping Faith tells us about his preparation in the lead up to one of Wales’ most iconic events – Ironman Wales in Tenby.
I started running in 2004, a long gap from when I was a kid and I’ve picked it up again. I’ve done 5km’s, 10km’s, half marathons, I’ve done a few ultras – Brecon to Cardiff, and an 87-mile run over 3 days, I then did Marathon de Sables. But for me Ironman training is 10 times harder.
With Ironman I always feel like I haven’t done enough even though this week I swam twice and once in the sea, I have done a 10km run, a brick session, a 72-mile bike ride, and indoor bike session and I have another run to do. But now with my training I’ve got to that stage where I’ve got to push on and break through to a new level, a new stage of training.
Nearly all my training has been by myself, I follow a training plan from my trainer Lawrence Cronk, which I try to stick to as much as I can around family and work. I did 72 miles on Wednesday but came off the bike - the saddle came off, I was 25 miles from home, so I had to gaffer tape it on to get back home, I was meant to run after the bike, but didn’t so I had to run first thing the next morning
With Triathlon there are so many more things to think about - taking your bike for a service, dealing with punctures, is my wetsuit alright, oh no my goggles are steaming up. My kit bag is now full of stuff, I usually would only have a pair of shorts, top and trainers, but now I have so much extra stuff for triathlon. But I love this training challenge. I’m enjoying swimming at the moment, I went to Pembroke last weekend and went in the sea for the first time and forgot how buoyant you are in a wetsuit.
I’m doing the London triathlon which will help with the transition practise and I’ve got the Velothon too this year.
I’ll know that during an event I need to eat at least every hour, I found myself feeling depleted on a long ride recently so it’s great to practise before hand what I need to eat and drink.
Nutrition is a big factor on the bike, especially when you know you have the marathon coming next.
The night before I’ll try and eat some pasta, and ‘carb up’ during the week. For breakfast I’ll have muesli, but it’s just so early to get up and eat.
I’ll eat and use energy tabs in my drink for the bike and then I’ll most likely use gels and water for the run, that’s what I used in Newport and it worked well for me. I’ll also practise on the Velothon.
How do you fit the training in?
I would love to do more but I just can’t, I’m not filming at the moment as I’ve just been filming away so I can take June off to concentrate on training, then I’m back filming again in July. I’m trying to nail it as much as I can now before filming starts again. It’s a heck of a commitment, but I also I want to try and enjoy the experience. When I’m away filming I’ll be able to run and use the bikes in the gym, at least I can get those two elements of training done, but by then I feel I should have built up enough endurance for the event.
The level of fitness for this if far greater than anything I have ever done you just can’t wing it, there’s no hiding – you have to do 112 miles, you have cut off times to think of.
If I got anywhere near 13 hours I’d be delighted, I’m thinking 1 hour 20 for the swim, 7 hours for the bike, and 4 hour 30 for the run. I’ll have family from North Wales coming to support and my wife, family and friends from Cardiff.
Your chosen charities
In 2016 I was meant to do the Brecon ultra, but due to injury I couldn’t do it, so I had to pull out which I have never done before, but people had already started to put money towards the charity so I had to find the next challenge which was Ironman Wales.
I am raising money for 3 Charites - Marie Curie in Wales, Bloodwise UK and Believe.
Believe is an Organ Donor Support charity it was established by Anna-Louise Bates in memory of Stuart and Fraser (Bear) Bates to promote and support Organ Donation across Wales and beyond, I met Anna through a mutual friend and I will be riding Stuart’s bike for Ironman Wales.
I’m also going to be doing it in memory of Paul Garrett who sadly lost his life in October. I’ve known Paul for years through his work at Sport Wales, he always knew what challenge I had coming up and I’d chat to him about it. I know that during the event I’ll be thinking of Paul.
I have a just giving site for the 3 charities - https://www.justgiving.com/teams/MarkLewisJonesIronman
The next challenge
I love to do The Badwater Ultramarathon in California’s’ Death Valley!
But realistically I’d like to do a long bike somewhere – maybe London to Paris
You can cheer Mark on at Ironman Wales on September 9th, 2018