Two IRONMAN World Championships, the new PTO races and being part of Lucy Charles-Barclay’s team at Sub7Sub8 are just some of the 2022 highlights in store for Ruth Astle.
She rounded off 2021 in perfect style, with wins at IRONMAN Mallorca and IRONMAN South Africa vaulting her into the top 30 of the PTO rankings.
Now Ruth is looking to build on those achievements over the next 12 months, racing against the best as often as she can.
But as she reveals in her latest YouTube video, she was thrown a COVID curveball over the festive season and the priority over the next couple of months is building up her fitness for those upcoming challenges.
Some planned downtime – including a skiing trip – was followed by spending Christmas Day visiting a walk-in PCR test centre, which confirmed her cold-like symptoms were indeed COVID.
“I had a few days isolating, but because I didn’t feel ill, I managed to get back in the endless pool,” she explained.
The result was what Astle says was the biggest break she’d ever taken:
“I guess it ended up being about six weeks – three weeks of basically no training and then another three weeks of very unstructured training. But I think it was very good to have that break.”
Diving back into training
The Leeds-based star has a clear plan between now and her return to racing – as well as personal swim, bike and run targets to tick off in 2022.
“The next four weeks will be getting back into a general training routine and trying to get that base level of fitness before doing any proper work.
“I’ve got a long way to go to get back to where I was in the pool, but I’m hoping that’s just like a couple of weeks of getting feel for the water back and general fitness.
“February will be spent out in Spain – a couple of weeks in Lanzarote and a couple of weeks in Calpe – just getting some more bike miles in the nicer weather.
“It will also be getting used to my new bike, dialling in the position and making sure I’ve got everything set up on that.
“With all my races this year, if I can at least swim with the main group, that will be a massive tick and win for me. And then it’s executing the rest of the race well.
“[It’s all about] continuing to progress and make improvements. And hopefully, that ends up in my first sub-3hr run off the bike.
Hitting top form when it matters
“This year, I just want to do as much racing against the best people as I can.”
And there are plenty of opportunities to do just that.
Ruth discusses her race schedule in detail in the video, with a return to the Canary Islands for IRONMAN Lanzarote 70.3 a possible in March, depending on fitness levels and how easy travel is by that point.
Pencilled more firmly in the diary is IRONMAN Oceanside 70.3 in early April. “That’s probably the plan, and I’ll then stay out in America for a bit of an altitude camp before St George,” she explains.
“I guess this first part of the year is very much focussed on St George, working towards that. I’m super excited to race on that big stage. It’s been so long since we’ve had these World Championships.”
The last edition was October 2019, when Astle was the overall Age-Group winner at Kona just before she switched to the pro ranks.
A return to Hawaii is very much Ruth’s focus in the second half of the year, as well potential involvement with Lucy Charles-Barclay’s Sub8 attempt and making sure she has the option of racing two of the PTO’s new flagship events, the Canadian Open and the USA Open.