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Showing posts from 2012

Sweating buckets - time in the bank

The Club Swim on Saturday went reasonably OK. Started off with some sets reducing the number of breaths each length, which I found quite tough as a warm up. Then we did some drills again focusing on breathing. For the main set we swam slowly for 25m and logged our time. Coach MT recorded 0:28 for our lane.

Then we swum sets of 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175 and 200m adding on 0:28 for each set. We successfully completed the set without going outside the target time. It would be interesting if we could do the same for 1,000m or more?

Saturday evening was a brief 15 mins on the turbo with day 2 of the power program. After a 5 min warm up I completed 10x (30 sec + 30 sec) @ 100% + 50% of max power. Good way to raise the HR but i didn't have too much trouble in finishing the set.

This morning the weather was good enough for Chris and I to jump on the bikes for a decent 50km loop in 2 hours. Mostly easy riding and lots of friendly chat however there was 2 sections when we both took a turn …

VO2 Max Booster Program - Day 1

Just found a 14-day program on the Internet and thought it would help me to improve my bike strength. The plan is to incorporate it on top of my normal training. There is a good amount of warm up and cool down in each set, which gives me flexibility to cut them short if need be.

Day 1 is to complete an initial test to get some power data to work with over the 14-day program. Fortunately my turbo trainer provides a power reading plus picks up HR data from a compatible HR belt.

After a 10-15 min warm up I completed a 6 min test with the following results:

Time 6:03
Speed av. 35.7 / max 39.9
Distance 3.5 km
Power av. 244 / max 276
Cadence av. 110 / max 122
HR av. 144 / max 160

I built up the speed over the first 1 min and then tried to keep the power up for the next 5 mins. The average power reading for the last 5 mins was just under 250, so that is what I am going to use for the 14-day program. It is worth noting that I did the initial test on my singlespeed bike so the cadence is qui…

Post Christmas sessions

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I kept myself ticking over in the run up to Christmas with a few sessions including a 2 hour bike commute, Club swim (including Christmas fun set) and a 1 hour run with my old training partner, Chris.

Training took a backseat over Christmas but it was great to relax with the family and indulge a little (actually, quite a lot!)

Now post Christmas and a few pounds heavier I have started to think about 2013 and the season ahead.

Yesterday I completed an easy Z1-2 1:30 run, starting to increase the time and mileage as I build up for the Brighton marathon in April.

This morning I began a 14-day program on the turbo, mostly shorter interval sets based on an initial 5-min power test. I will provide full details in my next post. Given the weather and bias to my run training over the next month or so I intend to incorporate these shorter turbo bike sessions on top of my normal training, also a good opportunity to increase the overall volume.

Back on the green smoothies after all the rich food …

Green Smoothie time!

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As mentioned in recent posts I am trying to reduce my intake of sugars and carbohydrates, starting with limiting the amount of bread and sweets I eat.

Over the last couple of days I have replaced my breakfast (normally cereals and/or toast) with a green smoothie.

Today's recipe:

- Kale
- Spinach
- Frozen banana
- Satsuma
- Greek yogurt
- Small spoonful of honey

To be honest, whatever I could find in the fridge. Yesterday I had a similar concoction but also included some Soya protein powder.

All sounds pretty disgusting but the fruit and honey masks the taste of the kale and spinach and I found it quite tasty (see picture).

Looking forward to experimenting with other vegetables and fruits, especially superfoods such as avocado, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

If you have a favourite blend I would love to know your preferred recipes?

Deja Vu - not 'Rugby Fit'

Good swim session on Saturday morning (not bad considering I was up to gone midnight the night before at the office Christmas party, albeit I only had a couple of drinks).

Looking back at my previous blog: http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/slight-change-in-plans.html I recently had a definite 'Deja vu' moment.

This time last year I attended my son's last rugby session in 2011 and got involved in some parent play. On Sunday, I was back on the field, giving it my all - speeding up the line, scoring tries (3 in total), and getting tackled by the boys (even though it was supposed to be 'touch rugby'). All felt pretty good and no immediate injuries. 2 hours of running around brought my weekly total to arround 9 hours so quite pleased with the volume. However, I did not properly stretch and just like last year by Monday was feeling a little sore.

I did go for a 40min run on Monday but it wasn't pretty - well pretty awful!

Last night I had planned …

Looking back!

Over the last week I have been doing a bit of reminiscing - I started my first blog: http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk/ back in November 2011 so have been interested in what I was doing this time last year.

I officially started my base training for 2012 in December 2011 and was recording similar volume to my current totals - around 6-8 hours a week. It wasn't until February when I engaged the services of Coach Tickner and the volume picked up to 10+ hours.

During this base phase I will continue to mix up my training and try to include some other activites (i.e. mountain biking, going ice-skating on Boxing Day). It is also a sensible time to confirm my races for the coming season and commit to a number of fitness goals - mine are coming together and are likely to include a couple of longer 'A' races (marathon and 70.3 triathlon), some 'PB' opportunities for races / standard distances that I did last year and a greater number of shorter distance races (i.…

My car number plate

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Further promotion of the Ironman brand - the Company should hire me to run their PR

Nutritional Changes - small steps

A good number of podcasts I listen to now advocate the Paleo (Caveman) diet - it certainly is based on some decent principles, especially around eating healthy foods that have not been processed.

What really interests me is the idea that fats can offer greater energy for training / racing and last considerably longer than our glycogen reserves (sugars). By reducing our intake of low-fat high sugar foods and replacing them with good higher fat alternatives can we train our bodies to use fat rather than sugar for energy?

My diet generally consists of quite high levels of grains and carbohydrates - pasta and bread being daily food sources. Over the last week I have made a conscious effort to reduce my bread consumption and also limit alcohol and chocolate in my diet. Eating these high carb / high sugar foodstuffs were becoming more of a habit each day and even though I was probably burning off the calories with exercise I have been worried that I have continued consuming them on rest or…

Top 10 podcasts - great to take on training runs

Sorry been a while since my last post. This is actually my 3rd attempt. The latest version of the Blogger app keeps losing my text - very annoying!

Managed to get a 1:30 ride in last Friday morning (a day's holiday) - very chilly conditions. I was wearing a number of layers and still the wind was biting. Saturday I was back in the pool. Sunday a 1:00 run in the morning - 30 mins easy pace - turn around and re-trace steps - the goal to get home before the hour is up (i.e. negative split - completed successfully). Sunday evening - 40 mins turbo training and weights session.

On my Sunday morning run I was plugged into my iPhone and caught up with a couple of short podcasts I had previously downloaded from iTunes. To be honest I had enough content to last me a good few marathons as there appears to be a number of interesting new podcasts worth trying and I have downloaded a lot. Generally, the ones I like cover multisports training, races and profiles of athletes, nutrition advice and l…

Some hill work - split times

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Nice easy run from the office to just past Brighton Marina this morning. Then decided to run hard from the bottom to the top of the cliffs, walking/jogging back down for recovery. I repeated five times and aimed for an increasing pace for each set.

My splits were as follows:

First hill rep - 1:08
2nd - 1:02
3rd - 0:59
4th - 0:54
5th - 0:49

I was hitting zone 5-6 for each rep so a pretty brutal exercise set.

Easy run back. Just over the hour in total. Job done!



Champions of Cyclosport event and challenges ahead

After a hectic day at work on Thursday I managed to find a couple of hours prior to the charity cycle event at the Hurlingham Club and decided to take an easy run from Putney to Kingston via Richmond Park. I started in the light but it was dark by the time I was half way through Richmond Park. Managed to see a few deer but then I was simply pleased not to lose the No.4 cycle route, which I was following to Kingston. Approx. 10 miles covered in about 1:30 - relatively easy pace, enjoying a different route and catching up with my podcasts. On reaching Kingston I found Sigma Sport, which was my chosen destination, and spent 10-15 mins looking round the large specialist road cycling / triathlon shop over 2 floors, before turning back to Putney, this time on the train.

A quick shower at the hotel, on with the dinner suit and black tie, before meeting up with my work colleagues for the Champions of Cyclesport charity event at the Hurlingham Club. Great to see some of the big names in the sp…

Putting on a bit of excess weight - mustn't go off the rails

Last week wasn't too bad as far as volume goes - 8.5 hours was the total. Decided against the bike commute on Friday but was in the pool Saturday morning and joined Chris for a relatively easy Sunday bike ride, albeit there were some decent hills and speed work thrown in for good measure.

Chris unfortunately had some mechanical issues at the start of the ride so after only 10 mins in we turned back home to swap bikes. Chris ended up on his wife's road bike, a nice machine but a little heavier than he is used to. The set-up and sizing was also not ideal. Good for me though, I managed to keep up with Chris for much more of the ride than normal, although he still seemed to have no problem with the steep climb from Amberley to the top of Whiteways roundabout.

After a slightly higher volume week I jumped on the scales last night to see if I was at least maintaining my target weight of below 12 stone (normally lower in the height of the season and when on the start line of 'A…

Update on weekly progress

As I report most weeks I am coming up a bit short on the plan, yet again (not that there is really much structure to the plan at the moment). Last week I was on course for a 10 hour week but I fell at the last hurdle and didn't get my long run / ride in so ended the week with a total of 8.

This week I have completed approx 5 hours so far.

The good news is that I finally got in the pool for the longer 1:30 club session. Coach MT jumped in our lane to show us how to complete the perfect warm up 3x (100m front-crawl and 2x 50m backstroke). Although the Coach kept the warm up easy and consistent, it was still a bit of a push for me and I ended a little out of puff. Next came the drills - mostly catch-up - all bilateral breathing. Then my favourite - a set using all the toys (pull-buoy, paddles, fins) in different combinations. For the last 30 mins we focussed on 50m sets at different speeds with decreasing swim and rest times. When I got home I treated myself to a chocolate protein s…

'Brompton Bomber' strikes again

Anyone that followed my inaugural blog 'Journey to Ironman Austria' may remember a post that I wrote back in February that mentioned the 'Brompton Bomber' - link to story:

http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/beaten-by-brompton.html

Since that fateful day I have seen the 'Brompton Bomber' a couple of times, mostly as he speeds past me. On those occasions I have been on my singlespeed bike and have found it difficult to maintain his speed, unless I push the cadence up to 120rpm.

I cycled to work yesterday and after an easy 30 min, slightly hilly, warm up decided to up the speed as I hit Shoreham. I was cruising nicely at about 32km per hour, when... you guessed it... I was overtaken by my old adversary the 'Brompton Bomber' - this time however I was on my road bike and had a full 20 gears to play with.

I was straight on his tail and he sensed the pursuit. The average speed increased from 32 to 34km/ph then 36 to finally around 39km/ph - I…

A day of intervals

My training has gone a little off track again this week although at least I have been able to pick the volume up.

The 2 hour bike training / commute I had planned for today has been re-scheduled for tomorrow. Today was interval time...

I started this morning with an easy run to Preston Park, in total about a 15 minute warm up. Thereafter it was 14x 30 sec sprints (good technique) + 30 sec rest. Then a cool down and return to the office to complete the 40 min session.

It was back to Preston Park at lunchtime this time with Ewen and Charlie on the bikes. We headed to the old outdoor velodrome, which was surprisingly in very good condition - nice smooth surface and a fresh lick of paint around the circuit. Neither me or the boys had ever ridden the track so were looking forward to trying out the high bends, albeit they were hardly that high.

After a couple of warm up laps we decided on 5x sets of one lap all out and one lap recovery, 10 in total. On the first fast lap we were surprised j…

Stepping it up!

Last week started well with some strength work / high cadence session on turbo, a 2-hour ride on Tuesday and a 5km timed run test on Wednesday (no PB, still recording around 21mins 30secs). I even got a run in during a business trip to Leeds - an easy run along the Aire Valley towpath. Unfortunately I did not follow through as much as I would have liked over the weekend. I enjoyed the Saturday morning club swim, the chance to use all the toys - paddles, fins and pull-buoy, but turned down the opportunity to ride with the boys later in the day (when the weather was nice) as I had a few jobs to do at home. The plan was to get at least 2 hours in on Sunday morning but for a number of reasons - weather, ferrying the kids around etc. I only managed a feable 30 mins - 3x loops of village at varying pace.

Sunday evening I logged onto Training Peaks and was playing around with the 'Annual Training Plan' tool, entering my key races for 2013 and committing to 500-600 hours of training f…

Mouse with a taste for energy bars

Not very exciting holiday plans yesterday as the goal was to tidy the garage and make a trip to the tip with all the rubbish that I had accumulated and stored there over the last few months.

Part of the clear up involved going through my cycling gear and to make a decision as to 'keep', 'sell' or 'dump'. I use an old wardrobe to store the cycling gear away from all the other clutter in the garage and out of the reach of the children. Although, as I found out yesterday, not out of the reach of our resident mouse who somehow found a way in and then had a bit of a nibble on a total of six energy bars. I wasn't impressed - shame it didn't have a go at my gas cannisters that I use to inflate my tyres - that would have given it a bit of a headache, although probably left a nasty mess to clear up.

Anyway back to the serious subject of training. Last week I managed three runs (easy, strength and negative-split), a one-way commute on the bike (approx. 30km) and …

Back into running - nice and easy does it

It feels like a long time (probably only 3 weeks) since I completed a proper run but early this morning I was back out there doing a loop of one of my favourite routes - from Brighton Marina along the undercliff pass to Saltdean Lido and up over the cliffs for the return journey. Only a 9km loop, which I completed in 55 minutes - nice and easy - mostly zone 1 at a slow pace of 6 minutes per km. I sped up at one point to get the pace below 5 minutes, just to remind myself I could still do it, but did not overdo it.

Fortunately I did not experience any pain, neither from my coccyx or right heal (injuries I picked up after being knocked off my bike). The plan is to build back up with some strength work, short intervals and get back to my normal 5 and 10km race times, so I can enter some local races during the winter months.

During this morning's run I used the opportunity to catch up with a couple of podcasts that I enjoy. Interestingly both were about the same subject - discussions …

Cycling adventures

After a week of light training at least I finished with a bit of a spurt.

On Friday I attended a 1.5 hour special spin session at the Pedalstudio in Wimbledon. Coach MT took the class, which was a bit of a psychological rollercoaster! The theme was 'Myths and Legends' - Mont Ventoux and included video and great pictures on both the fantastic climb and legendary cyclists. Tom Simpson featured highly.

Coach MT wove a story around his presentation, displayed on large screens, and cleverly incorporated it within a tough spinning session and the Mont Ventoux climb. He vividly portrayed his own personal experience of the climb, including all the painful parts, which helped to bring the spin session to life. I really did feel I was on the climb.

During the ride a number of stats were displayed on TV screens including HR data and % of max HR for all to see.
For most of the session the entire class was at 85% plus of max HR. As there were over 20 riders in the relatively small studio t…

Withdrawal symptoms - need exercise!

Since the long Sunday ride I have not done any training (a part from a few dynamic stretches) and I am now getting withdrawal symptoms and craving exercise.

I had intended to take Monday as a rest day, still slightly taking it easy post the recent bike crash and minor pain in my coccyx and right heal.

Tuesday was supposed to be an easy ride to work and back but it didn't seem to come together for whatever reasons. Last night I was definitely on for the Club swim; however I attended a very interested seminar in Brighton, which overrun and made it difficult to make the Club swim on time. All in all quite feeble excuses and I am positive that if I really had wanted to train I could have found a way. To be honest I really don't like being injured (who does) but do not wish to jump straight back into it and cause further problems.

Anyway I am down for a very interesting session tomorrow evening, which I am looking forward to. Coach MT who is a 'Master Spinning Instructor' (…

Dorking Sportive - a beautiful day for a ride

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Managed some more swim tests on Saturday morning, including 14x 100m with 10secs rest between sets. Relatively consistent times between 1:37 and 1:45 recorded.

Saturday evening I was on the dance floor at a friend's 50th Birthday bash - showcasing my moves, which was certainly not the best preparation for a long sportive ride the following day.

After 20mins on the dance floor the recent injuries from the bike crash were playing a bit of havoc with my body and I began questioning whether I was ready for a long bike session.

On the Sunday morning the conditions were perfect for a bike ride in the Surrey Hills so I decided to at least give it a go. The great thing with a Sportive is they are generally informal and there would be no problem cutting the route short during the day and subject to my fitness / injuries.

Although there was certainly a nip on the air it was a great to be out on the bike. My recently replaced front mech worked flawlessly and I was pleased with my choice of w…

Swim Tests

My backside and right heel are still a little sore (post bike crash) so my training this week will be limited to swimming and the big bike ride on Sunday.

Last night was the 1:30 Club swim session and the Coach wanted further data on lane times to ensure athletes are swimming in the correct lane.

There are a number of younger and stronger swimmers coming up through the ranks and it is inevitable that at some time I may be better suited to a slightly slower lane. I am currently swimming twice a week, which is probably sufficient to maintain my swim fitness / technique but not enough to improve it. There were a few weeks in the run up to IM Austria that I was swimming on Mon, Wed, Sat and Sun.

Fortunately I think my times in yesterday's swim tests were enough to keep me in Lane 3. I don't wish to go down to Lane 4 just yet, even if there is not much difference between the two.

Anyway the swim tests were as follows:

The first, a simple timed swim at race speed or above, was over …

Trying to get back to normality

Tried an easy run this morning - the body worked OK, although still feeling a little soreness in my right heel. Probably as a result of the severe bruising I incurred from my cycle accident last week.

The bike is in the shop, hopefully getting put back together. I expect I will need a new back wheel at the minimum but won't hear to later this week.

Until the bruising in my foot has completely healed I and going to lay off the running for the time being. My plans are to swim on Wednesday and Saturday with a long sportive ride on Sunday (100 mile - hilly route around Dorking).

I have finally replaced the front mech on my road bike so at least that one is ready for action.

Will report back on the sportive for my next blog post.

Disaster strikes!

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The morning started off so well - a beautiful commute into Brighton along the bottom of the Downs via Edburton, Fulking and Poynings before heading up over Devils Dyke and down into the city.

As I still need to fix my front mech on my road bike I was on the trusty singlespeed machine so as always climbing Devils Dyke was quite an effort. I did manage to stop for a couple of pictures (see below) - love those hills!

My legs felt a bit fatigued both from the hilly route and probably the recent half-marathon event at Barns Green. The plan was to take it easy on the commute home.

I ended up having to take a busier route home as I had to pick something up at Next in Shoreham for my son. After getting out of the store, at that time just beginning to lose the daylight, I made a point of turning on my high-powered front light and the bright flashing red rear light.

Only a hundred yards away from the store and whilst cycling around the busy Shoreham roundabout a car shot out and knocked me flyi…

End of Season thoughts

As the Barns Green half-marathon event officially ends my triathlon season for 2012 my thoughts over the last couple of days have been on both the season past and the year ahead.

There is no doubt about it that 2012 will go down in my own triathlon history book as a very significant year - my first Ironman completed in under my target time of 13 hours. The only slight negative with 2012 is that single race was all consuming and one of the main reasons I will be unlikely to compete in such a long distance event in 2013 (2014 - may be?)

So what about the season ahead - personally, I hope it will be a year of PBs. Building on my success and PB at Barns Green my intention is to race all distances up to half-ironman (70.3) and aim for PBs across the board. I expect my training will be much more purposeful and include a greater number of shorter higher-intensity sessions, looking for improving times. From Oct-Apr there will be a slight bias to running with a PB in the Brighton marathon in m…

Regained my Mojo - a PB at Barns Green

With the exception of my planned bike / commute on Thursday that never happened (rest day!) I completed my training pretty much as I set out at the beginning of the week.

The big focus this week was my old friend and 'Nemesis' - the Barns Green half-marathon. I really did feel that I could push it more than previous years and despite it being a bit of a lumpy course, try for a personal best (PB) at this distance. I also had some unfinished business with this particular race as my times each year had been getting slower and slower, something I needed to reverse.

My training prior to the race had not been intense but I felt I had done a little more than last year, especially with my recent timed 5km and 10km efforts. In addition I was hoping that my Ironman fitness was still there for at least one more race this season.

The conditions were perfect, the only negative was that I had come prepared to buy a couple of gels at the event but found there to be no stalls selling them. Lu…

'Lost my Mojo'

Struggling a bit at the moment with the family-work-fitness balance and training over the last few days took a back seat to some needed DIY and family time - I shouldn't moan because as mentioned on a number of previous posts my intention is to fit all these important elements into my life - sometimes I just get disappointed that I cannot allocate my time a little better.

Anyway I did get in the Saturday Club swim and a Sunday morning run (1:00) before the heavens opened and it rained for the rest of the day.

Last night I had intended to do an hour in the 'cave of pain' on the turbo or a strength session. However, I felt I had 'lost my mojo' and opted to do nothing - not the greatest decision.

Fortunately, I set myself up to 'win' this morning as before I went to bed last night I got everything ready for a bike ride to work (whatever the weather). When you have everything at hand and don't think about it too much you simply go through the motions and be…

Wise words - 25 triathlon lessons

I just received an e-mail from Simon Ward who I must congratulate as he has been competing / coaching in the sport of triathlon for 25 years.

To celebrate his 25 years he came up with 25 lessons as follows - Wise words:

Consistency is the key to success Results are important but having fun is better Your body can take a lot more than you think Triathletes are not indestructible Recovery is just as important as training Quality beats quantity most of the time Just because you are a triathlete and train a lot doesn’t mean you can eat with impunity Its not about the bike…or the shoes, or the wetsuit It is about the bike. Being strong here has a direct impact in your ability to run well There is victory to be taken from every finish, no matter how bad you think the result is Whatever position you end up, finishing a triathlon means you are still in the top 1% of fit humans. Keep your training a simple as possible There are lots of training methods which will help you get to your goals. Jus…

Timed 10km run - slight improvement needed

This morning I completed a timed 10km run along Brighton seafront.

After a brief warm up I set off towards Hove Lagoon and back. The wind was light so had little effect to the overall time. Just after 9km I ran out of seafront a bit and had to include a couple of ramps and turns in the last 1km, which probably added a few seconds but generally it was as good as it gets - decent weather and a relatively flat course.

My total time was 45:56, average HR was 150bpm (max: 159bpm) and pace 4:36mins per km. I pressed the lap button after 5km and recorded the following splits:

L1 22:50, average HR 148bpm and pace 4:34
L2 23:06, average HR 153bpm and pace 4:37

I need to get somewhere close to 43:00 to give myself the best opportunity of PB in the marathon in April so some improvement is needed. After the session I felt OK and recovered quickly, thinking I could push harder on the next attempt.

Runner's World have a fun tool on their website - the Race Time Predictor: http://www.runnersworl…

Back into winter gear - not the best decision

Decided to cycle into work this morning and thought it best to prepare for the slightly colder mornings (I normally set off around 6:15am) with another layer of clothing - back into winter gear.

It felt the right move as I started off nice and snug and comfortable in the extra layer, however after only 15 mins I realised that I was overdressed for the occasion. My pace was decent this morning, despite being on the old singlespeed machine, recording reasonable speeds during a good part of the ride (30-35km/h), although by the time I reached the office I was dripping in sweat - lucky we have a shower!

Fortunately I came prepared and brought some lighter clothing for the return leg home.

For those interested in the training for this week my draft plan is as follows:

Mon: Push-run strength session 0:40 / Timed 5km run 0:30 [Done]
Tue: Bike - 2hr commute (tempo ride in morning / easy return)
Wed: Timed 10km run 1:00 / Club swim 1:30
Thu: Strength session including turbo warm-up 1:00
Fri: B…

Interesting Sweatshop offer - running community

Before I get into today's topic - a brief training update:

Last week ended up a little different than I planned but the volume was close to target. Wednesday was a big training day with a 2 hour cycle (commute) followed by a tough 1:30 swim session. Thursday and Friday were busy days at work so training unfortunately had to take a back seat (i.e. rest days!). Saturday morning was another Club swim and then the afternoon found me back on the bike with my old Ironman training partner Chris for a 1:30 bike session. As published on my previous IM blog (http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk) Chris suffered some serious problems during the big event and ended up in hospital for a week. On returning home he took approx. 8 weeks off resting (i.e. not training) and getting checked out by a number of medical specialists. Despite this long spell out of the sport I was pleasantly surprised how 'bike fit' and strong he was. We agreed on a rolling course with a killer hill (Stey…

Track session report

Missed this morning's scheduled run so decided to attend the fortnightly track session (Tuesday at 7pm) at Broadbridge Heath Sports Centre.

Our running coach (Tony G) unfortunately did not turn up but that didn't stop us having a decent training session. 6 of the HAT club members who attended (including me) completed a warm up, some dynamic stretching and drills before the main pyramid set of:

2x 200m
2x 400m
1x 800m
2x 400m
2x 200m

My running was quite consistent and I logged the following times:

200m: 0:46, 0.46, 0:45, 0:39
400m: 1:31, 1:32, 1:31, 1:30
800m: 3:01

The only set that was out of line was my last 200m where I found a bit more energy - always like to keep something back for the finish!

We finished with a cool down and some stretching - a decent session, well done Gareth for recommending the sets.

More likely now to complete my easy cycle tomorrow (commute to work and return) and leave the timed 10km to another week, given I now plan to compete in the Club Aquathon…

Week ahead - more focus on running

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Enjoyed a long off-road run on Sunday morning up on the South Downs - the great weather helped. I kept the pace easy on the flat (Z1-2) but it rose to Z4-5 on the main climp up to Chanctonbury ring (pictured). Also an opportunity to catch up on some of my favourite triathlon podcasts (Zen and the Art of Triathlon and Training Bible Coaching). Got home and was really juiced for the rest of the day.

Last week I logged about 40km of running. As I get closer to my next 'B' race - Barns Green Half-Marathon where I desperately wish to beat my time last year (and ideally my PB on the course) I will continue to focus on the running - adding in cycling and swimming for cross-training and recovery benefits. In previous years I have simply turned up on the start line for Barns Green and gone through the motion (typical 'end of season' event) - as a result my race times have got slower. This year I am determined to at least give it a go and train accordingly. The race is on the 30…

Friday update

Just about to leave the office for the weekend and thought I would bring the blog up to date.

Following my timed 5km run on Wednesday morning I attended the 1:30 Club swim that evening. Coach MT likes to incorporate some strength training as we approach the end of the season and during the winter months. After a number of 50m sets the lane ropes were removed and we swum a number of 'pyramid' sets using the width rather than length of the pool. Diving starts were included and 'press-up punishment' was handed out for any swimmer going too early - all good fun!

Thursday was an easy day, giving the legs a bit of a rest, although I did get in 20 mins strength exercises in the evening.

This morning more strength work with what I call my 'Push-Run' session - 6km of mostly easy running around Preston Park with 6 stops, normally at park benches, to complete 10x push-ups, dips, lunges, squats and step-ups. Might jump on the turbo tonight although when I get home I am sur…

The Aging Athlete - extract from Joe Friel's blog

As mentioned in previous posts I am making every effort to include a bit of strength training into my plan.

Just read an interesting post from Joe Friel's blog on the subject - extract below:

The Aging Athlete - Getting Older, Getting Faster, by Joe Friel
(The following first appeared in my interview with Performance Conditioning for Cycling Newsletter.)

Old athletes are old for many diverse reasons. But the primary one is due to their relatively slow rate of recovery following stressful workouts. Someone can be “old” at age 35 due to a poor rate of recovery. On the other hand, I’ve coached athletes in their 60s who recovered very quickly and so by this definition were still “young.” In fact, recovery is probably the key to performance at all ages, but especially so for aging athletes who appear to have the deck stacked against them. But there are also other reasons for declining performance with aging.

For the purpose of this discussion let’s say that one is "old" over ag…

5km morning test - more to come

Quick update following last post:

Mon - Run interval set - completed a brief warm up and then 10x (30 sec sprints / 30 sec rest). Cool down to finish. Done in 35 mins. Brief strength exercises in the evening, although should have done more.

Tue - Appox. 70km on the bike. 40km in the morning - commute into Brighton via Partridge Green, Hurstpierpoint, Hassocks, Keymer and then over Ditchling Beacon (9 mins of climbing) into Brighton - relatively easy pace Z1-2 (Z4 on hills), 1:40 in time. Return commute - Z1-2 pace again, some hill work but less than morning - another hour in the bank. Some stretching exercises on the foam roller before bed.

This morning I decided to do a bit of a test and after an initial 10 min warm up ran at above my normal race pace to complete a base time for a 5km distance. Following from my last post I am interested to building up my 5km, 10km, half-marathon PBs in preparation for an attempt of a PB in the Brighton marathon - that's the theory. My plan is to…

Southwater Tri Relay - fun marshalling

Little training over the weekend. A decent Club swim on Saturday - lots of fast 50s (diving starts) followed by recovery 100m sets. At least I got 2 swims in this week, which should the minimum. Ideally need to build back up to 3 sessions.

Our annual club event was on Sunday - the Southwater Tri Relay, which I was very happy to marshal rather than compete. It is a great event and though I have enjoyed competing in the past, watching the full race and helping the competitors exit from the lake swim is even more fulfilling. Some competitors grab you like their life depends on it and others fly out and on to the next discipline. That is the real beauty of the sport in that you have the first time novice competing with the seasoned pros and age-groupers. As I have previously highlighted it really makes me proud to be involved with the sport. However fast or slow there are a growing number of people that want to get off the couch, get fit and just 'Do It'.

My week is not looking too …

Training and Vachery update

Good bike session(s) yesterday, the morning included some decent hill work made all the more difficult on the singlespeed machine. Love the route via Edburton, Fulking and Poynings - beautiful views of the Downs before hitting Devil's Dyke - great way to start the day.

Unable to compete in the Club's handicap race this evening because of other commitments so decided on an easy run this morning - from the office to Hove lagoon and back, just over 11km in total - again love running along the seafront on a sunny morning, albeit the temperatures are dropping a bit.

Just been sent the first video of the Vachery XTri event by Graeme, very professionally put together - he is seriously good at filmmaking. This one really focuses on the pros with broader 'promo' style video to follow covering the age-groupers and road tri events, however I do get a small part as we enter the water from the pontoon.

Take a look by following this link: http://youtu.be/Kqbj8oBVJX4

Looking forward to t…

Taking my lead - 'Dan is the Man'

It is great to see friends that have suddendly got the cycling / triathlon bug and then followed up by committing to a few challenging races.

Two of my colleagues from work have now bought bikes, one of them (Charlie) is already whipping me on the hills, albeit he is considerably lighter and younger than me - that's my excuse!

Now, I have heard that Dan, who I met a few months ago and got to know well, has entered Ironman Austria for 2013, after apparently being inspired by my blog: http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk/. His work colleague, David Ball, also plans to enter IM Austria for 2014 - word is spreading!

If you take a look at Dan's smart new blog: http://www.danarmitageironman.com/ you will see he likes a bit of competition and has set his goal of completing next year's race (his first Ironman) in 12 hours 22 minutes, 1 minute faster than my time - cheeky fellow!

I encourage you to follow his progress and personally wish him all the best, although I will o…

Week ahead - getting back into training

There is no doubt that my training post-Ironman feels 'patchy' to say the least - I am missing the structure and as previously mentioned need to define my goals and ambitions thinking ahead for next season.

I am experimenting with TrainingPeaks and their Annual Training Plan and Virtual Coach functionality to help me create some structure to my future training – more on that later. Meanwhile just simply trying to log 2 sessions a week in each of the sports – swimming, cycling and running should keep my fitness going for the time being. Coach Mark Ticker (MT) also mentioned that athletes aged above 40 (I am afraid that is definitely me – 45 next birthday) should also incorporate 1-2 strength sessions a week.

Last night I spent about 30 minutes in the ‘Cave of Pain’ (my garage) doing a couple of circuits including lunges, squats, step-ups, push-ups, weights etc. During the winter months I plan to build on this and up the volume.

This morning’s run, also on the advice of CoachMT,…

Vachery XTri event - race report

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My first attempt at a XTri (otherwise known as Xterra) - the Vachery standard distance (1,500m swim, 30km MTB bike and 10km run) on Sunday 26th August.

Organised by a friend and member of the local triathlon club, Mark Davis of Horsham Amphibians Triathlon (HAT) this event was always going to be a little different but I was hoping for something that was both enjoyable and testing.

All the boxes were ticked - the venue was excellent, organisation by Mark and the Raw Energy Pursuits team was great and the bike course was good fun, albeit challenging. The weather was perfect although the rain on the previous day made the bike course very muddy in places. We even had the benefits of a nearby air show to watch as we competed.

My time was not that great but I was not too disappointed, this was always expected to be my B/C race of the season. I checked my watch as I got out of the water (1,500m swim) and clocked just under 30 mins. However it was a bit of a long run back to transition so my …

Tom Maynard Trust Charity Cycle Ride

175 miles (280km) on the bike in last 2 days - cycling from Cardiff to the Oval cricket ground.

I had the opportunity to cycle on behalf of my Company, Brewin Dolphin, for the Tom Maynard Trust in a charity event. There were 30 cyclists including myself, mostly professional cricketers who personally knew the late Tom Maynard.

My post Ironman fitness paid dividends because I believe I was much more 'cycle fit' than the majority of the cyclists and kept in the lead group all the way with no ill effects after the first day and near on 170km in the legs. A few of the cyclists pushed it at the end and were reaching respectable average speeds of 30-40km/h for a good 90mins on a rolling route. I felt good, kept up with them and also took my time in front.

Day 2 was a much easier ride with the group keeping together - a much more social cycle ride (still 70 miles) at Z1-2 pace. I will put in down in Training Peaks as a long aerobic recovery ride.

The climax of the ride came when we re…

And I'm back...

And I'm back...

It has now been 49 days since my Ironman challenge and about a month since the final post on my blog - Journey to Ironman Austria.

Apparently my previous blog was more popular than I thought and I have had a number of requests to continue with some brief details of my training efforts and future sporting challenges.

There are a few races already in the diary and a number of interesting ideas for 2013 - details to follow in future blogs.

In the final posts of my previous blog I highlighted the need for life balance. Post Ironman this is still very much my intention, how to incorporate the training with my work and family commitments.

Since the Ironman my training has been light to mixed - on average only about 5-8 hours a week but one week I managed about 13 hours, which was more like my normal rate.

As I reassess my goals for the latter part of the year and 2013 beyond I will start to put some structure around my training. With no imminent 'A' race ahead, w…