Friday, 31 August 2012

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 the Club's annual relay event on Sunday at Southwater lake - always great to be a part of the day and help the Club raise their profile and indeed the sport as a whole - we get a lot of first-timers taking part. More details can be found on our Club website:

http://www.a2tri.com/relay.aspx

Have a great day and stay healthy

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

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 of course be tempted to try and beat whatever time he gets by 1 minute in 2014 - bring it on!

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 Training Peaks 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 Coach MT, included a strength element – I took an easy run around Preston Park but stopped every km to do some exercises – 10x push ups and 10x dips. Total time about 40 minutes – not too heavy as I have to consider tonight's longer Club swim – 1:30 is scheduled. I certainly have found my swimming has suffered from reducing the time in the pool / lake from 3-4 times to only once a week. The plan is to build back up to 2-3 times at least.

So for the rest of the week:

Wed: 0:40 run / strength work + 1:30 club swim
Thu: 2:00 bike (1 hour – hill work + 1 hour easy) – Brighton commute
Fri: Club handicap race – short but fast and furious (normally 0:30-0:40 in time)
Sat: 1:00 club swim

I would like to get some activity in on Sunday, however, will be marshalling at the Club’s annual relay triathlon event – my job is pulling competitors out of the lake – great fun but somewhat tiring.

As we move into September the plan is to get the base structure right for the winter months (probably 6-12 hours of training per week). There is likely to be some races thrown in – I am thinking of Barns Green half-marathon, a 100 mile sportive in Dorking and possibly a DIY half-ironman in Brighton (just investigating that one). Thereafter it is thinking ahead to next year – first ‘A’ race is the Brighton marathon in April.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Vachery XTri event - race report

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 time registered 31:15. A longer transition (2:09) than I would have liked, which included me getting a pair of socks on before hitting the tricky bike course.

2 laps of a muddy and quite technical MTB off-road course felt more like 50-60km on the legs. Fortunately I did not come off the bike and I managed all the drops and technical sections. I did however lose time slipping around in the muddy sections and had to stop a number of times to reposition myself on the course. On the second lap I realised it was quicker to stop before the very muddy sections and run through with the bike. Overall I was quite pleased with my performance and managed to pass a number of riders during the latter stage of the ride. My total time for the bike was 1:22:32.

Then it was on to the scenic run taking in part of the Downs Link and the Vachery estate land. I felt OK and kept a steady pace, probably a bit to steady finding quite a lot of energy for a fast finish. I think my pacing was off and I should have broken 50 mins. My time ended up at 51:58.

Total time for the full event was 2:49:12, positioned 32nd out of a field of 75 competitors. Richard Stannard (aka 'The Fish') won the event in an impressive time of 1:58:00. His swim was 19:23 - wow! San Gardner who designed the course took the best time for the bike of 55:11.

Definitely one for next year - hopefully a little more training preparation beforehand.

Well done Mark - thumbs up for Vachery

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

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 reached the Oval. We were greeted by thousands of people paying their respects to Tom and our cycling efforts. We were announced on the loud speaker and had to do a lap of the Oval ground waving to the crowds. The whole event was televised and ended with a very moving film of Tom on the giant screen. I got to know his family and good friends over the last couple of days (including Freddie Flintoff) and I know it was hard for them to watch, however a great tribute to someone who was obviously very well loved and liked by all.

Anyway back to reality and work tomorrow. I am planning to do a short morning run and possibly the Wednesday club swim. Then it is a bit of a taper before the Vachery off-road event on Sunday.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

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, with the possible exception of Brighton Marathon in April, I am going down the self-coached route. My preference would be to continue with Coach Mark T but until I am clearer with some specific race goals I have decided to save the coaching fees for a possible training camp in 2013.

Meanwhile I have a couple of challenges for the coming week, worthy of comment:

Tonight I am travelling to Cardiff to participate in a charity bike ride on behalf of the late cricketer Tom Maynard. I will be one of around 30 cyclists including Freddie Flintoff cycling about 140 miles over 2 days from the Cardiff cricket stadium to the Oval.

On Sunday 26th August I am competing in my first off-road triathlon - Vachery XTri event - a 1,500m swim, 30km MTB and 10km off-road run.

I will report back on both events plus any other training I manage to complete during the week. Thereafter I will provide details of my training plans and my progress with getting the balance right (or not)!

New running shoes and new SwimRun kit on its way

I decided to upgrade my trusty ASICS GT-2000 Series 7 to the new Series 8. I had run about 600km in my old shoes but had started to get some...