Sunday, 30 December 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 to push the pace (Z4-5).

This evening was Day 3 of the power program and a longer set on the turbo. The main set was 3x (5 mins + 10 mins) @ 90% + 50% at max power. I was 'sweating buckets' by the end of the workout - quite a tough one!

All good time in the bank.

Tomorrow I plan to do a run and then it is back on the turbo before the New Year party.

Wouldn't mind getting a 2 hour run in the bank before I go back to work on the 2nd - will keep you posted.

Friday, 28 December 2012

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 quite high. I expect I may have registered a higher power reading from my Tri or carbon road bike but at least I can keep the gearing constant on my singlespeed.

The first 5 days of the program looks as follows:

Day 2: 10x (30+30 sec) 100 / 50% VO2 Max
Day 3: 3x (5+10 min) 90 / 50% VO2 Max
Day 4: 3x [6x (40+20 sec) 95 / 50% VO2 Max then 4 min easy rolling]
Day 5: 20x (15+15 sec) 100 / 50% VO2 Max

Each session is listed as an hour - the balance being made up from the warm up and cool down.

Next instalment of the program will follow in a later post.

Post Christmas sessions

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 over Christmas. The ingredients for this one (pictured below) includes kale, 2x bananas, frozen blueberries, some skimmed milk and a spoonful of honey. Once blended I topped it off with a pinch of granola for a bit of crunch - lovely jubbly.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Green Smoothie time!

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 some strength work and today my regular 2-hour commute on the bike, however it has been put on hold until I can properly walk again - just like last year - you would have thought I had learnt my lesson!

I may focus on some upper-body strength work this evening using some weights - 30 mins in the 'Cave of Pain' should do the trick.

Anyway, hopefully training can resume again soon. I need to be fit enough to swim on Wednesday as the Coach always has something fun planned for the pre-Christmas swim (see last year: http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/mad-christmas-swim-session.html)

Friday, 14 December 2012

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.e. a few 5km timed runs). I still need to book some of those races in the next month or two - the popular ones fill up fast! I also need to log them in my Training Peaks account and build a plan around the goals, with a clear base, build, peak, taper and race phase for each 'A' race.

More on that in a later blog. Meanwhile, scores on the door so far for this week:

Mon - 2:00 bike (a cold commute with a few hills thrown in - relatively easy Z1-3)
Tue - 0:35 run (warm up then 5x round Preston Park 600m track at varying intensities)
Wed - 0:45 push/run set around Preston Park + 1:30 Club swim
Thu - rest day
Fri - 1:10 easy run along Brighton seafront - more difficult return leg because of strong winds

So 6 hours already with the weekend to go. I am likely to swim on Saturday morning and would love to get out on the mountain bike for 1-2 hours on Sunday - let's see!

Put a few running items on the Christmas list (new trainers, running gilet, socks, beanie hat and Rich Roll's new book) - hoping Santa comes up trumps.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My car number plate

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 recovery days when I have done little or no exercise. I believe this to be the reason for my slight weight gain of late.

You can very easily fall into the camp of a strict diet regime, whether Paleo or some other strategy. One day I may investigate them further but for the time being I think maintaining a healthy balance, making better whole food choices and limiting some of the treats (i.e. don't make them a habit) is the way to go - small steps that I am personally more likely to stick too.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

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 lifestyle recommendations.

My current top 10 are as follows (in order of preference):

1. Zen and the Art of Triathlon (follow Coach Brett in his training, racing and living the multisport life)
2. Training Bible Coaching (Good mix of technical and training tips from 2 elite triathletes)
3. Fitness Behaviour (Great lifestyle tips from Bevan James Eyles)
4. Ben Greenfield Fitness (a lot of nutritional and technical content)
5. JBST Multisports (another quite technical podcast hosted by Joe Beer)
6. Fat-Burning Man (just found this one recently but impressed with content)
7. Rich Roll Podcast (another new one based on an amazing ultrarunner - likely to rise in the charts)
8. The Age Grouper (a good podcast but unfortunately the last episode was Apr 2012)
9. Vinnie Tortorich - America's Angriest Trainer (biased to nutritional tips)
10. Endurance Planet (only listened to one but good so far)

These provide a great free resource and are well worthwhile downloading for your next long run.

Please add a comment if you have some other ideas.

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...