Showing posts from 2013

Icy conditions on the road - should have chosen the turbo!

My training has been limited over the last couple of weeks. As mentioned on previous blogs the run up to Christmas was a little stressful but I had a great day at Calshott (track cycling). Thereafter I managed a decent long run and a few shorter sessions around the Christmas period when I visited my sister and her family in Belgium. A couple of swims helped to make the weekly totals around 5-6 hours, a bit under the target, albeit I had Christmas down as an easier week.
Last week I wanted to end with a long bike session and opted to get up early to complete a 2:30-3:00 route on my road bike. I expected it to be cold so had a few layers on, however when I left the house around 7am it did feel much colder than normal. At that time it was quite dark (I was riding with lights) but I soon noticed how icy it was and then regretted my decision to take the road bike rather than the mountain bike. I should have turned back to swap bikes but I thought it would get better as the sun came up. I on…

Track cycling at Calshott

A lot to tell you ...

Sorry it has been a while - the last fortnight has whizzed by. Life has been manic in the lead up to the festive period and I have been 'burning the candle at both ends'. As a result I have been a bit stressed, tired and obviously my training has suffered.

I have averaged more like 5-6 hours per week for the last fortnight, well below my goal. I haven't been to the pool for ages!

Fortunately I am now on holiday until the 6th January and just beginning to calm down and refocus for the weeks ahead. Yes there will be more food and drink than normal and yes I will want to spend the majority of my time with my lovely family enjoying all the festive fun. However, I also plan to have a bit of 'me time' and that will involve some training.

Today was the start of some of that 'me time'. I had some business to sort out in the morning but managed to have an hour in Gunwharf Quays for a bit of Christmas shopping. Thereafter I drove down to Calshot…

Loving Strava - thinking of upgrading to Premium

I am loving Strava!

Since discovering I could download my Garmin data to Strava all my training with the exception of a few strength sets have been logged for public viewing. It is a great social platform for sharing routes, sessions, stats etc. with groups and fellow athletes.

I have just entered my first challenge to run 33 miles in the last 10 days of the year. With all the food and drink likely to be consumed over the festive period I thought it would be a worthwhile goal. It counts down to when the challenge starts and then tracks performance based on the percentage completed. A great example of 'gamification' and making it fun to keep fit and healthy.

For around $59 a year (or $6 a month) I could upgrade to a premium account, which provides a few extra goodies such as heat mapping, greater data analysis, 'suffer score' and access to some interesting training videos.

Ran a nice easy 10km today but aimed for a negative split, which I achieved relatively easily - ap…

So far so good - windy training session

So far so good this week ...
Monday - rest day - sweet!

Tuesday I was on the bike, which included a few hills for good measure. Nothing to difficult as my legs were still a little fatigued from the high-intensity off-road segments on Sunday's group ride. 
Wednesday night I was almost contemplating missing the Club swim as I had to travel up to London and was a weary at the end of the day. However, I simply got in the car and drove to the pool before I could talk myself out of it. Once there I got it done - a long 2.2km warm up with fins, then 4x 100m at perceived effort of 8 out of 10 (averaging around 1:40 min), followed by another 200m drills / cool down. 
Thursday was a long run down to Brighton Marina along the undercliff path and up to the top at Saltdean. I was going well, in fact too well, and should have realised earlier the wind was in my favour. By the time I hit the top of the cliffs and turned back towards Brighton I realised why the first leg was so fast and easy. In the…

Draft Training Plan - timings for first part of phase I - Base

Draft training plan - work in progress - specific sessions to follow.


Week 1 - job done. More about the plan

Base week 1 of my official training plan ended with a 2:30 off-road cycle with the boys from the Club. Chris and I cycled from Ashington to Southwater Country Park (a nice warm up) before meeting with Nick, Matt, Mark, Hilly and John for a route along the Downs Link and then over the South Downs towards Amberley.

From the start the pace was full-on, speeding along the Downs Link towards Partridge Green then Henfield and on to Bramber. My heart rate was pretty much in zone 4-5 but I just managed to keep up with the guys (some of the strongest riders in the Club). There was some respite as we had to stop to fix not one but two punctures on Chris' bike. At Bramber we headed towards the hills and climbed the South Downs to the top of Steyning Bostal. Both Chris and I were struggling to keep up with the leaders so opted to part ways and take an alternative route via Wiston and home. The boys continued at pace and on a mission to get a specific train from Amberley that would take them b…

It's Begun ...

Over the last week I have been working on a more structured training plan for the months ahead and my ironman distance 'A' race, scheduled for 31.08.14.

Mike P from ZigZag Cycling has been helping me define the main blocks leaving me to populate it with the detailed sessions. I want to share the initial plan on this blog but need a bit more time to put together my thoughts - watch this space!
I also have a bit of news on bikes as I finally ordered myself a Brompton via the Ride2Work scheme, although it will not be delivered until the New Year (B-spoke  order). I will certainly be devoting a few blogs to why I chose the Brompton and full details of the build.
Meanwhile, just checking in to inform any loyal followers that there is a great deal of interesting training content on its way.
Last 4 days of training (some still to be posted on Strava - having some computer problems):
Sat - 1:00 Club Swim Sun - 2:00 Trail Run over the Downs - easy pace Mon - rest day Tue - 2:30 cycle c…

Another crack at 1km run repeats at Preston Park track

I hardly register on the Strava leaderboard this week with a miserable 2 runs to my name.

The first was an easy 10km to Brighton Marina and back and the second was another crack at the 1km run repeats I did last week on the seafront. This time I headed for the track at Preston Park to complete the session. The scores on the door were as follows:

1. 3:56min
2. 4:03min
3. 4:01min
4. 4:13min
5. 4:08min

Slightly better than my last attempt:

A relatively decent improvement on the average 1km time - down to 4:04 from 4:15 and below my target of 4:12 (goal 5km time of 21:00). It now does appear possible to aim for 20:00 and an average time of 4:00.

Although I expect most of my endurance work during the base period to be longer slower sessions I would like to continue to throw in some 1km run repeats from time to time.

Will keep you updated of my progress.

A slow start to the week

Last week ended with a decent Club ride and just under 3 hours in the saddle. I joined some of the most experienced (and fastest!) riders in the Club for a loop down to Brighton and back to check out the new Velo Cafe, which I featured in my last post:
I rode up to Southwater (about 10km from my house) to the agreed start point to meet with Nick, Andy and Mark D. We then headed for the scenic Edburton - Fulking route via Partridge Green and Henfield and onwards over Devils Dyke to Brighton (one of my regular commuting routes, albeit longer and faster!) We enjoyed the coffee stop - the place was busy and it took a while for our coffees to arrive but they were worth the wait. We then took the coast road home via Shoreham airport, Lancing college, Botolphs, Steyning and back home, again another very familiar route. The party split up after Lancing college with Andy and Nick taking the lead and powering ahead…

Velo Cafe - a new meeting point

I enjoyed a very leisurely commute into Brighton today. Probably one of my slowest commute times and certainly difficult to classify as training, although it will be going on Strava, may be under a 'recovery zone 1-2 ride' or 'fat-burning easy spin'. Although the average speed was nearer to 20-25km per hour rather than my more normal 25-30km per hour these types of rides have some benefits.  Not only good for recovery, possibly welcomed after my 1km interval repeats yesterday, but it did give me some valuable thinking time. It is nice to sometimes switch off from the training and just enjoy being on a bike reviewing the day ahead and thinking about your goals, challenges and opportunities. I expect my commute home will be similar, thinking about my plans for the weekend ahead, nothing too strenuous, leaving the more focussed training for another day.

I did have a chance to venture down to the 'Level' to meet with Nigel Lambe, a friend, fellow cyclist and owner …

1km interval repeats

Trying to fight back after my recent overeating and drinking frenzy - I completed 10x fast stride intervals yesterday morning (a little undressed in shorts - bit chilly) and was at the pool for the 1.5 hour Club Swim in the evening. In the pool I continued to focus on bi-lateral breathing and improving my catch. The drills that Coach Mike P instructed us to complete, especially in relation to 'spearing' helped me to get my hands in a better position for the catch. One of my buddies from the London2Paris charity cycle ride recommended I pick up a copy of this book - Swim Speed Secrets:

One for the Christmas list!

In the changing room after the swim there was a healthy discussion about improving 5km and 10km times and the benefits of 1 km / 1 mile intervals rather than the faster and shorter stride sets and track circuits. I…

Too much food and drink

The last week has involved quite a lot of travel and culminated in a trip to Harrogate to attend the Masterchefs of GB lunch or should I say 'food extravaganza'. As you may imagine a 2-day stay at an amazing hotel with a load of top chefs and copious amount of quality food and drink is not the best recipe for training but sometimes even a triathlete has to let their hair down!
There was some activity mixed in within the eating and drinking. The hotel had a small gym with some good quality running machines, one stationary bike, a rowing machine and plenty of free weights. I did two early morning sessions before breakfast on both days, an hour each. I also took my running gear but was only able to get in a walk with the wifey rather than a trail run around the hotel estate.
Tomorrow I will be back to the normal training regime with a morning run and evening swim. Probably another run on Thursday and hopefully a 2-hour bike commute on Friday. I do however have two other lunches pla…

From one extreme to another - hitting the trails

On Wednesday I was enjoying a nice leisurely ride on a Brompton and this morning I hit the trails for some pretty intense riding on the North Downs - from one extreme to another!

I met Nick, Andy, Hilly and Mike at Peaslake car park at 8am, all experienced mountain bikers and friendly triathletes from the local Club.
Within minutes of leaving the car park I was straight into Heart Rate zone 5 as the first hill took its toll.
The plan was to cycle all the well known trails such as 'Yoghurt Pots, Telegraph Row, Summer Lightning, Barry knows Best, Reservoir of Dogs, etc.
Unfortunately a couple were closed for maintenance but it certainly didn't spoil the fun.
During the ride there were a number of comedy moments and classic wipeouts mostly from Andy and Hilly, although I shot over the handlebars on one narrow single track - lucky not too much damage - only my pride.
After about an hour and a half in the saddle we stopped at Leith Hill Tower for a cup of tea and cake / energy bars…

Back to proper training - a short track session

Thursday was a rest day, also a wet one in terms of the weather.

Friday also started wet so I decided to leave the bike at home but was determined to at least get a short run in the bank, whatever the weather.

I headed for Preston Park and the outdoor velodrome / cycle track. Once at the track I did an easy-pace lap around the 600m circuit and then 3 at increasing pace. The final lap (5th) was again at an easy pace.

My splits were as follows:

Lap 1 - 3:09 (5:19mins per km)
Lap 2 - 2:42 (4:32mins per km)
Lap 3 - 2:29 (4:03mins per km)
Lap 4 - 2:13 (3:37mins per km)
Lap 5 - 3:03 (5:08mins per km)

A total of about 40 mins with the warm up and cool down included.

Nice to get a bit of speed work in after all the easy pace base work - shake the body up a bit.

The cycle track is a decent local training venue but because of the raised corners is obviously more designed for cycling than running.

I will post my data on Strava when I return home. The goal is to do a lap in less than 2mins, which…

A slightly strange, yet leisurely and enjoyable, training day

Wednesday was fun...

The day started with a journey up to Thorpe Park as a half-term treat for the children. I agreed for them each to take a friend, which worked in my favour because they weren't too worried for me to join them on the rides. So my challenge was to stay close enough (if they needed me) but also make best use of the 9 hours I had before I would see them again for the journey home.

From my last post: I made a reference to a Company called Brompton Dock that hired out folding bikes for a day or more. As we were passing close to Guildford on the journey to Thorpe Park, I had arranged to borrow a Brompton bike for the day. Given there was five of us in the car this was my only option to take a bike but also something that I was keen to try out for the day.

The process was relatively straight forward in that I registered my details on line (simple leisure membership for £1 per annu…

OK I admit it - I am beginning to become a bit of a fan of Bromptons

Probably not something an Ironman triathlete should admit too, however I am beginning to become a bit of a fan of Bromptons!

For those who don't know a Brompton is a famous brand of compact folding bikes that are handmade in West London.

The attractions to me are as follows:
Build quality is exceptional - this bike will last a lifetimeThe fold is more compact than any other folding bike out thereThe appeal of taking the bike anywhere, stick it in the boot of your car, plane, train, etc.Although a slightly more 'twitchy' ride (small wheels) they can be quite nippyClassic design and great accessories - expensive but very functional (the 'Apple' of the folding bike world)I would love to enter the Brompton World Championships events that are held around the worldNot just used for a 5km commute. Many Brompton lovers take them touring and complete 1,000km+ a year As I expect you have noticed it sounds like I am hooked. To be honest I haven't ridden one yet and given t…

Check me out on Strava

Top of my list of 'training toys' is the Garmin 910XT watch. Although I do not analyse every workout I religiously download the data to Garmin Connect, mostly to track the volume and range of monthly activities. Over the coming weeks I have been experimenting with different ways of making this training data more social, opening some up to the public and creating Club pages.

However, I have noticed at bit of a shift to the use of other social platforms like Strava, which have become very popular, especially amongst athletes that like to compare training performance and favourites routes. In addition there is definitely something to be said for claiming a 'Personal Best' (PB) or 'Top spot' for a specific ride or run.

I knew of the existence of Strava and got the free download to my iPhone some time ago, however ignorantly thought I always had to record training with my iPhone, which I personally find is slightly less accurate and convenient than using my Garmin 9…

Nice morning run - no Achilles tendonitis issues (finally!)

A nice run this morning with a focus on a negative split - the return leg successfully completed at a faster pace.

The good news is that, finally, no Achilles tendonitis pain that has been boring me for at least 3 months now. I will continue with the calf raises and stretches for a little longer yet but hopefully that it is! 
Now I can build in some longer runs and increase the intensity.

A decent week of training and a good Club ride

I was hoping for at least 10 hours of training last week and was pleased that I ended up logging over 13 hous in total.

Most was on the bike - in addition to about 5 hours of commuting / local training I enjoyed a longer 5 hour ride on Saturday with the boys from the Club.
We met at Portsmouth harbour at around 8:30am and caught the Catamaran to the Isle of Wight for a tour of the rugged coastline. Although I had visited the IOW on a number of occasions I was surprised on how hilly the coastal route was. There was a lot of ups and downs!
There were only 6 riders including me. Within the group were some of the most strongest and experienced cyclists in the Club so I knew it was going to be a struggle to keep up. As always the top guys were quite comfortable holding back the pace a little or waiting for the slower riders (Gareth and I) to catch up. I love these types of Club rides, although quite challenging there is always a healthy bit of banter going on, which makes them so enjoyable…

So far so good - planning for IOW trip

So a brief update this week and it is very much... so far so good!

Legs were a little fatigued on Monday (rest day) after the 25km trail run the day before. A swim would have been great, which I always find helpful after a long run, however the Monday Club pool session is still eluding me.

So Tuesday it was on the bike using my work commute to get some training done - I headed for Devils Dyke and some decent hill work. A relatively easy return but a bit of speed work and some 'fun & games' riding along (against) some other commuters on their road bikes.

Wednesday was a 11.5km run with some tempo work, only a slight niggle with the Achilles but with every run the injury seems to be improving and becoming less of a worry. The evening Club swim was interesting with the focus again on bi-lateral breathing, which I am really making an effort to keep to, plus a number of faster pyramid sets using the width of the pool.

Thursday was back on the bike, an interval set in the mornin…

The week ahead - more focus on training plan

Now that I have an 'A' race in my diary for next year it is amazing how your mind immediately starts to focus on the task ahead, even though in my case the event is over 10 months away.

Most training programs, either developed by a professional coach on a bespoke basis or something out of a book are around 20-30 weeks so I have a bit of time to research.

I was pleased to see that the Challenge series offer training plans to all athletes that enter one of their events, which I understand is distributed via a regular newsletter. My initial thought is to take information from a couple of great books I have read on the subject (Joe Friel - The Triathlete's Training Bible and Don Fink - Be Iron Fit) and amalgamate with the plan provided to me in 2012 by Coach Tickner (when I entered IM Austria) and finally cross-check with any useful recommendations from Challenge.

I will aim to increase the hours per week steadily for a three-week cycle and then take one week slightly easier. …

Challenge Vichy - my ironman distance 'A' race for 2014

I have come back for more and entered my second ironman distance race - Challenge Vichy - scheduled for 31st August 2014.

This was straight off my bucket list -

It was mentioned as a possible venue a few months ago and now there is at least 5-6 club members from Horsham Amphibians Triathlon who have either entered the full or half ironman distance events. Hopefully more will follow, making this very much the main Club 'A' race for next year.

I am hoping this challenging goal will inspire me to put in place a more structured plan over the coming months that I can share with followers of this blog.

Let's start with 20 reasons not to miss Challenge Vichy, straight from the race website:

Challenge Vichy has ensured everything is in place to ensure the ultimate experience for atheltes and their families at this exciting new five-day sporting event.

1) Ideally timed on September 1rst…

Product Test: Lezyne Zecto Drive LED Rear light

With the darker mornings / nights and heavy local traffic cycle lights are essential - my personal thoughts are you can't have enough and if you plan to ride in the dark best go out lit up like a Christmas tree.

Up to now I have ridden with an USE Exposure Flare at the rear, generally a good bit of kit, however a little annoying and costly to replace the CR123A batteries on a regular basis. I now understand USE do a rechargeable pack for the unit for around £20 but meanwhile each battery costs between £4-£8.
I wanted to buy another LED rear light to complement the Flare and headed over to Upgrade Bikes' great website and friendly and professional service.
The Zecto retails around £30. I am always impressed by the build quality of Lezyne products (seems like they have had lessons from Apple). The battery recharging is done via a USB style cable, which is ideal for me - opportunity to charge at home / work. I also like the range of flashing options a…

Photos of off-road ride

A beautiful Sunday morning to be up on the trails of the South Downs. Here is a collection of pictures:

An interesting off-road night ride with a bit of drama

To bring you up to date on my training over the last week:
Sat - Swim: Club session (1:00) Sun - easy off-road run with plenty of hills 17km (1:50) Mon - Cycle: one-way commute - easy incl. 15min tempo (1:10) Tue - Run: 8km tempo set (0:40) Wed - Run: strides set (0:30) / Cycle: off-road night ride (1:25) Thu - Cycle: 20km fartlek - easy, hill-work, fast sections (0:50) Fri - rest day
Every day I have performed between 30-100 calf raises, which seems to be helping with the ongoing Achilles tendonitis.
Wednesday was a little different - I decided to miss the normal Club swim session so I could attend South Downs Cycles monthly off-road night ride (first Wednesday of the month - starting at 6:30pm at the Storrington store). I hadn't ridden with the guys from South Downs Cycles for well over a year. I used to be really in to off-road cycling and one of the main reasons for getting involved with triathlon was to get fitter so I could keep up with the guys I would ride with each month, normally…

My 'Bucket List'

Whilst thinking about my 'A' races for 2014 I came up with a more broader 'Bucket List' of races I would love to have a go at over the coming years:

My Bucket List
1. London 2 Brighton 100km challenge - The London 2 Brighton Challenge is one of the UK’s greatest endurance events. Most will walk the 100km; some will jog it, and many will run it as an ultra-marathon. However you take it on, it’s a test of determination and stamina. It’s real, no gimmicks, rewarding and is achievable!
2. S.O.S. Triathlon - The Survival of the Shawangunks (SOS) is an eight stage triathlon held in New Paltz, NY. Cycle country roads and scenic highways circling the northern ridge of the Shawangunk Mountain Range. Ascend the western face. At the entrance to Minnewaska State Park leave your bike for a combination run/swim journey through some of America's most beautiful cross-country trails and spring fed lakes.
3. IronBaby - a se…

Little news on the training front - thinking ahead

Little new training news this week. A strength / run set on Monday, 60km of cycling on Tuesday with a few decent hill climbs, Wednesday in the pool - spent some time using the pull-buoy focusing on bi-lateral breathing to improve my body position and rotation. A little niggle crept back in my right Achilles tendon, which has made me hold off training over the last two days. Tomorrow another swim set with the Club. If the Achilles issue settles down again I will attempt a run on Sunday, hopefully an easy off-road session.
Thinking about my 'Bucket list' of ultimate races - will be the subject of my next post.

My ideal week of base training - a challenging goal

The last week was almost back to plan but not quite! I ended up missing my Friday run and Saturday morning club swim but made up for it on Sunday by getting in both an off-road run and cycle ride with my old training partner and neighbour, Chris (approx. 3 hours in total).
By Sunday afternoon I was back to my target weight although a couple of days on I have let in slip once again.
The good news is that my tendonitis issues have further eased and I only have a minor niggle in my left Achillies heel. The right side having completely healed - finally!
So thinking ahead to my base training for the next season I have been considering my ideal week of training, which should certainly give me a strong foundation to build on, whatever race distances I end up doing over the coming months.
The week would look something like this:
Mon - 0:45 strength exercises / circuit + 1:00 club swim Tue - 2:00 bike commute: interval set + easy return Wed - 0:30 run strides set / intervals + 1:30 club swim Thu - 2:0…

Back to the plan

Some improvement in my eating / drinking habits so getting back to normality on the weight front. I wouldn't say I was obeying all my top tips for weight loss (see last post) so still room for further progress.
The good news is that the regular stretching is finally paying dividends and my Achillies tendonitis problem is easing. I have also been making every effort to use ice (small ice pack down my socks) to speed up the recovery.
This morning I logged my longest run for a good month or so after completing 10km along Brighton seafront. The pace was embarrassingly slow (approx. 5:30 to 6 mins per km) and although I hardly broke a sweat I did not have any ill effects from my tendons. I still do not feel confident running a half-marathon distance or increasing the speed significantly but there has been a definite improvement. I will continue with the stretching and ice until there is no further pain whatsoever.
There was some discussion at the Club of getting a full Ironman distance ra…

Tri Hard Dave's tips to lose weight

Just back from my Friday morning run around Preston Park - about 6km in distance but stopping every km to do exercises - 10 reps of the following: push ups, dips, thrusts, squats, and step-ups. On 2 sections of the circuit I pick up the tempo so I break into a bit of a sweat but generally it is a relatively easy workout aimed to build in a little bit of strength work.
My tendon pains are definitely easing although I still felt some slight discomfort for the first 1km of the run - still more strengthening to be done before I can up the distance and speed. As a result of the continuing problem I have decided not to enter the tricky Barns Green half-marathon in late September - so my 2012 PB will stand for another year.
I highlighted in my previous post that I had put on a bit of weight over my summer holiday. I shouldn't feel too guilty, I thoroughly enjoyed the time with the family and it was great to focus on other things than just training and working. However, I was quite surprise…