Sunday, 27 January 2013

Ironman M-Dot Cupcakes

A few Ironman M-Dot cupcakes, courtesy of my lovely wife x

Not all for me

Stepping it up - cross-training included

Managed a brief 'strides' session this morning: After a 10 min warm up, I completed 12x (30 sec fast + 30 sec recovery) sets, followed by the normal cool down.

A week of running (5 separate sessions) and some swimming but no biking, which I intend to put right this coming week.

The plan looks something last this:

Mon - Run: strength set (0:45) + Bike Turbo: power set (1:00)
Tue - Bike: commute inc. hill work + easy return (2:00)
Wed (my birthday) - skiing at snowdome (2:00)
Thu - Run: 5km time trial + w/u and c/d (0:45)
Fri - Bike: commute incl hill work (1:00) + Run: Strides, 14 sets (0:45)
Sat - Club Swim (1:00)
Sun - Run: long aerobic Z2-Z3 (2:15)

Stepping it up a little from the 6-8 hours in the last fortnight to back above 10 hours plus. Need to get back into 3 week cycle, 10-12 hours for 2 weeks and then a single week at approx. half volume.

Obviously, Wednesday includes something a little different but cross-training is allowed!

Focus on running and swimming and using my new 910XT

The last week has not been 'all about the bike' and has focused mostly on running and swimming.

A couple of hard interval run sets, mixing Z2 with Z4 were included, the first with 8min Z4 / 2min Z2 sets and the second 1km Z4 / 1km Z2. Also logged a 'push and run' set and some hill work. Not managed to include a 'strides' set yet but hope to get that in today. My speed and average pace is improving and so I might try some 5km or 10km time trials next week and at the same time review my lactate threshold level, which could result in some revisions of my HR zones.

In the Club swims we have been mixing some long endurance sets with some time trials, especially over 200m and 400m distances. My times on Saturday were a little disappointing although I have been experiencing some mild back pain that I think effected my performance. I logged the 200m at 3:19 and the 400m at 7:10. I recently logged the 400m at sub 7, so some work to be done there. My swimming improved a lot last year when I increased the swims to 3 a week, something I may have to consider to see better numbers on the time trials.

All the training is being logged more efficiently now with my new Garmin 910XT (pictured below). It is a great bit of kit, which not only records run and bike sessions but swimming as well. It can tell which stroke you are doing, work out when you turn around (i.e. count laps), and even calculate how efficient you are swimming so as to compare individual swims. Lots of data to analyse, hopefully leading to minor tweaks that will help further in my training.

I need to sit down and workout my plan for next week. As the snow has almost gone I expect it will be more time on the bike, a 5km time trial run and lactate threshold test, plus a long run. I do need to increase my running distance as the Brighton marathon (an 'A' race) approaches and I am looking for a personal best (sub 3:40).


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Interval set

Despite the snowy conditions I have managed to get in some running training - approx. 3.5 hours over last 4 days. On Sat/Sun it was mostly off-road - lots of fun running through fields of fresh snow.

Monday I completed what I call a 'push and run' set around Preston Park in Brighton when I run circuits which include 6x sets of exercises (each exercise set is 10 push ups, 10 dips, 10 lunges, 10 squats and 10 step-ups) - a bit of strength work in between some running (easy Z2 and faster Z4).

Keeping in the theme of mixing easy aerobic Z2 work and more intense Z4 training (trying to minimise the time spent in between, i.e. Z3) I was pleased with this morning's effort, as follows:

10 mins warm up
4x (8 mins Z4 + 2 mins Z2)
10 mins cool down

For the Z4 sets my pace was around 4:00 to 4:15 mins per km. I thought I would slow in the latter sets but I was quite consistent and actually ended quite strong. Not bad considering the time spent in Z4 was generally longer than my usual intervals and it was quite slippery under foot.

Loving my new Garmin 910XT watch (will review in future post).

Noticed the mornings are getting lighter already, which is a bonus.



Monday, 21 January 2013

Race Report: IG City Challenge

After at least a fortnight of decent training volume (10-12 hours per week) last week was down as recovery (normally around 50% of previous week).

I took Monday and Friday as full recovery days. Tuesday I completed a decent power set on the turbo and Wednesday included an easy morning run and my normal evening club swim (1.5 hours).

On Thursday I spent the morning working before heading up to London to Excel for the bike show and Nocturne series - IG City Challenge.

I made reasonable time so was able to have a good look around the show before the bike race. I enjoyed seeing some of the latest bikes and new kit, albeit I found nothing to really interest me. I spent 30mins listening to a seminar on lactate threshold tests and setting up your HR zones - again nothing really that I didn't already know but interesting enough.

Around 5pm I ventured back to my car to get my bike and kit out for the evening entertainment - the IG City Challenge.

A good size track had been constructed in one of the large Excel conference halls with tight bends but decent enough straights to really crank up the speed.

I had been elected 'Team Captain' for Brewin Dolphin (the company I work for) and was expected to lead a 4 man team against 11 other city firms including Sky, Wiggle, FT, Ernst & Young, IG Index (main sponsor) to name but a few - in total 12 teams.

Looking down the individual names there were quite a few of category 1/2 riders and many with £5-£10k bikes so I knew the competition was going to be fierce.

I was joined by 3 younger and fit looking guys from Brewin Dolphin - Nick, Neil and Daniel. I had previously ridden with Nick in the L2P event in 2011. It was agreed that Neil was going to do the 1st event - a time trial and 2 laps around the circuit. The pressure was on as each competitor went out on their own and the commentator gave the splits via the tannoy system. Neil put in a good effort and finished mid way through the field. The Sky and Wiggle riders a good 2-3 seconds faster each lap.

The second event was a longer criterium race of 20 laps. As Nick had some experience with such road racing he agreed to represent Brewin Dolphin. His strategy was simply to keep the lead group in his sights for as long as possible. Again Nick performed admirably and finished mid way through the field.

Unfortunately the team faired less well in the next 2 events. Daniel was geared up for an all out 500m on rollers. He was doing well but then one of his feet came out of the pedal straps, which put him behind. My effort on the hill climb was also a little disappointing. Our bikes were attached to turbo trainers and linked to computer generated screen shots of the Alpe d' huez climb. The plan was to complete a 8 min hill climb. It took some time to set the bikes up and the organisers were unable to add any resistance to the turbos, so hardly a hill climb, probably more a fast all out high spin decent. Given my recent training and power sets on my singlespeed bike (mostly high cadence work) I thought this would play to my strengths. I am not sure if it was me or my turbo (all different machines, set up inconsistently) but I simply could not deliver the power / speed needed over the 8 mins to match the other guys. I gave it my best shot but probably came in the bottom 3, which didn't help the overall team position.

The last event was the team relay - one lap of the circuit. Neil went off first and came in with a bunch of riders. It was hard to make him out but as the 2nd rider I wasn't going to take any chances so shot off for the next lap. It took me a second or two to clip my feet in but my pace was good and I came in in 5th place. Daniel and then Nick, our anchor man, maintained our position for a good finish to the evening.

Team Brewin Dolphin may have finished in the bottom section of the leader board but given our inexperience I think we did OK. I personally need to work on more power sessions if I intend to do anymore such racing, although I expect my focus will remain on endurance competitions for the time being.

Meanwhile, the company received some good PR, with comments in City AM and even a mention on Radio 5 Live - see links below:

City AM: http://www.cityam.com/the-capitalist/saddlesore-the-city-after-bike-challenge

Radio 5 Live: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p013yrsd

A nice finish to the event was a team picture with Stephen Roche, who I first met in the L2P 2011 event. I also got an opportunity to speak to Lee Dixon, another sport celebrity who likes his bikes and was involved in the L2P charity rides.

Finally, a big thank you for all the support the team received from our Brewin Dolphin colleagues.




Neil, Stephen Roche, Nick, Daniel, David


Team Brewin Dolphin

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A tailing off at the end of last week

Are we already half way through January?


By Friday I had already completed nearly 6 hours on the bike, 2.5 hours running and 1.5 hour swim (looking good!). Unfortunately as the weather turned so did my appetite for training. Saturday’s club swim (another hour in the pool) went well – another tough session:

2.1km broken down as follows – 600m warm up (various drills/sets) then 300m focus on arm position (including high elbow / straight arm) followed by 24x 50m for the main set.

Coach MT commented on my straight arm technique – at first I thought it a little uncomfortable and I was thrashing about a bit, however he claimed that my arm entry looked about right (slighty wider) and that it may be something I should look to incorporate. It certainly did get easier as the set progressed and I was pleased that I did not experience any fatigue in my arms. A lot of endurance swimmers and Ironman triathletes use a straighter arm technique – definitely worth experimenting further with.

No further training on Saturday (missed a turbo session). On Sunday morning I combined a tough turbo power set (day 7 of the program: http://trihardtraining.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/loads-of-training.html I completed 16 sets at 100% effort) and 15 min fast-paced run immediately after (i.e. a brick session). As my training progresses throughout the year I intend to do more brick sessions of varying distance, time and intensity.

That was it for the week – the training certainly tailed off at the end and my weekend total of 2 hours brought the week up to my target of 12 hours, so I suppose job done!

I expect to record a lower volume of training for this week as I wish to keep myself relatively fresh for Thursday’s event – The IG City Challenge at the London Bike Show 2013 http://www.londonnocturne.com/IG_City_Criterium.php. My Company (Brewin Dolphin) have me down as ‘Team Captain’. I will be attempting the ‘hill climb’ on a turbo (hence the recent power work) and join the rest of the 4-man team for the relay. Hopefully it will be fun, albeit probably quite competitive, especially amongst the City firms. I will report back in a future post to let you know how I get on.

Meanwhile, I expect to spend an hour in the ‘Cave of Pain’ tonight – more turbo / possibly a weights set. Wednesday will be an easy morning run plus the normal 1.5 hour Club swim in the evening.

Latest Breakfast Smoothie

Fresh spinach
Frozen berries
Dates
Greek yogurt
Honey
Water
Granola top

Magic!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Training Log

For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive Joe Friel's training diary (thank you Secret Santa!), which I will try to keep updated with my training notes, weekly goals, nutrition, times and distances. In addition it has boxes for recording a measure of sleep, fatigue, stress and soreness (score 1-10). You could argue it is simply another thing to keep updated and why add this manual method of recording data when I have spent so much money on buying the latest Garmin technology and so often go to the trouble of downloading data to Training Peaks for further analysis.

Well Training Peaks remains my preferred platform for analysing training data however the discipline of recording details on paper of how you feel and what you eat is quite powerful and sometimes focuses your mind. I do like the idea of coming up with weekly targets and not simply to train so many hours or complete a chosen distance in a speicifc time.

This week my weekly goals are:

1. Introduce more strength exercises (something that has fallen away over last month)
2. Further reduce my intake of bread and sugary foods and replace with whole food options (good progress since Christmas but still more to be done)
3. Maintain weight below 12 stone. (During the festive period my weight increased to 12 stone 4 lbs, now fortunately back to my preferred target of 12 stone and under; I would expect to lose another 2-4 lbs during the race season)

In terms of volume this week (titled 'Base week 2' in my training diary), I have set a target of 12 hours, up a little from last week, following the structure listed below:

Mon - 0:45 Run: push-run incl 6x strength exercises (10x push ups, dips, lunges, squats and step-ups)
Tue - 2:00 Bike: Brighton commute incl. hilly route / easy return
Wed - 1:00 Run - negative split Z1-2 out / Z3-4 return; 1:30 Club Swim
Thu - 0:30 Run - 14-16x strides
Fri - 2:00 Bike: Brighton commute incl interval work / easy return
Sat - 1:00 Club Swim; 0:45 Bike: turbo power set
Sun - 1:30 Run - easy Z1-2; 1:00 Bike: turbo power set

Totals: 2:30 swim; 3:45 Run; 5:45 Bike - 12 hours

So far completed Mon and Wed runs as planned. For yesterday's morning commute I chose a good hilly route and ended up going over Ditchling Beacon, which added a little more on the distance/time - probably closer to a 3-hour session in total (incl. return journey).

Although I plan to increase my running training (strides, intervals, hill work and easy/recovery runs) I do have a cycling challenge next week. Brewin Dolphin has enetered a team in the Nocturne City Challenge at the Excel conference centre and I have been asked to compete. I am hoping that my power sessions on the turbo will continue to help in my preparation for that event - more details to follow.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Loads of Training!

I am pleased that I have followed up my long New Year Day's run + turbo session with further training to get me back in shape post the festive period.

Wednesday (first day back in the office) was Club Swim night, a good 1:30 session with drills sets and some pace control. Even ended up doing one-arm underwater doggy paddle with head out the water then head in, to help with the pull through the water - not sure where the Coach got that one from!

Thursday, it was on the singlespeed bike (my road bike has a puncture - will sort out this weekend) for the 2 hour round-trip Brighton commute. In the morning I completed 3x tempo sets at slightly higher cadence/speed (30km/h plus) with recovery between each. The return ride was mostly at an easy pace as I had decided to join Coach MT and some of the HAT guys for a run session at 8pm.

For the run session we focussed on 'Strides' 12x fast, yet smooth and light on our feet, sandwiched between a warm up and cood down run. I was surprised that I did so well, especially given I had completed a 2 hour bike earlier in the day. I ran with some of the strongest runners in the Club but certainly held my own when it came to the fast 'strides'. Overall a great training session.

This morning I was up early and back on the turbo for day 6 of the power program. I had missed Wed/Thu because of the other training in my diary but was keen to continue with this excellent program which I am already benefiting from and I believe will help me in some early bike races in the season - more on that later. Details of the Day 6 session and the next 3 days after that are listed below:

Day 6: 10 min warm-up; 5 min 70%; 3 min 75%; 2 min 80%; 4x [5x (30+30 sec) 100/50% + 5 min]
Day 7: 10 min warm-up; 5 min 70%; 3 min 75%; 2 min 80%; 10 min 60%; ??x (30+30 sec) 100/50% - close to your max repetitions, but no failure training); 15 min easy rolling
Day 8: 20 min warm-up; 3x (5+3 min) 80 / 50%; 16 min medium/easy rolling
Day 9: 15 min incremental warm-up; 50 min criterium/Fartleck; 10 min cool down

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year - a good start on the training front

Day 4 of the 14-day program went to plan on the 31st. 3 sets of the following:

6x (40 sec + 20 sec) @ 95% + 50% max. power with 4 min recovery spins between each of the 3 sets. With a 5 min warm up all done within 35 mins.

No more training on New Year's Eve except for a bit of dancing. Little drinking as I was driving so a good opportunity to get up on New Year's Day and go for an early run.

By just gone 7am I was up and out the door for an easy Zone 1-2 long run on a beautiful morning following a rolling route.
I managed 25 km (in approx 2 hours 20 mins) for the longest run I have completed for a couple of months.

Back for a green smoothie (spinach, 2x bananas, frozen berries, skimmed milk and honey). Then after a nice coffee I was back out for a walk with the wifey and the dogs at Sullington Warren (pictured below).

Great start to 2013.



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...