Showing posts from October, 2013

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…