Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A much needed recovery week and BWC race report

Last week's training was considerably lower volume than previous periods. I did however feel I needed it, hoping it would give me a short break before ramping it back up for another 2-weeks prior to the start of my taper for Challenge Vichy.

I had intended to take 2 recovery days (Mon/Thu) but it ended up being 3 as I was unable to make the Club Handicap on Friday evening due to a bit of a family crisis (nothing serious) that arose a few hours before the race.

I was however relatively fresh for the Brompton World Championships (BWC 2014) on the Sunday afternoon.

The venue for the BWC was the Goodwood Race Circuit. It consisted of a run to your bike (pictured below), an unfold and then 4 laps totalling 15.2km. I knew the competition was going to be fierce. A large number of very fit looking Italian cyclists had made the journey over to the UK to compete in this iconic race.

Keeping with tradition the race is a 'no Lycra zone' and you are encouraged to wear a shirt, tie and jacket. Most competitors also opted for shorts and brightly coloured long socks. My jacket was a little heavier and larger than I would have liked for race conditions, however I went along with it so I was on an even footing with the majority of the other riders.

I was in the 3rd wave of riders. As the horn went off I raced to my bike and within a minute had unfolded it and had made my way to the mounting position. My plan was simple, find someone a little faster than mysef and sit on their tail for as long as I can. Generally that was exactly what I did although there were times when I lost the back wheel of the fastest riders and other times when I had to switch because the pace was not fast enough. There were segments when I was not drafting and also when the wind picked up. On these occasions my speed dropped to below my target 30km per hour. Although for the most part I was riding at between 33-40km per hour.

I put in a lot of effort at the finish and sprinted across the line for a time of approx. 28mins. The provisional results showed me as 82nd out a field of 500 but I was told that there were many more riders than that and it was likely the results would be revised.

As more results were processed I dropped to 101st position, although by yesterday afternoon the officials had revised my time to 27:20 and listed me at 95th position out of a field of over 700 - not too shabby!

All in all a good fun event and a bit of intensity training, however not very ironman specific.

So this week and next needs to be back to higher volume ironman specific training and my last big efforts before my A-race in Vichy. It will probably include one long bike (5 hours on my TT bike) and my final long run (3 hours).

Then it is taper time!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A little fatigued but hanging in there

Another big volume week in the bank. Highlights being my 5th attempt at running into work (28km plus) and another dress rehearsal on the TT bike at IM pace.

The only issue was that 3 of the heavier sessions were on consecuetive days and by the end of the week I very much needed a break with my energy levels running low.

So this week (fortunately down as a recovery week) started with a rest day on Monday.

Tuesday's morning session was a strange one - a 15.2km time trial on my folding Brompton bicycle. Why, you may ask, a bit random and not very IM race specific?

The answer is simply that I have a bit of a fun race on Sunday, although I need to treat it with some respect. I am competing in the Brompton World Championships, hosted at Goodwood Race Circuit. 4 laps totalling 15.2km but the rules are that you have to wear a suit and tie and of course ride a Brompton. My time on Tuesday for the 15.2km ride was just under 30mins, relatively respectable but only good enough for 170th position looking at last year's results. To get anywhere close to the top 100 riders I will have to ride nearer 35km per hour, easy enough on my TT bike but a little more difficult on a Brompton with its small wheels and limited gearing. Drafting is allowed so my strategy is to find someone faster than me and get as close as I can and hang in there for the 4 laps. My choice of clothing may result in a bit of drag but I am hoping it will not be a major factor, albeit I would rather be cycling in my Lycra. One thing I am guaranteed is that of the 800 competitors that have entered there is going to be a large number of very good cyclists and probably a few pros - it is the World Championship after all!

Yesterday's 11km run was a bit of an effort and my legs still felt fatigued from last week's big volume. I was in the pool in the evening for a hot endurance/pace/speed set. The main set was 15x 100m at a consistent pace. I managed 1:44 to 1:47, which I was pleased with, albeit with my trusty pull buoy.

Today (Thursday) is another rest day. Tomorrow I have the Club Handicap - a fast, furious and short race. Saturday morning it will be back in the pool and then the epic BWC on Sunday.

I reckon around 7-8 hours training this week, much less than the 12-16 hours of late but a welcome break. Next week it is back up to 16 hours plus for the last push before I begin my 3-4 week taper for Vichy.

I will report back with my race reports for the Club Handicap and BWC 2014 early next week.

Monday, 14 July 2014

4 more weeks of peak training - plan of action

So getting closer... Only 4 weeks of peak training remaining followed by a 3 week taper before my 'A' race - Challenge Vichy (an ironman distance event).

This week is another big one in volume, although not as high intensity as last week, which included some intervals, strides and a full-on dress rehearsal cycle session (on tri / time trial bike).

In total 3 swim sets (two Club swims in the pool and one in the lake), 3 runs (one long and easy) and 3 bikes sets (again mostly easy), broken down as follows:

Mon - 1:00 steady run [DONE]
Tue - 2:30 easy-steady bike (commute)
Wed - 0:45 run/fitness set; 1:30 Club swim
Thu - 1:30 easy bike
Fri - 3:00 long run (IM pace)
Sat - 1:00 Club swim
Sun - 3:00 easy-steady bike (IM pace - TT bike); 0:45 lake swim

As it is all relatively easy training I am not taking a rest day, although will review as the week progresses.

With a bit of easy strength work / foam roller massage thrown in I am aiming for around a 15-hour training week.

The following week I will probably drop the volume back down to around 10 hours (recovery period) before ramping the hours up again for the last 2 weeks of peak training (16 hours+).

The taper period will begin on the week of August 11th and last the final 3 weeks. I am off on a week holiday on the 16th so that is a great opportunity to get some much needed rest and relaxation before my race day, although I will have to watch my weight a little. During the taper period the hours will drop below 7 hours and more likely to 3 hours on the week before (all very light training, just ticking over).

Some good news on my weight goal - finally got under my normal fighting weight of 12 stone and currently around 11 stone 8 lbs (after exercise). Going into the race around 11.5 stone should certainly help on the run.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Great training week - feeling strong

It was one of those weeks - decent volume, great sessions, no injuries - ended feeling strong and wanting more.

The highlights were a strong sea swim in choppy Brighton waters, an interval bike session and a Vichy dress rehearsal with tri bikes, tri suits and race nutrition.

All in all a 13+ hour training week with some quality workouts.

Looking forward to next week and maintaining the quality and keeping strong and injury free.

Will check in soon with my plan for next week, which is likely to include another long run to work.

Monday, 7 July 2014

A mix of tough sessions and rest days

A quick round up of last week's training:

Generally it felt more like a recovery week than a 'run/swim' focus and I actually took 3 rest days in total - Monday, Friday and Sunday. In between those rest days were some pretty good quality sessions.

On Tuesday I was on the track with some easy laps mixed up with 2x Tabata sets. For those not familiar with the so-called 'Tabata' set, it is only 4 minutes of training broken down as follows - 20 secs 100% and 10 secs of recovery - repeat 8 times. They are quite tough sets, 2-3 in any one sessions is probably more than enough.

On Wednesday I had a little spin back home on the Brommie (fold up bike), leaving the car at the office. This gave me the opportunity to have another crack at running into work on Thursday. It was a glorious morning when I began my long run. I opted to run to the bottom of the South Downs, power walk up to the top, and then run the rest of the way into the office, a total of 30km. All went generally as planned. The only slight issue was that as it was such a warm day I ran out of fluids with about 5-10km to go - not the best planning (ran with my small camelbak). A part from that, no major ill-effects from the run. My legs felt a little stiff but my Saturday swim flushed them out.

Other training included the normal club swim on Wednesday and some cycling on Saturday - to swimming pool and back plus 2x fast loops of Billingshurst with my old training partner and neighbour, Chris.

I probably could have squeezed in another run and a lake swim on Sunday but decided to take the rest and spend the time with my family. Over the last fortnight I have typically averaged 6-7 hours of sleep, so it was also nice to get in a couple of 8 hour sessions to top up the batteries.

This morning I cycled in to work, nice and easy but a bit of hill work (over Devils Dyke). There is a good chance I might go out with the young lads from the office at lunchtime and then I expect another easy commute home.

On Tuesday I will try to get in a sea swim and run thereafter, as a guest of Brighton Tri. In addition to a few other individual bike, run and swim sets I plan to log a decent brick session.

As always, all my training is logged on Strava:

http://www.strava.com/athletes/2773871

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