Monday, 25 March 2013

First brick session of the season

Not a bad week of training, mostly completed as planned, including my first brick session of the season at a decent race pace.

Still breaking in the Newton running shoes but remain happy with their performance and looking to up the mileage and make a decision whether to use them on the 14th April for the Brighton marathon. General consensus is 'don't try anything new on race day', hence my interest to give them a proper road test before the big day, albeit I am not going to get up to 3 hours plus that ideally will be needed (already done my longer runs).

It was good to get out the Tri bike and complete my brick set in the aero position (one hour on the turbo and 30 mins run, around my local village).

My plan for the week is as follows:

Mon - Run (0:30) incl. 10x strides - DONE
Tue - Bike (2:00) commute - hill work and easy return
Wed - Run (0:30) easy Z1-2 + Club Swim (1:30)
Thu - Bike (2:00) commute - interval work and easy return
Fri - Run (1:30) race tempo practice - 5km warm up / 10km goal pace / cool down
Sat - Club Swim (1:00)
Sun - Club Duathlon Race (short distance) - 5km run / 20km bike / 3km run

First race of the season - not an 'A' race but I would still like to give it my best effort. Hopefully last Sunday's brick session and the planned 4 hours on the bike during the next few days will help in that preparation.

Thereafter it is a bit of a small taper down to Brighton marathon.

The tri bike on the turbo trainer in the 'Cave of Pain' (my messy garage)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Citywire profile and Blood, Sweat & Gears

Great to get a mention in the latest edition of Citywire - Wealth Manager (page 55): Rider profile for the Catley Lakeman sponsored London to Paris bike ride (June 2013).

The article started a bit too well, highlighting me as a 'seasoned pro' - I think a little generous! But later mentioned that my children thought I was 'a bit fat' (a few years ago, mind you), which brought me back down to earth!

Given my company's support of this event and a few other Charity rides I will also be contributing to the Brewin Dolphin cycling blog - Blood, Sweat & Gears:

Worth a look!

Decent Club swim last night, a brief run (using the new Newton running shoes) this morning and possibly the turbo / roller tonight in the 'Cave of Pain'.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Review of Newton running shoes

Well I will give it to you straight - I am very impressed

I decided on a 30 min run mixing up very easy pace work plus a few quick bursts of speed and some steady track work around Preston Park outdoor velodrome.

I am not sure if it is psychological or not but I certainly wanted and expected to be faster an that was the result I got. Now may be as that was in my mind my legs were working harder and faster to achieve that goal and it was nothing to do with the Newton shoes. More evidence is required but after my first experience I am keen to put them further to the test.

There was a definite spring back that I experienced and my foot simply felt it was being positioned more correctly to land towards the mid to front of the shoe rather than the heal. General consensus is that quite a bit of energy is lost from heal striking.

At the moment I am feeling no discomfort whatsoever so tomorrow I intend to take them out for another trial, possibly increasing time and distance a little.

Who knows if I continue to get on well with them I might even consider them as my shoe of choice for the marathon.

Early days but I will keep you informed of my progress.

Now... Shower, smoothie and work

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Training not commuting

Jumped on my singlespeed this morning for the planned training session / commute to work. My legs felt a little fatigued from Sunday's long run so I decided against the very hilly route. Once you make that kind of decision the danger is you can easily slip into commuting mode and possibly log some junk miles.

My definition of training is that it has to generally have a purpose, even if it is an easy recovery ride. Whereas a commute is simply getting between 2 points beacuse you have to.

Even though my legs were fatgiued this morning I was determined not to turn my scheduled training session into junk miles. So during my warm up (first 15 mins) I decided on the following intervasl set:

8 mins IM race pace (above 30km per hour)
2 mins easy spin recovery

Repeat 3 times and then follow with 15 mins cool down

I was pleased that during the 8 mins race pace sets I maintained a speed, generally in the region of 30-35km per hour for the majority of the period, even on my singlespeed.

Nice that the mornings are so much lighter now so I can easily read my Garmin watch without using the light.

Happy training!

Monday, 18 March 2013

The week ahead

After my long run yesterday I was hoping to log some stretching, weights or even possibly a swim tonight but it was not too be, my excuse this time - Maths tuition for both daughters.

Anyway on to the week ahead - my plan is as follows:

Mon - recovery day
Tue - bike (2:00) commute - hill work / intervals in morning and easy return
Wed - run (0:30) Fartlek session in Newton running shoes + Club swim (1:30)
Thu - run (1:00) easy Z1-2
Fri - run incl. 6-8x strides (0:30)
Sat - Club swim (1:00) + TT turbo session (0:30)
Sun - Brick session (1:00 bike + 0:30 run) at 70.3 race pace

I have started thinking ahead to my first races. The main focus is on the Brighton marathon however a fortnight before I have the Club short Duathlon hence this week's brick session (first in the season) and getting back on my TT bike so I can experience the aero position once again.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A successful end to the week

I am sitting in the warm and buzzy Pulborough RFC clubhouse writing this blog and re-watching England vs. Wales battle it out - great game, very physical.

Outside my son is playing rugby and training in very wet conditions and I feel a little guilty, not because I am nice and warm but just discovered his rugby boots are almost two sizes too small - what kind of Dad am I!

Anyway back to my own training. This morning's run was successful in that I simply got the job done - I set my alarm for 5:45am and was out the door by 6am. I completed a 3 hour run covering 33km of which at least 10km was off-road in very muddy conditions. Not exactly marathon race pace but I was pleased that I was able to keep going for 3 hours without too much fatigue. Although I expect to have a bit of leg pain tomorrow - must remember to use the foam roller tonight, which may help recovery.

Going back a bit - Thursday was one of those busy work days and despite my goal of getting some time in the 'Cave of Pain' it simply did not happen. Generally after 8pm I really haven't got the motivation to train even if I have the energy.

So following my rest day on Thursday I decided to push the speed a little on the bike commute into Brighton on Friday morning. It all started OK but I did struggle to maintain my speed above 30km per hour and after 20km my average had fallen back to 28-29km per hour. OK the conditions were pretty awful, wet and dark with quite a strong wind; however it always amazes me that my average speed on the bike in last year's Ironman was approx. 30km per hour but that was for 6 hours. A number of people have told me that you will never be fitter than when you line up for the start of an Ironman (as long as you have trained appropriately) - I think they may be right!

Anyway, after a faster than normal morning commute I did the return, taking a slightly more hilly route, much easier - decent zone 1-2 effort.

Saturday morning was interesting - Coach MT had us doing some time trials in the pool after a decent warm up of 450m steady plus 6x 50m fast. I was a little disappointed with my results but haven't really swum much over the last fortnight.


400m 7:02 (PB is nearer 6:45)
200m 3:28 (PB is nearer 3:20)

We were supposed to focus on going faster in the second half of each timed swim (i.e. negative split). I will have to analyse my data - to be downloaded to Training Peaks for confirmation.

What I do know is that I am not getting any faster and there are a number of newer members in the Club that are faster than me over that distance. As a result I am likely to go down a lane.

Coach MT always says that if you swim two times a week, which I do, you will probably be able to maintain your swim fitness but you will only improve if you can commit to 3-4 weekly sessions. The only time I was swimming that volume was prior to last year's Ironman and I was definitely improving. As we move towards race season I hope to get in at least another one swim session a week, whether in the pool or the lake (post April).

In summary, a relatively successful end to the week. Looking forward to a bit more intensity training over the coming 2-3 weeks in the run up to Brighton marathon, hopefully using my new Newton running shoes.

Now - to rescue my son!

Post blog update:

Unfortunately cannot work out 100m swim splits on my Garmin as didn't press Lap during the time trial, however best 100m on the 400m was 1:35 and on the 200m 1.37.

Run pace - splits for today:

1st hour: 5:35 mins per km
2nd hour: 5:48
3rd hour: 5:45

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Back in training mode

After a week of skiing in Morzine and then 2 days of very odd weather (more snow!) back home I finally got back into training mode today.

This morning, cold but nice and sunny, started with a 1:15 run down to Brighton Marina and back. I took it relatively steady to get down to the Marina and then decided on some hill climb repeats to up the intensity. From the back of Brighton Marina there is quite a steep hill that runs up to the top of the cliffs, which is ideal for doing such training.

I first jogged up the hill to get a base time. Thereafter it was my intention to complete 5 further hill repeats on descending times (i.e. getting faster).
My results were as follows:

Hill repeat 1 (base): 1:18.32
2. 1:01.85
3. 0:58.65
4. 0:56.77
5. 0:53.12
6. 0:49.32

My recovery between sets was approx 2-3mins as I walked or slowly jogged back down the hill.

I didn't have my heart rate belt on but knew I was easily hitting Z5 on each hill repeat. On the last one I had to stop at the top for a good few minutes so my HR came back to normal levels (Z1-2) and I could continue on for the journey back to the office.

On the return leg I was gradually catching up a runner ahead who was going at a similar pace to me, so it took me almost 3km to run alongside. He was running with a back pack and I immediately noticed an Ironman logo on the reverse, in this case probably indicating he had done the UK 70.3 event in the past - us triathletes get everywhere!

After returning to the office and hitting the shower I prepared myself a green smoothie for breakfast. This time I added a beet root in addition to spinach, banana and berries. I probably needed some honey to sweeten the smoothie a little but it still tasted pretty good. Apparently beet root and its juice is currently seen to be another one of these so-called 'super foods' that does wonders for recovery. At least it is natural and is yet another food source that can help me increase my intake of vegetables to my diet.

This evening was the long Club swim - I hadn't swum for a fortnight so was slightly concerned it was going to be a struggle. Coach MT wasn't around so a long set was posted up on the whiteboard. It included a long warm up and then 3x 800m steady sets with 8x 50m faster pace work in between. Although it was long and repetitive I was glad I kept with it for the most part. I ended up doing just shy of 3.8km of swimming (Ironman distance).

So on summary a good day of training.

I have a busy day at work tomorrow but aim to get an hour in the 'Cave of Pain' in the evening - probably a turbo/roller bike session or some strength work. I could try out my new Newton running shoes but need to repair the treadmill beforehand (hopefully just a new fuse needed).

It all goes to plan I will be cycling into work on Friday as my car needs a new windscreen and is going into the workshop. Saturday will see me back in the pool. On Sunday I really need to get up early to attempt a long run (3 hour / 20 miles) as the Brighton marathon is now only a month away.

I will report back with a progress report at the end of the week.

Happy training and 'keep the rubber side down'

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Altitude training

Day 4 of skiing and just waiting for the Group to get ready - there are 21 of us!

Was up at 7am this morning and managed a 40min run - down to the fitness trail and 2 loops - first easy and second moderate to hard. Beautiful scenery as the fitness trail is next to the fast moving mountain stream. At approximately 1,000m you could call it altitude training although we typically ski around the 1,500 to 2,000m level.

Still experiencing a bit of leg burn on the longer steeper runs but getting a bit more used to it.

Beautiful place - check out the views:

Monday, 4 March 2013

Update post Tri Show and from sunny Morzine

Finished work late on Thursday evening after a very busy day in the office but was happy to bike home - time to unwind - holiday time!

I spent Friday morning packing and clearing up but fortunately managed to get out the door for 11am and headed for the Tri show at Sandown Park, which was scheduled to start at 12:30pm. The show was busier than ever - entry was free on Friday, which probably attracted the crowds, however there were no seminars or presentations just the trade stands. The sport is simply getting so popular and there were scores of people buying wetsuits with their first triathlon in mind.

I wasn't intending to buy any kit but was tempted with some Newton running shoes that were on sale at 50% the RRP. They did feel a little odd but when I tried a little run up the corridor it certainly did feel like it was shifting my weight and positioning me more correctly on to the mid-foot. A number of the club swear by them so I decided to give them a go. I intend to break them in gently and alternate between my normal Saucony support shoes and the new Newton Isaacs. If they work out I may even consider them for the Brighton marathon.

Up at the early hours on Saturday for the journey out to Morzine via Geneva airport. Arrived at the resort in the early afternoon with just enough time to sort out the ski hire so we would be good to go the next day.

The skiing on both Sunday and Monday was excellent - the snow was plentiful and the weather absolutely beautiful - very sunny conditions. I expect it could get a little icy at the end of the week if there is no more snow and the sunny conditions continue but for the time being it doesn't get much better.

Although I haven't been skiing for 4 years I am a competent skier and are able to tackle blue, red and most black runs. The thing I have noticed is that despite my overall fitness and strength in my legs from cycling and running I am getting quite a bit of leg burn. It doesn't take long to wear off and I can go again but I have been surprised that my legs get just as fatigued as the rest of the group even though I train on a regular basis. Either my technique is poor or I am simply using muscles that are less developed than those I use for the sport of triathlon, which need strengthening.

Anyway, I am sure that 7-8 hours skiing a day cannot hurt my fitness too much despite drinking and eating more than the norm - I am on holiday!

Managed to get a 30 min run in yesterday but legs are shot today so going to chill. Maybe plan a short run tomorrow morning before hitting the slopes yet again.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Pacing for Middle distance and useful brick sessions

Just found this content on 220 Triathlon website - might start using the brick sessions in my build phase...

Pacing for Middle distance is tricky, but you need to get it right if you want to race fast. Think about your race pace now and come race day you'll be fully prepared to battle the urge to start off quickly. Remember: get your race pacing wrong and it’s all over. Here’s how you should manage your intensity from start to finish…

Swim Start:

Swim starts can be chaotic, but you can avoid some of the drama by starting where you expect to finish. For example, if you think you’ll finish halfway down the field, look to start about halfway back.

If you’re uncertain, stick to the sides. The first few hundred metres of the swim will be faster than race pace, but after this you should tuck in behind some swimmers of your own speed and settle into the race pace you’ve practised in training. This means your arms should be working without ache or burn, and your breathing should be comfortable with no gasping.

Bike Pacing:

On the bike you should be able to maintain effort at 76-82% of your maximum heart rate, or 75-90% of your functional threshold power. The more experienced you are, the higher a level you should be maintaining. For those athletes who don’t employ these 21st-century training tools, don’t worry: there are other parameters to gauge your effort. For instance, if you eat on the bike (as opposed to using gels or drinks), you should be working at an effort where you’re able to chew but need to pause occasionally to breathe through your mouth.

For those that like to chat (to themselves or others), you should be able to hold a five-word conversation. One final measurement is maintaining gentle leg effort without a deep burn. A burning sensation indicates that lactic acid is being produced and feeling this too often or for too long will affect your run.

The Run Leg:

Finally, you’re onto the run. Just 13.1 miles to go. It’s advisable to break the run into thirds. In the
first, settle your legs in and get that strong running feeling. Top up with nutrition and keep your breathing elevated but comfortable.In the middle part, you should aim to maintain your pace and ensure you have the nutrition you need for the final push.

The final part of the race is decision time. Here you can either maintain the pace you’re currently running at, or pick up the pace and push through to the finish, adopting a rhythmic and deep breathing pattern. Work at these intensities during training and you’ll know exactly what intensity to maintain during the race. Add in brick sessions and your next middle-distance venture should be a roaring success. And for those of you who haven’t ‘done a middle’, why not make this your goal for 2012? We’re confident that if you’re already training for standard distance, you can seamlessly make the move to middle by lengthening the duration of your long bike and run.

Essential Brick Sessions:


Use this one to get your legs used to running after cycling:
Bike: 3hrs as 30mins easy, 30mins steady. Repeat.
Run: 15mins as 10mins steady, 5mins easy cool down.


Work harder on the run when tired
Bike: 2 x 30mins as 10mins steady, 10mins big gear, 10 mins hard
Run: 2 x 15mins - one steady, one hard
Cool Down: 15mins


Build run ace through a short run

Bike: 2 x 15mins easy, 15mins race pace
Run: 25mins as 5mins quick feet, 15mins race pace, 5 mins just above race pace


Run long and build pace after a hard bike

Warm-up: 20mins
Bike: 3 x 40mins as 20mins race pace, 10mins steady, 10mins race pace.
Run: 60mins as 20mins moderate effort, 20mins increased effort, 15mins hard push, 5mins cool down

E-Bike adventure

I know, you must be thinking 'E-Bike adventure'.... that's it, he has finally given in to old age, no more 'Tri Hard Dave...