Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Taper Update

I have come to the conclusion that tapering is much easier than 'proper' training. It was nice not to ruin my legs this weekend, the 3 hour ride with 60 min run on Saturday felt easy and I ran really well at the end. I did the same loop that I have been doing following my long bike rides which involves a 1.2km run to the park, then 3 x 3km loop and the run back home again, so approx 11.4km in all and the plan this week was to pick up the pace for the last 15 minutes. This wasn't too difficult and I actually got home in 54.30 which is a pretty good pace for me. I also covered almost 90km on the bike which considering the wind and the shocking road conditions is pretty good.

I had a nice moment on the ride when I went past another couple of bikes and they decided to hitch a free ride on my wheel. I was happy to pull them along for a bit, I was just cruising with a HR of 130 and after 10 minutes or so sat up to have a chat to see where they were off to, they were both somewhat red in the face and obviously working pretty hard to keep up which was a nice ego boost as I was really taking it easy.

Sunday was an open water swim. Haven't had much chance to swim in the wetsuit so wanted to do a decent swim to make sure it was ok. I did 5 laps of the 550m loop at Leybourne, although I cut the last corner of the loop a bit each time as the weeds were a bit close to the surface around the edges of the lake and I didn't want to get tangled up in them. Had a bit of a fright on my last lap as I managed to swim into another person!! There were only about 5 people in the lake at the time so the chances were fairly small (it's a pretty big lake!) and it certainly made me jump!

I started sorting out my stuff a bit yesterday, on the ride on Saturday I decided that my bike was starting to creek a bit so I have booked it in for a service this week. Bike chains stretch over time so I will replace that and the rear cassette as well as having them look at a couple of other things so it should be in top condition for the race. I'll pick it up on Saturday morning and then take it out for a ride before packing it for Austria to make sure everything is ok.

Everything else feels relatively organised, I have a bit to do on the weekend as I need some sun cream etc for my transition bags and also need to do the rounds to pick up any stuff that people want transported in the car rather than trying to take on the plane. I'm also going to take a bit of food down with me as I found in Barcelona that it was a pain having to rely on local shops for snacks and also very expensive.

We are booked on an 11.20 eurotunnel train on Monday morning although they say that if you are there within 2 hours of that time they will put you on the next available train so there is a chance we may get across the Channel a bit earlier. The plan is then to try and do the bigger driving day on Monday, heading down through Lille, Luxembourg with an overnight stop in Stuttgart. That should then leave a relatively easy day of driving on Tuesday to get down past Munich, Salzburg and then through Austria to Klagenfurt.

I'm not really nervous about it yet, although I'm sure that will come. I just want to get this week out of the way and get over there.

Monday, 15 June 2009

If you are sitting comfortably...

Haven't updated this for a while for a number of reasons so this could be a long post, good luck getting to the end...

June has been a pretty big training month to date, although as I am writing this I have now finished my last 'big' session and am officially at the start of my taper. I've been targeting this date for a while, a lot of things can happen on race day and it could go well or badly, but I know that I have trained as well as I was able to so whatever happens I'm pretty pleased to have got to this stage, and also pretty tired!

Next week does not see too much of a reduction in training but I will really start to see the effects next weekend where I will do one key bike-run session on Saturday and then probably just an open water swim on Sunday, nothing like the 13 hours I have put in this weekend.

The last couple of weeks have seen my longest rides, with the last 2 Saturday's being 7 hour epics. I rode the same route both times at it is the closest I can get to the profile of the Austria route, the main thing being a longish climb (Wrotham hill for the locals) about 30km from home.

7 hours on a bike takes a bit of doing, and your mind does tend to wander...I've always chuckled to myself as I have ridden past this sign in the past but this time I thought I would take a picture, who would have thought that riding a bike in Kent could be so dangerous, all kinds of wild animals to look out for...

Last week I also stopped when I got to the turnaround point, I made it to the coast (Hythe) so took a picture of the sea on a gloomy day just to prove I got there.
I had a nice tail wind on the way home on the first trip so got back within 7 hours. I then went out for my 1 hour run and somehow actually felt great. I had been very careful with my nutrition on the bike ride and I think that paid off, got back home after 8 hours feeling fairly confident about my fitness.

On the Sunday the weather as a bit grim so I ditched the planned 90 minute bike ride in advance of my long run as I didn't want to take the risk of coming off with only a few weeks to go. It seems that running is a lot easier if you have not ridden your bike first, I took it easy on the way out and actually made it home faster which is unusual with the uphill run home for the last few km.

So last weekend was fairly successful. The weather last week was not great so I had a couple of sessions on the wind trainer in the kitchen, lots of sweat produced and I seemed to be holding a decent level of power during the rides so I was pleased with that.

Tuesday nigh was the penultimate swimming squad and it was a really tough session. In the middle of our main set we had to do 400m hard, I had planned to do a time trial on Friday to see what sort of time I was at for 400m so this gave me a chance to set a benchmark. I certainly wasn't fresh going into it but managed 6.42. That is much better than a year ago when I suspect that I would have been around the 8 minute mark. I've been consistent with my swimming so am pleased to see some improvement.

I also did my final long swim in the 20m pool, managed 4.4km (that's 220 lengths!), can't wait for that nice big lake in Austria!

I still did the swim time trial on Friday in the 20m pool (Tuesday is a 25m pool), this time I was a bit fresher and managed 6.23.

So that brings me to this weekend. I had the same sessions planned (7 hour bike - 1 hour run on Sat and 90 min ride - 3 hour run on Sunday). I decided to actually do 7 hour of riding time this week as I generally just leave my watch running when I am at traffic lights etc. I got a bit further than the week before and when I got home I had covered 202km, the hours run was not quite as easy as the week before but I still didn't feel too bad considering. I was very tired and a bit sore last night though so wasn't quite sure how today was going to go.

Today was forecast to be warm so after an early morning airport trip to pick up my Dad, I had decided to leave my training until the middle of the day to give me some warm weather training. Ride was fine and the run out was ok. I started to struggle a bit on the way home but although I was slowing down I was still moving in the right direction and given that I had Saturday's 8 hour session in my legs wasn't too worried. I had to stop with about 40 minutes to go to reload my drinks as I was getting though quite a lot but again I was being careful to take in some nutrition at regular intervals which my body seems to appreciate.

I was pretty pleased to get home knowing that the big sessions are now all in the bank. The next time I have to run for more that 3 hours, it will be fully catered and they should give me a medal at the end! To say that I am now tired would be an major understatement though, I've managed a shower since I got home and that is about it, have been laying down since!

I'm not going to ride the bike into work any more now before Austria, the fear of some idiot knocking me off is too great only 3 weeks out and that should also help me to recover well and make sure that I am nice and fresh for the sessions that I do so I can get the most out of them.

So that's about it, I feel like a major milestone has been achieved and looking back at all the training I have done, I know I am well prepared for the physical challenge of the Ironman. I entered the event the day after the race last year, since that point, I've clocked up the following:

Swim - 204.3km (127.7 miles)
Bike - 9,947.2km (6,217.0 miles)
Run - 2,155.2km (1,347.0 miles) no wonder my legs are sore.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Evidence of the cheating...

Just to prove that I wasn't over-reacting when I was talking about the cheating going on at the Barcelona half check out this video clip of the race, for any non-triathletes reading this, the rules of the race are that there has to be 7 metres between the rear wheel of the bike in front and your front wheel. It appears that these people must have mis-read the rules and thought it said 7mm!!


The first part of the video also shows that the water was pretty choppy, I actually thought this looked worse on video than I remember it being, I think I was too worried about trying to find the marker buoys!


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

May training

So I set myself the challenge this month of posting the biggest month ever in each discipline. It helped having 5 weekends that slotted into May and I managed to achieve the bike distance fairly comfortably, just about got there with the swimming and running too. It would have been more but I did take a full 3 days off after Barcelona to try and recover properly. Totals were as follows:

Swim - 28.7km (17.9 miles) - 10 hours 43 mins
Bike - 1,480.5km (925.3 miles) - 54 hours 15 mins
Run - 271.3km (169.6 miles) - 24 hours 39 mins