Friday, 11 May 2012

Quick update

It's been ages since I did an update, here's a whistle stop tour of what has been going on:

'Ironman' New Zealand - The race that never was, 150km/h winds meant that they couldn't hold the full Ironman event, hugely disappointing given the amount of effort that had gone into the prep but just one of those things. The wind on race day would have made the event pretty unsafe, thankfully we got to do something with a half Ironman the day after, I had a good solid race and was fairly happy with the result but that wasn't what I had trained for. Nice to bank another sub 5 hour half on a challenging course. (32.38 swim, 2.30.49 bike, 1.40.21 run - 4.52.36)

Post IMNZ - I had tried contacting race organisers to get an entry into Ironman Melbourne but with no luck so spent the day watching, was great knowing so many people racing but I can't say I wasn't a little bit jealous watching everyone hit massive pb's on a perfect Ironman weather day.

Gatorade Portarlington - Trying to salvage something from my season which has so far consisted of 9 months of consistent training, one Ironman suffer-fest in the 35 degree West Australian sun and spending 3 days carb loading in NZ just to watch the wind blowing, I decided to enter my favourite sprint distance race of the year in Portarlington. It's not really a distance that suits me with 800m swim, 26km bike and 8km run, its a little biased towards the strong runner. I knew that the field would be a little weaker than a 'standard' Gatorade race and had one aim for the day, full gas from start to finish.

Was thrilled to pull off a podium spot with 3rd place, I had a good swim (11th in my age group), drilled the bike for the 2nd fastest time in my AG and then had a great run, with a run split of 31.32 for 8k that has a few undulations in it. I held on to 3rd place by just 6 seconds.

The rest of the season - I had wanted to do some more run focussed work as although I was happy with my Portarlington run, I'm still in the position where I am hanging on in the run rather than using it to gain time on the field. It felt like too early in the year to start focusing on running a fast 5k so when a few of the MTC team were talking about doing the Great Ocean Road marathon, that seemed like a good idea, would give me some run focus and hopeful make use of all of that Ironman training.

Having done the half marathon down there a couple of times, I've always driven the marathon course thinking that people who do that are mental, the first 30k undulates the whole way and the actual event is 45km (although you do get an official 42.2km time too).

So I'm now at the end of a serious block of run training, feeling as good as I ever have running and learning to embrace running in the hills. I'm hopeful of a good race next weekend but trying not to put too much pressure on it, given my luck so far with major events this year, I am expecting driving rain and freezing temperatures for this one, and given that it is point to point run (Lorne to Apollo Bay) I suspect I'll have a headwind for 45k too!!

Future plans - Once I recover from the marathon I'm going to be putting all my focus on sprint distance racing, I'm doing one race when we go back over to the UK which gives me an outside chance of qualifying to race for GB in the age group world championships over sprint distance. In reality I'm only going to have about 4 weeks of training for it and have to race only a couple of days after the 24 hour flight back to the UK so again expectations are low but you never know unless you try.

Final Update!! I've also been helping out with coaching a couple of guys who are trying to do their first marathon this year. Erika was my test subject last year and she had a great result so I've been enjoying trying to help people get through the training. It's somehow more stressful worrying about other people's training but rewarding when they get some great race results.

I'll finish off with a few pictures from 'IM'NZ and IM Melbourne, 8 days until what will officially be my first 'ultra'marathon!! Bring it on!
Nice set of steps up to T1 in NZ
Swim exit - not the fastest swim but well up the field
I was in the hurt locker for most of the run in NZ!
Bikes had to be racked the day before the planned race, these were the only set of wheels I had with me, was pretty nervous of having to try and ride in gale force winds with that front wheel, I think I would have ended up in a field somewhere!

This is what I had expected from Taupo - sadly this was Monday, 2 days too late!

The world champ being put under pressure at Ironman Melbourne, someone please explain how you can run a 2.38 Ironman marathon, simply incredible athletes - good luck Lance, I think you may have your work cut out!!

Getting my 'sprint' on

Hopefully the first of more podiums slots, clearly 2nd place was nervous of my improvement and went straight off to do some more training!

Liz is currently suffering through the last few weeks of her marathon prep for the Gold Coast, this was at the start of the run for the kids, not sure I quite qualified to stand in this section but wanted to get close to the front!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

16 days until.....

Wow, IMNZ has come around so fast. It was always going to be challenging backing up IMWA with another race just 13 weeks later and it has definitely been a learning experience in listening to my body and adapting my training to suit.

A short summary since Busso would be that I have found getting through the training hard, particularly running, there is no doubt that Ironman racing takes a pretty big toll on your body so my initial weeks getting back into it were largely bike and swim based.

Essentially since Busso I had 3 weeks of almost complete rest with next to no training, then a solid 7 week block. I’m now into week 8 and starting to ease down a bit before the real taper begins with 2 weeks to go.

I’ve found running the hardest part so have tried to adopt a ‘little and often’ type of approach rather than hitting as many big sessions as I would have done pre Busso. This chart shows my runs over the equivalent 7 week blocks in the build up, I’ve actually run more often for NZ (column on the right) than I did pre Busso but the average session distance has been 11.1k compared to 14.2k. Overall volume is only about 60k less over the whole 7 weeks though which considering where I was starting from is a good outcome.

I made some huge gains in my swimming pre-Busso and was pleased with my swim time there. I’ve taken a calculated decision to back off the swimming a little in this build, mainly as I think I can generate more time savings through additional bike focus whereas I am starting to get to the point with my swimming where the gains are pretty marginal and the time/effort required to achieve them is significant.

That’s not to say I haven’t been swimming though, I’ve still been consistent in the pool as well as getting some wetsuit time in. A highlight has to be the Williamstown 2k swim on Australia day – one of the roughest bay swims I have done but still managed a decent time.

(As a quick side note – I managed to swim a 1.26 100m during our main set the other day, not sure who was more surprised, me or Ben (coach) but that has to be a good sign that I’m still getting faster!!!)

If you ask me what my best leg in triathlon is, my natural answer would always be the bike, however, whilst that seems pretty true over the shorter distances, I’ve not really shown it over the Ironman.

So in recent weeks, I’ve dropped a swim each week and replaced it with an extra ride. I’ve also been doing all I can to get the most out of my weekend rides, and doing lots of good quality work at above my intended race intensity. I’ve hit some decent sessions in training so confidence in this part is returning. And 2,360km in 7 weeks is not to bad either!


I don’t think you ever really feel ready for these events but I’ve really worked hard over these last 7 weeks and I think mentally, as much as physically I am ready to get into that taper and then execute the race plan.

I’m really looking forward to getting to NZ, I only hear good things about Taupo and the local support for the event and for once my weather concerns are more in relation to cold and wet rather than stressing about the heat. I’ve trained in all sorts of conditions in this build up so feel like I’m ready for what the day will throw at me. Standard conditions over there look to be a relatively cool start to the day with top temperature in the low 20s with a reasonably high chance of showers/rain, I’d take that over 36 degrees any day!

Ironman Melbourne
I had an interesting email from one of my good friends the other day talking about having the motivation to get out and do the hard yards in your build up to an Ironman.

One of the things that I loved this weekend was heading down to Geelong and doing my long run whilst lots of the guys did the long course race out there, many as prep for Ironman Melbourne in 5 weeks time. I was able to be out on the bike course and watch the pro’s, then get back in time to give everyone a good shout as they fought their way around the run course. I know that for me, having people who know what you put yourself through to get to the start line for these events either cheer you on or race with gives you a massive boost and watching the guys that I train with reap the rewards of their hard work was the motivation I needed to see this training program right through to the end.

So post NZ, whilst I have some different racing goals in mind (will do a post on that later) my next focus will be having an awesome day as a spectator in Melbourne. I’ll be looking to pick up a few tips from the professional Ironman supporter (i.e. Erika) but really looking forward to getting out there on the course and doing my little bit to help people get through it.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Crunching the numbers for 2011

Just a quick post with my training totals for 2011.

Swim - 309km (115 hours)
Bike- 8,221km (270 hours)
Run - 2,540km (209 hours)

Whilst the underlying numbers don't really tell you all that much, it's always something I'm interested in keeping track of.

Swim - I did 255 of those km's over a 6 month period! (May-Nov) so although the total was only slightly more than last year (298km) I did two Ironman events in 2010 so was more consistent throughout the entire year 2011 was very slack for the first few months.

Bike - Another year of doing more km on the bike than in the car :-) Numbers were boosted a bit by 570km in the last week of the year!

Run - by far my biggest year of running km's, which is a function of having started out the year with more of a focus on running events with initial ideas to run the gold coast marathon. Pulling out of that event meant that my running was consistent througout the year as I then swithced to the Busso program without any time out for recovery.

This year I pretty much put all my eggs in the Busselton basket and given that didn't quite go to plan don't have too many great results to show for my efforts, however I know that I've continued to make progress and now that I have had a nice rest through December, am getting right back into it with only 8 weeks to go until Ironman New Zealand. Training so far has been very bike focussed, still easing back into running.