So it’s been fairly quiet recently on the blog front. No excuses really. The training front has been more happening than the blog front you will be pleased to hear. I have had a good few weeks since the last post.

I did get a complete 30 minute swimming time trial completed with a good result. Average pace of 2:02.34/100m. Am chuffed with that. Not great in the grand scheme of things, but am I happy with it for me. Hopefully will get to under 2min/100m in the next couple of months.

I am enjoying the Computrainer rides. I find they are very useful from a “productivity” point of view. Program in the .ERG file or choose a course and head off. No traffic, no pot holes and no rain. Just pure leg work to get through. I think the Computrainer is one of those “must consider” devices. The real benefit is it’s reproducibility. Time trials are a doddle. Keep the same warm up protocol and the same course to ride and results are immediately comparable to previous efforts.

The TrainingPeaks WKO+ software is starting to give some good figures with my CTL climbing nicely. I am also interested in watching the ATL peaks and the visible intensity increases over the easy, build and hard training weeks.

I have noticed that my aero position is not quite right. I think I need to adjust my saddle slightly forward so that I am not stretching quite so much. I’m not sure how much I will be able to adjust it with the saddle mounted drinks cage in place.

I was debating bike choice with a friend recently for upcoming races. For Austria 70.3 my TT bike was a great choice.  It is debatable if Monaco 70.3 competitors would be better off with a road bike or not. Given I don’t own a road bike I had to use my TT bike. This was a fine choice as there are a few few flat sections when aero bars are a useful additional. Since I did a fair bit of hill training on the TT bike I didn’t have any issues on the way up the hills. Going downhill was a little different though as the downhills were steep and twisty. Just a little scary though, not sure a road bike would have been any less scary though. Would I be happy doing Monaco 70.3 again on a TT bike -most certainly!

Anyway, training volumes are creeping up as the races draw nearer and hopefully I will have some interesting things to blog about….

Well today I had a 30 minute swim time trial planned. For those who don’t know, you basically swim as far and fast as you can for 30 minutes and record how far you swum to work out your “threshold pace” for swimming. This allows you to estimate race times and more importantly set relevant training objectives (ie: doing repeats of a few training lengths at a pace faster than threshold).

Well it started off well and I got 21 minutes in to be told “its time for the women only session now so please leave”. Sigh. So no full result.

I did record 1050m in 22:26.8 though which gives an average pace of 2:08.3/100m or a speed of 46.77m/min. Not a great pace (or competitive) but slightly slower than I was doing at the end of last season. That means there is room for improvement!

I will have to get this session rescheduled in the next few days.

Well with the increased training comes increased statistic gathering. And statistics now mean using WKO+. While using WKO+ I have found three questions I need answering.

1) Anyone one seen or know how to resolve WKO+ putting the resulting .wko file from drag-n-dropped Garmin .TCX files into C:Users. I am running WKO+ on Vista and the Polar imports or Computrainer drag-n-dropped files create a .wko under the correct directory (c:usersmikedocuments….data) while Garmin .TCX files result in a file called c:usersmichaelm.wko.

2) What heart rate zones should I configure in the heart rate zones area of WKO+ – cycling or running? Swimming could also be added, but I very rarely swim with a HRM.

3) Pauses on my Garmin during work outs results in odd lap highlighting when reviewed in WKO+. The highlighted section for the lap with pauses does not include the entire lap, but rather only the duration of the lap (including the paused time).

Anyone got any thoughts or ideas?

Well the good news is that I have been keeping up with my training so far this year. My swimming seems to be getting nearer the end of last season’s levels and I am feeling “easier” in the water. What I mean is that I am feeling less like a sinking ship. I can tell that my catch is not as efficient as it was as my times are not quite what they were, even for short 50/100m bursts. Maybe it is just overall fitness levels that are lacking, but I think it’s mainly swim technique. I guess it’s time to get some more lessons booked in.

Yesterday I did a 20 minute “time-trial” on the Computrainer. My coaches use this to estimate my FTP based on 95% of the 20minute time-trial average power. I have decided to use the “Computrainer 10 mile time trial” course for these tests. At the moment I am not completing the 10 miles in 20 minutes so it’s safe to use until my cycling increases! I did notice a 4w difference between the SRM and Computrainer figures which I don’t normally see – I’m guessing a mis-calibration of the Computrainer as after the time-trial I re-did the Computrainer calibration for the warm-down and the figures were more in alignment. Hurray for SRM and boo to Computrainer… 🙂

As an aside, I’ve noticed a number of the searches from Google hitting my blog looking for the course profiles of the races I’ve completed. I’m not sure of the best way to provide these, but am considering an upload of a GPX for the race courses for interested people. If anyone has ideas on this, please drop me a comment.

So Christmas has passed and 2009 is only a handful of days away. My first major race (a 70.3 distance race) of 2009 is less than five months away. Not too bad one might say – however I will need to actually be training for more than a 70.3 at that time of the year. Initially this race was scheduled for early May, however due to a clash with the Barcelona F1 race it was delayed by two weeks. Sigh.

So my bike has been fitted with an SRM power meter. I plan on using power based zones for my training sessions leading up to Ironman Austria. I hope that this will be better than simply relying on heart rate based zones. The SRM is great in that it hooks up to the Garmin 705 using ANT+ wireless technology. I am yet to get out and about with the SRM and get some “outside” figures but have done some sessions on the trainer. I am starting to get an idea of my mean maximal power. I have attached a graph from WKO+ showing the power curve from a handful of efforts on the indoor trainer. Not very impressive at all.  It’s a starting point though and I look forward to it improving over the coming months.

Mean Maximal Power 2008/12/30
Mean Maximal Power 2008/12/30

I hope some outdoor sessions will improve this, especially in the 1-10 second region. Looking at the W/kg table in WKO+ (based from Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Allen and Coggan ISBN13: 978-1931382793) is interesting and shows I have a long way to go to becoming a competitive cyclist. One consolation is that the table is for competitive cyclists and not triathletes. OK OK, grasping at straws but you get the picture.  Training and Racing with a Power Meter is a superb book and covers power meter usage in great detail.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am still recovering from a bought of flu and am taking it easy right now. Hopefully next week I will kick into action again and start the training ball rolling once more. Hopefully 2009 will be a great year and one in which I am not dogged by colds, flu or any other injuries!

Well this is a technical note rather than a training related one. I seem to have come down with a touch of flu over the past few days (thanks work colleagues!!) and am out of training for the moment.

Since I have some down time, I thought I’d do some data converting. I have created two Computrainer .3dc files, which are for the Ironman Monaco 70.3 and Ironman Austria 70.3 races. There might be some overlapping of roads (causing some display oddities) but this should not affect the session.

They can be found as follows:

All Racermate free courses

Ironman Monaco 70.3

Ironman Austria 70.3

I am considering uploading some of my more interesting training or race tracks if I can find some time and some good GPS records of them.

Well it’s been a while since I posted on the blog so thought it would be a good time to post an update.

My training has begun again and is going along well. My swimming form is still not up to scratch and needs work. My bike form seems OK, based on efforts on the rollers. The weather is just not conducive to outside rides – so much so that last weekend I did a two hour stint on the rollers. Ouch! My run form seems as good as can be expected too.

So in summary, I’m reasonable happy with my fitness at the moment and am working on base training. My training for the next few weeks will be reasonably low intensity to get more base training completed.

For the coming season I have decided to use a combination of WKO+ and Training Peaks to track my training and races. I am keen to utilise WKO+’s TSS/IF scores in my training plan. This will be easy for cycling which is based around power meter readings. Running TSS (rTSS) is based around threshold pace, which in my mind might not be terribly accurate, but is better than nothing. WKO+ doesn’t calculate a TSS for swim sessions, but I found a formula to use to calculate a swimTSS value. Hopefully these three sets of TSS scores will be useful in managing training loads and fitness levels.  Of course, it could all end up being just a lot of extra work.

WKO+ will also keep track of my cycling critical power (CP) / functional threshold power (FTP). This will be interesting and will hopefully creep up over the next couple of months.

So all that remains now is to keep to my coach’s plan and not skip any sessions.

Happy Christmas to all my readers (just in case I don’t post before then!).

I decided to put new tyres on my bike the other day. I chose a pair of Continental GP4000s tyres, but I digress! When I was putting on the second one I snapped a tyre lever – yes I know you should not use tyre levers for this, but I just couldn’t get the last bit of tyre over the rim.

Anyway, while looking at Wiggle I can across a tool titled : Crank Brothers Speed Lever. The manufacturer’s site is here. This tool makes removing or putting on a tyre dead easy. I am very tempted to take one with me on race days as I am sure the time lost due to the small amount of extra weight will be more than made up by the savings should I have to do a tyre change.

A wicked tool that makes changing tyres very easy!

Well the training has started again. I have to confess I did enjoy the two months of no training. I also have to confess that I am battling to get motivated again.

My sessions so far:

  • Tue 04/11 (56RHR) AM: 20 minute treadmill and 30 mins weights
  • Wed 05/11 PM: 40 minute swim session (1200m but more like 960m, due to kids lessons)
  • Fri 07/11 (58RHR) AM: 45 minute indoor bike (Thur’s session)
  • Sat 08/11: SKIPPED – 1hr swim
  • Sun 09/11: 1 hour indoor bike with 25 minute run
  • Mon 10/11: SKIPPED – 1 hour swim
  • Tue 11/11 (53RHR) AM: 10 minute treadmill and 30 mins weights

So I have skipped two swim sessions. The swim session I completed on Wed was tough. I can tell my technique has deteriorated and I don’t have correct timing of glide-pull/breath-recover.

My first weights session was, well, tough. I ended up cutting it a bit short as I was knackered. I think I hit back too hard! I ached for a good few days following the session.

Well I figured I’d put some statistics from the Monaco 70.3 race up…


Distance 85.1km
Time: 3h41:46
Avg speed: 23km/h
Max speed: 57.8km/h
Avg heart rate: 161bpm
Max heart rate: 194bpm
Avg cadence: 81rpm
Total ascent: 1560m




Distance: 20.28km
Total time: 2h20:30
Avg Pace: 6.55min/km
Avg heart rate: 155bpm
Max heart rate: 188bpm

  Turnaround Split   Casino Split
Lap1 00:00 0:24:05   00:17:19 00:27:32
Lap2 0:24:05 0:27:59   00:44:51 00:30:19
Lap3 0:52:04 0:32:19   01:15:10 00:36:43
Lap4 01:24:23 0:35:58   01:51:53 00:28:14
Lap5 02:00:21     02:20:07  

As can be seen, the first loop back to the start/turnaround was not too shabby at slightly over 24 mins. Had I maintained this pace for the full 4 and a bit laps, my time would have been 1h53:39. Had I maintained my last loop (casino to casino) pace of 28:14, my total time would have been 2h10:15 which is about the same as Austria 70.3. The slowing times for each loop back to the turnaround are reflective of my stomach getting progressively unhappy. It started to feel better for the last loop as evidenced by the last loop time of 28:14.


Well the bike and run average heart rates were slightly lower than I had aimed for. I had hoped for the bike and run averages to be around 166bpm. The bike is not too far off, but the run is significantly lower due to me walking much more than expected.

Note: these figures were as my Garmin recorded them. Slightly short distances which I attribute to recording intervals and tunnels.