Well today is a glorious sunny day. Great weather this morning after last night’s freaky thunderstorm and torrential rain. Great weather for an outdoor swim… but that’s not on the plan for today. Today calls for a hour cycle followed by a short transition run. Looking forward to that after work. The only minor concern is the residual fatigue from Sunday’s cycle. I’m surprised that the legs are still a little tired – I guess the ride was tougher than I thought. My guess is that due to the number of stops and mini-rest breaks my aerobic system had time to recover from the efforts but the leg muscles didn’t recover. So by the end of the ride my CV system was not fatigued but my legs were. Interesting to consider the difference.
Yesterday’s swim went well even though the arms were still a bit achy from Saturday’s long swim. With the taper beginning these muscle aches will pass fairly quickly now which is great! During the taper I intend to keep an eye on my CTL to ensure that it does not fall too much. My CTL has not been rising for a while, but rather keeping steady, so hopefully the taper won’t let it drop too much. Joe Friel, the guru, has a great blog entry Strong and Weak Form which discusses the art of taping to come into form while keeping an eye on CTL. I hope that my coach’s plan does not taper to fast causing my CTL to drop dramatically… if I start getting concerned I will discuss this with my coach and perhaps increase intensity/volume slightly to keep the CTL decreasing “optimally”. Yes, another plug for the great WKO+ software – it really is this great!
Well three weeks till the big one! I am starting to get things ready and ensuring that I have enough of everything that will be going with me.
Yesterday I did a 150km cycle – the Ride to the Horns cyclosportive around Aylesbury. Quite a tough course with multiple short sharp climbs. I’m sure I saw the gradient show 18% on my cycle computer a couple of times. The ride was enjoyable but seemed to drag on somewhat. I suspect that this was due to riding in a group, taking too long at the feed stations and most noticeably due to one of my fellow riders getting a puncture that took around 45 minutes to fix. Long story short, we got through three tubes, two CO2 canisters and a new tyre! I would recommend this ride to someone looking to get some hill climbing in. Apparently the route takes in most of the decent climbs in the area. My legs are feeling it today!
The bike went well. New wheels are a treat. The gearing seems to be good, apart from dropping the chain twice while shifting back onto the small chain-ring, so I might have to tweak that. The rear brake still rubs a touch so I may try and tweak that too.
My on going seat post creak seems to be resolved – for the moment at least as I suspect it will return. My Felt B2’s seat post has been creaking for a while. The bike shop thought it was the saddle clamps which got some oil and attention but this failed to remedy the squeak. I then used carbon paste on the post and a drop of oil on the seat post clamp screws which helped for a bit – but the creak returned. I have now put some electrical tape around the lip of the seat post opening on the frame which means that the seat post clamp doesn’t rub on the frame. This seems to have resolved the creak for the moment. I may undo the clamp and see the state of the tape – it’s possible that it will need attention regularly which will be fine if it keeps the squeak at bay!
I managed to get a 3900m swim in on Saturday in the 50m outdoor pool. Lovely and clear water at a decent temperature too. Not a bad swiming venue, if a little bit far to goto regularly.
Anyway a slightly easier week for me this week – Hurray!
Well the countdown is well and truly underway now. Less than 4 weeks till Ironman Austria 2009. YIKES!
I would be lying if I said I was not getting nervous and starting to have those “have I done enough” doubts. Right now however I just need to stay focused on the remaining training sessions and ensure I get some quality workouts in in the next week or two. Then the taper can begin. Hopefully a couple of big sessions before the taper will give my TSS a boost and allow my to peak at just the right time, with a good CTL and rising TSB.
Annoyingly I am having some issues with my bicycle which I am frantic to get sorted promptly. In hind sight, the bike should have had the service a fortnight before Challenge Barcelona rather than after the race. Hopefully all the issues I’ve noticed will be sorted in the next couple of days in time for the last big ride this weekend.
My swim today was not great. I kept feeling like I was very low in the water and was not breathing very well. I think I need to do a couple more pool sessions to keep the feel for the water going but also a couple of open water sessions in the wetsuit to give my confidence a boost.
My main concern is picking up a running injury prior to the race. I have one really long run left and fingers crossed I don’t hurt myself. I’ll keep the ice on tap and do lots of stretching.
Anyway, better head to bed to get my beauty sleep!
Well it’s yet another month since my last blog post. I feel somewhat disappointed that I have not blogged more as I am sure it would be a great record to look back on. Anyway, I’m going to summarize the last month’s training efforts in a couple of paragraphs…
Early March saw me putting in a couple of big weeks of training to prepare for the training camp in Spain. The big weeks were OK but noticably draining. I think I do need to concentrate on getting more sleep during such weeks. More sleep equates to more recovery and more recovery equates to more training “freshness”.
The week in Spain was great. I went over to a company called Girona Cycling. Gareth and Fiona are friendly, knowledgeable and generally all round good coaches. I have been over to them a couple of times now and always enjoy the cycling in Span. The roads are great quality with almost no potholes! Although the company is called Girona Cycling they cater for triathletes too. This week consisted of a number of rides including two into France and back. One of the rides came back into Spain via the Col de Banyules. My word – what an awful (great if you’re a masochist) hill. Not too long but an incredible gradient. My Garmin recorded the following for the Col de Banyules climb:
last 250m avg 23% gradient
last 500m avg 17.3%
last 1km avg 16%
last 2km avg 12%
last 2.5km avg 10.2%
last 3km avg 8.9%
last 4km avg 7.3%
last 4.5km avg 6.7%
Quite a tough hill in my books. I recorded my highest ever cycling heart rate on this hill. At one point I was going so slowly I thought I was going to fall over. If you ever try this climb back into Spain I would suggest the use of a compact and a cassette such as a 12-25. I’m sure many cyclists would not find this hill too challenging, but for someone of my dubious calibre it was tough! At least I managed it all the way without stopping!
The training camp did wonders for my CTL… but with any rapid rise in the CTL my TSB plummeted to around -90. Upon return to the UK I came down with a nasty cold. It knocked me off any serious training for roughly two weeks. I managed to put some sessions in but nothing too long or too intense. In fact, I am still trying to get 100% over the stuffy nose.
Over the Easter bank holiday weekend I did some long cycles and runs which got my CTL to edge upwards. The highlight of the bank holiday weekend though was getting in a 4100m swim in 1h29. That’s roughly 2m10/100m which isn’t too shabby for me. So at least I know I can swim the IM distance now!
I did a 5hour cycle last weekend – a very slow pace. Too slow for me I think. We covered a bit over 110km so an average of around 21km/h which is quite slow. I need to target my training sessions more and ensure my training partners cycle at appropriate power levels and hence paces.
This week has been shabby on the training front and tomorrow is an easier day – 1hr swim and 1hr bike. Sunday is the first race of the season – a super sprint – 400m / 15km / 5km. I will be looking to do a “steady” pace as I don’t want to get injured at this point in the season. I am currently thinking I should have perhaps been targeting an Olympic distance race around now but hindsight is always 20/20!
So in summary my CTL is dropping since the training camp due to injury and some light weeks training (due to missed sessions and sessions done at too easy an intensity). I need to get myself back into gear and focus the training for the next two months (until IM Austria).
It’s a month since my last blog posting. How scary that time has flown by so quickly.
Firstly, some stats (according to my TrainingPeaks profile) from the month of February:
The worrying thing is that those 543km of cycling were all on the Computrainer. I do need to get out on the road soon! My usual cycling buddy’s programme is not fitting in with mine unfortunately. Our ride durations or intensities are not in sync and hence to ride together would be tricky or involve us foregoing our planned training session.
The plan for yesterday had a 40min swim followed by 3hr cycle scheduled. I did a 43min swim (2100m) and then started on the cycle. Within the first five minutes of the cycle session I knew it was going to be tough. I took a 2 min breather at 2 hours and then battled through till the end. It was not so much that I was on the trainer, but my legs just did not have the juice to keep going. What a tough cycle!
With February having been and gone I see that it is just four months till Ironman Austria 2009. YIKES! My training programme for March has some big training weeks and weekends planned. The ramp up to IMAustria has begun!
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 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.
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 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!).