So, I was looking over my past events last night and noticed something that I had forgotten. I noticed that I had less than one month between my first ever triathlon and my first half-Ironman race. WOW. That was pretty gutsy for me. I look back now and am not sure I would recommend such behaviour. It does however, make me think about just what is possible when one puts their mind to something.Maybe that Ironman race next year isn’t so bad afterall.

I did a “sortof” triathlon in training yesterday. Did a 1600m swim set, a 15mile bike ride and a 2mile run. Transistions were pretty slow (ok, a trip to buy groceries between the swim and bike) however. The 15 mile loop may become a time-trial course of sorts for me over the coming months. It’s got some decent stretches for TT aero-bar position and has a short-sharp hill at about 10miles. I look forward to reducing the time to complete the loop ūüôā

Well I did some simple statistics pulling from WKO+ for the past three seasons. I based a season from December through to end November of the following year.

date from       01/12/2010    01/12/2009   01/12/2008
date to         30/11/2011    30/11/2010   30/11/2009
run duration    45h47:02       82h01:12    65h07:36
run distance    527.126km      957.505km   727.656km
bike duration   15h28:04       115h46:42   158h04:18
bike distance   260.632km      2409.497km  4337.618km
swim duration   6h04:00        30h26:00    36h58:00
swim distance   18.45km        94.031km    104.613km

(Yes, I realise we’ve not quite got to 30/11/2011 yet… so will update the 2011 season once it completes)

The figures include treadmill and Computrainer sessions along with training sessions and races.

I hope that I manage to do more training over the 2012 season – probably slightly down on the 2009/2010 season due to less free time these days. Maybe I should set some training targets for the 2012 season?

The bike average speed varies somewhat due to extensive use of the Computrainer in the 2009 season Рdue to the ERG training I was doing at a relatively higher wheel speed than on the road the average speeds are inflated.  So the times are probably more useful to compare than pure distances.

 

 

 

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!

Here are some links to video clips from the Half Challenge Barcelona Race 2009:

Firstly, some daft twit breaking the rules by drafting and cycling in a peloton and then struggling with some handheld camera. It’s idiots like this who should be banned for the rest of the season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j__l2zHiQLg

Here is a clip of the start. The waves don’t look too bad but the clip doesn’t show how small the turn around buoys were which made it difficult to sight correctly! I was in the forth wave to start with orange or purple caps (meant to be purple but another organisational glitch resulted in some of us in the wrong wave and having the wrong colour caps) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNMOEbOLBpI

And a clip of the bike leg, T2 and run. Note the groups of riders all breaking the no drafting rule and all the while on their aero bars. (times in the clip of drafting examples 1min37 / 1min53 /3min39 / 4min00)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25Vgg4NZyOs

Another clip of the swim start, giving a view of the swells. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joLkAz0ZLx8

Clip of T2 and the run leg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23SDJ4P0ccs

YouTube gives some related links too which might be of interest. It still surprises me just how much drafting was taking place on the race!

Enjoy the videos.

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).

Wish me luck!

Well today I went on a brief trip to checkout the challenge Barcelona bike course.

The course starts in Calella and heads south west along the N-II to Mataro before heading North inland and climbing to Dosrius. The course turns around at Dosrius and heads back to the beach front along pretty much the same road. Once back to the coast, the route continues south west along the N-II to the turn around point at El Masnou. From El Masnou the route returns to Calella along the N-II.

The N-II road surface is pretty good for most of the way. There is a section approximately between Canet de Mar and Sant Pol de Mar where the surface is more bumpy with the road surface being more patch-work quilt like. The section of road between the N-II and the Dosrius turn around is not too bad either with only a few rough sections of road.

The N-II section south of around Canet de Mar is pretty much flat and runs along the beach front with a railway track between the beach and the road. There are certainly some false flats with subtle elevation changes of a couple of meters. North of Canet de Mar is slightly more undulating with a few climbs of 10-20m over a few hundred metres- meaning gradients of I guess roughly 2-4% for short sections. Nothing too taxing at all. Dosrius sits around 150m above sea level, based on my watch’s altimeter. There are some undulations in the climb to Dosrius, so the total ascent to Dosrius is probably closer to 200-250m. The climb to Dosrius is not too steep and did not seem to have any particularly large gradients – I’m guessing nothing more than 5-6%. Of course, going down a hill in a car makes is fairly difficult to accurately judge gradients.

I don’t recall the Dosrius loop being part of the original Challenge Barcelona route which would otherwise be very flat. The N-II section of the course is fairly boring: sea and railway track on one side and buildings on the other – no real scenery to appreciate apart from the first/last few kilometres around Calella.

I will try and find some accurate gradients and elevations for various points along the route and will update this post if I find any.

I have added a route to mapmyride.com for this course and is available at http://preview.tinyurl.com/chalbarc

A graph of the profile, from the MapMyRide site is shown below:

Challenge Barcelona 2009 Triathlon Cycle Route Profile
Challenge Barcelona 2009 Triathlon Cycle Route Profile

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:

  • 13150m swimming
  • 543.1km cycling
  • 52.45km running

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….

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 since the last post the training regime has been OK. I have done some hour long roller sessions, some 30-ish minute runs and some productive swim sessions.

The swim has seen the most progress. Over the last two weeks I have progressed up to 1000m and last night I managed a 1500m swim in 33 minutes. WOW! I am incredibly chuffed with myself. Before anyone points out that its not a brilliant time I will admit I know that – however for someone who was not managing more than a couple of lengths a month ago I think it is great progress! I am very happy with the progress. My arms definitely felt like they had done a work out last night!

The bike sessions… well rollers are boring, very boring.¬† But it’s good time spent on the bike. I did a 3 hour ride outside¬†last weekend at a low to moderate heart rate. The bad news was that the seat post clamp (or is that “seatpost clamp” or “seat-post clamp”¬†??) snapped on my B2 during the ride. So for a large part of the ride I was sitting much lower than I usually do – my quads did not like me for that!¬† Anyway, I have got a new clamp on the way and should be in the saddle again soon.

The seat post is aero shaped so it’s an unusual clamp style. The bit that snapped is a very thin piece of metal that just doesn’t seem to like being over tightened at all. Anyway,¬†I think it might be a bit of a design flaw with the seat post clamp – but at least it is a replaceable component on the bike.

The run… well the few runs I have done are all around 30 minutes or so.¬† My calves still feel sore the next day even with serious amounts of stretching. I do hope the sort themselves out soon. The knee twinges every so often which I hope isn’t the sign of anything going wrong.

On the whole training is going well and I’m very happy with the swimming progress!