March 2014

My first two time trials of the year in March – after an aborted attempt at the Fareham Wheelers 10.

The first was the first club 10 of the year which, while the time was fairly slow, got me the second fastest solo time of the morning and the PTTL event 2, a 15 mile…..

A good amount of volume swum at 56.5km and a mix of sets as well over 5 session per week. I’ve been swimming a CSS type set, usually 50×50, one Masters session,a long swim of 5k which recently has been 50×100 off 1:45 with a Pull Buoy and a couple of easier/technique sessions as well.

I’ve ridden 821km in the month, mainly on the turbo although a few more outdoor rides have been creeping in as well, a group ride with the Tri Club a a couple of other rides as well.

The longer rides on the turbo have been sessions such as a 3 hour ride with 5×20 minutes tempo and I also did the new Sufferfest bike/run workout Chrysalis which was a good hours session.

The final ride of the month was the first ride in Mallorca, a 95k jaunt around the second loop of the IM Mallorca bike course.

It’s been the biggest run month I’ve managed for a while, running 258km. There’s been a long run of around 2 hours, generally holding between 4:30-4:35/km pace and on the 3 of the 5 weekends a 20km run with the Havant ParkRun in the middle. The times have generally been getting quicker, apart from the last one which was run in the opposite direction, with my best a 19:00 dead which given the hills and trails of the run wasn’t too bad and good enough for 4th on the day.

I’ve also spent a bit of the month updating my TT bike with the Power2Max Powermeter, new wheels and Tri bars and although I’m still tweaking the position on the bike it feels pretty good.

The first week of April will be spent in Mallorca and there are a few more bike TT’s to be ridden, hopefully keeping the swim and run volume fairly high as well.

 

 

February 2014

A really good month for me was February. Some good solid training and a couple of good events.

First up was the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon which as the past couple of years I ran but didn’t race. A solid tempo run I ran a comfortable 1:30 despite it blowing a gale and it being partially run on trails and muddy foreshore – not helped by Rory losing a shoe again and having to wait for him. Running comfortably until 1k or so to go I put in a 3:44 last km into the wind to pick up a couple of places but it was a comfortable enough tempo run.

Two days later was the BLDSA Postal Swim – an hour to swim as far as you can. The most I’d achieved prior to this year was 2 years ago with 3,475m. Last year was a poor, and poorly paced, 3,375 but after some good swimming over the past few months I went into it hoping to hold 1:40′s for 3,600 but ended up doing even better averaging 1:37′s for 3,712m.  I was really pleased – the only swimming goal I’ve had is to be able to swim 3.8k in a wetsuit in under an hour (preferably comfortably) and this is a good step closer to that.

Away from those events it’s been a solid month, averaging over 14 hours per week. I’ve trained every day and have done two sessions on all but 4 days of February.

I’ve swum over 51km over a range of CSS, endurance and Masters sessions swimming on 20 of the 28 days.

Riding has all been indoors so the 635km that my Garmin gives me probably means very little. I’ve averaged 370 TSS points per week on the bike, around 52 per day in a mix of sessions and recently have been upping the intensity. My TrainerRoad FTP is set at 265W but according to my last FTP test should have been 275W but at the time the jump from 253 to 275 was too big a jump for me in one hit so I reduced it to 265. The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing the sessions based on a 275W FTP a version of the Hour of Power session done as a 2 x 20 at 90% FTP with efforts every 3 minutes which while hard has been manageable in the context of my other training.

I’ve got a few additions for the bike over the next few weeks including a swap to a Power2Max from my Powertap so once that’s done I’ll see how the two match up and do another FTP test.

Running has been good as well. 232km run, 58km per week, with the Parkrun sessions on 3 of the weekends with the half marathon on the other. I’ve run to and from each Parkrun so have run 20km each time with the race in the middle – with the times coming down each time. Without being fantastic the running is progressing well and is also currently injury free which is the main goal.

The weeks have fallen into a nice pattern with 4 rides, 4 runs and 5 pool sessions. Swims have been a CSS set, built up to 50x50m currently off 55 seconds, an endurance session of 5km swum as 250m with 10 secs rest, a Masters session and a couple of easier swims for days when the pool is busier.

Cycling has been one endurance ride 2hrs 30 mins at high endurance, low tempo power, around 200-210W, a 2x 20 session, a tempo hour and some sort of VO2 Max session.

I’ve run a long run which has been 2 hours, an easy run, the Parkrun 20km run and a 7k brick run off the long bike. It’s given me a regular 14 hours a week training which while hard will I think be sustainable. Finding a consistently repeatable week is the most important thing at the moment and *all* I’ve got to do is to repeat it for the next 20 weeks until The Outlaw!

Next month sees the start of the TT season and I’ve a TT each weekend, weather permitting through March. Hopefully the improvements I’ve seen on the turbo will be translated to the road. Other than that there are no more races in March – just another month of good training.

January 2014

A month that started slowly with an injury but has built to some decent sessions.

The year started inauspiciously as I was beginning to build up my running volume. Out for a run on the 2nd after the New Year storms I went around Portchester Castle in the dark and managed to turn my ankle. Nowhere near as bad as it could have been, I was still off my feet for a week before starting back with some easy bike sessions.

Swimming was quite painful initially as well and I used a pull buoy  for most of the month to stop my right foot flapping around in the water. I ended up swimming 32km in the month and while I’m not swimming as well as I was after some big volume months at the end of 2013 it’s been OK.

Some decent sessions have been 45 x 50m off 55 seconds and a Masters session of 2 lots of 6 x 100 off 1:45 was mostly all done with sub 1:30 100′s. Some good swimming for me. I also managed to get the long swim up to 4500m as well.

Riding has been exclusively on the turbo so the distance of just under 400km is fairly meaningless but I’ve done a reasonable mix of intervals sessions. Hopefully I’ll get some outdoor rides in in February.

Despite the twisted ankle I’ve still run 125km in January. I managed a short run after about 2 weeks following the injury and have gradually got some good runs in. The longest run has been 1 hr 35 mins at 7:40/mile pace and some other good sessions including a 18km run with a Parkrun in the middle.

I’m doing the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon in  February but as with the last couple of years it’s going to be a training run at around 1:30 pace. It’s been a good reminder of pacing the last couple of years as just running an even pace sees us pass lots of other runners in the second half of the race.

There’s been temptation to enter more races but I’m not going to and any I do will be training races. I was tempted to do the Portsmouth Triathletes Spring Duathlon which I’ve been second in the sprint race for the last couple of years but I know that in wanting to do well in races the consistency of training will suffer. 2014 is all about The Outlaw and Ironman Mallorca.

Looking back at 2013

After having such a good year in 2012 it was going to be hard. What I didn’t expect that was that it would in many ways be better and see more improvement.

The year started with a few training races in the build up to the London Marathon with the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon to start run as a tempo training run for a 1:30. Unfortunately because of poor (read none) signage and no marshals we ended up taking a wrong turn and although ran 1:30 pace actually ended up with a 1:34 for nearly 14 miles. Just as well it was only a training run.

Like 2012 I got second place at the Portsmouth Triathletes Spring Duathlon sprint distance race in freezing conditions and also did the Paddock Wood Half Marathon as a last race before London as I did last year.

Unlike 2012 though I treated it differently to last year and ran to a decent time of 1:20:11 (a PB though was more than a bit gutted about the 11 seconds!) rather than running at marathon pace. This, combined with the fact that the race was 2 weeks before London rather than the previous 3, definitely had a negative effect for London.

In hindsight it was a bit of a daft thing to do 2 weeks before London and not something I’d recommend to anyone else. I knew I was running better than the 2012 London Marathon with longer long runs and faster paces in training and had a genuine hope of a 2:40 something time. In the end I faded in the second half of the run to a 2:52:41, a minute or so slower than my 2012 PB having gone through halfway feeling great and bang on the 2:48 schedule I was running. Next time maybe.

After London came the start of the triathlon season. I had a good race at the Swashbuckler Middle Distance race coming 14th Overall with a 4:27 and with a bit of a late decision decided to enter the Midnight Man Iron Distance race.

The build up to that went really well with a 4th overall at the Portsmouth Sprint Triathlon and a week later went to the Dambuster Olympic Race. Again as an after thought I paid my entry fee to register for the GB Hyde Park squad – something I never really thought I had a shot at largely because of my relatively poor swim times compared to some. Somehow I managed to come 7th in my AG with a 2:10 on a hilly course on a very windy day and get the last automatic qualifying place for the GB Age World Championship group squad. Bonus.

After a few more weeks build up came the Midnight Man. At the start of the year I had no intention of racing that distance in 2013 and was going to do another year essentially at middle distance but the novelty of racing overnight appealed to me. I had trained well and had hopes of a sub 10 time but the race remarkably panned out exactly as I had wanted and I achieved all I wanted and more by winning the race with a 9:36. That couldn’t have gone much better.

Having had a niggling Achilles issue after the London Marathon I mainly concentrated on the bike with a very small run volume. I rode a few 25′s the quickest of which was a 57:21 on the H25/8 in Bentley but I also rode a few 2up TT’s looking toward the end of year Duo Normand.

Before entering the Midnight Man I had intended that the Zell am See 70.3 would be my priority of the year but in the end I was disappointed with a 4:43 – after a good swim and bike (31 mins and a 2:23 respectively) my lack of running caught up with me.

Two weeks later was the AG World Championships in Hyde Park which I was determined to enjoy. I knew I wasn’t in the greatest shape and really just enjoyed the day – and it really was a great experience.

Race wide the year finished with the 2up TT at the Duo Normand with was again a great weekend. Having joined Hampshire Road Club earlier in the year it was a fun weekend away with a race thrown in.

The last couple of months of the year have been training with a view to racing next year and the plans I’ve got. Again it will be a difficult year to top but I’ll give it a go.

 

Stats for the year

Swimming          397 km        (33k/month; 7.6k/week)

Cycling           10,572 km      (881k/month; 203k/week)

Running           1,606 km       (134k/ month; 30.8k/week)

 

Swimming was up by 85k from last year although there was no real improvement in times. Something to look at for next year. I managed a 31 minute HIM swim and 1:05 for IM. I was swimming at my best of the year in November and December when my volume was at its highest point of the year, perhaps no real surprise.

Cycling was also up by a good margin of nearly 4000km. Again no real surprise that I’ve improved. Joining Hampshire Road Club and starting to ride TT’s has been great and a good motivator. I wanted to ride a sub hour 25 and to do a ride first a 58:36 and a 57:21 in my first non sporting 25′s was good. Along with the 5:09 IM bike split (with a good run afterwards) was a good return for the effort.

It wasn’t the greatest year for running with fewer km’s run by 176km. It was also front loaded in the year with a really good build up to the London Marathon which rather than culminating in a good marathon rather peaked 2 weeks before at the Paddock Wood Half. As well as not running the marathon that well I came out of it with a sore Achilles which persisted for the rest of the year and I ran very little.

60% of 2013′s run volume was in January, February and March and while I ran OK at the Midnight Man and the Dambuster with a 38 minute 10k off the bike after that, perhaps unsurprisingly, my run form dipped. I didn’t run at all after Hyde Park in September and October to give it a rest and since starting to run again have so far been OK so hopefully as I build up gradually during the beginning of 2014 that will continue.

December 2013

Not quite the month I had in November but not too bad none the less. Again no races.

I swum just under 25k during December, or rather up to the last 2 weeks anyway. I had been getting some tendonitis type pain that was worsening when swimming so I didn’t swim for the last couple of weeks of December as it was sore during the pull.

It was a shame to have to stop as I was swimming well with a 6:07 400m as part of a CSS test at the beginning of the month and had been putting in some good long sets as well.

I carried on cycling though through December which, on reflection, I think was a mistake! Having stopped the swimming my tendonitis got worse and I’m now pretty sure that it has come from riding my bike on the turbo. Using my TT bike with a fairly big drop and spending most of the time on the base bars I think had been putting pressure on my elbows and shoulders especially gripping the bars hard during the harder intervals. Since making a conscious effort  to use the aero bars more and hold the bike more lightly the pain has eased and I hope will gradually go.

On the bike it had been another good month. As written in my last post I had seen a good improvement in FTP measured on TrainerRoad from 253 to 275 Watts at threshold. I spent a week with the FTP at that level before revising it down to 265 – the workouts were just out of reach at 275. As I know it’s all very well having a theoretical FTP based on a shorter test but you have to earn the right to use it by proving it in full – hopefully that will come as the year progresses.

The sessions I have done since at 265 feel about right at the moment and I’ll extend the trainer sessions before another test in a few weeks. The outdoor test I regularly do saw me put out the highest power of 315W for the distance so the improvement has transferred outside as well. All my riding apart from that ride has been inside so the distance of 538km for the month is fairly meaningless but it was a solid month of riding again.

I’ve also been getting back to running – although nothing over an hour. I ran 86k overall so no massive distance but it has been consistent running and with no flare up of my Achilles issues so it’s all good there. Plenty of time to build the distance yet.

Plan for January is more of the same. Build back in the swimming starting with an easy week. Some longer 1:30-2:00 hour turbo sessions and to carry on build the running back up. 2014 is beginning to take shape.

 

Next race...

HRC 10 mile TT

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