A Week in Mallorca

Day One – Sunday


After a night where the only sleep was a 45 minute nap on the plane and arriving around lunchtime we had an easy first day with only a run.

Overall it was only around 7.5km but a good amount of it was walking as it was largely trails where some were really rocky and as it had been raining were really slippery. Going downhill on the route back was particularly treacherous.



Mallorcan hills

Run1: http://tpks.ws/OIF8

Run 2: http://tpks.ws/Zr7d


Day Two – Monday


Onto the bikes.

We did the second loop of the IM Mallorca bike but starting in Pollenca, up the climb to Lluc where we stopped for a quick look and then onto the garage at the top for a coffee.

The main part of the climb is around 427m ascent over 7.5 km at 5.5% and I rode with Nick, nicely doing lots of overtaking, doing the climb in 26 minutes at 253W average.

After the coffee we headed down the other side to carry on the second part of the loop. I do need to be slightly braver on the descents as I was too cautious going down the hairpins especially.

The second part of the loop had some really fast parts on decent roads and some really shitty side roads that weren’t much more than track so I hope that gets improved before the race!

We finished the loop back in Alcudia before heading back the 10k or so along the coast to Pollenca via Tolo’s for another coffee.

Total distance for the day was 94km


Col de Sa Batalla

Looking up the Col de Feminia

Ride 1: http://tpks.ws/6Zl1

Ride 2: http://tpks.ws/oKVl


Day Three – Tuesday


Similar to the previous day, except we rode the first loop of IM Mallorca. After the 10k ride to the start point we headed South to Arta before returning along the out and back section, and inland to Petra and a stop for lunch.

After lunch it was back to the coast and Can Pickfort before going inland again to Sa Poblo and returning to Alcudia and T2 and finally the 10k back to Pollenca.

Total distance for the day was 123km.

We finished the day with a short pool session where Nick filmed us swimming – that was really interesting and there were a good number of things for me work on.


Ride 1: http://tpks.ws/cPpC

Ride 2: http://tpks.ws/3yHc



Overlooking Sa Colabra


I made my own way off on Wednesday as John was feeling the pace a bit and was finding it hard to keep up. As it was primarily his week which I was tagging along with and I was feeling a bit guilty about having done what I wanted to I left him and Nick to to what he wanted to do as I headed off to do the whole IM course.

I wanted to ride it in order so I first headed for Alcudia and the start before retracing the roads we had covered in the previous couple of days. I spent most of the day passing people including a couple of German riders who decided to tag on for the ride. I pushed at or just above threshold for around 6 minutes, dropping one after a couple and the second one just before the roundabout I was turning off at. A good little blast at nearly 40kph and 262W for a while although probably not the best preparation for the climb ahead!

As I made my way round to the climb with the wind direction as it was it was always hard going inland and much faster the other way and the gradual gradient of around 1% into the wind for 30 minutes to the base of the climb was leg sapping as well.

I took the climb slower than the first ride but tried to use lower gearing going up to judge what sort of cassette I’ll use on race day. I’ve got a compact on the Argon 18 and managed to get up the 7.5k using the 21 on the back as my lowest gear.

After a 20 minute stop at the top to buy more water, a Mars Bar and a bottle of Coke – the cafe was heaving – I carried on and finished the loop as before in Alcudia before heading back up the coast to Pollenca.

Total distance was my longest ride at 210km.

The only way to finish that length of ride was with a brick run! I headed out for a 30 minute run – 15 minutes down the coast and back at a decent clip averaging 4:16/km for 7km, bang on 3 hour marathon pace. It felt OK for 30 minutes and I could have gone on for longer but there’s no way that currently I could hold that for the full marathon as yet!!


Ride: http://tpks.ws/dAZT


Recovery food from Tolo’s


The weather was predicted to be crap so we started the day with a run before breakfast. 13k in total with a 4km loop as an effort

The rain didn’t come in as planned in the morning so I headed out for an easy recovery ride, 33km taking it very easily.

The third session of the day was a swim – just over 1000m – but with lots of drills focussing on what I had improved in the precious session, particularly on moving away from a straight arm recovery.



Run: http://tpks.ws/nofR

Ride: http://tpks.ws/uWJk



Day Six – Friday


Again a poor morning of weather so we headed to the pool first for a few more drills and then 10×50 afterwards at a slightly faster pace.

Straight to Alcudia then to run a loop of the run course. It works out at loop of just over 9km – flat down the Promenade, returning along the main road before heading up and out of town up a decent hill and about 1k up a cycle path along a main road. Not the most interesting part of the run and whilst not steep will probably feel fairly steep.

Back to the apartment and out on the bike again for another 77k. Up the hill from the race, down the descent and back a slightly shorter way than the loop back to Pollenca. Still around 1000m of climbing though.



Run: http://tpks.ws/XvP1

Ride: http://tpks.ws/rMUu


The only way out is up

The only way out is up

Day Seven – Saturday


The final day and the final ride. I wanted to ride the biggest climb on the Island, that of Sa Colabra, clocking in at 10k at 7.1% average. One of the other features of Sa Colabra is that there is a good amount of climbing to get to the climb, either the Col de Femenia which is the main climb of IM Mallorca, or up the descent of the Ironman, the Col de sa Batalla. As we hadn’t cycled up that way during the week that was the way we headed.

After getting up the 7.8k at 5% of the sa Batalla there was still a fair amount of climbing to get to the start of the Sa Colabra descent, the Col de Cal Reis at 632m but for the next 20 minutes it was all downhill!

Once at the bottom the only way was back out again up the road we came down, one of the more bizarre things about cyclists is the wish for some reason to ride down a steep hill with the intention of riding a bicycle back up it!

We started relatively easily but were still overtaking other riders but gradually it got harder. There are some flatter parts where you can drop a few gears but also a few steeper sections at around 12%, but for the most part it hovered around 7-8%. We were joined by another rider we passed who left the guy he was riding with and he sat on my wheel for around 3k before pushing on for a bit. He gained probably 10 metres on me before I gradually caught back up and re-passed him and after that he dropped off and I put time into him to the top. Very nice!

Overall the climb took me 40 minutes which I was fairly happy with given the amount of riding I’d done in the past six days, I wasn’t exactly fresh going into the ride!

After the ride back down the Pollenca it had been a ride of 108km with a total ascent of just under 2000m.

Ride: http://tpks.ws/D76e

Overall a big week of over 30 hours. I rode 646km over 6 days riding with a total of 6,500m climbing. I ran just under 30km and swum 3 times for not too many metres but picked up a lot from being filmed.

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.

The annual pacing lesson

halfmarathon1Tomorrow is the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon, a race I’ve done for the last couple of years as a tempo training run. It’s never a PB course anyway with parts along the foreshore and parks which will be ankle deep in mud and sludge. Last year I had to wait whilst Rory went back for his shoe which had come off in the mud!

What it has been great for is a lesson in pacing. Two years ago we tried to average 4:30/km and ended up with 4:27′s and last year we wanted to run a 1:30 with 4:16′s and did just that although because of poor signage and a lack or marshalls along with quite a few others managed to run off course and half a mile further than we should have and ended up officially with another 1:33.

The pacing lesson is a great one to be reminded of at the beginning of the year. To run a consistent pace from the start and to watch people run away from you can be hard but is crucial to effective racing. By being further back in the field than I normally am and just by maintaining a pace you see how badly some people pace.

It can be quite funny watching crowds run away from you at the start and losing places up to around the 4-5 mile mark before it all settles down to halfway and then spending the rest of the race passing people who are blowing a gasket.

It’s always a good reminder for the rest of the year not to start races too quickly, gives me a chance to have a long chat with Rory on the way around and it even looks like the weather might be OK if a bit windy. Just need to remember to take my old trainers rather than the new ones!

Run progress

At last some decent run mileage and a bit of consistency. It’s amazing what being able to train properly does, it’s almost like cheating the way you get better.

It was in many ways a disappointing year runwise last year. I had a really good build up to the London Marathon but put in a too quick half marathon at Paddock Wood last year 2 weeks before the race and it really affected the race. I know I was in shape to run a 2:40 something from all my training but I just didn’t have the legs after Paddock Wood and was more than a little disappointed with the 2:52.


One of the less soggy sections of the course!

To cap it off I came out of the marathon with a sore Achilles which never went away all last year which dramatically affected my run training for the year. 60% of last years running was in the first 3 months in the build up to London.

That run fitness stayed with me for a while, running a 38 off the bike at the Dambuster and a 3:18 marathon off the bike at the Midnight Man but after that it was all downhill with really poor runs at the Zell-am-See 70.3 and the AG World Champs in Hyde Park.

After that I took 6 weeks off running and gradually built up again towards Christmas but then twisted my ankle and had another couple of weeks off.

Since then however things have been looking up. Running consistently over the past 5 weeks – weeks of 31, 53, 53, 60 and 63 km with over 4 runs a week. The long runs have been building up, 2hrs 3 mins holding 7:20/mile was good especially as the last part of the run was up and over Portsdown Hill, there’s no need to go any longer at this time of year so making the last part of the long run harder is a good alternative.

I’ve also been to the Havant Parkrun for 3 of the last 4 weeks as well, running there and a loop of the course for a 9k warm up and running home afterwards. It’s given me 20k or so with a race in the middle and is a pretty solid training session. Times aren’t quick, especially as it’s essentially a squelchy trail run up and down the side of a hill twice but I’ve been progressively quicker each time.

I had moved my long run from Wednesday to Thursday this week because of the atrocious weather and my legs still felt tired from that going into this mornings Parkrun…. and then of course went faster again. Whilst my legs felt heavy and tired and definitely not quick, they did feel strong and pretty good going up the last hill.

From the Raceday Apollo chart below it’s clear that there was a good build to London and then really nothing as I did very little run training because of my niggling Achilles. no surprise then end of year races were poor. A stuttering start around November last year and into the beginning of 2014 before things start to look up again as I’m running injury free again.

Running form from last year.

Running form from last year.

There’s no marathon this year to worry about – it’s all about The Outlaw and IM Mallorca so there will be no need to push the run training too hard too early. Keep consistent mileage with no need for the really hard long runs that marathon training needs and all should be good.

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.

Next race...

HRC 10 mile TT


2014 Training


2013 Training


2012 Training


2011 Training