Living like a pro

This weekend I have been a professional triathlete. The wife and family went off to Peppa Pig World for the weekend leaving me to train, rest and eat like a pro.

I was up at 5am Saturday for an open water swim at Heron Lakes, lovely and warm the water too. And a short run off the swim.

Back home by 9.30am for a little sleep, some brunch and a few chores and then the 16K run (the majority of which was in the rain), a bite to eat and two episodes of 24 and then bed.

Up at 6.45am this morning, out the door and on the bike by 7.30am for the 100K bike ride. I rode to Richmond Park, 5 laps of the Park and rode home.

Today’s ride was on the TT bike and it was really comfortable and my confidence is right up there now on that bike. Especially riding on the road as well as at Richmond Park. I was disappointed with the speed, a lack of it, doing 100K in four hours is slow. But after a big training week I think the legs had just had enough and weren’t up for me pushing too hard on the bike.

When I got back from the ride it was a shower, some food, wipe down of the bike, two more episodes of 24 (that’s season 8 done and dusted), another power nap and over to my dad’s for fathers day.

Now a relaxing evening and hopefully an early night.

A lot of sleeping and rest in there but the weekend is the end of a monster training week of 15 hours. 10 hours cycling covering circa 226K, just over an hours swimming (circa 3.3K) and just under 4 hours running covering 37K.

That’s more than the first week of Albuquerque Boot camp. That would be why I am knackered.

Thanks for reading.

(Time) Trial and Tribulations

I have never had jet lag before – so waking up at 3.30am and getting up at 4am on Tuesday morning was alien to me. This meant another rest day then originally planned until normality resumed. So training didn’t start until last Wednesday with an easy turbo. It was supposed to be a swim session but leaving work late meant a turbo was more practical.

But by Thursday I was back on it. Thursday I rode to work and back with a run off the bike, a swim set Friday evening, a long run Saturday morning and a short turbo Saturday afternoon.

By Sunday I was super keen to finally ride my new Time Trial bike on the ‘road’.

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I had been looking forward to this ride for weeks. I had done so many hours on the TT bike on the turbo through winter, getting used to the ride position, Yoga to strengthen my back and core all to make the transition to the TT position easier.

I opted to drive to Richmond Park and do three or four laps of the park, where there were less cars , less hills and a smoother road surface.

I got on the bike to do a 10 minute warm up before the first full lap. It was horrible.

I was wobbling all over the place and it felt like I was riding on ice. The slightest bump in the road had me grabbing for the handles rather than being on the bars.

Within minutes I was regretting buying a TT bike. After 10 minutes I had almost written the advert in my head for putting it on ebay when I got home.

I worked out that if I drove home to get my road bike and then went for a 2 hour ride, how late it would be, so I might as well just ride this bike for 2 hours. And that was the ONLY reason I carried on with the ride.

So I did a lap. I was still wobbling like hell, everyone (man, women, child, road bike, mountain bike, penny farthing!) everything was going past me. I just took it steady and tried to build up confidence on the bike and an understanding of how the bike was feeling.

That first lap took me 25 minutes and 44 seconds. My PB for a lap of the park is 22 minutes something. I did another 10 minute small ride to take on some drink and take a gel. It was getting better so I went for a second lap. By now I had been on the bike about 40 minutes.

This second lap was steadier as in less wobbling, I felt better and I was going faster. I was in a harder gear and pushing more, rather than being in an easier gear and spinning more. The harder gear meant I was steadier on the bike and hence the bike was steadier under me. The faster I went the more stable the bike felt.

I got held up with traffic on the fast downhill so I was pleased to see my time for lap two was 24 minutes and 52 seconds. I did another easy 10 minutes before my last lap. During the easy 10 minutes the wobbling returned and the uncomfortable feeling raised its head again (although nowhere near as bad).

It was starting to click. I realised the following:

  • The bike is built for speed, the harder you peddle, (pushing a harder gear and not spinning) the more stable you are on the bike and the more stable the bike is.
  • The faster you go on the bike the more stable it is and the more you absorb bumps
  • The position on the bike means you naturally look down at the front wheel and the road immediately ahead of you and not up the road where you are heading. Big mistake.

The last lap was completely different taking all of this onboard. Taking it easy is almost a mistake and the worst thing to do. You need to go hard. The faster you go, the more stable the bike, the more smooth the peddle stroke and the smoother you are on the bike.

Lap 3 was 23 minutes and 32 seconds. I didn’t have neck ache or arse ache or sore shoulders or aching elbows. I felt good.

I did another easy 10 minutes warm down and realised it had actually been raining. That’s how hard I had been concentrating while on the ride.

I am now super keen for next week’s ride, where I plan to ride the TT bike to RP, do some laps and ride back. I will go early so initially there is less traffic on the ride to the park, see how I am progressing by time of the laps and then an easy ride back. If the bike lets me ride back easy!

After next Sunday’s ride I will decide if I ride the Cowman on the TT or the road bike.

Finally, a big shout out to my coach Mark Kleanthous for coming third in his age group at IM 70.3 Staffordshire. 33 consecutive years participating in IM events and taking to the podium is remarkable. A true inspiration.

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Well done Mark.

Thanks for reading.

Err ….. I think …. I might have become … an average runner?

Running has always been my weakness. I said to Mark at the start of Winter 2014 that my focus was improving my running. I am slightly above average at swimming and average on the bike, so no discipline is brilliant, but my running has always my weakness, far behind the other two.

Now, some 30 weeks later, I have just completed my training while on holiday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I have trained a total of 23 and a half hours with almost 11 hours of that running, 12 cycling and one Hot yoga session. I have run 10 out of the 13 days we have been here including double run days, several sets of running off the bike and my longest run was 18K taking around 1hr 45 mins.

In total I have run 102K in the past 13 days.

Now Albuquerque is around 7,700 ft above sea level and over the two weeks the temperature has been around 85 – 90 degrees (Fahrenheit).

Add in my first marathon 8 weeks ago (4 hours 25 mins) and finally getting under 2 hours for my half marathon time (twice) this year – 1.56.20 and 1.57.36 . . . So, all in all, I think I need to redefine my running to being average. BOOM!

I am really happy with what I have achieved in Albuquerque, namely a high volume of training across the two disciplines. There has been no swimming but this isn’t an issue as it isn’t a priority for me. A few open water swim sessions and a few trips to the pool when I am back and I will get my swim fitness back.

Plus, a couple of really good, almost sports massages, while here from Aunt Val have helped a lot, especially as I arrived with a back issue from lifting a heavy suitcase.

Nutrition has been good, as in eating well and not over doing it with the portions. With only one night of drinking, so far.

A very successful bootcamp!

I have my first triathlon of the year in 4 weeks time on the 5th July being the Cowman Middle Distance. I am hoping for an average swim, steady ride learning on the new bike and a strong run. Actually I am hoping for more than that but I am trying to keep my expectations in check!

Over the next four weeks I need to get some serious miles in on the new TT bike to get comfortable with it’s handling and riding position on the road. Since I bought it I have only used it on the turbo. Plus those open water swim sets.

Thanks for reading

ABQ Part 2

Last week’s training was nothing short of awesome.

14 hours of training Monday to Saturday with a rest day on Sunday. The rest day was following a good (and late) night out bowling and drinking Saturday night rather than solely due to fatigue. The 14 hours broken down as 7 and a half hours riding, 1 hour’s Yoga and a whopping 5 hours 40 mins running

The Hot Yoga sorted my back out and it’s been fine since then, unless Aunt Val is reading this and then it’s still bad so I get another massage! The Hot Yoga was good, but I found the heat (and the sweating) quite distracting, trying to stretch while sweat was dribbling in the ears and in my eyes.

The training set out by Mark has been awesome too. Lots of running, usually first thing in the morning, rides later in the day, with another short run off the bike.

But each run session is different. Either a shorter hard run or a longer easier run, or a longish run (circa 60 – 70 mins) with efforts included in it. These are good as they build stamina and with the efforts different each time they make the training fun.

The temperature is rising now. Today’s run was in 90 degrees as I ran at 9.30am. This is OK as it gets me ready for Vichy in August. The rest of the week is forecast at 90 – 95 degrees. Tomorrow’s long run (1 hrs 40 mins) will need to be done early. I plan to leave the house by 7.30am to get the bulk of the run done before it gets really hot. And then cycle late in the afternoon/early evening.

Then Wednesday is the long bike ride – again I am planning on an early start. I have my route sorted for the ride and am looking forward to doing that ride. Still deciding on the route for the long run. Either run to the trail and get a lift back, the trail is where I have been running after being driven there, or run to the Tramway trail and run there. It’s only 3K to the trail so I will run there, run across the trail and run back. But the 3K to the trail is up hill. So it will be a challenging start to the longest run of the holiday. But that’s what I am thinking as my running is improving so much, my running confidence is sky high.

But it’s not all training, lots of rest and recovery in between and refueling. We are just off to Holy Cow for a burger and a thick milk shake. We went there last week and it was such a nice burger we are going back today. We have also done the Dion meatball sandwich, have to go back there too!

Thanks for reading.