Wow it’s been a long time since my last post! In all fairness, I have been burning the candle at both ends a bit! I’ve set up my own web development company (http://www.condondesigns.co.uk – nice little plug there!), which I have been getting sorted, doing some work for that and developing the company website, which has to be a good one! On top of that I am in work doing long hours there as I attempt to build up some time for all my holidays and have a pretty packed training schedule! Anyway, enough whining.
It’s hard to believe that a) 3 weeks have gone, and b) I have only been on the plan for 3 weeks! I have got myself into a nice little routine now, with early morning starts, and double sessions most days. Compared to this time last year, I am logging massive weeks, and with plenty of room to increase it. More importantly I am holding up well doing this! Weights and yoga seem to be holding off any injury (touch wood!) and despite a few niggles, which I think is mainly down to the cold, I feel pretty good. Moving my long run to Wednesday has given me room to either recover properly on Sunday or put in another longish bike, and over the next few months, this should give me the option to do some mega weekends! The only problem I can see is trying to do 3 hour runs having done a swim in the morning and then a full day at work! Thankfully with plenty of time to build up and flexi time, I should be able to juggle it fairly well.
The concentration over the last few weeks has been keeping hold of the good work I did in Lanzarote. And I am pleased to say that thankfully, I seem to have done just that. Whilst I am a bit tired, I still feel good in all 3 sports. My swimming has had the biggest improvement and 3 swims a week have meant that I have lost very little feel since camp. I still feel strong in the water, even when tired and feel my stroke is a lot better. Last week I had one of those moments where it all falls together and it just felt great and I was motoring! And I even managed to throw in some consecutive tumble turns too! Though the direction I tend to push off in is a bit suspect….
Running is a similar story, and I am feeling fluid in my long runs, and just need more work to build my endurance. I have noticed a worrying trend over the last week where my HR has been about 10 beats lower than it should be. Now either I have got extremely fit (unlikely), my strap is too loose (tightening today confirmed that isn’t true) or I am very fatigued. This is possible, and I have also had a big calorie reduction as of late, which I suspect could be playing a part. If it is still like this at the start of my next block then it will need further investigation. The good news is that my times are still pretty much the same, so performance hasn’t dropped.
Cycling has been all about Fred Whitton training. I am doing this with a few guys from work, and it’s fair to say they aren’t as fit as me, so want to view the course first, and are more realistic, so know how hard it is going to be! Either way, it has meant that every Saturday we have/will be nipping to the Lakes to do some recce training, which is a great motivator and help to get me out on some really tough long rides. Though the views are certainly worth the pain:
Anyway here are the totals for weeks 2 and 3
- Swim – 7.5k
- Bike – 147k
- Run – 30.5k
- Swim – 7.5k
- Bike – 148k
- Run – 30.2k
Some nice totals, especially for this early on! A benefit of this increased training, as well as sticking mainly to a Paleo diet, with the odd binge, has been a change in my body shape, but a good one. I have slimmed down considerably, and lost the majority of my winter blubber, and am now close to a good summer shape. I have also lost a lot of excess bulk, mainly thanks to my running, from my shoulders especially. I have an uncanny ability to bulk up when not training properly, be it fat or muscle, but thankfully I find it easy enough to control.
This week is more of the same, building up for a good solid 10 days of training, including a very tough Lakes ride at the weekend. Then next Thursday I am off to Russia to see the girlfriend! This will be the end of 4 and a half weeks of solid training, and will give me a few days off, or a change to recover and enjoy a bit of a life outside tri, before I knuckle down for another solid 5 weeks of training. I won’t see the major benefits of training for another couple of months, but right now I am feeling very good, in very good shape and looking forward to the next 20 weeks before Switzerland!
Well it has begun. 25 weeks of structured, calculated and dedicated training. I put the plan together a while ago, but have been a busy man! As well as being back to work, I am in the process of setting up my own Web Design company to pay a few bills and finance my training lifestyle, and I also had my last weekend with a social life (well out all weekend) before training really ramped up, with 2 friends birthdays and an excursion to the lake district. At least that’s my excuse for taking so long to put this up…
Anyway, the next block of training covers the first 5 weeks up until the 7th March. The last 4 days of that week I am off to Russia to see my girlfriend, so will have a bit of rest from training to recover from the block. For the block, I do yoga on thursday, and will also do 2 weights sessions a week to help with injury prevention and general body conditioning. There are 3 swims a week, 2 interval swims and 1 technical swim, though they will all have technical work in them. I will do 2 long bikes a week, at the weekend each with a short run (for now) afterwards to get used to running off the bike, and there is also a dedicated brick session in the week. I will do my long run mid week, as this allows me to have 2 days where I can spend a lot of time on the bike, which I finds really helps to improve my cycling fitness and to keep me fresher for the run, whilst still having the run to improve my run economy and form. I also have an extra run and extra bike to fill the week in, and to proivde some steady state work, or higher paced work when the time comes.
This is the plan for the next 5 weeks:
As well as putting together the detailed plan for the next 5 weeks, I have also done some rough outlining for the year. As you can see in my Schedule, it is quite a busy year! And more races are still being added, with the most recent the Ribby Hall Triathlon, which was announced yesterday. This is run by the same people who did the old St Annes Triathlon, and Fleetwood Triathlon, which I did last year. Being a similar race, with similar competitors I am hoping to win M20-24 again. It should be a good test of the form anyway.
Putting all the races down that I plan to do, allows me to know which I want my A race to be (IM Switzerland obviously) and to plan the year around it. It allows me to know what period I am in for each week of the training plan, what races I have coming up, what weights periodisation block I am in, and so helps me to plan the training plan. So far I have done up to Switzerland, anything after that will be planned once I have done Switzerland, I am going to have lots of time on my hands after that! This is what it looks like:
I am now in week 2 of the plan, and despite Sunday not happening thanks to going to bed at 6 on Saturday, well Sunday morning, it is nice to be back into things. With the Fred Whitton Challenge in a few months, we have started to scout out the course, doing the first 33 miles of the course on Saturday. It isn’t too bad, though it will be tough. We did the highest climb on the course, Kirkstone Pass, which was fine as it isn’t too steep, but had a 22% long climb on the way back that I ended up walking up half. It is an odd sensation putting everything you have into the pedals, only to have the back wheel lift up off the ground becuase all your weight is so far forward! Was an excellent ride, and the weather was amazing. If it had been 20 degress more, I wouldn’t miss Lanza so much! The course has been broken down into 4 chunks that we can incorporate into looops, so will do these over the next couple of months, as well as the entire course over 2 days at the end of april.
The first week has gone well, and I am really feeling the effects of camp. Although I may only be marginally quicker, if at all, my fitness has been given a great kickstart and I am in a much better place than where I was this time last year. I feel a lot better on the bike, running and especially in the pool. It was also very pleasing to see that when I was doing sets of 100m in the pool, my times have gone from 1:46ish pre-camp, to 1:36 post-camp! Very happy!
Week 1 totals:
Nothing compared to camp, but still massively over this time last year. Still, only 24 weeks to go…
Well it is finally over. After one very long and fantastic week, the 24 of us from Man Tri found ourselves crammed back on a flight home. It was a brilliant camp and thoroughly recommended. It was really nice to have people to train with, to be able to train on decent roads, to have some proper training weather!
My totals for the week were:
- Swim – 11.7k
- Bike – 386.57l
- Run – 57.1k
- Total Time – 27 hours 28 minutes
As you can see, there were some good miles put in, and there was also a lot of intensity that the totals don’t show. A well as the tough rides on the bike thanks to the hills and wind, there were the races, which despite all good intentions all turned out to be full on. It was only the half marathon that I managed to hold back a bit, but even then I was pushing hard.
Obviously the number of hours that I put in was the biggest thing that I was pleased with. I lasted the whole week, only have to cut short one ride due to a niggle. Starting the camp the way I did, (i.e. with very little decent fitness) I was pleased that my body came through the way I expected. I really came into form throughout the week and just got fitter and fitter. I really felt like I could have continued longer than the week, though there were signs of exhaustion rearing their heads.
My swimming came on well, and I really found my feel back in the water, something that I have been lacking for a long time. It was also nice to get some time in wearing my wetsuit, and getting used to it again. Though I do fear that I may need to trade mine in as I have bulked up a bit and it is getting a bit tight around the shoulders, causing premature exhaustion. I also managed to get some good tips, so I have some nice pointers as to where to take my swimming. The main thing is to make sure I extend straight with my arms before the catch, and to keep a high elbow so I don’t slap my forearms on the water, which I have been doing apparently. The facilities there are incredible. As well as the lagoon where you can just jump in a nice large body of water to get some open water swimming in, there is a 50m olympic pool:
The bike was good. I clocked up more volume in a week than I usually do in a month, and with around 25,000 feet of climbing, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Lanzarote is incredible for cycling, with some incredible places to ride. We did most of the IM Bike route with all the major climbs, and it was amazing. One major difference I noticed was the reception from other roads users. Whereas over here, you generally tend to get a honk, two fingers and some abuse, over there you get a honk, cheer and some encouragement! Training with a group again really made a difference, and a lot easier to get out and beast myself with some good attacks and competition. My cycling really on, to the point where on the last day I managed to put in a good tt effort to pull away from the pack on the last ride, after the mini-tri and still felt that I could have done a lot longer.
My running was looking a bit sparse when I put the training pan together, but I still managed a good block of running, and I am feeling a lot more fluid in my running again, much like my swimming. Being able to run every day really allowed it to come on as I ran myself back into fitness. The track session and races allowed some good speed work that with more, will help improve my speed.
Another big bonus was managing to swim, bike and run all the main days, although the totals were slightly lower than I had hoped. Being able to do this every day gave me the biggest improvements.
Without name dropping, the number of top pros we saw there was really inspiring, and really helped motivate the training.
Ok, maybe disappointments is a little strong, but there were a couple of things that if I did the camp again I would change.
The first of these is the swim. I didn’t manage to get a long swim done, and I probably should have done one day. The last day was also a bit of a let down. Although it was great to get out on the last night, it did mean that I didn’t do any training on the last day.
My diet went to pot. Admittedly, with all the training I was doing, I needed my carbs. But 3 lots of ice cream a day towards the end was a bit excessive. I also noticed that I really wasn’t getting enough protein in, with was hampering my recovery, so will need to look at this for the future. Nutrients were lacking a lot as well. Although this doesn’t matter for a week, if I was to keep this up, I would need to get them in for it to be sustainable.
With my current fitness levels, there was no way for me to get the gym and yoga in and still train. If I went again, it would hopefully be with a higher level of fitness that would allow me to sustain this. Missing out on the gym, not just over camp has meant that my knee has weakened, so after the half marathon, the old hamstring/back of the knee injury flared up again. I managed to keep it under control, but if I kept up my exercises and stretches, I think this would have been stopped.
Overall though, it was fantastic. It’s just a shame I am in Russia for the Malaga camp, otherwise I would be straight on that! For now, I am back to potholes, training alone, and bad weather. Boo.
PS You should be able to view all my photos from camp on my Facebook page (even if you don’t have it)