And so comes to the end the first part of my training. My first 5 week block has ended and now, off to Russia tomorrow for a few days, means that I will rest for the first time in what seems like AGES! Annoyingly I haven’t got my totals on me, but will put them up when I return. But I know that I have logged some big numbers, far bigger than this time last year.
I have shown improvement in all three sports. My swimming ever since camp, has had a massive improvement. Swimming every day on camp really raised my swimming up and I have managed to keep it up there. I did a 2.5k tt this morning on a whim, when I got to the pool yet, and pulled off a 43.30! Baring in mind when I was mega fit and doing tri club swimming before my crash last year, I did a 48.40, I’m pretty happy with a 5 minute pb! With a bit more work, I should be able to get it down to 40 min comfortably, which sets me up nicely for around an hour in the IM with a wetsuit on!
My cycling has strengthened, and I am definitely feeling better on the bike and lasting longer. Lots of work in the Lake District has improved my strength massively, and as soon as I can afford a compact crank, I should be flying up those hills! Running is much the same, and I am feeling really fluid and efficient and just need to work on building up my endurance with some longer runs.
After my rest, it will be much more of the same, more Lakes training, swimming with lots of interval work over 3k, and increasing my run distance. My weights and yoga have really helped keep any niggles under control, but my weights program changes, to start to work at increasing my power. I have another 5 week block before I take a long rest before I start my main build up.
Whilst I am looking forward to finally getting a bit of rest, with 20 weeks to go, I am loving the training and cannot wait to race!
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!
Apologies this has taken so long to put up, but I was waiting to find out to see if I could have the video of me in the pool. Unfortunately as there are kids in the pool Child Protection Regulations have stopped me from being to upload it.
Anyway, the results. Well I am not as bad a swimmer as I thought! After a warm up and some drills I was given a few pointers to work on and soon I was gliding nicely through the pool. It turns out my catch is actually pretty good, despite what I originally thought and I have a good body position in the water. The similarities between rowing and swimming are amazingly close, and how I didn’t notice it before is beyond me!
The two things I worked on were rolling my body properly and getting full extension of my arms so I had a longer stroke, and to stop my arms from crossing (as ever!). The full extension was easy enough to get, but months of subconscious crossing proved more difficult. The video analysis showed that when I am swimming normally I don’t cross my arms any more and have a nice straight pull. The problem occurs when I take a breath when my limbs go AWOL. My opposite arm follow my body rotation and crosses over the centre line and my legs have a nice quirky flick out the side. To be fair, the leg flick wasn’t actually too bad, but I need to concentrate on the arm. It also explains why I end up veering off course when Open Water swimming as I only breathe on one side. This gives me two things to work on. I need to concentrate on my arm to stop it crossing over, and I also need to work on my bilateral breathing for training, which should just even everything out. It is getting better, I just get tired a lot quicker, so have to save it for easier work and persist.
So I have a few drills to work on, and technique pointers to concentrate on, which should improve my swimming gradually but I need a way to measure it. We did a lot of work on pacing, and experimenting with stroke rate and I ended up swimming with a lower stroke rate, which proved more efficient. We had a bit of a play with stroke golf (where you add time to stroke count, to work out how efficient you are) and found almost flat out with good technique, I am only one number down when I swim at my lower natural rate pushing hard. If I can if I can find a local squad this should improve my speed and I will also invest in some pool tools to speed myself up.
My 100m TT was 1:24 with good technique so I am going to work towards sub 1:20 and do lots of short distance sets (like 20 x 100m on 2:00 mins) to keep my technique. Once I am below 1:20 I can work towards a sub 3-min 200m, and then once I can comfortably do this I can work towards a sub 4:30 300m in a few months and then a sub 6 min 400m. Once I can do this well enough I can increase the distance swam at once, making sure the technique is kept. For a 1:05 hour IM swim I am going to need to be swimming 1:42/100m pace which I can do fine at the moment, I just cant hold it. Once I have picked my speed up I can increase distances working towards my target pace. Obviously the wetsuit will help a lot, but if I can swim a 1:05:00 in the pool then it will be very happy.
So work to do, but a big thanks to Streamlined Swimming and Elliot for an excellent session, highly recommended!
Well, okay, maybe the title is slightly misleading…. but in a slight brag, I got a personal good luck tweet from the one and only Chrissie Wellington! To get a message from somone like her, one of the 8 British World Champion triathletes we have this year is humbling to say the least! Easily the best triathlete this country has at the moment (followed closely by Brownlee, though as Philip Graves has said, an Olympic Distance triathlon isn’t a proper triathlon…) for her sheer dominance in the sport. Unbeaten in Ironmans, Female Iron Distance World Record, Hawaii Course World Record… to not even make the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year is a disgrace, especially if it was truly about personality as well as achievements, as anyone who knows an ounce about Chrissie will testify, she does a lot for the sport, for charity and does she ever stop smiling?!? (Has Andy Murray actually won anything yet? And Ryan Giggs?!?!) Anyway, I am not here to moan about how our minority sport has not made the front page every World Championship we win…
I am hoping that “good luck with training” message I got from her will give me a good kick up the backside. The last few days have resulted in zero training due to a variety of reasons, with doing long hours at work eating up time and sleep, and life in general (well, Christmas celebrations) getting in the way. I just need to get out the door quicker before I get distracted! I have also been hit by a tooth infection, which gave me a bit of a one-sided hamster cheek thing going on and stopped me eating for a while (not good) so have spent a couple of days registering with a dentist, sat in dental emergency waiting rooms and pharmacies. I am now on a course of antibiotics which will sort it, and should help me get rid of the cold I have picked up as my body complains about the lack of sleep. On the plus side, the antibiotics remove any temptation to drink at the multiple Christmas parties I have coming up in the next week, which will make weekend training a bit easier! A week and a half left of work before Christmas before I can get some decent training, sleep and down time with the girlfriend.
It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though. Despite missing a few days of training, my fitness is coming back quite quickly and I am already feeling good on the bike again, and even have my feel coming back in the pool! Running is taking a bit longer with only 1 standalone run a week at the mo, though as I introduce a couple more this will get better.
Tonight I am off for a four hour intensive swim course at Streamlined Swimming over in Fleetwood. Although my swimming is adequate, I am nowhere near the level I was pre-crash, and not near the level I want to be. I am hoping to come in around 1 hour 5-10 for Switzerland (based on my 54 min 3k time trial at my best) and am going to need a lot of work, including getting rid of bad habits and getting more drills to work on my specific weaknesses, which is what I want to achieve from this course. Unfortunately Preston don’t seem to have a Masters Swim group, so I may have to head over to Blackpool or the far side of Preston to the tri club, but I definitely found it made a massive improvement to my swimming when I was with Man Tri. Something to sort out in the new year.
I am hoping to nap a copy of myself swimming from the course tonight, and if I can will put it on youtube, if I’m not too embarassed by it! Will definitely put a post about it up over the next few days.
(In Chrissie Style) Smiles!