Well after an interesting 2009, I have learnt a lot and I’m going to take that into 2010. The main focus of the year in Ironman Switzerland. I want to put in a good solid performance there, and one of my goals of the season is to go sub-11 there, which with some decent training and everything planned, should be easily possible. The other season goal, on the other end of the spectrum is to go sub-1 hour at a sprint, possibly at Fleetwood as it is a quick course and given the shape I was in when I did my 1hr 3 this year, should be easily doable. A sub-hour will also give me a top 10 place overall, the final season goal. Go top-10 at a race.
The objectives of the year, which are going to help me achieve my season goals are:
- Do a training camp
- Run after every long ride
- Join Masters Swim Group
- Start Yoga
More on these later.
The first thing I will look at for next year (mainly as it is the easiest), is my equipment for all 3 sports. In terms of swimming and cycling, I think I am pretty much set. My wetsuit is pretty suited to my needs, and won’t need upgrading for another couple of years when I can actually swim properly.
As much as I would love another bike, and am seriously considering a Specialized Transition, I don’t think I can justify it. Yes it will make me a hell of a lot faster overall (better bike position – more aero, more power and easier to run off the bike, and a better bike – more aero, stiffer etc) and would be lovely for a bit of bike porn, but I would be really scraping the barrel to get the bike I want so I am going to wait another year or two. My bike is great, and I have some awesome wheels and it has the potential for a 5-5:30 ride with proper training. So unless I a) win a bike, or b) win the lottery, I am sticking with my bike. As with everything I go (especially related to triathlon), there won’t be much holding back (to a degree) when I build my bike. Current thoughts are the S-Works transition, which I’ll build myself, with SRAM Red, Zipp Disc and 808 combo, and zipp bars with the RZR shifters for a bit of bling! So I will need to save for that! As nice as a P4/Shiv/anything in that price range, there will be no way I can afford it! But at the moment, I will get much more benefit from spending that kind of money on training.
The one area where I probably will change my kit is running. Recently I have noticed that when I concentrate on my running technique I tend to shift more to mid-foot landing, run a lot lighter and a lot quicker. Given the problem I’ve had with my shins, and my glass knees, this seems like a sensible transition. So recently I have been trying to shift to mid-foot running, with some interesting results. It is a strange change, as you really shorten your stride length, pick you cadence up and land under your body. The results were 2 mins off my 30 min loop, and a lower HR. Admittedly part of this was lack of form for the first run, but not all of it. Although my RPE was quite a bit higher, my HR says I’m working less, so this will even out as I get used to the style. But what has this got to do with equipment! Well, my trainers are coming to the end of their life, and I am considering some Newtons. These will help the shift and are supposed to be pretty comfortable and very different, so I think I will buy some and test them over winter.
I’ll try and make this a bit shorter! My diet has changed dramatically over the last month or so, as I have completed the switch to Paleo. All in all, I am feeling great from it! I think I recover quicker, I am certainly losing weight (especially in my wallet!) and generally feel good. I do need to make my meals a bit more interesting, a fillet of meat/fish and salad just don’t cut it for lunch for me! I need to dig the cook books out and make some sauces! So for the moment, I am going to continue, trying to increase my veg intake as I tolerate it more (I really don’t like my veg!), and try and have as many meals close to exercise to have the excuse of having lots of carbs, which I still miss, especially on light training days when I don’t have any ‘traditional’ carbs!
Now the big one, my training. Originally the plan was to use Joe Friel’s Training Bible, and follow that completely. However, I have been listening to the entire back catalogue of IM Talk (only about a third of the way through!) and have picked up some interesting ideas from them, so for this year, I am going to try some stuff out and mix everything around. Although I was originally planning to put all my plan online, this is taking longer to get together than I thought, and to make look nice! So it will go up in segments! With only one A race next year, planning is a bit easier. So the general outline is from now until the end of January, I am going to do 3 single-sport specific blocks.
So am I know a week in to my run-specific block. I will be running 6 times a week, and just have a couple of swims, bikes, a yoga session and easy weights thrown in. There is a steady progression and increase in load, right up until start of November when I am off to Russia for a few days, so this will be my easy week before my last week of a bit of speed work/taper which culminates in the Preston 10 Mile Road Race on 15th November, where I am hoping to post a decent time. I also happen to have the Tour of the Peaks 96 mile cycle race in a couple of weeks to add a bit of fun in my run block… Not sure how sensible that one is! The focus of this block is to improve my efficiency, form and speed. My endurance is pretty solid, so I won’t be doing too many long runs.
After the 10 miler, I move to a swim block, where I am going to build up to 6 swims a week, with lots and lots of focus on my technique, which is terrible! So I am going to have lots of video analysis, coaching, lessons when I can fit it in, and try and sort out my tumble turns, my breathing, and speed. Hopefully after this block, I will be back to as good as I was before my crash, and hopefully a bit more! I am going to have some work done in an endless pool at TriCentral and some lessons in Fleetwood. I also need to find a Masters Group, as this is the thing that really makes a difference.
That will last until mid December, when I switch to a bike block, where I want to log some serious miles. The good thing is this coincides with the Christmas holiday, so I have some time of work to spend long hours on my bike. The aim of this block is to improve my overall power, which is good generally but I can’t sustain it too much, and to improve my endurance, so I can hold a higher power, for longer and so I can run better off the bike with fresher legs. After every ride over 2 hours I will do at least a short run off the bike, with the odd hour run thrown in. This block will last til the end of January when I go on my first camp of the year. This is a week in Lanzarote with Man Tri, and should be good fun.
I am still undecided on what to do after this, I will have a bit of down time after the camp to recover fully, and then will probably move into another swim block, and switch back to 6 swims a week if I find this works. I will also probably do some speed sessions and sprint tris for a bit of fun to pick up my speed. At 20 weeks out from IMCH, I will start my IM speicifc build up, working on combining all 3 sports and building my endurance. The focus for the disciplines, the swim will focus on technique, the bike on volume, and the run on frequency. As part of my final build, I am planning on doing an Easter training camp with Pyrenees Multisport which is a mini-Epic Camp, which if you know about those, they are tough! This should provide my final push into my build up and set me up in decent shape for my Ironman.
The other area I am improving this year is my injury prevention. With my given record I really need to work on this! To do this I am going to be doing lots of weights, yoga and massage. The weights won’t be too heavy, mainly working on my stabilisers and endurance. Yoga is great for flexibility, relaxing and injury prevention and should be a nice change from usual training. Massage is always good, and in an ideal world I would have it every day, but it is expensive! (So if there are any single ladies out there who are good with their hands…..!) Lots of self massage should help, but when I really start to get stiff, especially when I am doing lots of bike volume, I am going to have to relent and get the knots worked out. Generally, I am going to want one proper massage at least once a month.
All in all it looks like a very exciting year! It should be a year to push me and test me, and barring any potholes(!), it should be a very good year.