Training Blog

Getting on With It

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 23,000m
  • Bike: 402km
  • Run: 40 km
  • Training Time: 21 hours

IMG_6156It has been a month since my last training blog and there has been plenty going on. At the time of my last post I was a week out from Norwra Oylmpic Distance which was going to be my last race going into Cairns Half Ironman. Unfortunately, my season has been cut short and reaching my goal of qualifying for this years 70.3 World Championships is now out of reach. I saw a specialist the Wednesday leading into Nowra to find out what exactly is going on with my toe and as it turns out, I have been running for the past three months with a torn planta fascia at the base of my second toe. In an attempt to avoid surgery I had an injection the following week and have had my toe taped ever since, leaving me unable to run.

I decided to race in Nowra anyway as I couldn’t do much more damage running a further 10km but fate had a way of intervening twice. First, I lost my spare tyre after hitting a bump on the first lap of the bike leg meaning a flat would mean my day was over. I ended up getting that flat on the second lap, 500m from where I lost my spare. I rolled on the flat tyre and was lucky enough to find it on the side of the road, only for the spare to flat a few hundred metres later.

IMG_6109With the injection out of the way following Nowra I have to wait until the 1st of June before I find out if things are progressing sufficiently to avoid surgery and hopefully get the all clear to start running again. I made the decision to withdraw from Cairns given even if I am cleared, I won’t have the preparation time to get my run to where it needs to be to qualify. Also, with my history of run injuries I am likely to over do it trying, so I took the tough decision to take a step back and focus on the big picture.

With the injection working a treat and the swelling in my foot finally gone after three months I have been back training hard over the last two weeks. Without being able to run, I have increased my focus on the other three triathlon disciplines: Swim, Bike and Nutrition. On the latter I had a visit to my Nutritionist, Kate Johnston of Kore Well-being to dial in my nutrition plan now that I am effectively in my offseason and I have reaped immediate benefits. I have also upped both my swim and bike volume which has actually seen me chalk up more training hours per week over the last two weeks than I was doing when I was still running.

I have added two swim sessions to my program which means I am now swimming over 20km per week. I have already noticed an immediate improvement from the additional swim load, which is no doubt also due to not having hard running sessions the night before my morning swim sets. I have also added additional bike kilometres to my training which has taken my weekly load from 250-300km per week to over 400km each week. While the immediate benefits of the additional bike load has not been as significant, I have seen some improvements and have also been able to adapt to my new TT position much quicker. It is amazing IMG_6157how some small tweaks to you bike position can result in a increase in power output and endurance thanks to improved comfort.

My immediate focus now is to work hard on my swim and bike over the next two months before I take a well earned break. Hopefully,

my toe continues to heal so that I can avoid surgery and get back running before too long. As far as racing goes, the 70.3 worlds on the Sunshine Coast means that there are no more Ironman 70.3 races until late November early December so I have plenty of time to get prepared for my next World Champ Qualifiers to book a spot to Chattanooga Tennessee in 2017. I am also pondering adding another goal to next season which is also exciting. For now, I’m looking forward to seeing how much progress I can make only have to focus on just my swim and bike.

 

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Back in the Groove

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 14,500m
  • Bike: 229km
  • Run: 40 km
  • Training Time: 16.5 hours

IMG_5870After three weeks of travel including 2 countries, 3 states, 6 flights, 8 trains and countless busses, taxis and trams it was good to finally get back in the groove. Traditionally I have found it challenging to train consistently while on the road and out of routine but like everything in life, the more you do it, the better you get. While those three weeks on the road weren’t entirely perfect, I resumed my usual training load in pretty good shape. My only niggle continues to be my toe/fore foot which is still giving me a bit of grief but hopefully the specialist I am due to see this week will shed some light on the situation.

With only a week to go before I take the start line once again, I’m in two minds how I feel about it.

My swim sets this week were pretty solid. Monday night’s set was a little shorter than usual now daylight savings has finished so in the weeks ahead I will be aiming to get in the pool a little earlier to get a few extra kms in. On Wednesdays in recent weeks I have been dropping back a lane and taking turns at leading the lane, rather than sitting at the back of the fast lane barely IMG_5910holding on. I find it makes for a different kind of effort, with it just as challenging even though it is slower as there is no drag. This week however Spot pushed me back up in the fast lane. I feel like my swim is really coming along and while my times aren’t plummeting, my technique is improving and faster times are not too far away. The highlight of the week swim wise however was finally getting back in the ocean after almost a month away from BondiFit Beach!

The bike sets were the most challenging this week as it feels like an eternity since I have done a hard TT session. I missed the usual Thursday session as I was a little under the weather and then I got a new bike fit done on Friday. I was supposed to get my new Ski Tip TT bars fitted, but we ran a little short of time. This made Saturday’s TT intervals even harder than usual as I was coming to grips with a slightly better position. I highly recommend getting fitted for your bike position and re-fitted periodically. We were back in the park Sunday for a monster brick session and I felt much more comfortable, especially with the aero position up front which has meant I am far more stable on the bike and fidget around much less.

IMG_5886Run sessions this week were a bit more of a mixed bag. Aside from the ongoing toe/fore foot niggle, my run is really improving. On Tuesday we had 1km intervals on a 300m float. We were doing them on a new road loop which was really fun. My first two efforts were 3:53 and 3:52 which included an uphill, up wind finish. On the second two we reversed the course and my times came down to 3:46 and 3:44. It feels really good to run fast at the moment, something which hasn’t always been the case. Thursday’s hill run set was also a new road run venue. It was a tough set especially as I ran to and from the set which added a few extra kms. Saturday’s grass hill runs unfortunately aggravated my injury which meant that my two hour run off the bike became a 30 min run on Sunday.

I’m hopeful that I am in good enough condition to turn in a reasonable performance at Nowra next weekend. If anything, I feel a little underdone on the bike but it has traditionally been my strength. If it were a 70.3 I’d be a bit more concerned but with only 40kms to cover lets hope I can find something on the day. This week will be fairly solid with minimal taper. Can’t wait to get into it!

Feeling Inspired

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 9,000m
  • Bike: 117km
  • Run: 22 km
  • Training Time: 10 hours

IMG_5807This week was my final of three back to back travel interrupted weeks of training. This week saw me in Melbourne for the weekend, where I was in the unfamiliar position of being on the other side of the fence, in the role of supporter. I was in Melbourne where my partner Bec was competing in her first powerlifting competition. She is a true inspiration, hitting her PB in two of the three disciplines and going within 1 lift of her PB in the other. For those of you who think you go alright in the gym, she can squad and deadlift more than twice her bodyweight. Try that next time you are doing a strength session.

Playing supporter meant I took the whole weekend off training which I hope will benefit me over the weeks ahead. However, I did still manage to get some training in this week. After getting off the plane from South Korea Tuesday morning, I got in a solid trainer session following a quick stint at work. It was great to flush the legs after spending over 12 hours commuting the night before.

I was back in the pool Wednesday morning and didn’t know what to expect. It was the first time I was in the water in about a week and I was either going to IMG_5730struggle to get the arms going or come out of the blocks firing. Luckily it was the latter. Having a short rest from swimming really freshened me up. I had a very strong session and am feeling really good in the water at present.

Thursday was a very tough day. After not being out on the road for a week I decided to forgo the usual run off the bike following the interval session in the park and opted instead to continue riding. It was really good to get the extra KMs under the belt given I wasn’t going to be riding again until Tuesday. I managed to easily hold half ironman pace for all of the efforts which I was very happy with given how little riding I have been able to do in recent weeks.

Thursday night was the first hit out at our new run venue. Given it was the last evening run before daylight savings finished, coach had us do an out and back from Bronte along the coastal path to Coogee then run faster back. The goal was to run out in 35mins and back in 30mins. That usually means running back at a solid pace. The catch was the run started down hill before hitting the coast, whichIMG_5797 meant an uphill finish. Thanks to some pacing from one of my regular training partners Jase, we got back in just under 29 mins.

Friday was quite fun with the usual sprint session in the morning which was a little more brutal than usual but for some reason I really enjoyed it. After my flight to Melbourne and a couple of meetings I managed to catch up with a client for a quick run. He is a pure runner and the week prior held close to 4min KMs in a 16km charity run, so I knew I was in for some hurt. After a quick warm up, he took me up and down the Yarra and around The Tan at around my half ironman pace. He was happy to chat away while I was just trying to hang on as my legs were still feeling every bit of the uphill return leg from Coogee the night before.

Now back in Sydney I will be aiming to put two solid weeks of training together before heading to Nowra for another training race. After that I will be straight into an 8 week block in the lead up to IM70.3 Cairns which will include running the SMH Half Marathon in Mid May. I’m feeling fresh and ready to get stuck in!

Just Getting It Done

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 9,000m
  • Bike: 150km
  • Run: 35km
  • Training Time: 12 hours

IMG_5580The travel related interruption to my regular routine was much greater this week as I headed offshore to South Korea to attend a wedding. It meant that there was a much bigger focus on training earlier in the week as time constraints limited my ability to train over the long weekend.

The week kicked off in typical fashion with a Monday afternoon pool session. Usually this is more of a recovery set thanks to fatigue from the weekend. I felt surprisingly fresh and felt even better when I hit the water. It was great to finish a Monday night set without having to drag myself out of the pool.

Despite the threat of torrential ran, Tuesday turned out to be a great session. We hit the hills around Vaucluse for alternating hill repeats, pushing hard enough to get the required strength/resistance training done without burning the legs out for what was to follow Tuesday night. The usual post ride roll around the beaches produced absolutely cracking morning shots showing the sunrise trying tIMG_5644o force its way through the horizon. Tuesday night marked the first hit out at our new post daylight savings venue. Due to the upcoming long weekend, we did our usual hill repeat session. After a solid warmup we headed to a relatively short hill between Moore Park Road and Oxford Street. By the end of the 30 mins of hill repeats it fell more like a mountain than a 300m hill!

After another solid pool session Wednesday morning I had to cram Thursday morning’s bike session and Thursday night’s run into a morning brick session. We headed out of the park and did some TT efforts down to LaPerouse, which is far more undulating than the usual Centennial Park efforts. I followed up with a 1 hour run off the bike with a couple of small hills thrown in for good measure.

Friday was a rest day as I spent most of the day in transit to South Korea. After exploring Seoul on Saturday morning, I managed to get a quick treadmill run set in after getting the bullet train down to Ulsan. Trying to play tourist and triathlete at the same time can be a challenge. Sunday morning before the wedding I had IMG_5657a brutal set to do in the hotel gym. The set was 20 mins on the bike, building each 5 minutes followed by a 5 min run on the treadmill. That seemed easy enough until I had to repeat it 5 times! The first set was tough as it was hard just to get the legs moving. Things got better from there until the final set. Fatigue was setting in but I still managed to get through it. I was all set for a 1km test set on the Treadmill Monday morning but the body just wouldn’t co-operate. I’m now back on the train and heading for Seoul for a little more site seeing before heading for the Airport.

I fear the week ahead is going to be difficult with only 2 1/2 days in Sydney before heading down to Melbourne. Balancing the demands of training with travel was never going to be easy but I am enjoying the challenge. The goal is to get through the next week then have a two week mini build into Nowra Olympic Distance, which I will be going into as a training race with no taper.

Running Out of Routine

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 13,500m
  • Bike: 150km
  • Run: 60km
  • Training Time: 15 hours

IMG_5529The first of my three travel interrupted weeks almost went to script. For the first time I managed to stick to my training plan while on the road. Not taking my bike away with me meant that I spent a lot more time running, clocking up a record 60km this week.

This week had run sessions of every extreme. For the first run of the week on Tuesday night, Coach Spot pulled a swifty and surprised us with a sprint set which included 60x100m. After an easy warm up and some extra run throughs to get the legs ready for what was to some, we were taken through how the set would work. We were to split the 60 sprints up into blocks of 10. The rest would get a little longer each set, meaning we were expected to go faster. The first couple of sets, I was clocking times of around 22-24 seconds, which is about 4min pace, so nothing too tough, but the rest was relatively short. In the second and third sets the times started to come down in to the sub 20s. By the fifth set the times were down to 12-18 seconds, which is at, or just under 3min pace, which is getting very quick for me. Bad light meant we cut short the final set but I did manage a 16 second effort to finish off the set.

IMG_5515Thursday’s run set was just as tough. As I had an afternoon flight I had to replace my usual short run off this bike with the Thursday afternoon run set. The set was a 3km warm up, followed by 400m hill repeats with a 2km tempo run and 1km cool down to finish. Sounds simple enough and doing it fresh I’m sure it would be. Doing it after 3km and 5km intervals that included hill finishes and it wasn’t as easy.

Friday’s run efforts were more like commute efforts. Without a car, Spot gave me a mini Run-Swim-Run brick which consisted of a 3.5km run to the local pool, 10x400m intervals with a 3.5km run home. After a long day the previous day, it felt like the session that would never end, especially trying to navigate your way around foreign streets in the dark while it’s raining.

Missing Saturday’s bike set meant I was challenged with my second long run in two weeks. Running has been a struggle for me for at least 18 months until January and the only time I ran past 12-14kms was on race day. The set was pretty straight forward. It was 40 min easy, 30 min faster, 30 min faster again with 20 min easy to IMG_5539finish. Lucky it was easy to start, as the early start meant for the first 4kms I was running using my phone as a torch while looking at the GPS to make sure I was heading in the right direction. I felt pretty good through the first hour and a quarter. The second half of the faster 30 mins was a bit of a test but I managed to get through unscathed.

Sunday’s easy run was just enough for me to click over 60km for the week. Not a big achievement for many, but given the past 18 months I have had regular run injuries and niggles in general, it feel like a nice milestone. The week ahead will be a little more challenging with travel taking me offshore. Increased travel time means I won’t have a lot of spare time available for training, but Spot has made sure I will still get some challenging sessions in. Lucky I love a challenge!

 

Back to Business

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 14,000m
  • Bike: 325km
  • Run: 45km
  • Training Time: 21.5 hours

IMG_5492Celebrations after another successful race down in Wollongong were short lived and training resumed literally straight away. Sundays are usually our long ride day with a 4 to 5 hour ride, with at least a 30 min run off the bike. As the long course athletes who had raced had only ‘trained’ for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, we had to jump back on the bike post race and ride back up to Sydney. Didn’t seem too hard in theory, but theory went out the window the minute we headed off into a stiff head wind. A soul crushing 80kms and 3 1/2 hours later and it was finally time to relax and reflect on the race.

After a celebratory dinner Sunday night, Monday quickly rolled around and I was back in the pool. I was looking forward to an easy recovery session but was sadly disappointed. After Monday’s rough swim session we had a easy spin around the beaches Tuesday morning followed by 2km run efforts in the evening. It was just what the body needed to ease back into the grove ahead of what was to come.

Wednesday morning’s swim set was a cracker with Ex-BondiFit Athlete, now Pro Triathlete, Laura Siddle joining us as a celebrity coach. After our usual warm up and additional pre set warIMG_5500m up to really get the body moving we dived into a set of 18 x 100s. It consisted of one easy, one medium and one hard lap, then repeat. Only each repeat had an additional hard lap. By the fourth repeat we were basically sprinting 4 back to back 100s . It was a real arm burner!

On Thursday morning we were back in the park and Laura joined us as celebrity coach once again. The set was alternating big gears and normal gears at 100% for 2 1/2 laps with a 1/2 lap recovery. The first set was big gears and it was good to be going fast again. The second set was back to normal gears and things went to a whole new level. On the half lap recovery Laura jumped in with our group and really revved us up. We got through the first flying lap in 4:51 which is above 46kmh! With Laura still sitting of my wheel, pushing me along, I managed to hold the same pace for another 3/4 of a lap before a spectacular blow up! Needless to say the next big gear set was a little slower than the first but there was definitely a few lessons learnt throughout the session.

IMG_5503After the fireworks of Thursday morning’s bike set, Thursday night’s hill repeat run session and Friday morning’s sprint swim session were much more routine ahead of what was a pretty big week. Saturday we headed South to Cronulla Beach. The main session was a long run with a twist. It started of with a 6km run south around the coastline and harder back. This was followed by a 3.5km easy run to the Wanda Sand Dunes where the pain was still to come. We were handed down the challenge of three hard efforts up ‘The Mexican’ which is a rather steep 50-60m  dune with a steep 10m kicker at the top! There was plenty of burn in the legs by the end of it. This was followed by a 3.5km race back to South Cronulla Beach. The ocean swim that followed was certainly needed to cool down.

Saturday’s big effort was followed by a the usual long ride, this time down to Austinmer and back, followed by an easy 5km run off the bike. Sounded simple and was quite easy on the legs until we turned for home into another stiff headwind. It finished off what was a rather tough week for a post race week. Granted it was only an olympic distance event compared to a half ironman race, but it was tough nonetheless.

The next three weeks will be harder than usual,   as my usual training schedule will be interrupted by three separate road trips. The foot will need to be kept firmly planted to the floor as I will only have one full weekend of preparation at the end of all the travel before hitting the start line at TriNowra. Can’t wait!

Race Time Again

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 13,800m
  • Bike: 122km
  • Run: 29km
  • Training Time: 12 hours

IMG_5435I can’t believe it is race time again. It feels like Geelong was only a week ago, but tomorrow morning I will be back on the start line for the Australian Standard Distance Championships. The fact that it is the Championships had little to do with me lining up to race again. When I first started racing, I was racing every 4 to 6 weeks but back then my training load was much lower. Coach has me racing a little more to keep the race practice up given the large gap between Geelong and Cairns.

If you had of asked me a week ago how I felt about the upcoming race, the answer would not have been too positive. Following Sunday’s confidence boosting 40km time trial on the bike and easy run, this week couldn’t have gone any better. I got a full week of swimming in with pool sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with an easy surf session for good measure Saturday morning. I still feel strong in the water which helps with confidence leading into the race. The bike sessions have been fairly tame by usual standards, with some sharp efforts in between. After going into Geelong with very tired legs, the longer taper has them feeling great. To dial them in for race day I had a good 20km hit out at Half Ironman Watts this morning with a solid 5km run off the bike at 5 min pace.

IMG_5436It is amazing what a difference a week makes and after feeling very deflated after last Saturday’s bike session, I’m chomping at the bit to get out and have a crack tomorrow. Going down from Half Ironman Distance to Olympic Distance throws up one big dilemma: how hard can I go on the bike and still have enough in the legs to bring it home on the run. Despite feeling very fresh, Spot and I have agreed that it is best to go out a little conservatively and then take it from there. I will be racing another olympic distance event in Nowra in 6 weeks time so this race will give me some good data to work from.

With a large contingent of the BondiFit squad racing this weekend there will be pride on the line. Executing my race plan will be my sole focus but I don’t plan on leaving too much in the tank, even if the coach has us riding back to Sydney after the race. Bec will be providing live updates on Instagram, so if you want to keep up with the action you can follow it there via @davidjflanagan

Fingers crossed I will have a positive race report to share in 24 hours time! Game on!