Training Blog

Things Don’t Always Go to Plan

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 10,000m
  • Bike: 270km
  • Run: 37km
  • Training Time: 16 hours

IMG_5423It is a week out from the Wollongong and the lead up couldn’t be any different than the lead up to Geelong. The last three weeks since Geelong have been testing to say the least. Following a week of recovery with a few easy sessions I had a solid week trying to get back into the groove. The last week, however, has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.

Monday kicked off with a cracking swim session. I bounced back after missing Sunday’s long ride due to not being 100% and cranked out some great numbers a sprint session. Tuesday’s strength endurance bike session was solid with some big gear hill climbs where I left something in the tank for Tuesday night’s Fartlek set. The fartlek set was a Spot special and I gave it everything I had. I pulled up a little ginger but that is nothing unusual as I tend to bounce back well. We had another sprint session Wednesday morning and I had another really solid day in the pool. I was feeling really strong and thought I was getting back to my best just in time for race day.

I pushed hard again on Thursday’s interval bike session but I just couldn’t quite hit the numbers I was wanted to. It got worse from there. My lingering toe issue had flared up after Tuesday’s run and despite going easy, Thursday’s run session was a struggle. Pushing hard earlier in the week was catching up with me.

Triathlon is a demanding sport. Not only is it very demanding physically but it is equally challenging mentally. Coming off the back of a big race, recovering physically is a no brainer, but getting your mentality right and focused on the next challenge is equally important. I came back from Geelong focused on getting the body ready to go fast at Wollongong, rather than keeping my eye on my longer term goals. Instead of trying to rebuild my base I was ripping in before my body was in the right condition to handle the intensity. To perform at your best you need to be firing both physically and mentally.

IMG_5414So I ended up skipping Friday’s swim set in the hope that the rest would have me back firing on Saturday. Unfortunately, no matter how much I willed my legs to push, I struggled through Saturday’s bike set. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I copped a good dressing down from Spot. While thoroughly deserved, it isn’t always what you want to hear. After a constructive deconstruction of my training since Geelong amongst other things, I came away feeling more optimistic with my long term goal firmly back in focus.

What a difference 24 hours makes. With a fresh mindset I hit Sunday’s 40km TT with a goal to have a solid ride, focusing on the effort rather than the absolute power number I should be hitting. I started out just above half ironman pace and to my surprise I managed to hold my watts from start to finish. It was one of my most consistent rides I have ever done! I even managed to break the hour mark with an average speed of 41.3kmh. Suddenly, I was feeling like everything was falling back in to place. We had a 10km run TT off the bike and given I was still nursing a niggling injury I headed out easy. The longer I ran however, the better I felt, building speed throughout the run effort.

All in all,  its been a pretty crazy week to say the least. I’m thankful I have finished the week in a better physical and more importantly, mental state, ready to finish of preparations for next weekend’s “TRAINING” race! I’m really excited to get to Wollongong as we have a huge contingent from BondiFit heading down. It should be a great weekend!

Strength vs Speed

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 11,000m
  • Bike: 172km
  • Run: 32
  • Training Time: 14 hours

IMG_5392The post Geelong rebuild continued this week with a solid mix of strength and speed training sets. Tuesday’s bike set was Hopetoun hill repeats which is a go to around race time. It is a steady climb which can be quite quick when you have a good crack. It was follow up in the evening with the Mona’s Fartlek run set, aptly named after Steve Moneghetti. After some hill reps to warm up the set was hard efforts with 100% rest. So it if was a 90 second effort it was followed by a 90 second recovery jog. The set was 2×90 seconds, 4×60 seconds, 4×30 seconds and 4×15 seconds. It doesn’t sound too bad but by the end of it, the recovery efforts feel short and the efforts feel really long!

Wednesday’s pool set was a cracker, 5 sets of 6x100m on a descending time repeat. After missing some pool sets during my running recovery week, I dropped back to the medium lane and sat 1 baIMG_5393ck from the front. It was great to swim in control and work on my stroke rather than busting my ass and burying myself just to make the time repeat.

Thursday was back in the park for some speed work with 12km sets building speed. On my first fast lap I managed to match my PB with a 4:54 from flag poles to flag poles around the park. It wasn’t even my intention and I only realised on the home stretch that a sub 5 min lap was on the cards. The second flat out lap was a touch slower and the third was not worth mentioning as I had burned too many matches in the early fast laps. It was back to strength work on Thursday afternoon as we made our way across to the mighty Moore Park hill adjacent to the driving range for some hill repeats. I can tell you, the glutes were really feeling it the next day.

Saturday was the usual brick session, building speed on the bike followed by another fartlek set, this time with some longer intervals. The recovery swim saw the fast crew swim along Bondi Beach from North to South before IMG_5409swimming all the way out to the Shark Buoy for a sticky beak. After the customary photo shoot with Coach Spot, we then headed back to North Bondi. Sunday was a wet one and as I wasn’t feeling 100% I decided to test out my BKool Pro trainer that Bec got me for Christmas.

This thing is amazing. Rather than riding in a virtual world, you can sync your Strava files with Bkool and it recreates the ride for you. So over the last two months I have been saving some of my training sets for an occasion just like this to test them out. After some trial and error I took myself on in a 40km TT. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Plus I recommend that you get a strong fan to put in front of you as cranking the air con right up did little to keep me cool! Definitely going to give it another go next time the weather takes a turn.

Its going to be a big week ahead, getting the body dialled in for Wollongong Olympic Distance Champs next weekend.

Running Recovery

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 3,800m
  • Bike: 141km
  • Run: 37
  • Training Time: 11.5 hours

IMG_5345The week after racing is always interesting. You never know what to expect from your body. Whether or not you blow up during a race goes a long way to determining your recovery time. Fortunately for me I managed to execute my race plan successfully, avoiding blowing up, and came through the race uninjured and in pretty good condition. There was a fair fatigue hangover however, after going into the race a little overcooked, meaning; I wasn’t expecting much from the recovery week.

I kicked off the week in the pool back at BondiFit swim squad headquarters. I had no real intention of making the solid set that was served up, but managed to get through 2,000m before calling it a night. Then I decided sleep was of more importance than riding on Tuesday and opted for a sleep in. With a late night due to a prior work commitment Tuesday, Wednesday morning followed the same pattern.

Thanks again to work, I found myself in Adelaide on Thursday and after a solid day of back to back meetings I got in a nice hot 12km run around the Torren’s, starting slow and building speed. If you are ever over that way I highly recommend it. The legs were feeling fresh to begin with but by the end of the 12km I was ready to call it a day. An unexpected late night meant Friday morning was also a write-off.

Back in Sydney for the weekend and it was time to get back to business with Saturday serving up a long run. One hour out starting at Watson’s Bay, hugging the coast line all the way to Tamarama Surf club and faster back. It was my first time doing this particular section of the coastal track and it sure was hilly! After getting back in 54 minutes we joined the 8am run squad and kept going. A quick loop of South Head and it was back up Watson’s bay hills for some short hill loops at the top. By the time I got back down toIMG_5379 the Watson’s Bay hotel I’d chalked up 25km. Being able to run 37km in a recovery week really surprised me. It goes to show how much running with a higher cadence makes a difference on the body. Usually, I’d still be struggling to walk properly days after the race. The long run was followed-up by the usual Saturday morning surf swim at Bondi, which was just what I needed to cool off.

Sunday was a north side long ride which is always fun. After not riding at all since Geelong I ambitiously aimed for the full 140km. I left from home so I had no option but to go the distance. After heading over the Harbour Bridge in the dark, a couple of us joined the rest of the squad at Collaroy. We then proceeded out to West Head, swinging down through Akuna Bay and up to Duffys Forrest before regrouping. The legs felt alright over the first 30km, then not so good for the next 30km. Luckily things started to improve following the long descent into Akuna Bay and I was back to usual after opening up the throttle on the climb back out. Following the regroup it was a nice easy downhill cruise back to Collaroy before the sun really started heat things up. The final 30km was hot and steamy but made getting home all the more rewarding.

I’m really happy with where I am come the end of the week. I ideally would have liked to get back into consistent training much quicker but my body clearly needed some R&R. I sat down with the Mad Scientist, Coach Spot, this week to map out the upcoming block of training. The focus with be more toward speed, with a plan to race at Wollongong and Nowra Olympic Distance events over the next 10 weeks. I’m really looking forward to mixing it up! Stay tuned

Taper Turbulence

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 10,500m
  • Bike: 60km
  • Run: 10
  • Training Time: 8 hours

IMG_4831Taper week is an interesting one. For some it is a time to relax and recover in the lead up to an event. For others it is a chance to get in some last minute panic training. Sometimes it can be just about completing a few key sessions to keep confidence up. For me, this week was all about survival!

Being my last big build race before my goal race in Cairns in June, the plan this time around was to go in on a short taper. My body tends to bounce back on a short recovery so it is time to test the theory. After two massive days last weekend I hit the pool Monday morning for squad. Monday mornings are usually my sleep in however I had some work commitments in the afternoon so I had to suck it up and drag myself out of bed. It was a tough session but I surprised myself. I finished the session off strong and was looking forward to a few easier sessions over the coming days.

Tuesday morning was the usual strength endurance hill set. The plan was to take it easy and not dig myself a hole 5 days out from race start. As it turned out, there was no risk of me dIMG_4840igging a hole as I found myself deep in one from the get go. Usually when you are fatigued you can ask you body to give you at least one good set or rep. This was a different kind of feeling, I had absolutely nothing. I was well off what I am capable of and felt completely weak. I spent the rest of the day eating like I hadn’t seen food for a week! I hit the afternoons run session feeling far more spritely as a result. The run set consisted of 3x3km building speed and it went remarkably well considering what sort of shape I was in during the morning ride. I figured I just needed some extra fuel and I was back on track.

Oh how I was wrong. Wednesday’s swim was the usual Friday sprint session pulled forward as a large contingent of the swim squad are due to compete tomorrow at the Cole Classic in Manly.  I felt alright in the warm up but when it came time for the efforts I knew I was in trouble. My body was once again failing to respond when asked and I ended up pulling the pin on the set early. After sitting down with Coach Spot to discuss the race plan, we decided it was best to take it easy until Saturday. That meant a full day IMG_4838of Thursday which worked wonders. It was like I’d had a week of during Friday’s pre flight taper swim. After easing into it, I felt strong and full of energy once again.

Finally down in Geelong and the turbulent week continued. Somewhere along the way I managed to pick up the most subtle of rear tire leaks that meant I only made it 20km through test ride around the bike course. Not even the experts at Baretta’s Bike Studio could find it! Nothing a bit of sealant can’t fix however and I was back on the road. With the bike sorted and racked I got a short sharp swim in, felling pretty good once again.

It will be interesting to see how this short taper experiment
goes. Part of me feels like I may have peaked a week early as I still don’t feel as energised as I usually am. Part of me also knows that once that gun goes off tomorrow everything is likely to fall into place. Either way I’m excited to race again and can’t wait to get amongst it tomorrow!

Test Week

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 14,400m
  • Bike: 310km
  • Run: 34km
  • Training Time: 19 hours

After starting to dial it up last week, this week was all about testing to see where I am at, and if all the hard work has paid off. I kicked off the week a little fatigued too so I swum a little easier than usual on Monday and held back a little on Australia Day’s hill repeat brick session. Easing back a little at the start of the week yielded some nice dividends later in the week. I felt back to my usual self for Wednesday’s swim set and was primed to hit the test sessions in the back half of the week with intent.

A sneak peek of things to comeThe inclement weather cleared up and we were presented with beaming sunshine and a truck load of humidity to boot at Thursday afternoon’s run fitness test. The course has been shifted out from 1km to 1.5km which made it all the more challenging. We were to do 4 to 5 sets on a short 200m recovery jog getting faster each lap. Starting at around half marathon pace I opted for a slightly conservative 5:00 pace for the first lap with the aim of getting 15 seconds per KM faster each rep. The 4:45 and 4:30 laps were solid and I still felt ok, even with the humidity, but I knew the real challenge was still to come. There was no shame in failure going into the 4th and 5th set so I pushed a little harder and got through the 4th in 4:13 and wasn’t sure how much I’d have left for the final effort. Despite the energy sapping humidity I got through the final rep in at 3:55, leaving the tank completely empty. It was my best run to date with my improved form holding up well.

Saturday was a little more challenging with a brick test set. This included a 40km time trial bike with 10km tt run. The bike was split into two sections with the first 20km to be at half ironman pace with the final 20km flat out. I had my race set-up and was expecting a positive result utilising my race wheels and aero helmet. I was stoked with the end result, getting through the 40km with a PB which I wasn’t really expecting given that the first 20km was at around 80%. The run TT was a similar format, half marathon pace as opposed to half ironman pace for the first half then flat out for the second. After Thursday’s fitness test I really wanted to The Interviewsee where I was at, so I went out at 4:45 pace for the first half. It felt comfortable but I knew the second half was really going to hurt as the fatigue from the bike TT and humidity started to bite. I went after it and was getting along at a 4:28 pace knowing full well I was pushing my limitations. Sure enough with just over a km to go I blew! I just could not hold onto it. I still managed to limp home for a small negative split. Despite the blow up it was still a great indication of how far I have come and gives me some good insights ahead of next weekend.

Finally, Sunday was a long ride with TT efforts at race pace. The course was around 140km including 80km of efforts at race pace (2x15km and 2x25km). It was a far cry from the 2xflat laps and hill loop from the 40km TT. It took everything I had to get through the entire ride holding race pace for the TT efforts. The rolling hill course was made for a great tune up one week out from race day.

I’m not one for a huge taper and prefer to keep the body active in the week leading up to the race. Saying that, the week will be a combination of solid but not flat out sessions, some easy sets and some short fast stuff to limit fatigue. Now all that is left to do is sit down with the Mad Scientist, Coach Spot, where after a few home truths and a reality check or two, we will devise a race plan for Geelong 70.3.

Dialling It In

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 16,400m
  • Bike: 268km
  • Run: 37km
  • Training Time: 18.5 hours

With only three weeks left till race day it’s time to utilise the base that has been built and start dialling it in for race day. This week’s statistics were similar in volume to the past few weeks however there were some key differences. Needless to say, I finished the week knowing I had dome some solid work. There were two key sessions that were the focus this week and one other that really stood out.

Heading into Wednesday morning’s swim session I was really starting to feel fatigued, as Sunday’s solid long ride was catching up with me. I had planned to drop down a lane and ease it back a bit but thanks to a big turn out I was forced to slug it out in the back of the fast lane. It’s amazing that sometimes when you really feel like you have nothing to give, you turn in a great session. We were doing 3x descending 100s followed by 2 fast 50s with a 200m swim off. I saw the time repeat and knew it would only be a matter of time till I blew up. As it turns out, being fatigued meant my stroke rate remained low and I ended up making not only the first set but all four, even if IMG_4793I had to skip some of the 200m swim off between sets. It really helped me recognise that sometimes when I’m pushing too hard in the pool my stroke rate increases unnecessarily and my technique deteriorates. I took this lesson into Friday’s swim session with fantastic results.

Now the first of the two key sessions this week was Thursday’s bike session. It was a 60km TT building each 20km from 70% to finish at 90%. The kicker was we had to alternate between big gears and regular gears each 10km. After a 15km warm up the first 20km felt fairly pedestrian and it was actually hard to hold back as the legs felt good. Kicking it up gear in the next 20km I started to feel the pinch about 3/4 of the way through and thought I could be in trouble here. As I hit the final 20km I was now solo and pushing hard. Everything suddenly clicked and I was feeling good and the pace felt pretty quick. I finished the final 20km in 29:42 which is as quick as my PB at 100%. The real test will come next Saturday when we line up for the traditional pre race 40km TT which is the last key hit out before race day.

The second key session for the week was Saturday’s long run. I was lIMG_4795ooking forward to it after being excused from Thursday nights hill run session to freshen up. I knew I was going to need the extra rest. The session was split into two with the first half a 90 minute out and back run at a steady pace before we got into some interval work. It was my first long slow run with my new technique so I was interested to see how I would go. The pace was comfortable at around 5:40 and I felt great (aside from my ongoing toe issue which has also improved remarkably). The real test was coming. After returning from the out and back we were straight into a fartlek session. It was a pyramid set, which is hard enough on the best of days let alone after a 90 min warm up run. At the end, it finished up being a 26.5km run in total and I was very happy with the outcome. I finally feel like my run is coming together.

With 2 more weeks left things are really starting to fall into place. Still a few boxes to tick over the next 11 days before a few days taper ahead of race day, but the excitement is building!


Running Riot

This weeks Stats:

  • Swim: 16,000m
  • Bike: 241km
  • Run: 36km
  • Training Time: 18.5 hours

Working on my TechniqueThis we will go down as not only one of the key weeks of this build but potentially the most important of my short triathlon career so far. While I’m not a terrible runner, it is my weakest leg. The additional training volume since taking up triathlon has exposed my sub-optimal running technique which has resulted number of minor injuries and niggles which have stopped me from reaching my potential. That could be about to change. I have been working of my technique with coach Spot for some timer. Despite his guidance I just hadn’t been able to crack the optimal running formula. Like a scene out of Big Bang Theory, one of BondiFit’s more accomplished runners walked into the room at the start of Thursday’s run session and solved my complicated running formula with one observational comment. He didn’t know it at the time but it has made a monumental impact on my running ability.

The subtle change I made to my run technique off the back of his comment saw all the cues Spot has been drilling into me fall into place. All of a sudden I was running much faster than usual, at least 30 seconds per km, at a much higher cadence with much less effort. My heart rate was not impacted at all and I experienced far less fatigue. I could not believe it, how could such a small change have such a big impact. I focused on the change again during Saturday’s run which followed a hill repeat bike session and Early morning rll out with the crewI got the same result. I ran my 3.5km flat lap of the park comfortably and to my surprise managed a 4:25 pace when I would usually be working overtime to break below 5:00 after a hill repeat bike session. It has certainly increase my optimism and belief that I have the potential to reach my triathlon goals.

The other key session for the week was Sunday’s long ride. Instructions were to lead the group to the start of the Royal National Park but once there, Let Rip. The national park from top to bottom is a hard slog at the best of times. I managed to push some handy numbers all the way to Austinmer where we would re-group with the slower riders who entered the park half way down before heading back through the park. The 50km return leg ended up being a solo effort with my time only 1 min 18 seconds behind the out lap. Despite doing limited speed work so far this preparation, I am happy with my ride form for the 90km effort to come in Geelong. That said, it is a much different proposition when all three legs come together.

With only 3 weeks till race day every session counts!