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!

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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!

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!