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.

 

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!

 

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

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.