I started this blog in 2010 when there were 11 weeks to go before my next Ironman triathlon. People have found it interesting (mainly my Mum!) so I continue to write.
The Ironman is a long distance triathlon; Swim 2.4miles, Cycle 112miles, Run 26.2 miles (marathon). I have competed in one every year since 2004. I hope this blog can help others see what is involved. I find the process of writing it makes me more accountable and motivates me to do the harder sessions when i'm not feeling like it!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Thoughts about it all

I'm really pleased with that swim - have been trying to work out what was responsible. I think mainly the interval training. This is the first year I have done this, and using the wetronome http://www.wetronome.com/ was instrumental. Also the single arm drill that I have only recently learnt made a big difference.
At present I think I would just continue to do those two things as they are far from reaching a plateau.

Again really pleased with this - the plan of having as little as possible to put on, just grabbing the stuff and going, worked well. This was the first year that I took the wetsuit off quickly - mainly just rolling it down as far as it will go before trying to step out of it. Liked leaving the hat and goggles in the sleeve - nice touch.

Here is where all the improvements need to be made.
1. Putting gloves on whilst on the bike played a big part in the crash - either no gloves next time, or need to put them on in transition.
2. Various equipment problems and bike set up - this can all be solved by getting out on the roads for a good month before the race. This year I favoured the indoor turbo a bit too much. Maybe a good compromise would be to do some normal time trials.
3. For a very technical course like this it's an absolute necessity to go up and ride the course before hand (I could also see if the road bike would have been any better)
4. It felt like leg strength was a limiter here - I haven't done any weights for cycling before (all the studies are fairly inconclusive - riding more seems to be the solution) so will plan to work on this.
5. Bike fit - I now know most of the principles so need to make all the adjustments and play around in the off season. It's far too easy to leave this till it's too late. It was ridiculous to be doing this so close to the race.
6. If I'm really serious about delivering a good bike split I need to think about getting a power meter - these are not cheap - between £1000-£2000. I'll do some research, quite hard to justify. I have just heard about something that could revolutionise this area that is due out this year - http://www.metrigear.com/ this may put all the others out of business.
7. Fueling on the bike - I was over ambitious this time. Would drop it by 20%. You can always get more from the aid stations if it goes well. I didn't like to consume these amounts whilst training (not great for the teeth!) so was a bit in the dark.
8. I became a bit too obsessed with aerodynamics - Part of me thinks there is a bit of a conspiracy with the manufacturers to get us to buy the latest stuff. The time spent thinking about it would be better spent cycling.
9. The turbo sessions;
They became too long - I need to keep these to under an hour to prevent getting mentally stale.
It was difficult to see how they translated to the road - I think the best ones to keep doing are the shorter lower cadence intervals (strength)
10. Haven't written anywhere else but there were a few near crashes with other cyclists doing strange things in the road ahead - probably need to get a break on the aerobars too (think it's called a splitter)

Two things here, continue with the technique coaching, and more running in the running flats/barefoot to get the lower legs stronger. Knowing the pace was the key here and the garmin made this possible.

This can always be better - early nights! I don't think it's that essential to eat loads unless you've done a mega session or are planning to do another quality session within 24hrs.
It's to be expected but I have quite a few asymmetries in terms of flexibility and strength - I need to work slowly in the right direction on these.

Overall - (after the long break) continue what I'm doing and work on the bike.

I'll keep the blog going and especially want to complete all the sections on the science behind endurance physiology etc. I have been thinking the 11 week concept is a good one. In the coming year 8 weeks off would leave 44. First 11 to work on the limiters, 2nd 11 for base training, 3rd 11 for building, final 11 as before. Will see if I'm as keen in 8 weeks time - there's a lot I want to do at work and the family deserves some pay back, they've been brilliant - a lot can change.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Race report
(hope not too boring/grammatically bad for anyone reading, need to get all this down while it's fresh so I can learn for next time, after a very long break!)

Woke at 4am. Breakfast; porridge. Left hotel for 4.30 got to T1 for 5am.

Wearing tri shorts and top under clothes with white transition bag with swim kit and another bag with all the stuff to put on the bike - shoes/elastic bands, garmin, aero bottle with drink, tool kit, gloves. Track pump.

Most people make the adjustments to the bike and then get into their wetsuits. A few put them on first thing - long time to have it on though. Mistake I've made a few times is to get it on and then realise I've forgotten the heart rate monitor strap. Anyway all fine and for the first time shorts weren't rolled up under the wet suit. Pumped tyres up and was ready to go. Usually drink High 5 xtreme carbs from now as it's got 150mg of caffeine in it and certainly wakes you up!

The sound of a tyre exploding was a little disconcerting - no one knew who was going to get out of the swim to that.

Not much time to figure out where to position myself at the swim start. Eventually was about 5 people back and everyone was suddenly going. I just followed in the washing machine for quite a while. The plan had been to go for it at the start, get in a good position and then ease off - that didn't happen. Spent the first 5 minutes avoiding blows from the other swimmers. For once I was certain I was swimming straight whilst all around me were swimming all over the place - main task was to do my own thing and wait till it sorted itself out. Ella had come up with the plan of concentrating on one technique aspect until each turn - so the first thing was to blow out continually whilst under water - this stops you getting panicked and short of breath - it worked well. Second thing was to count every ten strokes and then look up - seemed to be going straight. Third thing was to concentrate on that early vertical forearm. Lastly tried to emphasise the stroke right to the exit of the hand from the water. Felt a little fatigue for the last 200m or so but otherwise good.

Didn't know how I'd done. A few friends and Ella were shouting "great swim". Last year was 1.16 and my best ever when I worked much harder than this was 1.06. Asked the first bloke I met on the bike -who said we'd done something like 58mins! Couldn't believe it.

T1 - remembered to take googles and hat off and leave them in the sleeve. Helmet on, number belt on grabbed gels etc and on to bike. Managed the shoes on bike affair despite being fairly new to it.

Bike http://connect.garmin.com/splits/43047164
Then the problems hit, all to do with the gloves - on glove blew away so I went back for it, then tried to put them on - didn't see the sleeping policeman hit it hard and went over the top of the bike. Tool kit skittered off down the road, big graze to arm, knee and ankle. Gear shifters bent, aerobars angled down now. Picked myself up and carried on - confidence really shaken so just took it steady and surveyed the damage. Luckily the bike seemed OK mechanically (gear shifters bent back and still worked). Looked down at my leg - couldn't believe all the blood and grazing as couldn't feel a thing - I think there was a lot of adrenaline involved. I just remember thinking that's going to sting in the bath tonight.

Next problem - aero bottle started playing up, I'll spare you most of the details. Tried to tape it down whilst moving but after a while thought better of it as the chances of crashing would be too high. About 20 people passed during all this - it didn't bother me too much at the time but looking back the whole "if only" starts up.

The bike course is very technical - lots of bends and shallow hills that if you take them just right can save you a lot of time. I was far too nervous to do this and was on the breaks all the time, only by the third final lap did it all come good, my confidence returned and I rode it as I would have liked to from the start.

Couple of other problems
All the climbing meant the saddle started to point up. Need to really secure this well.
Couldn't tolerate as much carbohydrate as I forced down - had good going stomach ache till last half of the marathon
Hamstrings protested a lot, eventually figured out this was due to being too far back on the saddle which put them on a stretch. Felt great when I moved further forwards on the saddle - more modification of position needed. This may have been related to the saddle pointing up as well.
Looking at the heart rate data, I backed off a bit too much. I was aiming for an average around 140bpm for the bike but was way below this. Would love to know how I would have fared on a normal road bike, I could have climbed better etc, May warrant a trip up there in the future to settle that score.

Pretty amazing to come into there with virtually no one around, makes you think you haven't counted the laps properly! Almost forgot to get out of the shoes and leave them on the bike. It's very easy to sit and take your time. Found myself putting my watch on etc when all this was meant to be done on the move but pretty happy.

Run http://connect.garmin.com/activity/43047170
First part of the run took us into the woods, very muddy. I was glad I wasn't going up here after a thousand other people had made it even worse. Heard some shouts saying great running James, it didn't even register - in a world of my own. It was only on doubling back when I realised it was my friend Ben - thanks for the support. Stomach ache was still there - I was working on the premise that this was due to the high concentration of carbs still sitting in my stomach so planned to get as much water down me to dilute that and get my stomach emptying again.
So there was a choice here, run at the pace you'd like to average for the whole marathon. This means going slower than you feel like, the adrenaline would go down and the stomach would empty. Or because you feel good run fast and hope it gets better. I chose the later 4.10 - 4.30 min/km pace. Managed to keep a good pace for the first third and then started to slow a little - gradually I changed my goal to average 5.00/km which I knew would give me a 3.20marathon. Had three toilet stops in all - really gutting to see the people you passed then pass you.
Decided to take it relatively easy until the last turn around and last third run back into Bolton, lifted the pace again and tried to stay below 5.00 as much as possible. I had decided to take my speed and distance from the footpod on the trainer as the GPS can be a fairly inaccurate suddenly saying 2.00 and then the next minute 6.00.
Carried a running drink bottle about half of the way, eventually ditching it when I realised I couldn't stomach it and it was starting to annoy me. Had to settle for Coke and water at the aid stations (water over the head every time as well) - I have never been able to manage with these cups they give you but did a lot better this time (even if a lot went down the front). Don't think I'll bother with the running bottle again. Did manage a couple of gels (mainly for the caffeine) but was right on the edge with the stomach.
A couple of paracetamol and codeine also seemed to help (could have easily been placebo though)
2km from the end I heard someone working hard behind me - he said "were going to have to work really hard if we're to break 10.30" and the race was on! Went up to 4.00min/km, he overtook me running down the hill into Bolton (I'm not great at running down hill) We then fought it out over the last km with a sprint finish. I was told the finish would probably get on TV - who knows? it was great to be able to finish strong except part of you thinks if there was more left could you have pushed more.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Race day


44th overall (out of about 1200), time 10hrs 22mins 39sec

Swim 59m 52s
Transition 1# 1m 2s
Bike 6h 01m 32s
Transition 2# 2m 17s
Run 3h 16m 27s

If you would like to donate George's charity please go to  http://www.justgiving.com/drmoon

Cycle: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/43047164
Run: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/43047170 (was using the "foot pod" for distance which has under read a little - mainly on the downhills)

Pleased with that, had crash on the bike right at the beginning so didn't get anywhere near the 5hr30 I thought I would get. Really happy with the swim - beat last year by about 15mins. I'll be in the 40-45 year age group next year and that time would have qualified me for the world championships in Hawaii.

Everyone nervous in anticipation of the swim

Swim start

 Finish bike leg (T2) these are the "bike catchers"



Saturday, 31 July 2010

Registration; racking bike, giving in transition bags.

Last minute messing around with bike - would like to avoid this next time.
Very easy 15 min run.
Checking into hotel etc,

Don't know where the day went, it's an admin epic.

Friday, 30 July 2010


Took George to Grosvenor park in Chester to see Thomas The Tank Engine

Rest of day - change tyres on bike, put gamin sensor on bike; decided it would be good to know how fast i'm pedaling. Think it's also better to go by this rather than gps which at any one point in time may not show your speed etc that accurately.


Thursday, 29 July 2010

Light cycling 1 hour

Plan was swim as well but not enough time.
Packed car and drove up to Mum's. Thank god for the roof box as we have a little less space than were used too. In the past it's been good to have a box each for the swim cycle and run but luxuries now.

Not home till 2.30am, wouldn't like to be doing this a day later.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Programme said 50km - did around half that - no more changes to the bike now!


2km easy with 8 x 1min at race pace

Starting to pack. I'm glad I wrote that list about "transition bags" now - will just check everything off there.

No breaks at work and have long day tomorrow which I wasn't expecting so need early night.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Turbo 1.5 hrs easy. With 12 x 30 sec at 40km pace at 110rpm on 2.5mins recovery
Run - 45mins off bike easy. With 6-7 x 60sec at 10km race pace on 1min recovery

Right foot felt much better, so debate in my head is whether to go with the "racing flats" or the trainers I normally use.
Bike position still can't get right - i'm starting to think it may just be necessary to warm up into it and I shouldn't expect to feel comfortable at the start.
It's slightly frustrating to be this close and still have some decisions that are up in the air - think I have to accept this, there will always be more that can be done.

Sunday, 25 July 2010



Turbo 2.5 hrs with 5 x 4km at threshold on same time recovery (done as 250W x 6min at 90rpm)
Run off bike - 13km at IMP

Felt great on the run so went a bit too fast - if i'm lucky enough to feel like this next Sunday I need to really work on the discipline to slow down - i'd be paying later if I don't, it"s a long way. My absolute ceiling must be 4min/km but really want to be well away from this. The foot was painful - tried a corn plaster! to "off load it"

That's where the turbo gets done. 
Position wise could be moved forwards a bit more and up on the saddle but only possible to do that slowly - aim would be to make more of a right angle at the elbow. 

Plan for week
Mon: Rest
Tue: 1.5hrs easy aerobic bike with 12x 30sec surges Run 45 min with 6-7 surges, swim 1-2km easy
Wed: Cycle 50km easy Swim 2km easy
Thur: cycle 40mins easy just trace pedals run - 25min v. easy swim 1km just roll arms over
Fri: Rest
Sat: 20km slow ride Swim 10-15min easy
Sun: Race

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Was meant to do 15km easy run today - managed 6km but felt sick + headache - could be what Ella has been having so called it a day and played it safe - more important to do Sunday's 2hour turbo 1hour run.

Took george for disabled swim session in morning. Had sports massage in the afternoon - fell asleep again. Picnic with NCT (national childbirth trust) friends in afternoon - not allowed to eat any nice stuff!

Friday, 23 July 2010


Warm up 800m
5 x 100m build to IMP (50sec rest)
Main set 6 x 150m at IMP (25sec rest)
5 x 100m pull

Small run to see how foot was - seems ok, a little tender.

Great news from work - rostered off for the Friday next week (thanks Phil). We were all dreading going up late Friday night - 2 children small car etc, then rushing around on the Saturday getting the bike racked without time to catch my breath. Studies have shown that the quality of sleep the 2 nights before the race is what is important - so the Friday night before a Sunday race. Poor sleep on the Saturday and a very early start doesn't seem to impact - well not until Monday.

Watched the Tour de France today - they said the riders were going along at 70km/hr at 500watts - amazing. Rest of my time reading up for potential job interview - the boy's grandparents are being life savers. Oh and the life gaurds who look after my mobile phone at the pool as am on call all weekend. This is turning into a real team effort - Thank you.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


threshold set>
400 easy,
6x 50 as eh/he/hh x2,e=easy h=hard
4x {5x 100m on 10sec rest} @ threshold pace have -3mins
recovery between each set -set #3 and #4 with paddles,
3x 200 on 30sec rest easy catchup with pull buoy..

Feeling a bit dodgy today – Ella has had D&V for the past couple of days and had to take over from someone at work who had similar on Tuesday – have been trying to avoid anyone with a cold. I guess more will be revealed, will probably back off a bit.

Saw chiropodist to sort out foot - risky as unknown territory, having a someone wave a knife around near your foot was interesting. Think he was a little over zealous and now have a sore spot - have to hope it works out. Was meant to do a run but will skip it today. I received loads of replys from people at the serpentine running club www.serpentine.org.uk all recommended the chiropodist route.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Warm up 20min Z1, 10min Z2 5min Z2-3
Set 4 x 5km on 4min recovery at olympic distance pace/AT cadence 95-100rpm
Warm down 1hour Z1


Run 10km easy aerobic off bike.

- the turbo was hard++, music on for the last set had miraculous effect at removing fatigue
- run was good except doubtful can do marathon in the lighter trainers as pretty painful left forefoot in a blister type way, otherwise good.

again changed position - left leg had ache in lateral thigh decided this was best addressed by moving foot out a little. It worked well. Annoying to have to keep making these changes but on a positive think I now deserve a PhD in bike fitting.

Had a good look at foot - sorry for details! - but there is a big area of dry thick skin there which will definitely lead to a big blister if I don't sort it out. Have sent out a message to my running clubs email forum to see what they come up with. My gut instinct is to file it off - but how much is too much? etc, I thought tough skin was good.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Turbo Run Brick
5 mins 85rpm zone 1
5 mins 90rpm zone 2
5 mins 95rpm zone 3
set - 12 x 30 sec on 2min at 110+ rpm - aim to maintain smooth stroke, heart rate will lag efforts as not long.
5mins 85rpm zone 1

Run of bike 15-18km aerobic with 4-5 x 3mins on 90sec recovery at 10km pace.

I have always found these faster cadence sessions work wonders for the bike, think the key is to stop bouncing around. Also a subtle way to show you that you can put a lot of work down if you take the cadence up.
Still not 100% happy with bike position am starting to feel like the princess and the pea

Run- went to Battersea track and did the efforts as 5x(3min for 800m with 400m jog recovery). Also used this as chance to calibrate the foot pod on the garmin.

Tomorrow say's 2hr bike 10km run, AT (anaerobic threshold swim)
although off from work have to go in to have a dry run of some teaching i'm doing, electricity board coming to house, and Ella has a GP partners meeting! may have to swap it for another day?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Swim drill 1.5km
Mainly single arm up (25m) other arm back (25m)
Finding this new drill really useful. Only problem is when you go back to normal 2 arm swimming it's hard to hold on to the technique - guess it will come with time.

I've added a few youtube videos of swim drills in the drills link above.

Nearly didn't happen as colleague felt very unwell last night so had to pick George up drop him home and go back into work. Did the last case and just had time to get to the pool for half an hour. Also now on call for the night.

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Run 80mins
New trainers - asics ds racers - maybe pushing it on the lighter less support option but have been making the move over the last year in this direction, will see how it goes.

Rest of day spent tidying up job application and a cardiac department BBQ.

Added a few things in the drills section, also a bit about pace here

Heard a good rule last night about what pace to go at.
For ironman, look at your heart rate or power for a half ironman race, find the average - this should be your ceiling during the race, ease off if you start hitting this (should be 73%FTP)
Similarly for a half ironman do the same with your olympic race average etc,

I had decided that my heart rate ceiling should be 144 from the turbo. Looking at the half ironman data the average is 143 so i'm sold on this.

Never hit your Vo2 max power/heart rate in the race.
Professional cyclists visualise the race as having a box of matches, and every sprint/chase/blast up a hill burns a match. They know how many matches they have in "their" box and aim to finish with at least 1 or 2 matches left. When they have run out of matches they sit in the pack and pray no one attacks. This is what is going on in the tour de france. With ironman you want to get off the bike with a FULL box of matches.
- I have never managed to ride this intelligently - it means; back off on hills, don't chase people, use whatever easy periods you can get (coasting etc), apply your effort to where you get the maximum reward i.e. no point bombing down hill for and extra 2miles an hour which costs a lot and delivers little extra. The power profiles of tour de france riders (hard to get hold of as they are very secretive) shows the winners cycle the least!!! conceptually that is very hard to get your head around.

This all sounds great but i've yet to be so mechanical, I need to read this the day before.

Plan for the week

Mon: Swim - drill
Tue: Brick - high cadence adaptation turbo, Run 15km with 5x3min 10km pace
Wed: Brick 2hrs bike with 4x5km at olympic pace, Run easy 10km, (swim threshold)
Thur: Run 12km with 10x60sec 10km pace
Fri: Swim 3.3km with 1.7km race pace as intervals
Sat: Run easy pace 15km
Sun: Brick, bike 90km easy with 5x4km at low threshold Run, 13km IMP (comfortable pace not too hard), optional swim 1-2km easy pull.

This is what the coach said about this week;

Here's the whole taper. I think this is the best option for getting you to the line in good shape while being fresh at the same time.
Tried to cover everything and I am confident that if you lay it down you'll have a good race so don't be afraid to let fly this time - you should have enough in the tank to come back even if you get into trouble - be confident that you've done enough to reach a bit further down than normal but of course don't blow either.
Work on your mind in the taper - no seriously - just try to get into a calm state of mind and be open to all possibilities in the race and before hand. It's better to have a still mind that is blank rather than a negative one, take a leaf from the buddest book and meditate.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Friday, 16 July 2010

Cycle 130km
Strictly zone 1. Did this before breakfast - have taken on a lot of sports drink with the sessions recently so wanted to see whether my fat burning was still up to it. Surprising but managed the complete cycle without taking on any fuel and felt absolutely fine.


Rationale behind this - fasting so no insulin (storage hormone) exercising so adrenaline (fat burning) low intensity (carbohydrate sparing, ratio of fat to carbohydrate used relatively high - will write about this soon). On the bike so low impact (less likelihood of injury compared to running with no fuel).

This was the first time on the road for a few weeks -
1. Practiced getting on the bike with the shoes already on it
2. Managed to stay in the aero position for the entire duration.
3. Played around with position - mm here and there. As before right leg likes the seat up and left leg likes it down - tried to get round this by compromising on saddle height, removing a wedge from the right cleat and moving right cleat back (foot forwards)
4. Did have concerns about the triathlon shorts as previously I have always worn proper cycling shorts for the padding - triathlon shorts were fine - main reason is it's always a pain changing shorts as there is no nudity allowed in transition.

Kept to the programme and Ran off bike;
Incorporate 7 x 2min at 10km pace/anaerobic threshold on 2mins recovery. "Main priority leg turnover with good form, don't flail"
20min warm down.


Got a new gadget today - a little foot pod that goes on your laces and tells you your strides per minute - it was half price and I was curious to see where I was - apparently about 90/min is good but this will vary with your build etc, anyway another number to look at / help the psychology?

Evening - Swim, threshold
400m warm up
8 x 50m on 1min as hard 25 easy 25
10 x 200m on 1min keep in comfortable-uncomfortable range. Try and hold high speed, 1-5 free 6-10 pull and paddles
4 x 100 2arm drill

Managed to do this but ran out of time to do the last drill set

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Programme today says "optional 2hr easy aerobic ride- stay in zone 1"
Haven't decided whether to do it or not.

Decided to go for the early night. Did a bit of stretching and some core work.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Swim - Drill

400m easy warm up
9 x 100m on 20sec rest as catch up down easy free back
200 easy free
10 x 50m on 20sec as 1 arm drill; right arm 25m left arm 25m
200 easy catch up with buoy
6 x 50m on 20sec as 1 arm drill; right arm 25m left arm 25m

Enjoyed this after the endless pool session a little while ago. The penny is starting to drop about the catch. It was interesting to see where asymmetries in my stroke are with the one arm drill. For some reason I was drifting to the right when swimming with both arms but going off to the the left when swimming with the left arm only, and managing to go straight when just using the right. Will try and figure that one out. I can now appreciate doing these drills is the only way to move towards a better stroke.

Turbo/Run Brick

Warm up Zone 1 10mins
5 mins move through Zone 2-3
Set 5 x 5mins on 90sec recovery in Zone 4 (lactate threshold) at 95-105rpm
Warm down Zone 1-2 5 mins

Run off bike - incorporate 4 x 4 min at mid threshold (zone 4)
Warm down 15 mins easy jog/walk


- sticking to the programme to the letter - a different intensity this week compared to the last 8 weeks so quite taxing. It teaches you quite a bit about your technique to up the intensity as it all starts falling apart!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


cadence/heart rate pyramid
5mins @ 124bpm - 85rpm,
10mins @ 130bpm - 90rpm,
10mins @ 130-136bpm - 95rpm
10mins @ 136-140bpm - 100rpm
20mins @ 140-147bpm - 105rpm -THIS IS STILL AEROBIC-
10mins @ 124-130bpm -90rpm

Had to split the 20min block into 10/5/5 mins


Surprisingly hard session - although aerobic, the higher cadence made it tough.
Raised the saddle a couple of mm as wearing less padded shorts now - ouch!
Think the principle of this session is "neuromuscular adaptation" your synapses can get used to firing at a particular frequency and these sessions can shake all that up. It's also a good at demonstrating how little pressure you have to put on the pedals to push them round and if you can get it right you can produce a lot of watts (which I couldn't!)

Tough to do after a 7am-7pm day at work.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Taper week 1 of 3

Swim (anaerobic set);
400 warm up
8x50m on 1min as 25m hard 25m easy
4x50m on 1min as 25m sprint 25m float easy to wall
200m easy with pull
4x50m on 1min as 25m easy 25m sprint
300m easy with pull
4x50m on 1min as 25m sprint 25m float
200m easy with pull then out

Seemed to go ok no fracas

Plan this week is
Mon; Swim sprints
Tue; 65min high cadence turbo
Wed; Turbo/Run brick
Thur; 2hr recovery ride
Fri; 130km aerobic bike+Run with 7x2min 10km pace intervals & swim
Sat: Rest
Sun: 1hr run

Here's what the coach said in 2004;
Have cut the mileage back and the focus is on the threshold sessions to bring you up so don't go anywhere near grey area on the long sessions - keep the chi in supply for the (AT) sessions in other words -really light on longer sessions.
Don't worry about the reduction in key session miles -you've got enough in the bank now to take you through till Christmas so I'm sure you'll make it to APRIL 7 in good shape -should be in better shape than you have all year if you maximise this taper.
Don't think that you will be feeling good after this week because the
intensity is up and it's my experience you could be in for a little turbulence in the first 10 days so don't be surprised as we back off if you feel a bit second hand -it's normal.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


Brick - Turbo Run

6hour turbo
1 hour warm up
3hr 30 main set; 3 x 57 min at 220W 90rpm on 7min recovery
2 hour cool down

Run off bike;
15km at IMP with middle 5km at track for pace judgment


Really pleased to get this session in the bank. This programme which i've followed for all my races is based around this type of session. Every week the bike gets a little harder either by duration or the intervals as does the run. Three weeks out this is the hardest. There have been years when i've not been able to train as well but i've always done this session.

The biggest change this year has been moving from the road to the turbo. Previously I would do laps of Richmond park adding an extra one on every week ending up with a session like this.

The turbo this year has enabled me to do more focused sessions without stopping for traffic, water etc, Its also allowed me to play about with the position and at least be around the house. Tried to do a few transition type things, putting the shoes on with them already on the bike - need a bit more practice. Will be keen to get the road skills back though.

Main triumph today though was keeping the aero position for all three intervals - did 10mins on 2mins off. Only got a heart rate increase of a couple of beats for this so very happy. I was able to do this because found that I had my aerobar pads set up all wrong. When I went for that fitting the bloke said- "that's funny it's the first time i've seen the pads lower than the handlebar" I thought nothing of it at the time. Today I moved them so they are where they are meant to be - at least 2cm higher. Not sure what to think about that - when I paid for the set up you expect those sort of things to be covered. Having said that he's not going to  know all the ins and outs of every type there is. Main thing it's taught me is I have to keep asking questions - "do you think they are set up wrong then?, I was just guessing when I put them on" etc,
- no wonder the heart rate jumped up - I was bent double. If I hadn't done this training on the turbo I am sure I would have never thought of looking at that.

Didn't press start on the garmin for the turbo so no bike data. Heart rate started at low 130's and steadily climbed through the morning to end at mid 140's for the last set. I was wondering how many watts to go for. A couple of weeks ago 225W for 40min was plenty so went for 220W with the plan of knocking 5 off each set. Managed to stay with the 220W for all three.
- Good lesson from today; not going out too fast. If the plan is to maintain an even power throughout then the first hour has got to feel comfortable or your going to slow down a lot in the last third.

Enjoyed the run - stuck right on the pace after the lessons from last week. Need to take feeling good maybe as a cue to take on food rather than to go faster. Painful left forefoot towards end - will see what happens there.

Sorry if a bit long winded - a big day with a fair bit of stuff I needed to get down.

Whoohoo - let the taper begin!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Swim 2.5km

Warm up
Approx. 8 x 100m at 1m/s on 25sec
Warm down
Aim was to do 200m intervals but falling off the pace at 100m
Trying to correct the right arm but really need to do more drill to hit this

Also, the police had to move someone who wouldn't get out of the fast lane! - he was swimming slowly but most of the time spread out at the end of the lane leisurely kicking his feet; no one could turn without getting kicked. When asked by the life guard to move he became aggressive and refused. Peckham - you either love it or hate it - guess it was good preparation for the ironman swim start.

Massage - fell asleep and missed most of it, apparently it was good. He said my right psoas was grisly - I didn't think you could get to that. Felt like it though.

Big part of day at Serpentine lido with Ella, George and Will. Rest of day spent giving roof another coat of bitumen.

Programme for tomorrow is;
180km aerobic easy spinning in the middle incorporate 3x30km at IMP on 7mins easy recovery, cadence 85-90rpm.
Run 15km off bike at estimated IMP run middle 5km at track to check speed.

That's the plan - hope to wake up with lots of energy.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Stuck to the programme to the letter;

(am) 60 min run easy aerobic
(pm) 50 min run as 20 min easy aerobic 30 min IMP
The evening run was hard to do on a hot Friday night on the Southbank but got it done

On annual leave today but went into work for the trainee talks and rest of day spent bitumen proofing the roof! - have been putting it off for a year, was obliged to do it with the weather being so good.

Tomorrow is meant to be a rest day, in preparation for the biggie on Sunday. Missed that swim yesterday so may do it tomorrow.

Had a brief look at the marathon course. Here it is;

Bikehike.co.uk says it is 40km but there are probably a few descrepancies with the exact off road bits. Similar to last year accept avoids going round and round the park. 

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Plan was to swim as:

Warm up,
Set: 5x400m on 20sec rest at IMP with pull buoy (pull buoy simulates buoyancy of wet suit I think)
Warm down

But my swimming pool was flooded - only in Peckham!

Initial frustration quickly gave way to taking a fatalistic view. I have tried to develop an attitude of doing the right thing/putting the work in but handing over the results. There are some good studies on happiness that have shown that what you do often has little bearing on the results. It comes back to, control the controllables and don't worry about the rest, or as i've heard it put, row the boat but don't worry about the destination. Think I may be labouring this too much, but it's a lot like getting a puncture on the bike - virtually no one can just get on with it and see it for what it is "a puncture" and nothing else. Do the next thing that is needed and mend it.

So did Core at home and Stretching. Looked after Will, did some reading for work and Ella got some sleep.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Run 2hours

Paid the price running too fast yesterday - Managed the 2 hours but was definitely only easy "fall back" pace. It has reminded me to try and stick to the programme and not get carried away. This is what will happen if I am lucky enough to feel like blasting off the bike come the race. Much better to stick to the pace I think I can maintain - you can loose seriously large chunks of time shuffling round the second half of the marathon.

Nearly turned back a couple of times but ended up finishing feeling good - from that point of view it's good to experience that things can improve even when your having a shocker.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Turbo Run Brick

4hour turbo
Main set after warm up - 6x15km on 7mins recovery
Did this as 30mins at 225-210W (see discussion below)

8km run at IMP with 2km warm down off the bike

This was a hard session - mainly because tried to keep the aero position on the bike as much as possible. Whenever in it though my heart rate went up 5-6 bpm. So I reduced the watts on the last three intervals so the heart rate remained similar. This allowed me to stay in the position for ten minutes at a time before needing a break and having another go. 

So need to work out how many watts the position actually saves verses the watts lots due to the position. 

Ran well off the bike - was meant to do 10km with a 2km warm down - went way too fast though and slowed up at 8km as calf was a bit tight - this is a good reminder to stick to the plan. A 3.15marathon would be 4.38min/km pace not 4min/km that I was doing. 
See http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm - it's a great calculator to see what pace gives you what time for a variety of distances and what paces you should be training at. 

Also still chugging through the drink - good that I seem to be able to tolerate a lot more than before but means I need to make allowances for this.

Did a little bit of research about transitions - mine have always been poor
1. slow getting wetsuit off - apparently spray on cooking oil seems to work well - may try it
2. elastic bands to hold your bike shoes in place when getting on the bike - think this needs a bit of practice.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Sunday, 4 July 2010



Plan for week

Mon: swim
Tue: cycle 130km with 6x15km at IMP on 5-7mins 90rpm, run off bike 12km (10km IMP 2km warmdown)
Wed: run 2hrs easy aerobic with last half hour IMP, swim recovery
Thur: swim: IMP
Fri: am: 1hr easy pm: 50mins as 20 min easy 30mins IMP
Sat: Rest
Sun: 180km cycle with 3x30km IMP on 7mins Run 15km with middle 5km at track at IMP

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Turbo Run Brick 

5hour turbo then 10km run

Part of turbo http://connect.garmin.com/activity/39059561
Run http://connect.garmin.com/activity/39059563

My programme said 180km cycle with 3x30km at IMP on 7 mins recovery followed by 10km run.
Decided to do this on the turbo - no traffic lights etc, and could definitely get the 30km intervals done. This can be difficult mentally on the turbo. Cranked the music up and just got on with it.

Decided 30km would be 50mins at 220w (on wednesday did 40min x 225w - thought 225w may be pushing it)

What did I learn?
1. Spent first 1.5 hrs easy spinning did the usual tinkering with position - put saddle up 2mm but felt uncomfortable. Decided to stick with where I am now. Eventually think saddle needs to come up and forwards more so hamstrings not so stretched when try aero position.

2. Heart rate of 144 on the bike is where I want to be

3. Chugged through the sports drink at a rate of knots - need to make sure I pace it properly. Did something really obsessional - saw how many gulps of drink are in one 750ml bottle - ans. 30. I take all my fuel for the whole cycle in a 1L bottle - this will therefore be 40 gulps - which is 7 an hour approx. So will try and stick to one every 10 mins.

4. Also found I could tolerate more carbohydrate than I thought 4 scoops of the high 5 an hour. Really needed this today - a couple of minutes after drinking it the legs started working again. This was profound today and has emphasised that ironman is really fuel limited to a large extent. So think I can try for 80g carbohydrate an hour - only done 60g before so will be in tactical vomit territory if go for 80g.

5. Tried a few things from the running coach - mainly just moving arms forward and backward more - I have a tendency to move my right arm in-front of my body. Felt very fast today - don't know why, extra carbs? would be very happy with this pace on the day.

Massage this afternoon - wonderful! everything done by 3pm - even managed to read some work articles on the turbo!

What my aussie coach said about this session in the past;
note: don't forget to eat and drink during the set as you would in the race- these sessions are extremely depleteing so you will have a massive calorie defecit to make up after training as well.

Sat is a hard day as the interval time has gone up to 30km's -it will
probably be a little slower pace than the 10-15km reps from the previous weeks so don't bury yourself, this session is best done in a pace line with the others with each person taking a 6km pull on the front -it makes it go much quicker mentally and makes the session much more enjoyable- I actually find the longer reps better as you can really hit a good rhythm. Eat like a Trojan after this session because it really is a monster session and Sunday you need to be able to back up.
These are the peak weeks so make sure you are meeting your calorie deficit's -graze all day-don't get hungry and go on binges better to have about 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day when you are putting out hours like this to avoid insulin ups & downs.

Sleep - Remember that it is your ability to gain strength from the sessions that makes you faster and to do that recovery is critcal.

Ella Will and George are at the grandparents this weekend - for once may get that sleep in. On call tomorrow so not planning anything.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Swim technique lesson

Some good bits compared to last time and some awful - First 15mins involved getting told off by Ray for not going more often - he has a point but don't think he realised the Job and Family commitments.

Stretch class

Some thoughts;
about optimising the bike - just aware of how even a couple of watts saving feels like a godsend after a couple of hours - this is equivalent to removing a straw from an aero drink bottle at 40km/hr (not that i'll be going that fast!) Having said all this most drag comes from the rider, not the bike.

A few things said by "the professor" Chris Boardman

90% of energy on bike goes into overcoming air resistance

Equipment cost for reduction in watts at 40km/hr;
Aerohelmet = £5.70/watt
Aerowheels  = £40/watt
Time trial frames = Will knock 20 watts of drag off at 40km/hr
Clip on aerobars = £2/watt

Aerobottle in front - main advantage is not having to move into the wind to drink if you can manage this
Bottle on seat tube increases drag
Bottle on down tube actually reduces drag

An interesting point - although aerodynamics play a larger part as speed increases they make more of a difference to the slower riders because they are out there longer. I didn't realise this.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Run (1 hour drill + later 10km easy aerobic)

Running drills training at http://www.runningschool.co.uk/

Thought I would get some input about technique - figured i'd like to do this at some point. Will try not to make any changes before the race though.
Little bit surprised that looks like all you have to do is move your arms more and get your heel up to your bum. Thought there would be a little more to it - more will be revealed.

Good advice on the stretches and strength exercises that help running. I had got wind that there was a change in sentiment about core training going on - that rotational strength is what really counts. I'll put these exercises in the injury prevention link.

Also added some info on the different turbo sessions you can do (in drills link)

Looked at the bike course and plotted it out with bikehike.co.uk - instructions on the ironman website were pretty bad. If you want the garmin file drop me a line.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Brick session (Turbo 3 hours Run 50 mins)

15 min warm up
3 x (40min x 225W x 90rpm) on 7min rest
15 min easy spinning

10km run easy pace

Hard session - i'm not one for the midweek big session but thought if there's anytime to do it it's now.
Found that trying to imagine the pedals at 180degrees from each other hit a sweet spot (for about 5 mins). Glad I got the sleep in yesterday, no way would I have been able to do this without it.

Read that it's good to have some form of mental image to call upon when things get difficult - tried a few but most made me want to stop! will continue. I know that Lance Armstrong hates his dad and that drives him, and Richard Branson has a "i'll show you" mentality from the knock backs he had in his early days. The psychologists tell us you're more likely to do well with positive images even if the real high flyers use theses uber negative ones. Get in contact if you have anything that works for you.

Next priority session is Saturday, will try and get the other sessions in but will aim to get to Saturday in as good a shape as possible.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Run 3.5km x 2 
(running flats - light racing shoes)

12 hour day at work so ran there and back but that was all really managed to get done.
Decided to get some big sleep hours in so bed at 9pm in hope that can do brick session as planned tomorrow night

Wrote a new page on what I have put in the transition bags, in the past.

Monday, 28 June 2010


With the 3 week taper - this leaves 2 important weeks. 
This is some advice from a coach I had in Oz (Grant Giles -aeromax http://www.aeromaxteam.com/) Think i've corrected most of his spelling? 

"5 weeks out - big
4 weeks out - big
3 weeks out - reduce volume -introduce more raw speed work
2 weeks out - taper
1 weeks out - taper

With Ironman it is best to go in very fresh as it's a bloody hard
race so this is why we will slow up 3 weeks out and go in as fresh as possible, If you go into this race even slightly tired it will hammer you. We 
will be doing threshold in first 2 weeks of the taper albeit short and sharp you'll probably feel really shit in the first 10 days of that back off in mileage for some reason everyone does."


Swim 1hour

Just did what I felt like. Read something interesting about the catching the water at the beginning of the stroke. A lot of people like to feel locked on at the beginning mainly by feeling pressure on their palm, to get this feeling this people drop their wrists (bad) or push directly down (bad) if anything you should get little feeling of pressure at the start, maybe even pressure on the other side of the hand?
- did a bit of swimming thinking about this.

Otherwise -
Warm up 400m
1. paddles and pull buoy
2. pull buoy
3. some stroke timing 60 strokes/min using the wetronome http://www.wetronome.com/
4. What everyone at the pool calls my "dead fish" routine - swimming on side with both arms at side just turning head to breathe.

Am now trying to plan the week so work and family which is the main priority isn't affected, and that enough recovery is factored in.
So broad outline looks like, - all hinges on whether can do the Wednesday evening session afterwork - if not everything will have to shift forwards. Expect everything will change.

Monday Swim
Tuesday ?
Wednesday evening - 80km bike 10km run
Thursday - Run 2hours (on call for hospital from 6pm)
Friday - Swim - Speed
Saturday - 180km Bike 10km run
Sunday - On call - will run if ok

Have taken next week off as last big week

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Turbo Run brick

Warm up 15mins, session all at 90rpm+ with 10min breaks between each
20min (x 250w, x 240w, x230w, x 220w, x220w, x220w) total 3 hours

Run off bike 9km at IMP (trying a few of the new technique pointers!) 40mins

I have been trying to do this 250w x 20min session for a while now but only every managed to get two done - this time took the wattage down - think I should have done this weeks ago. Thinking about what wattage I could maintain for several blocks of 45mins as the big sessions coming up have that sort of duration as intervals. 50:50 whether these get done on the turbo or not.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

At conference all day - got a swim in with George!

It's at times like this when you can start giving yourself a hard time that your not doing enough training. It's a trap everyone falls into; we think more training = better performance. However the training is the stimulus  for the body to adapt but the improvement takes place when we recover. I find it useful to bear this in mind when I can't train. Most people find it hard to be disciplined about recovery, this can lead to overtraining. Many athletes slip in an extra session in order to gain an edge.

To overtrain you have;

1. No rest days
2. No regeneration week every 2-3 weeks
3. Monotonous training programmes
4. More than 3 hours training a day
5. More than 30% training load increase in a week
6. No alternation of hard/easy days.
7. No complete break once a year

It has been shown that many athletes are fitter on the plane back from major events just because of the break they have had after the competition! It's good to remember what Lance Armstrong said about the tour - "it's the person who recovers best who wins"

It is useful to think about recovery as both mental and physical. It's interesting to note that for physical recovery you don't necessarily need to sleep it's the absence of movement (something I find difficult!) that's important. Sleep is more important for the mental side of things like motivation etc,

The pro's use HRV (heart rate variability) and EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) to monitor whether they are recovered for the next session. I wrote a paper back in 1993 on HRV but unfortunately have no access to measuring it.

The graph below is from wikipedia; supercompensation is what we are trying to achieve with our training. If you haven't recovered adequately before your next session the graph slowly heads down - you get ill or injured etc,

Friday, 25 June 2010

Lots going on today as off to a weekend conference on Cri Du Chat - the condition my son George has.

Managed to get in a 90min cycle and also had a video analysis of my running; http://www.runningschool.co.uk/ They are offering a free 30 minute session to people from my running club so I thought there's no harm in that.
Needless to say there were lots of things that they pointed out. Over striding - left more than right. hip dropping on the left. Not using arms enough. Not cycling the foot behind me past about 6'o'clock.

I think they have quite a lot to offer, whether I want to start changing things this close to a race is another matter, maybe for next season.

There is one problem with all these technique type coaching set ups and that is - do people have great form because they are fast or does the great form make them fast? For running it's been shown that as you get faster your stride etc becomes more like the professionals anyway.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Run 3.5km x 2

12hr day at work so only time to get the run to and from work. Do this in "running flats" - trying to build up lower leg strength on these shorter commuting runs as hopefully not long enough to get injured.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Brick 60km cycle and 6km run (am)
This was meant to be 80km cycle with 3-4 x 15km at IMP on 5mins rest
Followed by 10km at IMP

Didn't have the focus after the race at the weekend, and they were resurfacing Richmond park roads which made it difficult. Had fair bit of reading to do for work so cut it short - happy with what I did. Black toe seems to be improving.

Swim 2km late evening - little change of tack - have decided to work on strength a little more in all three disciplines. So did a lot of work with paddles and a pull buoy - so people swear by this sort of training - i've always been under the impression that your technique needs to be good before using these. I think today has changed my mind. The paddles help to emphasise errors with hand entry and can help to show where the power in the stroke should be. They are also good for developing strength - but it's important to take it slowly.
Also did 8 x 100m at 1m/sec on 25sec rest - was overtaken repeatedly by girl in drag pants

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Monday, 21 June 2010


Little bit of stretching, walking, and 20 mins on the bike.
Bent my toe back on a tree route coming out of the swim yesterday which is now very black and bruised - fingers crossed it gets better soon.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Half ironman

A good day - was 65th, I think out off just over 1500 (with 20 pro's)
Learnt a lot

Swim - 32mins 1.2miles (chaotic start - should have seeded myself nearer the start instead of the back!)
Cycle - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/37781027
Run - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/37781030

Great weather as you can see.
Camping was a good idea - right at the start line so more sleep. However really cold overnight - shivering all night long in normal clothes and duvet - had to sit in the car for half an hour with the engine running. Kept thinking wasting a fair bit of stored carbohydrate.

Swim start as above - i've always started in the middle. No point in getting swum over at the beginning but this year should have maybe gone fast for 5mins at the start to get in a good draft before settling down to normal pace. Instead I was stuck in the washing machine with no where to go. Felt comfortable and just followed someone's feet to the finish - 32mins. May be time to develop some proper open water skills.

T1 Run up hill from lake to T1, bent toe back on a tree root - odd as I was thinking the day before that part looked a bit dodgy. Two things to improve here - know how i'm going to take wetsuit off instead of messing around doing various dances. Running in bike shoes on grass is never the fastest option - need to get used to having them on the bike. Had number belt waiting on bike - bit of a fuss to put on as were gloves.

Cycle - heart rate high and feeling ok going to fast - need work on slowing down and building through the bike. Pretty flat and fast for first part of loop - major descent at the bottom of loop. Aero bottle straw rattling around, very annoying. Northerly second half of loop pay back with some steep climbs - no one smiling anymore. Lots of support where road climbs to meet southern end of lake. Second loop easier as knew what to expect lots of drafting going on as everyone would bunch up on the climbs. Ate well not much nausea. End of bike descent very fast - good opportunity to stretch legs. 3hr01min

T2 - pretty good transition - could maybe speed it up by having everything grouped together grabbing it and sorting it out whilst running???

Run - Hadn't researched this and wasn't prepared for this. Really hilly, nearly all off road. Elastic laces not up to the job feet sliding around. Favoured the light runners with good strength. Very steep downhill on first lap - cramped up in hamstrings - thought there was no way I would be able to tackle it 3 times - walked a bit thought about the mechanics of it and ran down backwards which kept it at bay - seemed to find my legs as the race went on - again like the bike need to contain my enthusiasm and build into it. Could have benefited from a bit more fuel. Seemed to manage with drinking at the aid stations better than usual. Lost 2 places at the end as couldn't overtake as camera man in the way. 1hr38 

Had a good day - not sure if i'd do that every year.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Drive to half ironman - registration, packing transition bags, racking bike, pitching tent etc,

If the A race this year was this half ironman the week would have had the following sessions;

Monday; Cycle 2hours dead flat easy gears, swim tempo 3.6km main set 6x50m and 6x400m
Tuesday; Rest
Wednesday; Swim drill
Thursday; Cycle 90km with 3-4x15km at race pace on 5mins recovery run off bike 10km at race pace with 4km cool down, swim 3km drill (pull and paddles)
Friday; Rest
Saturday; Cycle very light 30km
Sunday; Race

Will do a page on what went into the transition bags and what I will change - this is mainly for me, to save time for the full in 6 weeks.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Rest day

Most programs for a Sunday race have a rest day on the Friday and a gentle mobilisation day on the Saturday. I think the principle is to accumulate muscle glycogen on the Friday and then do enough on Saturday that you don't seize up but use very little of your hard earned carb stores.

So in an ideal world I would do a swim just rolling arms over a very slow 20km bike and a run that is only just up from walking. I will however be in the car driving down.

Trying to resist the temptation to try things out for the first time etc,

Thursday, 17 June 2010

15min warm up
20m x 250w x 90 rpm
10min easy spinning
10min x 250w x 90rpm
5min easy spinning
10min x 250w x 90rpm
5min cool down


Using the spin scan to see how efficiently I am pedalling - seem to hover around 85/100 can get it as high as 97/100 but not for long. This is a measure of how evenly the back wheel is spinning and reflects therefore how evenly you are pedalling. Beginners will tend to stamp on the pedals a get very low numbers - a very peak and trough bar chart, or a less round nyquist plot below. Lance Armstrong is probably in the high 90s all the time - an almost flat bar chart.

All this fancy stuff however can be done on the bike by just listening to the back wheel, your trying to eliminate the oscillating sound and create a continuous one - that is just as good.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Swim 9 x 200m at CSS on 25-50 sec

Plan was to do 10 sets (adding one a week) but had collision with someone not looking where they were going - I came off worse. Felt the benefit of the drills on Monday so plan to keep them going.

Massage in afternoon with Mark Edmonds http://www.1stopbodyshop.co.uk/welcome.html He used to be one of the fastest triathletes in the country - it has taken me a while to find someone who knows what they are doing. I'm always a bit suspect of massage and whether it's worth the money but Mark comes highly recommended.

Went to cycle fit to get some spare screws for my cleats, a very expensive bike shop - I asked what the most expensive one they've sold was - answer "oh quite a few for £12,000"

Currently working on an article about carbo-loading; just doing the maths side of things to see if it all hangs together.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Turbo 7 x (260w x 65rpm x 4min) on 3 mins rest

15min warm up prior.


Good to check out the new bike position. Hard to keep on the aerobars for longer than 5mins - always find this but seem to be able to stay on them when racing. Raised the aerobars 5mm as think it is a lot to ask to tolerate this position on Sunday.

Spirit level on saddle showed it was pointing down a bit so flattened it out. Not having your saddle level is a common mistake. I had mine pointing down for years which meant I spent a lot of energy pushing myself up it without realising.

Would have gone for a run round the block but on the night shift looking after Will, and on call for the hospital.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Swim Drill

After looking at last year's videos, decided I need to work on technique. Took it easy as yesterday was hard.
1. On side with fins
2. Pull buoy
3. Paddles with  pull buoy
4. Pull with closed hands/fists
5. Breast stroke

The bike fit yesterday was really good. This is the third time in the last 12 years i've been measured up. The first time was £30 with a system called bio-racer. It gave me a print out of the ideal dimensions for a bike. This gave me the confidence to buy a second hand one that would be ok for me. The second time in 2004 was a bit more in depth at cyclefit in covent garden http://www.cyclefit.co.uk/ for £100. I've just looked at their website and they now want £350!!! can't believe it, they are also completely booked for the foreseeable future! So the bloke I went to see used to work at cyclefit and has set up on his own - he (Ronan) charges £99 for the same service and was twenty times better. Ronan paid real attention to detail and wasn't happy till I was absolutely happy.

At one point when we were moving things 1mm at a time and then "splitting the difference" I felt like the "princess and the pea" I had a lot of questions which he was more than happy to answer. A slight difference was that once we were close to ideal a lot was then based on feel - which I think is more appropriate. I also now know in what direction to move things if discomfort occurs.

This fit was £120 which was the for a time trial set up. I have done this by guess work up until now and two years ago I had a shocker. It's quite late in the day to do this so it will be interesting to see how the half ironman goes - I will take some allen keys!

The time trial set up is different because they take your road position and if looked at from the side rotate it. Bringing you further forwards and flatter therefore reducing your frontal profile.

We ended up moving my saddle down and forward. Moving the right cleat back and left forward. (Found I had been doing the right thing for hot foot which is to move the cleat back) also put some insoles in that stop power loss when your arch (which I haven't got) flattens. Had a video analysis looking for alignment issues - surprisingly it was ok.

Ronan's website is http://www.progresscycle.co.uk/# thoroughly recommended.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

7 weeks to go

Brick; Cycle 80km medium pace Run 10km IMP


Plan was to set the bike up for next weekend and run 10km off the bike race pace.

Added some classic video of Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham.

Thoughts today were about heart rate and intensity;  because the bike supports you, the heart rate is usually less on the bike than the run for a given intensity. There is usually a difference of about 7/min so if you plan to run at say 147, similar metabolic demands would be placed on the body if you cycled at 140.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Managed to fit a cycle and bit of a run in today.

BBQ at friends to watch the England USA game 1:1! Cycled there 30km and little run off bike 2km

Took George for a swim in the morning but that doesn't really count. Feeling it in my legs today following those 400m's yesterday.

Plan to ride with a friend for three hours and an hour run. As the half ironman is a week away will do a practice run with same kit etc, Never been this organised before - must be the "blog effect"

Also have bike set up appointment at 2pm - apparently it's really good value - will check it out and report back tomorrow. 

Friday, 11 June 2010

Track session 25 x 400m on 30 sec. (so total distance 10km)

School sports day at the track so decided to be flexible and run up and down the straight next to the Thames instead. Plan was to back off a bit following the calf pull a couple of weeks ago, main goal was to finish uninjured. With the ironman getting closer think the break through sessions (when you go faster/further than before) would be more sensible to do on the swim and bike.

Interesting to see what my limiting factor here is - fitness wise was fine and could have pushed a lot more, but strength was lacking mainly in calves. Will have a think how I can address this. It's more than likely due to years of heel striking, at faster speeds you tend to move to a forefoot strike and my poor skinny lower legs protest!

Warm up is a good thing to talk about here - the old days of static stretching before exercise are gone - these make you more likely to get injured. The aim is to prepare your body for exercise and this is best done by performing a dynamic warm up. This involves replicating the movements you will make during the main session usually with a greater range of motion. This usually means swinging type actions.

It's good to do some running drills as well - the ones I am using at the moment have been recommended by Greg McMillan www.mcmillanrunning.com

1. Loosening
Skipping with arm circles – both arms 180deg out of sync – goal to loosen only
Forward arms
Backward arms
Double arms – both forward, both backwards
Chest stretch – swing arms in and out
Side circles

2. Side skips – skip to side whilst doing cheststretch type arms –(activates glutes to fire!)

3. Karaoke – side ways movement, move trailing leginfront and behind, building to high knee of trailing leg
Knee drive as if moving leg over a hurdle

4. A skip – lift knee while cock ankle (heel upknee up toe up) (basically skipping)
a. With arms to mimic running
b. Key element is paw back – contract to drive kneeand toe to ground
c. Walk it first, then skip
d. Will sound nice and rhythmic on track

5. B skip – like A skip but push out drive leg toaccentuate the paw back - also called Russian walk I think
a. Driving the straight leg back to the track
b. Do walking first
c. Rhythmic sound

6. Butt kick – pull heel up directly below the butt
a. Heel up knee up toe up
b. Use arms

7. Straight leg run – aim to contract butt andhamstring
a. Goal is to propel by pulling straight leg back
b. Common error is leaning back – stayupright/slight forward
c. Build so get faster as go down track
d. Use your arms
e. Think toes contact first

8. Short sprints (only need to do 3!)
a. Only if not doing a hard proper workout/race
b. 3 point stance to start – focuses on drive of the legs
c. As fast as can for 30m with good form
d. All about total contraction of legs and use of arms
e. some people call these "strides" and can be viewed as weight training for the legs. i.e. strength building

You really have to see these done to get the idea - have found a few things on youtube. Maybe I will be brave and stick some video up - but i'm not that good.