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!

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.