Friday, 27 April 2012

Time to train

With just over 2 weeks to go, my goal this week was to put in a good brick session of 25 mile on the bike turbo trainer followed by a 10k flat road run. Called a brick session because that's how your legs feel after a time on the bike. As far as possible, the aim was to simulate race conditions, not easy on a static bike in a cold garage and a night run with a head torch. 

For the bike, I wore the newly purchased Tri suit and obligatory pointy time trial helmet and for the run (I would say it looks better on but.....) , my new inov8 road trainers (I have the off road version and they are excellent). 

Well, the suit and helmet performed well but the trainers still gave a bit of Met pain (metatarsalgia - inflammation of toe joint under forefoot) but I'm hoping another insole may fix this, otherwise I will run in my 500 mile old Newton trainers. No pains on the bike and the run was surprisingly fast with little knee or calf pain. 

Next week will be my last big session, 2 hour bike & 2 hour (forced slow) run.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

What's it all about

3 weeks away from my first venture into Ironman Triathlon! Well half an ironman or 70.3 to give it it’s modern title (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike and 13.1 mi run). Despite all the training and preparation in the back of my mind is that it's only 1 lap of 2 when it comes to the full distance.

The Mallorca 70.3 takes place on Saturday 12th May 2012. Flights, accommodation, even bike travel box have been booked and the training is almost complete. I just have to keep injury free and then prance around in lycra for 6 hours in the sun!  How did I get myself into this?

I've been a keen runner, cyclist and reasonable swimmer all my life, not at a competitive level, that would require real commitment. Like most who venture into triathlon, the holy grail (and my goal) is the Ironman – the daddy of fitness bragging rights.

The swim – I’ve always been fairly quick but I had no real stamina and splashed around a lot. The beach shorts were swapped for racing jammers, I had my technique critiqued by a coach in an endless pool (a secret Santa gift from the mother in law) and with several years of lap swimming,  open water sessions and open water races under the belt I have got my 400m, 1500m, 3000m and even 10,000m times down to a respectable standard. I would go so far to say this is my strongest discipline. I have realised to improve the swim I have had to look at the mechanics of the stroke and have inevitably become a bit of a swim bore!

The bike – I was a fast learner with this sport too. BMXing as a kid (flying off things rather than racing around them), inevitably grew into an interest in mountain biking in my twenties and has recently manifested into a liking of cross country racing. This is where the desire to tinker & upgrade the equipment comes from; well it’s easier than training! So the relative comfort of the road bike (it’s still like sitting astride a fence) has been relegated to a transport/training tool making way for a carbon time trial machine and it’s owner becoming a cycle bore!

The run -  This is where the love/hate relationship I have with sport  comes from. It turns out that I’m not invincible and my body can wear out. It transpires that I don’t have a perfect running style or gait. It doesn’t seem fair, I mean, have you seen Paula Radcliffe run – she looks in pain. My running looks pretty effortless (but isn’t). In 2004 I inevitably developed knee issues, spent a fortune on physio, had the obligatory arthroscopy surgery in 2006, spent another fortune on physio and hey presto, the knee is better. Only for the problem to move to the other knee. The underlying cause has had a variety of assessments; knee muscle imbalance, tight calfs, leg length differential and even no bum (there was no need to get personal - Faye could have diagnosed that one for free). The truth is it could be any of these and probably all.

The best advice I have had and the advice that has really got me back into a decent volume of running is to change the relaxed leggy heal striking technique to a faster mid/forefoot striking one with a much faster turnover and just RUN (it’s not jumping on the barefoot running bandwagon – it just makes sense). By using the foot & knee’s natural suspension I can limit the impact on the joints. The results…. I look like an old lady when I run, I am faster, have more running stamina and have become a running bore too!

Triathlon History- To date I have competed in two Sprint and two Olympic distance triathlons and a number of open water swim races and a couple of MTB cross country races and road sportives. My times have been reassuringly improving and I am playing the same balancing game that most age group (amateur) triathletes play, that is progression Vs wellbeing, the latter becoming a greater factor as the training volume increases.

Gear & gadgets  - This is the perfect sport for geeks! Triathlon can be run on a budget but it can also be a money pit. I fall somewhere in between these statements , trust me Faye, it could be worse. As the great Torquil Mangat says ‘he who dies with the most gadget – wins’  - I’m sure that will be on a t-shirt one day (I hereby declare design/copyright). I have bought, used and discarded a number of goggles, trainers and bike parts and could probably offer up a few words of advice if ever needed.

So follow the blog if interested, I will post my training and race progress for all who care to read it and try to throw in a few photo’s, in attempt to keep it interesting.