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, 22 May 2010

So, up late looking after baby Will - woke late, then sent to ASDA etc
Managed to negotiate an afternoon cycle

Absolutely fantastic weather - remembered sun cream this time

So aim was to cycle for 5-6 hours - the time was the goal (not speed etc etc)
Felt pretty good all the way round. Not on the race bike - need to get that out soon.


Followed this with a 2-3km run just to educate the body - had to be mindful of calf, otherwise would have done 10km with first 6km IMP (ironman pace)

For the first time in a few years got "hot foot" this is a very painful condition which can cause you to stop. It's very common and is the reason for all these fancy insoles with "metatarsal buttons" etc It's caused by a nerve receiving pressure/getting squashed.
Plan - need to move the cleat on that side so foot is more forward.

This reminded me of a common problem with training - there is a lot of advice out there and a lot of things you can try out, equipment, technique, nutrition, psychological strategies etc etc, everyone intends to follow the advice and give these things a go. Nobody does, until the race is upon us. Then everyone changes everything as their insecurity increases. Half the field on race day have a piece of equipment they haven't used or have bought at the expo the day before.

In the back of my mind I know I should try weighing myself pre and post exercise, recording the ambient temperature and then calculating my sweat rate. Have never done it. What do you think? sounds like a good idea but also highly obsessional.

Probably the most important thing to do is to eat the same thing training as you will racing. It took me 4 years and 6 ironmans until I started doing this.
The cause of 90% of DNFs (Did not finish) is stomach shut down. You have a lot of adrenaline going through your body and your stomach is a little twitchy (remember exams). You dump a lot of unfamiliar highly refined food in there and you vomit - you can't take on any calories, you need calories to keep going forward so race over.
Interestingly your gut is trainable! it gets used to the food you eat and gets better at processing it.
So you need to find what suits you at the intensities you plan racing at - this could take a few weeks.
Then use this every training session.

So reminder for me
1. move left foot forwards
2. Race bike - get used to aero position again
3. sweat rate?
Writing late - 01:00 Saturday morning- got the early shift looking after my new son Will (6 days today) lots of guests as well. No chance for a turbo that i was angling for.

Did manage to get a 1 hour stretching class in at lunch time (Total stretch - Peckam Pulse)

The way i see things like massage and formal stretching (I cant have them often either because of time or money) is they enable you to pay attention to my body and reveal where is tight and where may need work. You need industrial sessions doing these things week in week out for them themselves to deliver anything tangible, and that's assuming you have an instructor/ masseur how knows what their doing and shares your goals.

Best to find the body part giving concern and then give it daily attention on your own (and save £50 a go)

so I was reminded - tight right rectus femoris, right hip mobility much worse than left - probably meant right lower leg was coming down during the intervals with more flexed knee than the right and hence the injury.

other thing I have learned - the natural response of your body to injuries like this is it lays down a disorganised happhazzard collagen, this then needs cross frictions (very painful to sort out) to undoo the damage (see Tim Noakes "the lore of running") To prevent this happening I now need to eccentrically work this body part to get a quick recovery with the right type of collagen. This basically involves lowering my ankle from tip toes. (contact me off line if you need any explaination)

The other thing about the injury; PSYCHOLOGY
- initially very depressed - catastrophising / black and white thinking / self critical
- turned quickly by afternoon to "good job it happened in training" "wow-that's a week point i didn't know about - I better blast that with some TLC and sort it out, don't want that showing it's ugly face in a race. "you were doing a 32min 10km session and holding up aerobically - imagine if that hadn't happened, the full session was on the cards"
- my brains not that well balanced but it's a bit like that. That is probably more important a demonstration in what is important than anything else.
- A positive mindset that works on the controllables
- I think its important to be brave enough to try new things etc
I was thinking about this when I did those 50 x 200m sprints!
Coming to think of it 10 x 400m sprints used to be all I could do for a session

anyway so trying new things - my first coach back in 2003 grant@aeromaxteam.com please feel free to e-mail him (think he came 2nd in Hawaii etc) gave me loads of quotes to mull over:

He always has someone on the podium at any ironman around the world

1. Positive self analysis
2. Self competition - focusing on what you can control (think about it if you can"t influence your better letting it go
3. Present focus - This is massive - forget past, forget future, think technique, think breathing etc - this is basically buddism and mastery of your skill
4. Confidence
5 Toughness -ACCEPT the doubt and TRY to win
6. Have a game plan


Will think over the next few rides how those 6 traits work on that equation.

baby woken up, more tomorrow

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Plan today is 10km run this morning, and 80min run in afternoon/evening.

Decided to do the 10km as an incremental run - the idea is to select your desired 10km time and run at this pace in intervals with 30second breaks with the total distance adding up to 10km. You gradually increase the distance of the intervals week on week. This has worked really well for people at my running club.
So the plan was to Run 50 x 200m at about 40sec each.
All went well for 20 but got some calf pain and decided to stop, didn't have a choice really! First time trying this.


The idea behind this is that to get fast you have to train at these speeds, it's asking a lot to do a lot of slow long miles and expect to run fast on race day. If you were starting out just do these sessions at recovery pace concentrating on form rather than speed.

Will see how leg is for this evening - if dodgy will swim instead.

So calf still sore - has reminded me that aerobically our bodies adapt really quickly, it's the strength that takes a lot longer. Training for ironman gives you lots of time to think about all these things!
A useful way to think about injuries is why it happened on the side it did and not the other - what was out of balance etc etc
I have only really been forefoot striking for six months now and the calves are taking a while to adapt.
Probably also went too fast to start with!

Did 30 mins stretching and core work at the gym then 40min swim session
10 min warm up
then swam 8 x 200m at critical swim speed (CSS) on 25 seconds recovery
5 min cool down

Critical swim speed - this is concept is taken from the land based training regimens
One of the best intensities to exercise at is "tempo" this is a speed that you could just maintain for an hour and be absolutely wiped out at the end (cycling or running). This is the speed that the kenyans do 80%+ of their running at. Finding this intensity in the pool is harder.

CSS (m/sec) = (400 - 200) / (T400 - T200)
Where T400 and T200 are your 400 and 200m times in seconds.
Essentially if you slow a lot on the 400m your CSS is slower.
My CSS is 1m/sec which means I try and hit the wall every 25sec in a 25m pool in this session
I have been doing one of these sessions a week for the last six months and have learnt a lot about my swimming. My bad technique only really shows itself when pushing hard and getting tired, at less intense sessions it's easy to convince yourself that it's fine. 

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Managed to get out today - Brick session - that's Bike followed by a run. Headed up to Regents park as it's close and there's not too much traffic. Did about 90km cycle, main objectives were to keep the cadence up around 90/min. In the past I have favoured much lower rates so it's going to take a while for this to feel normal.

The theory is that if you are going to do some work better to split it into more easier amounts - each pedal stroke is easier but you need more of them.

Also wanted to keep heart rate (HR) below anaerobic - so for me less than 150
Finished with a few km's pedalling one legged - a lot worse on my left that my right

pretty choppy on the heart rate - hard to let others pass without giving a little bit of a chase

Came home and pushed son George in the buggie on a 9km run barefoot (in Vibram five finger shoes) http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ I've been running in these on and off for about a year now - will talk about this later. 

Some stretching afterwards - just what i felt like - quads, hamstrings and ITB

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Well, so far the training hasn't gone to plan! Have good excuse though - on Sunday my partner and I had our second son - William. Mother and baby are doing well. Hope to get some training in today.

This evening-
30 minute core routine (will post the details soon)

1.5km swim with wetronome www.wetronome.com This is a little bleeper that goes under a swimming cap and either bleeps after a time so you can hit the wall at the desired time or bleeps so often per minute to help you time your stroke. Have been experimenting where my ideal stroke rate is - tonight was 56/min which felt about right for racing. The idea I think is to stop you gliding too much and therefore slowing down.