Showing posts from August, 2007

It Must Be Ironman Training

Currently I don't consider myself in actual Ironman training. Yes the Ironman is my main goal, but at the moment I like to think that I am training for two main reasons:
Shepparton Half Ironman in NovemberTo be able to handle the specific Ironman trainingIt is not until December that I will consider myself in true Ironman mode. This does not mean I am taking it easy. This does not mean that I am not considering how my preparation is going in terms of the big dance. This does not mean my body is not developing into the type of machine to keep going and going. This does not mean my mind isn't developing that single minded focus that so often typifies the Ironman athlete.There is a reason I write this. This morning at the start of my pre-work training session I had a simple thought. To me this thought flags the change in my mindset, and proves to me I am on the right track. The training was a 2 hour effort. My thought was simply:That is not long enough.Not long enough? I'm no…

Short But Long

Yesterday I headed out for a 2 hour run before work. Because it was shortened from 2:45 I decided to maintain my heart rate between 70-80% instead of the wider range of 60-80%. This worked well. In fact I just fell into a nice rhythm, losing myself in the steady fall of my feet. I took in the full moon lighting up the sky at the start, followed by the multi coloured sunrise. I ran through some fog that was very thick, but only came up to shoulder height. It was like looking down on the clouds. The run was over before I knew it.

This morning was a hard swim. It was my hardest swim so far this year. Totalling 2600m, it wasn't my longest, but it was painful. After a warm up incorporating plenty of technique work I launched into 9x200m. These were swum at around threshold pace with 45 seconds rest. The catch was that the first 25m of each interval was a sprint alternating butterfly, freestyle and backstroke. With my limited swim fitness, this adds a whole new level of pain, but is exac…


The intention was to have minimal recovery time after the 10km on Sunday. I trained through the race, wore my training shoes and really focussed on a good cool down, hydrotherapy and stretching post race. The following I had a nice recovery ride, and an easy run later in the day. I didn't feel like I had run a solid 10km at all. Looks like I only needed one day of recovery, meaning I can actually fit in a full long run this morning. How good is that?

I was definitely being optimistic. I woke up this morning with my legs really feeling like they had been out there racing. Stupid delayed onset muscle soreness. I have not recovered, there is an obvious degree of muscle damage. So looks like I'm heading to the pool instead, and onto the bike later. Unfortunately due to my roster I won't be able to fit in a full distance long run. I'll be limited to 2 hours instead.

Defence Lake Attack

Raining? I'm sure it wasn't meant to rain today. Spring has come early and today is meant to be a bright sunny, warm, perfect running weather type of day. I ate breakfast, had a good strong cup of coffee. I'm starting to wonder if I'm placing more importance on the coffee than the food. Grabbed my gear and drove down to Albert Park.

By the time I arrived, the rain had stopped and it was turning into a bright sunny, warm, perfect running weather type of day. In fact, it stayed that way for the whole day. Yes, I am excited that winter is over.

I decided to park near the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, which was on the opposite side of the lake from the race start, mainly so parking was easy, and that I wouldn't have any trouble getting out after the race. As usual I arrived early, walked in and picked up my race number before any queues had formed. I killed some time by going for a walk and performing some light stretching. Before it was time for my 40 m…

Racing Again

I haven't raced for nearly two months. I had a break from training as covered previously. As a result I'm in need of a bit of a guide as to where my fitness currently is. My training fitness is reasonable at the moment. I'm handling the sessions quite well, and seem to be able to back it up each day. Things are looking good as far as following my no more gaps approach. In a few weeks I'll be starting my VO2 phase and I require some race results to guide the hard sessions.

I'll get into the specific details of the VO2 stage in a couple of weeks, but the general idea is while I will be steadily increasing the long endurance sets, the key hard session in each week will have a maximal aerobic focus. Typically intervals of 3-6 minutes at greater than 90% HRmax.

To get a starting point to help guide these sessions, tomorrow and the following week I'll be running a 10km and 5km race, respectively. The main goal of these races is to establish some working guidelines a…

Mostly Harmless

For those who are unfamiliar with them, magpies are bird that get very territorial and protective of their young ones during spring. They show this by swooping on their perceived threat and attacking with their beak and sometimes their claws.

Spring Has Sprung

Even though it's still cold, the morning temperatures are staying below double figures until after 9am, it looks like Spring has arrived early. Once the temperature starts to rise the day becomes fine, sunny and crisp. The flowers and starting to show and even the blossom is making it's way out. Officially winter lasts for over another week, but it was yesterday that I decided Spring was here. Because with Spring comes another season.

Magpie Season.

Yes, the black and white warblers, that have it in their heads that somehow, cyclists pose a threat to their nests and babies. On a short recovery ride of 19km I managed to encounter my first two attacks for the season. On a short, but steep uphill I felt a familiar smack on the helmet and clacking of beak on the first strike. Not being able to up the pace much due to travelling against gravity, I was the perfect sitting target for another six swoops before I was out the magpie's territory.

Magpie number two didn't hav…

The Body Is A Machine...

...treat it like one.

I'm obviously back into good training mindset. This really showed on another turbo-trainer set. It was a set involving many short, but high intensity efforts. During the set I felt almost detached from my body. Everything was simple. Go this hard for this long, then change. Pain became irrelevant, yes it was there, in fact it was quite a painful work out, but the pain didn't matter. I felt like my mind was observing the body and just pressing switches so the legs would be working at the correct effort. Just like a machine.

It has been a long time since I felt like this. It is a mindset I enjoy and from previous experience has helped me to achieve some good training. It removes the emotion and negative thoughts from the head. In fact, it clears the head, a kind of meditation in motion. For me, it is a very good place to be. Now it is time to send the machine out for a long run.

If It Was Easy...

...then it wouldn't be worth doing.

Yesterday I had a long ride planned, but with the temperature on at 2 degrees at 9am, I wasn't going outdoors. A few years ago, my lower limit was nothing below 8 degrees, but as my Raynaud's has gotten a bit worse, I've decided to play it safe and only head out on the bike when the temperature hits double figures. Naturally this means I'm spending plenty of time on the turbo-trainer.

I hopped on for a planned 2.5 hours. In went the Tough Love DVD, and I was in for some solid work. The DVD actually goes for three full hours, but as I hadn't been on the trainer for more than 2 hours yet, I thought it best to play it conservative. My heart rate sat right where it was meant for the whole set, and as I came up to my time limit, things were feeling good. In fact, it didn't feel like I'd been on the trainer for long at all.

So why not take it to the full three hours? I couldn't see any reason not to and that's w…

Some Thoughts

Over the last month my training has been anything but consistent. The interruptions have been for events outside of my control and have given me some time to think. I have thought long and hard about what is important in my life and I have found that my principles have only been confirmed. I'll restrict this post to my thoughts on training and competing.

Being fit and healthy is of major importance to me. This encompasses many aspects, as it is only up to a point that the two go hand in hand. Being healthy in all aspects of mind and body sets a strong platform from which fitness can be built, but focusing too much on physical fitness can lead to a decline in health. Whether that be by a lowered immune system, psychological or otherwise. In short, while training and racing form a large part of life, and I do identify myself as a triathlete, it should not become my whole life. I have gone down that road in the past. It isn't healthy.

So why Ironman? Why don't I just choose som…


Looks like the gastro is over. I managed to sleep through the night without any interruption. Much better than the previous night where I don't think I got more than 30 minutes. After two days my body gettting rid of anything I attempted to put in it, I'm now five kilograms lighter. Not exactly the best kind of weight to lose, so today is all about recovery. No training, just a walk with the dog and a measured approach to restocking the nutrition and fluids.

Naturally I tried to identify the cause of the gastro. It doesn't seem to be caused by anything that I ate. My wife has been fine, and we both ate the same food that could have been the cause. All other food I prepared myself and being things like fresh fruit and vegetables I would be surprised if these were a problem. Also I tend to follow hygenic food handling out of habit. I've settled on that the cause was probably work. That's what you get for working with sick people. I have been almost obesess…


I love food, and with the amount of training I do, I need a lot of food to fuel my day. There are times when I love the fact that I can eat such a large volume. There are some rare times that I regret eating all that food. Today and yesterday have been one of those time.

To put a big dent in my training where I was meant to have completed a couple of long training days, I contracted a decent case of gastro. When the body decides that something in its digestive tract shouldn't be there, it aims to get rid of this by expelling everything inside. This is when I really wish I didn't eat much. So after a day and half of spending a good amount time on the toilet, things have slowed down. Training is an impossiblility. Just trying to get some nutrients and water in is all I'm really capable of achieving.

Should Have Gone Swimming

The plan for today was to have an easy aerobic session. I even had a choice between doing a bike ride or a swim/run combination. I was undecided on the night before, so I had my gear ready for either option. On waking my legs were feeling good, and I'm still a long way from where I want be on the bike, so I chose to head out on two wheels.

This morning a bit wet but only a light drizzle. It didn't seem too cold, but I decided to play it safe and put on that many layers I thought I might have trouble actually moving my arms. Lights flashing around my bike I rolled down the driveway and out into the pre-dawn morning.

Now it seemed cold. The wind chill was terrible, and being only five minutes down the road my hands were already starting to suffer. I had triple gloved with a moisture transfer layer next to my skin, a thermal layer and a combination thermal, windproof and water resistant outer shell. The gloves were not doing their job. Sometimes my Raynaud's just plays up. This…


Long runs can often be hard enough during the final stages without extra stress being added. Yesterdays long run started off well enough. It was a relatively flat to undulating course along one the busier trails. Nothing liked a bit of people watching on a Saturday morning to ease the way through a 2.5 hour run. It often beats the zoo.

I passed the halfway mark without any problems, except the pace was slower that I would have like. Just after crossing the ninety minute mark, I suddenly needed to go to the toilet. Not just from an overflow of fluid, this was a number two on the way. It's not something that is usually a problem for me. My digestive system generally seems to behave for the long runs.

My first thoughts were that I should be right to make it home. There was only an hour left to run. This soon changed as my body thought otherwise. Initially I decided to fight against nature, but my body answered back with pain in my lower abdomen. Looks like I'll just have to make a …

Older and Wiser

Ewen is right, most of the pain from Ironman training does come from the prolonged runs and rides. This is mainly the pain I was referring to in my last post. I have been thinking fairly hard about whether or not I am becoming soft, and after receiving some feedback from a number of people the conclusion is I am becoming a bit wiser. I have learnt from previous mistakes.

Looking back at my first three years of training when I was still going to university, studying Human Movement. A typical day consisted of the alarm waking me up at 4:47am. Yes, the odd time was exactly what I needed. My morning routine of dressing, toilet, picking up my bag of uni and training gear, and food for the day was well ingrained down to the exact second. Then it was onto my bike for a 50 minute ride to the pool. A swim of about 90 minutes before riding into university where I showered and then usually ate breakfast in my first lecture. Then the day consisted of different classes and fitting in another traini…


Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting soft when it comes to training as I get older. Over the last couple of years I definitely haven't put in as many long hard sessions as I used to. I no longer just keep plugging out hard days after hard days. I now find it much easier to call it a day when I'm not feeling great. Maybe I'm getting soft, maybe I'm learning from past mistakes or maybe training is just no longer the overall focus of my life.

I'm happy with the fact training and racing isn't the only thing my life revolves around, that would be unhealthy since I don't make a living out of it. In fact, racing drains the bank balance. I'm also happy with the fact I think I have learnt from some past mistakes. I have overtrained myself pretty seriously in my earlier days to such an extent it took months to recover from. I'm also happy that I have more experience and knowledge and therefore in theory have a better understanding of how my body responds to t…

Just Right

There is something empowering in knowing that you are going to complete your morning run well before the sun even hints at rising. Maybe it's knowing you are completing something that most people do not attempt. Maybe it's something to add to my list of things for people to call me crazy in such a way I take it as a complement. Maybe it's feeling like I've achieved something constructive before many people have left their beds, or even returned home from a night out. Whatever the reason, once I get past the initial blur of turning off my alarm, putting on the run gear and heading out the door, everything just seems to fall into place.

Naturally it was a cold morning. I've finally come to accept the fact that the morning temperature is still some time away from double figures. Something that made this morning's run that bit more enjoyable was the sky was clear allowing an uninterrupted view of the stars and also for the moon to provide some extra light. Wh…

The Plan: Mark II

In terms of my intial training plan, I was meant to have completed some consistent and important Base training over the last few weeks. This didn't happen, and based on a couple of runs last week and some observations taken during yesterday's threshold session, I haven't developed a strong fitness base. This has influenced the main changes to my revamped training plan.

The main change, is I am now extending the base period, and shortening the VO2 period before leading into the rest of training. The general approach is still in line with my initial training guidelines:
Develop and maintain a body capable of handling and adapting to the training
loadProgressively develop a sound, but not overdone aerobic base Increase VO2max to as high as possible Increase velocity achieved at Anaerobic Threshold Increase ability to sustain Anaerobic ThresholdDevelop specific race skills and abilitiesRecover appropriately
BASE (6 weeks)Even development of all aspects of fitness with particular f…