Showing posts from October, 2007

Losing Time, Getting Hot

I seem to have misplaced an hour. Which is never a good thing on the night before work. Less sleep always sucks, especially when you stay up forgetting that daylight savings is about to start. Yes that's right, it is now daylight savings. This means the clock were put forward an hour leading to more sunshine in the evening and less light around my usual waking time.

To mark the official celebration of sunlight the temperature has also decided to rise. It was a warm one last night. Already 24 degrees when I woke up for an easy run. This had me thinking about the Shepparton Half Ironman coming up.

Traditionally the race has been held in hot conditions, often over 30 degrees. The first year saw it reach about 37. While it is now a couple of weeks earlier, there is still potential for a hot day around the fruit orchards. This got me thinking about race performance in the heat. It is generally well accepted that racing in hot conditions leads to slower times, but what temperat…

Getting Ahead of Myself

It's been a bit longer than usual since my last post. It's not because I've been lazy, but the shifts at work are now consistently busier. Not only does there seem to be more people calling for an ambulance, but we're also being tied up at hospital for longer. So as a result I haven't been getting any extra down time. Add to that doing an extra 14 hour night shift thrown into the mix, work has really been my priority this week.

Despite all that I have been training reasonably well, with only missing one planned swim. My main issue has been my mindset. My focus has shifted away from the Shepparton Half Ironman in three weeks to looking at the training required for the Australian Ironman next April. While it is good to plan ahead and keep in the back of the mind what I have to do, the problem is I can focus too far ahead. It is something I often do as a big race gets close. I lose focus on what I have do now and often find I'm trying to talk myself out of…

A Comfortable Placing

The Yan Yean duathlon was held on our hottest day so far this year. It was great, I just love racing in the heat. It was a sprint distance duathlon with distances advertised at 5/20/3. However I don't think these were too accurate. I'm sure I didn't run sub-3 minute kilometres on the second run.

My head wasn't in its normal racing mindset. One reason was because I was planning on only using the event as a solid threshold training set. Therefore I was planning on holding back a bit during the race. The other reason is I only had 3 hours of sleep due to enjoying a friends engagement party the night before. From forcing myself out of bed until I was part way through my warm up, my mind was in a no-man's land.

To help with keeping my pacing under control I lined up in the middle of the starting bunch. It was quite pleasant not being concerned about what the lead guys were doing. I felt almost relaxed over the first few hundred metres. Not exactly what I'm used to. …


I'm really starting to get headaches if I'm without good coffee for too long. That's probably a cue to start rethinking my caffeine intake. With my first big race around the corner I'm probably going to have to cut down so I can actually get some performance benefits from my race day intake. I used to be a high responder to caffeine, but not lately. I've developed a tolerance which I think is progressing to a dependence. That said, I am writing this while drinking a long machiato.

Cycling For The Ironman

What does it take to improve bike performance for an Ironman race?

Thanks for the question Tea. Here's my attempt at explaining my current philosophy in regard to the cycling portion of the Ironman triathlon.

My Background

Having attempted a mixture of so-called old school and scientific training over the years on the bike I have found a simple approach works best for me. Initially I just went out riding with different people over different terrain, and before I had any of my studies under my belt, I aimed to replicate the demands of racing in training. Later, after I had a bit of research, a degree and other knowledge under my belt I decided to take a more directed, scientific approach to my cycling. I imposed cadence guidelines, very specific heart rate zones and interval times. With hindsight, I found I raced better following the old school approach, but to get the best out my training some direction is needed.

Demands Of The Event

Different courses require some different elements o…


Since I've called this month of training my Threshold Phase, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss the concept of a training threshold.

First of all let me point out that when I am training in this phase, most of it done on feel. I am far from concerned about exact heart rates, lactate values or specific speeds. With that said, there is a little bit of theory behind the concept.

What exactly is this threshold concept? The short answer is that it depends on who you ask. There are so many different definitions, slightly different names and different testing procedures to define the threshold. It is no wonder people get confused.

The list of names include: anaerobic threshold; lactate threshold; onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA), aerobic threshold; ventilatory threshold; aerobic threshold1 and or 2; maximal lactate steady state (MLSS); threshold 4.0; lactate turn point and plenty of others.

Basically I like to accept that there is an area of intensity at which the bo…


Yesterday morning I was in the pool for my harder swim set. It consisted of:
4x200m free @ 85%4x100m free @ 90-95%4x50m free @ 95%6x25m fly6x25m free sprintIt was a good hard set that even though it hurt, it almost felt easy. By easy I mean it just felt like my body is getting used to this swimming thing again. On exiting the water, my lats and delts felt as if they were engorged with a new swimming ability. It's these days I look forward to, and I get fitter I always seem to have more of them.

New Phase

The half marathon last Sunday signalled the end of my VO2 Phase. The last four weeks of training did not go quite as expected with 10 days out of the water and having to miss a couple of key workouts due to extra commitments. However, I still feel as though I achieve most of what I needed. The plan for my last phase can be read here.

I highlighted three criteria that would help determine if my VO2 Phase was successful. There were:
Reduced resting heart (due to increased cardiac output)Faster speeds at submaximal heart rates or lower heart rates at submaximal speedsA feeling of efficiency or ease in shorter aerobic sessionsMy actual results were as follows:Resting heart rate reduced from 52bpm down to 49bpm.Speed at submaximal hearts increased as measured in half marathon time performed at 85-88%HRmax average reduced from 1:29:39 down to 1:25:49. The average pace of my long runs has come down from 5:41 to 5:20 and still feel nice and comfortable. Cycling on the other hand has been high…

21.1 101

The go out fast, then run hard approach made for one of my harder half marathon efforts. Melbourne put on perfect conditions for a day of running. The starting line for the full marathon and half marathon was crowded with nearly 8000 people lined up to take through the city's streets and finish on the MCG.

The morning was kind of social, well as social as you can be with waking up at 5:30am. My sister and next door neighbour were both competing in the half marathon, and in support was my wife and my sister's husband. I found myself a bit more talkative on race morning compared to usual. My warm up only consisted of an extended walk to find the baggage area and then to the finish line. The number of people already lined up meant my energy was directed towards trying to find a reasonable starting position. That is, as close to the front as possible and with no extra slow people to run around over the first few hundred metres.

After a delayed start resulting in standing in t…

Run Fast, Then Run Hard

So far I've had a good solid week of training. While I won't be tapering for Sunday's Half Marathon, I also won't be doing anything overly taxing in the final three days. So after three moderate training days I'll put my running legs to the test to see what I'm currently capable of doing of 21.1km.

Hopefully I'll run something under 1 hour 25min, but since I haven't been measuring times or distances accurately over my last month of training I guess I'm a bit up in the air on pacing. So my plan is to hopefully finish work on time Saturday night. It's a 9pm finish, and I wouldn't mind getting in a reasonable night's sleep. I'll head in with the neighbour and some family and as usual plan on getting in fairly early.

Once the gun sounds I plan to head out fast. Just a bit faster than I think I should be running. Why? The first half of the race is mainly downhill. No big descents, just a slight average slope from the city down towards the b…

Someone Has Gone Further

I love endurance events. I love competing in so-called ultra-endurance races. Part of the appeal definitely has to do with that it considered crazy or extreme by many people. However, it is far from the key reason for taking on the Ironman challenge. After all, if I was just after extreme and crazy experiences then I could choose some bizarre record attempt that may involve bees, lack of oxygen and mutilation of body parts. I have previously described Some Thoughts on the reasons I enjoy what I do.

I have just read a very good article about what is considered possible or extreme. I found it really put a few things in perspective, while at the same time being very inspirational.

What Is Possible

Speaking of running a long way, it's now time to head out the door for my own long run. While it isn't up there with the 90miles between sunrise and sunset, 200miles in 24 hours or 30-50miles everyday for 300 days straight that others have achieved, at approximately 30km or so it is still …

29 Seconds Faster

New Marathon World Record: Haile Gebrselassie.

Nothing else needs to be said.

The Hallowed Turf

For those not from Australia and don't understand the significance of the MCG, here's a brief lead in. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG, the G) is the sports stadium in Melbourne. The traditional and natural home of Australian Rules Football, host of the AFL Grand Final, the One Day in September event. Venue to many, many other sporting events including hosting the athletics track and ceremonies for the Commonwealth games recently and of course the Boxing Day Cricket Test Match. I have very fond memories of watching Collingwood from the Southern Stand.

The reason I mention this is because I am racing in the Melbourne Half Marathon next Sunday. The day also plays host to the full marathon and a 10km event as well. The big appeal of these events is that each race finishes on the MCG. This is a rare event for the general public. The so-called Run to the G doesn't even finish inside the stadium. So it is with child-like excitement I look forward to next Sunday and feeling the …