Showing posts from February, 2008

Sharing The Road

Yesterday I spent a bit under six hours on the bike. Beautiful clear weather, moderate wind and great terrain and scenery. My legs were feeling the accumulated effects of the previous weeks training and as a result the pace was quite slow relative to my heart rate. Which is okay, I expect to have a few days like this during the heavy training load.

What I did notice was the goodwill out there on the road. Most discussions about motorists and cyclists always focuses on the negative. Road rage, near misses, actual collisions etc., but yesterday I was pleasantly surprised. Cars were passing with a safe amount clearance, a number of cars waited behind to make sure it was actually safe to pass, which I was thinking was a bit of a novelty. Even two trucks held back behind to make sure they could pass safely at one point. Naturally I replied with thank you waves or similar to let these people know I appreciated the courtesy.

Hopefully the road campaigns are starting to have some affect, and th…

Pacing The Ironman - Part 2

After looking at some of the research on Ironman pacing, it is now time to put that information to use. An important overriding concept I am going to apply is that I will take a conservative approach. My goal is to set a personal best at this year's race. Something that I believe is well in my capability as long as I don't blow it. An almost guaranteed slightly slower time versus a chance for faster time, but with the risk of seriously blowing out is the choice. I'll play it safe this year.


I remember hearing a quote on one of the old Ironman videos, "You can't win the race in the swim, but you can lose it."

I'll extrapolate the results out from the research from sprint distance triathlon, but with the assumption that the results are magnified. So while 90-95% of time trial pace doesn't affect the bike leg at sprint distance, I assume that it is likely to at the longer distance. Therefore, I'll choose 80-85%. Over the next three weeks I'…

Pacing The Ironman - Part 1

What is the best strategy for pacing the Ironman Triathlon?

The most common answer is to aim for an even or negative split for each leg, and be conservative on the bike. I have been wondering if this is really true, after all, most people do not achieve this. In fact, the majority of people slow down as the race progresses. Is this good, bad, or indifferent? What should be the used as the overriding measure, heart rate, power, speed, or percieved exertion? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies?

What do triathletes actually do in the Ironman and how does it affect their result?

Pre-race the most common strategy does appear to be to aim for a negative split. Many athletes judge this by heart rate, often aiming to keep below a certain threshold for the first part, and then above a certain rate later in the day. These intentions are common, but the reality is that most athletes do not achieve this. Whatever the reasons are, the majority of triathletes in an Ironma…

Train, Work, Eat, Sleep, Train, Work, Eat

Not much else to say.

Extra hours at work combined with the last few weeks of Ironman training before the taper. There isn't much room for anything else. I'm tired, sore, occasionally grumpy, but am still happy with everything. The improvements are still noticeable. I am still getting faster despite the constant workload, so looks like everything is on track.

Obvious Improvement

Another two days of high intensity training.

Day 1:

Bike (turbo-trainer) 6x2:00 @ VO2max +/- 5%, 90-95rpm, with 1:30 spin recovery
Weights: Snatches, Clean & Jerk, Squats as 4x3 followed by Bench Press, Pull Ups as 2x3-6, plus some core work.

Day 2:

Run over dirts trails with the main set lasting 12:30 as 5x1:30 @ VO2max +, 1:00 Threshold pace. The hard part was actually the so called easier running at Threshold pace. My legs just wanted to slow right down, like my usual recoveries.
Plyometrics: a mixture of bench jumps, two and single footed, precision jumps, bounding mixed in with some vaults and core control exercises.

This time my body wanted to travel quickly. While still hard work, it was a feel good kind of hard work. Following the recent long run and rides it is promising to see I am making noticeable improvements in all aspects I need to. Obvious improvement has always been a great motivator for me.

Three Days of Going Long

Day 1 = Run of 3:12
Day 2 = Swim 4800m
Day 3 = Bike of 6:15

Today I am tired, my muscles ache, and I struggled through only 1000m in the pool before I decided it was best to call it quits (all to be expected). Otherwise training is going very well. I know that my run won't be a limiting factor. In fact, I can back off a bit with the running to put the extra energy in to the bike. Swimming is going okay, and I should be right come the big day. As for cycling, I should be right for the day as long as I keep putting in the work. Currently I know I can complete the distance, it is now a matter of sorting out the pacing so I can achieve my best overall time.

Getting Slow To Go Faster

Thanks for the assumption that I'm faster than I really am Ewen, but 37 seconds for 200m is where I am at the moment on the fast stuff. My training has been Ironman focussed, and as usual the top end speed drops significantly. Being only the second week of incorporating high intensity work, I'll expect to see a substantial improvement over the next few weeks.

Getting slower at intenties far removed from race paces seems to be the price paid for the specificity of Ironman training.


I was finally back at the athletics track this morning for some fast running. It has been a fair while since my feet last hit the rubber coated asphalt. To my surprise it was a bit crowded. I counted twelve others doing their thing around the track. Everyone was following good etiquette, creating a real feel good environment.

Following twenty minutes of a mix of steady running, dynamic mobility drills and strides I was warmed up and ready. Today I was trying something different. A form of interval work that has been termed Supersetting by a few.

Today I was to run 3 x 200m-400m with 4-5min recovery.

This means you cover 600m of continuous running three times, but that 600m is separated into 200 and 400m segments by pace. The first 200m you aim to run at very close to your best possible 200m time, then with no rest at all, continue straight into 400m at a slightly reduced pace, basically whatever you think you can just hold for that distance. The exact times aren't too important, the…

It's What You Do That Counts Too

A lot is blamed on people's genetics. Whether you are a sprinter versus an endurance athlete. Have skinhy genes, or fat genes. More or less likely to get cardiovascular disease or cancer. A lot has been said about choosing your parents wisely. So is there something we can do to protect or improve the genes we already have?

Apparently there is, and surprise, surprise, the answer is exercise. Some characteristics measured on genes show a so-called 10 year benefit for those who exercise compared to the sedentry person. Check it out at: Exercise Is Good For Your Genes.

Relearning Speed

The last two days involved a re-introduction to high intensity work for the legs.

Saturday saw me heading out to an uphill dirt road to put down 5 running repeats of approximately 300m or so, with a jog back recovery. The first four repeats took about 55-56 seconds, where for each I aimed to cover the distance as quickly as I could. The final repeat blew out to 64 seconds and definitely signalled I had reached my current limit of anaerobic fitness.

Sunday's session were some more hill repeats, but this time on the bike. 4x800m over a variable grade that saw a mix of seated and standing pedal work. A total of four repeats lasting approximately 90 seconds, but yet again the final repeat stretched out to 1:46, my legs protesting at the level of hydrogen ions hanging around in the blood and muscle.

It has been a good couple of months since I last tried to sustain any work at this level for longer than 20 seconds. It definitely showed. But I do expect to see considerable improvement over …