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Showing posts from 2010

Better Than Fiction

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Christmas is just a strange time of year. For some time I could take it or leave it. Having my own kids has rekindled excitement in the season. Because the celebration goes over Christmas day and Boxing day I now take that as two definite days without training.

Instead of exercising I fill those two days with the all sorts that comes with the silly season. The obvious was food, drink, presents and family. The not so regular was working night shift. Definitely one of the busiest nights of the year. It is a time of extremes. The most common extreme was the amount of alcohol consumed and all the joys that brings in it's various forms.





After a partially successful focus on trying to catch up on sleep I have since put in a handful of good training sets. Now I just need to keep lining them up.

Aussie Run

Up early to get my long run in before work. It took a while to wake up. Enough time that I could measure it in kilometers. Moving out of sleep seemed to coincide with the sun eventually generating a bit of warmth.

The kilometers passed by relatively easy. The first few probably because my brain hadn't gained function yet. The latter k's were filled with assorted wildlife. Kookaburras, kangaroos and a blue tongue lizard.

The trails can be good.

Meat & Potatoes

Run. ride and swim long and steady. Keep strong. Do a bit of faster stuff. Recover and absorb the training, without long gaps in between. Be consistent. The more I learn about training, the more it comes back to this. It's simple.

Now I have a lot less free time, the luxury of analysing everything down to the metre, second and heart beat is no longer there. The good news, is I am not missing going over every detail of training. The better news is I don't think it will make much difference. It just comes back to getting in a good amount of appropriate work.

On paper the routine may look boring, but I am enjoying the basics. The enjoyment of training has certainly risen to the surface again.

Bompa

Periodisation of training is usually touted as necessary for successful racing. Most of the time I agree. However, there are times when the traditional models of base-specific-peak and the many variations can't be applied. This is where I am at.

Historically I have always planned out a periodised program. The meso- macro- and micro- cycles have always been mapped out. The lead up to the Police games in a few months provides me a different challenge. If the rest of my life was fitted into training (instead of fitting training into life) the the plan would be 6-10 day peak/taper, 6x8 day cycles of specific training preceded by just my basic training leading in. Life has other plans. Plans which I am also looking forward to.

Amongst other things those plans include the silly season plus a holiday in the middle of when I would normally be doing the big training leading into a race. This means a modified approach to the training cycle.

Mainly by necessity, but also by my curiosity in the …

Deception

I have been relatively happy about my swim times of late. While my endurance is substantially lacking, I have been able to pull out a few repeats that are reminiscent of years gone by. When I would have considered my swimming good.


Unfortunately I have been deceived. In truth I am slower than I thought. Just about all my swimming is now in short course pools. Therein lies the problem. In the past I was always swimming in nice 50m length pools. For me, there is such a difference in times between the short and long course. Much more than I ever would have given credit to. I always thought there would be a few seconds per 100m (like 2-4), but I am talking 5-10 when at around threshold speed and even 10-15 seconds at a steady, endurance pace.

Maybe I can be happy that my flip turns are relatively efficient. Unfortunately that won't help much in an open water swim.

Plague

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The goal of consistency wasn't achieved over the weekend. Instead three days were replaced by a combination of heat, rain, driving, alcohol, food, locusts, kids, river boat and some thinking time. A good balance with some good solid sessions on either side.








Race Schedule 2011

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A fair bit of thought has gone into my racing schedule for the next year. 2011 presents a large number of tempting options. I've had to be careful not to get carried away and try to race everything. My life and probably recovery ability just won't allow it. I still want to race a half ironman or two very well in the 2011/12 season. With that in mind, plus the desire to get the best out of myself in the lead up races, I have chosen a race schedule different to what I first thought I would.
Originally I thought I would compete in one or two half ironman races at the start of 2011. I considered the Gatorade Long Course in February, plus got very close to entering the Triman in Torquay in April. In the end I decided I wouldn't be able to commit properly to either of these races. Plus getting into that sort of distance this early wouldn't be best for my development. I even contemplated the Marysville to Melbourne multisport, but taking up kayaking wasn't going to be a vi…

Old Style

In all my years of triathlon, there was really only a very short period where I have been truly happy about my swimming. Most of the time I have been a middle-packer. On the rare occasion I have been able to get into the front group. My current approach to training is to get back to what has worked in the past.

I swim like a runner. Always have, and always will to some extent. I accept that I will never set national or even state level times in the pool. My body isn't built to excel in the water. Stiff ankles, short, levers not at the best ratio and a centre-of-gravity to centre-of-buoyancy mismatch. That's okay since I know I can do well enough in the water during a triathlon.

What has worked in the past?

Unfortunately the simplest answer is volume. The more volume I did in the water, the better I did in the first leg in races. Swimming fives times per week at 3-5km per session worked. On the odd occasion I even managed to up that with a couple of double swim days when the legs …

Reviewing Goals

2010 has been a full year. Moving house twice and adding to the family means my world hasn't been grounded in much routine. In the past I have mentioned I relish a certain degree of routine. So I am appreciating life settling down to something which I would now call normal. At least my version of normal. Next year we are hoping to get in a couple of decent holidays too. With that in the planning and my leave roster finally being released, I can now start to think how the next year is likely to be structured.

Time to review the goals I set back in April this year. (Training Document - Page 1)

MAIN GOAL: Race a Personal Best at a Half Ironman/70.3 Triathlon in the
2011/12 season.

Previous PB: 4:35:39 Canberra City Half Ironman 2000,
1.9/90.1/21.1km:
Swim: 0:30:18 Bike: 2:36:19 Run: 1:29:02

GUIDING ELEMENTS
· Consistency
· Make the most of each day, and in turn each year
· Break it down into manageable chunks
· Ensure progression
· Rest is a relative term
· Maintain balance between family, work, …

Revision

Doing a bunch of short, fast sessions over a few weeks got me a little closer to my goals. I have reintroduced my body to training across a three discipline sport. It's now time to set up the structure to get the most out races. The intent is the following plan should form the basics of my training. It should be repeatable, doable and lead to progression.

Structure

Still rostered on an 8 day cycle. I now believe following this cycle works best, otherwise I would be fighting against the rest of my life.

Usually my work runs the following:
10hr day shift10hr day shift12hr day-evening shift14hr night shifthalf day off, since the night finishes at 7am.offoffoffKey SessionsThe basics work, so I'll focus on those.For each discipline (swim, bike, run) I will dedicate a longer, endurance style workout, plus a higher intensity effort usually with intervals. Next in line are two general strength sessions. That gives 8 workouts in 8 days to get in. I hope to complete a few double days, so th…

The Trap of High Intensity

Before I get into the topic of the post, I have confirmation of my results at the Eltham 10km. 9th place overall in 39:31.
Less Training
When attempting to really bump up the training load by adding some very high intensity work, there are a number of risks. The obvious and most quoted is that of injury (higher joint loads = higher risk of damage). There is also the suggestion there is a greater risk of overtraining, which for the most part I dispute. My main concern is the problem of less training, and more importantly, less specific training.
My concerns won't relate to everyone, but this blog is about my own training. Importantly I am trying to work out what training will give me the best results.
False Fitness
High intensity does develop the ability to go fast. So much so I strongly believe it must be incorporated into the program to some degree. Being able to travel fast can only be used to effect if it is supported by the more sustained paces and endurance required in a race situ…

Eltham Fun Run 10km

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With the intention over many years of participating in this run, I finally managed it. With all the different events I have raced, it is strange that I hadn't run the one that is consistently the closest to home (even with moving house).

Prelude
Being close to home, I cycled the handful of kilometres. A nice novelty. Perfect weather was setting up the day. Sunny and warm, but not hot. My warm up didn't have me feeling how I like. I wasn't feeling like a runner. The triathlon training was having me feel more like a triathlete. While that is my overall aim, this morning I wanted to be a runner. It became clear I wasn't going to feel fast prior to the race, so I cut my losses. I cut out the faster component of the warm up and hoped I would just feel fresh.

You must stretch
The start line was a little crowded for a small race. The actual start was delayed by a few minutes for the so-called warm up as an aerobic instructor repeatedly complained not enough people were doing as s…

Reestablishment

A few weeks and cycles of training have been put together. Fitness has accumulated. The old neural pathways in swimming and cycling have had the road blocks removed. I have hit some quite fast sessions (albeit, for very short distances). Most importantly I have some regular training completed.
Because my lifestyle is different, I didn't know exactly how everything would fit, and whether or not it work as I hoped. With a bit of experience I think I have more of an idea. In my original template, there is definitely a lot that works. The main aspect is where and when I allocate training time. The format works for me.
What won't continue working for me is a lot of the content of the sessions. I am happy with what I done over the last few weeks. It has helped me get back into feeling more like a triathlete. On the other hand, my training needs to adapt to progress beyond what I have gained so far.
The main change will be move to some longer, more sustained efforts. The short, relative…

Catch Up

Meadowglen 10km - Video Report

Time Flies

It's been almost a week since my last post, yet it feels like a couple of days. I must be having fun.

The training plan has been in action. Things have gone as expected. A few sessions have been missed, but I have got in some really good training as well. It is too early to know if it is all going to work out as hoped, but at least I am getting the work load done.

The time in between training sessions has been pretty much filled. The majority of that has been work. Finishing on time is a rarity now.

Not focussing on the small details and not worrying about what is missed seems to be working for me. Having my brain functioning in the right space plays a big part. I am now figuring out where that space may actually be. To help with this I need some way to measure results.

The only results that truly matter are what I do in races. The only way to get those results is to race. So I have to get past thinking I am 'not yet fit enough,' push my ego to the side and just enter some ra…

Some Reasoning

Finally I get to some sort of overview of the reasoning behind my training template.
First and foremost the template has been designed to be incorporated into my life. As a result it appears to be somewhat removed from a typical training plan. That it is. I no longer have the luxury of having the frequency and volume at high levels. Two young kids, combined with rotating shift work means there is the obligatory variety and unexpected. Taking all this into account, the most important concept driving the template is for manageable week-in, week-out training, with progression.
Rather than worrying about what I am missing in training, I will be better served by making the most of what I can do.
The template is written with the expectation of rarely being able to have a week exactly as written. Instead it is what I am aiming for when everything falls into place from a training perspective. So it provides the guide for what I aiming for. It is a guideline that allows for manipulation on an 8-d…

Start

With the beginning of daylight savings come the beginning of my training. Scheduling a recovery day as the first of each of my 8-day weeks was a good move. It means that I actually do what is necessary to be ready for the truly hard stuff.

Today was my first hard training day. Up at 0500 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. A dash of enthusiasm helps. Onto the mag-trainer and I showed my legs that I expected a lot more from them. They didn't exactly oblige.

Then out to work. Which I was happy to get back into. Unfortunately I'm stuck doing a stupid amount of overtime at the end. Meaning I miss the kids tonight and won't get in the weights session.



Training Partners

Triathlon Training Template - Part 2

The training template might not mean much to anyone other than myself without further explanation. To aid in this and give some insight into how my thought process has gone, I have added my thoughts in note form. In reality I sat down with my possible templates and scribbled notes and arrows all over the pages. The end result had to be re-written. The end result is what I present below. I know it doesn't explain everything. My attempt at that is still to come.
Triathlon Temple with Notes.
Triathlon Template With Notes

Triathlon Training Template - Part 1

To a large degree routine is my friend. That said, simply doing the same week-in, week-out does not lead to my best possible race performance. I like routine, but I am not a fan of monotony. Lucky for me it almost impossible for me to do the same every week. There are plenty of reasons, but the main one is my work roster is a rotating eight days. No Monday to Sunday routine for me.
Based on my 8-day week I have come up with a template for typical training week. There will naturally be plenty of necessary variation. What is presented below is what I believe is a realistic, workable, repeatable plan. It is the framework for just getting it done. Without that part, all the details become irrelevant.


Triathlon Template Basic

Triathlon Template Basic

Prep For Training

Go Hard: Effieciently Hard

Try Outs

Having my routine tipped upside down, shaken and then stirred has pointed out just how much I like routine. Yes, I do enjoy mixing things up, but I definitely function best with a base to work from. I just get more done when I have a working routine. I love my new life being a second time father. As the screaming, mixed up sleep, vomit and nappies begin to settle a little, I believe I have an idea of the semblance of routine my life can have on my return to work.
I'm back on shift at the start of October. This will also be when I officially start my next training program. From a training point of view I will use the time until then to experiment a bit with the ideas have for the program.
My enthusiasm to get right into training is skyrocketing. To avoid conflict with this enthusiasm and the other necessities of life I need to delay true training. Trying out some ideas, gives me the mental freedom to not feel like I am taking away from any area, but should fulfil that training desire…

Better Swimming

I shouldn't be very good. My swimming over the last year and more has been minimal. There has been so little swimming that I should probably have forgotten how to. Averaging less than two swims per month won't get me very far in the first leg.

Am I worried about this?

Not at all, but today I was thinking about it. The catalyst was that I actually hit the water and followed the black line for a short distance. Being two weeks since my last swim I assumed that at best I would be able to maintain what was possible last time.

Now the times and distances are a far cry from my past and what is required my goal. You have to start somewhere. In swimming I feel like I am starting over again. With that said, I can report I am much better than two weeks ago.

An extra couple of repeats, less rest and faster over all, combined with not feeling like I'd destroyed my shoulder and lats this time show improvement. This got a few neurons firing. What else has helped my swimming?

It could simply …

Seed

There is some semblance of a routine in my life again. With that also comes the possibility of being able to think about a plan. Over the last couple of days plenty of ideas for training have flicked through my mind, almost like a slide show. I am far from settled on any particular plan.

Choosing an actual race or races to aim for would be a start. Without that everything else is simply possibilities. Good training isn't built on possibilities, it needs something more concrete.

Structured training won't start until October so I have plenty of time work out where I want to be.

Best Part of Offseason

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When dark chocolate, red wine and the footy wins out over training without any guilt trip.




New Outcomes

Currently my program doesn't resemble a program. There is no planning ahead. Often I don't know what a session will involve until well into it. I am loving this bit of freedom.

The volume is low, but the intensity has been well up. This hasn't been deliberate. Just that going hard or harder feels so good. As a result I am noticing a couple of distinct changes to how I respond to individual sessions.

First it is getting easier to push hard within a session. There is no longer that almost invisible wall of heavy fatigue that is limiting my top end.

Second is everything hurts that much more during the recovery phase. For the rest of the day and sometimes into the next it is more about a level of pain instead of overall fatigue. The good news is it is obvious when my body has recovered. Such a contrast.

Will this lead to better racing?



Stereotype

I'm spending more time on strength and conditioning work than anything too specific to triathlon. Even though I'm only getting about an extra 30 minutes per week more of strength training, I'm definitely getting a lot stronger. For the variety and just plain enjoyment I've been doing a bit of crossfit style work. It's provides a good slant on training so I won't go into it's pros an cons now. I'll just leave you with the following video:

http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=AU#/watch?xl=xl_blazer&v=rgH_ZoMOht8


Smaller Chunks

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Squat 5x3 @ 60kg

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Far removed from triathlon endurance.

Run, Push, Run

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Back On Shift

With first shift back, overtime at the end and the need for sleep, naturally there was no training today. As a pleasant change I am more than comfortable withba day away from training. This is definitely a new chapter. I just wonder where the plot will lead.

Attachment

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Simple, Short & Hard

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Sleep?

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Next Chapter

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Ace

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Welcome to the world Ace







Why Not Just Run?

With the reduced training time, one obvious solution is to just focus on running. I have been asked about this a couple of times recently. It makes sense. Get in about 6-8 hours of running each week and I should be able to get out some fast times up to half marathon distance. It is an appealing option in some ways. I wasn't too far away from this approach when I ran my marathon PR last year. There are a few reasons why I haven't chosen this option.

The longer term goal is a major influence. I am still planning on going fast over the half ironman distance in 2010/11. I believe this goal will be better served by having a more balanced approach to fitness.

Enhancing a mix of fitness elements including: strength, flexibilty, power, speed, stability across different modes will hopefully build a strong base fitness that will not only reduce injury risk, but hopefully add to general health. Having young kids and working as a paramedic can place some less than ideal manual handling/lif…

No Longer Long

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Shortening

Time hasn't exactly been my beat friend of late. Yet I still wish I had more of it. No work shift has finished on time in the last week. The kind of benefit is it has got me experimenting a bit with time constricted training sessions.

Based on this week I'm thinking I have a bit more insight into how things will be from a training perspective once the family expands.

The key fitness component I expect to suffer is my base endurance. If I'm not getting out for sessions beyond two hours then it is only logical. This will probably be the hardest part for me. Afterall I co wider myself an endurance athlete.

On the plus side I now have the mental freedom to simply do whatever I feel like when I get the chance. Without being constrained by an upcoming event or set training protocol I can simply have a lot of fun when I get the chance to get out there. Maybe it's the perfect time to work on other elements of fitness.

Off Season Training

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No races in the near future. Reduced time and opportunity for training sessions. Less chance of big, long training days. Sounds like the off season.

The key reason behind this is kid number two is due in a few short weeks. Separate to the reduced sleep and extra commitments the new addition brings there is also the expectation Mum will have some six weeks of recovery without being able lift almost anything. That means I need to be on hand, especially a nearly two year old thrown into the mix.

With family taking a clear first place in priorities, training falls long way behind. Naturally I still like to keep up some level of training. I am a big believer in physical activity playing a major role in all aspects of my health. Secondary to that, it helps ensure my ability to meet the needs of family. On the hand, training cannot in any way take away from family.

There are quite a number of solutions. What I plan won't represent an ideal program for endurance sports or follow what typical…

52

Putting in 52 hours on shift in four days hasn't left much free time. At least I've managed to squeeze in most of my training.



Sunday Morning Chaos

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Finally An Actual Run

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Zero

It was that cold this morning. The official freezing point of water. I was actually partly happy with the fact I wasn't out training in that lack of heat. On the other hand, zero is also my training mileage over the last couple of days.

I've got some bug that just won't shift. Nothing that seems major, but it increases my need for sleep quite significantly. Plus any training has been making things worse. Funny how it is harder not to train, than it is to train.

How Many?

I've been asked a little while ago how many kilometres per week I run when training for a half marathon. It's taken a little for me to get to an answer. The reason being that I am no longer too concerned with weekly mileage. As a result I no longer keep record of exactly how far I run.

Instead I keep track of my key sessions. Mainly so I can see if I am imrpoving or not. By keeping a tally of kilometres logged each day now leads to stressing about how many I am missing. It no longer helps me.

After a little bit of analysis of my training diary I have come to the best answer. It is what I have done (not what I planned to do). There can sometimes be a substantial difference.

When averaged out to a seven day week I cover between 44-75km of running. Swimming is 2-4.5km (1 or 2 sessions) and cycling is 70-100km on the road plus about another 2 hours on the mag-trainer.

The range is purely due to competing demands on my time and not from a grad training scheme. Compared to last year'…

Flipped Day

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Down Tempo

This morning was my first real training run for the focus period. It didn't go quite to plan. That plan was 15km at 10-5bpm below my anaerobic threshold (153-158), over a fairly flat trail. The trail was a 7.5km out-and-back, so that meant two laps. The warm up and cool down was to be roughly 2km each way.

On paper this was very doable. With expectation the start may need a little prompting and the final handful of kilometres requiring a reasonable dose concentration. It should set the scene for progression.

The start was a bit after 06:00. In the dark, in the cold. Despite wearing what would normally be adequate clothing for the conditions, I got colder as the run progressed. My fingers weren't happy with a flair up of Raynauds.

The first 7.5km (lap 1) went through as expected. For the most part I fell into a good tempo, and the effort level felt right. The second lap was where the trouble unfolded. Only 500m into it I had a massive and sudden drain of energy. All I wanted to do…

Focus On The Devil

I've been reasonably comfortable with my training leading in. However, I know I can get more out of myself. The idea of three weeks of focussed training with a short taper/peak period leading into a race is different to what I have usually done in the past. I am curious to see how much improvement I can get out off myself in what is a relatively short period (30 days).



The Plan:



Focus 3 x 8 day weeks

Taper 6 days

Race: Devilbend Half Marathon 21.1km (on dirt roads)

Each Focus Week will include:
• Long Run- 2 hours at a steady state effort with some harder running on the uphills in the last 3rd if feeling good.
• Focus Run- 15km tempo. Week 1 @ 153-158bpm, Week 2 @ 158-163, Week 3 @ 163-168. Based on threshold HR 163 taken last half marathon.
• VO2- Intervals 6-8x4-5min, 2-3min rec. hopefully with plenty of uphill work. Inensity about 5km race pace.
• Speed- Week 1 5x200m, 200m rec. Run fast aiming for some lactate tolerance. Weeks 2-3 fast repeats of 60-80m, walk back recovery.

On top of th…

Devilbend Minus 30

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Pick A Race...

... and that race is the Devilbend Half Marathon, 8th August.

How I picked this race didn't exactly have a lot behind it. The process was just a matter of looking at what weekends I have available to race in the next couple of months. The answer was only a couple. One of those weekends I didn't like the choice of races. The other brought up the Devilbend Half Marathon. A race I haven't entered before, but 21.1km run over dirt roads down on the Peninsula has a certain appeal.

To follow the guidelines set out in Putting It Together means I start the focussed training sooner than I realised. The first cycle begins this Saturday. This will give me 3 x 8 day focus weeks, plus 6 days for the taper/peak.

Better come up with some more details for the plan.

Putting It Together

How do I plan to get that bit more out of my training?The concept is simple. I will focus on more short term goals. Train hard for those. In the background, I will keep in mind that my major goal is to race at my best for half ironman in 2010/11. This should allow stop the feeling of 'underwhelming training' that often goes with being a long way out from a goal. It also gives me the permission and incentive for some really hard training at times.Remembering that my training hours and ability to plan will be substantially altered after the not so distant birth of kid number two. So I know I will have a period of maybe 8 or so weeks that I probably have to consider as an off season. Around this is where my current plan fits.FOCUSI will pick a race to perform well at.Then depending on how my roster falls I will take 3-8 days lead up for taper/peak training.Prior to the taper/peak days I will perform 3 weeks/cycles (usually 8 days per cycle) where I will focus my training primaril…

Looking For That Bit Extra

There is definitely some improvement coming from my current training. This is good. It's not great. The reason is I know I can get more out of myself. Plenty of options have been churning around in my scone during the easier runs. I believe I am getting close to a solution. At least something worth trying in the short term.

2010/11 triathlon season is still a long way off. I need more than just trying to generally improve my base performance level. I need some closer focus.

Other Side Of The Gorge

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Working away from my usual stomping ground means some different running routes. For the 0700 starts I like to get into the branch by 0540 to fit the morning run in. Being out north and in winter it means cold starts.


There are some obvious differences once I have driven across the Plenty Gorge. It seems to be a border by more than topography. Running highlights a few things compared to my own area:
• lack of hills
• the wind just seems stronger (maybe not broken by hills)
• houses are close to the path and running past switches on sensor lights
• people look at you like you are about to mug them (no friendly hello)

Deposits

Another 8 day week down. Another collection of training sessions. Not exactly as planned, but all still in line with the training document. Nothing too special. Just consistency, appropriate fatigue and pains, plus a little evidence of some improvement.



Elastic Laces

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A couple of things happened today. First I got my Internet connection up and running. Now I should be able to keep this blog better up to date. Second I got in my first genuine hard brick. A collection of 3 minute repeats on the mag-trainer and then a quick transition to get some more repeats on the run. It's been a while since my training session that had me nearly revisiting breakfast. It's also been a while since I last put in a good bike-run combo.

Pea Soup

The long un-awaited return to double night shifts wasn't as bad as anticipated. While both nights extended beyond each of their rostered 14 hours, I seemed to get my sleep right. Mixed in was a hard run and ride that woke me up. The ride home in the rain after night shift even managed to be enjoyable.

Flicking back to real person time was achieved without too much hurt. This allowed for 2 hours of running in perfect winter weather: heavy fog, cold, wet, slippery, muddy eventually giving way for some sun. I might have my training balance right at this stage.



Vanishing

For an unknown reason my last couple of posts never made it the blog. This is despite sending them. So as a quick recap, the move is done, I'm back at work and into Base 2 of training. This means some minor changes to how my training week fits together. I'll republish the next installment of my training document and hope it makes it to the blog this time.



900m

The move is done. With only a short distance between houses there really aren't any major changes to my training routes. Still it felt good to get out for my first run from the new starting point.

Waiting

Moving week is definitely not a normal week. No point having a training plan. That was thrown out the window as soon as my nose and sinus filled up. Then to make sure it is almost impossible to get in the long training sets, time is sapped away waiting for deliveries and for carpets to dry.

Re-reading the above it sounds like complaining. However that's not how I feel. While the experience of moving isn't my ideal form of fun it is an exciting time. It comes back towards working towards a goal. From purely a training point of view this week really serves as a recovery week and in the longer term may actually add to my fitness.



Default Recovery Week

Time limits on training imposed by moving house plus a sinus infection change the training focus. This week is no longer about adding to my fitness. Instead, I am trying to stop any decline.



The Move Begins

With keys to the new joint, it is time the moving started. Spread over a few days, we are trying to have a bit of method to setting up the new house. That means training is definitely not the number one priority this week. I should be able to get all the key sessions in. It's the extra easy runs and rides will likely be missed.

This morning was the perfect example of life versus training. Trying to be time efficient and I was on the mag-trainer and as I tend to do when stationary, or lifting weights I listen to one the podcasts I download. Today was the latest IM Talk, and during the section on training with a newborn, and fitting (or not) training/racing into family life my session had to be cut short for family/life reasons.

Any episode 212 is worth a listen on IM Talk.

Switched

There still a bit of hangover from the half marathon, but I have moved out of the recovery mode. In the pool my aerobic swim is defintely improving. The faster end of the pace bracket is so much easier to hold. Moving onto the bike my output was way down but I still covered what was needed. Finally today 6x5 run intervals with pram showed a surprisingly low heart rate, but the pace was definitely quick.

Into what I am still trying to make routine. Seems to be getting some good results. I still have to watch my lower legs for injury. The run highlighted some problems.



Stepwise Recovery

Day 1: mild stiffness on waking, but feeling primed and capable of running faster.

Day 2: DOMS++ hard to move until a swim loosened things up a bit.

Day 3: felt great to begin with, but the optimism soon dissolved as the weakened state of muscle repair was more than highlighted by a short ride.

Should be able to switch from recovery to training tomorrow.



A Good Test

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A half marathon is definitely a good fitness test for the endurance athlete. Looking back at the race and seeing how the body goes with two recovery days gives some good information. So what do I take away from the test?

- My strength/stability training is working: it was easier than usual to keep good form throughout the race, plus this is about the first race of a descent distance where I didn't feel fatigue anywhere in my back.
- My base levels of fitness are good. Running 1:27:50 without much run volume, lower intensity intervals and easy long runs means I should have plenty of room for improvement. - There isn't much acid buffering or tolerance to be able to run much faster in 10km events. - Injury risks have shown up in my lower legs. Left sided Peroneal muscles are tight and are affecting the distal attachments. Right Soleus is tight within the muscle sheath. Need to be dealt with to avoid future problems. - Overall, the basics are good and reinforce that I can get to where…

Sri Chinmoy Williamstown Running Festival Half Marathon 2010 - Race Report

A day that was cold when still, but almost pleasant when running. Always the threat of rain, without the follow through. Plenty of wind to to add an extra element. The Sri Chinmoy Fitness & Running Festival has been a regular on my calender for many years. It is getting bigger. A few slight changes to the course, because the athletics track was being resurfaced didn't seem to change anything.

Patience...

...was by far the most important principle to guide my race today. I stuck to my pre-race plan and made sure I wasn't going too hard at the start. Mentally this was more difficult than I thought it would be. Way too many runners for me to feel comfortable ran ahead over the first section. There were running styles that I didn't like being in front of me, but seemed to have the ability to stay there if I didn't pick things up.

The first 5km passed and I have kept everything between 4:06-4:25/km. The wind was strong enough to play quite a factor. Reassessing I felt I ha…

Pre-Race Thoughts

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With the change in training, and the problems with pacing my last half marathon, it is probably a good idea to have a bit of think about how I should race tomorrow.

I'm working from the following points about my fitness:
I have the ability to run around 3:50/km and it feel comfortableI don't have the ability to sustain this beyond anything over 8kmMy threshold speeds are probably still the same, but I have lost the ability to hold it for extended periodsTherefore I will try to give myself a reasonable margin for error. The resulting time could be anything.The plan:Run out comfortable at the start and find a rhythm, but keep the pace slower than 4:05/km.Check HR versus pace versus feel, between 5-10km and adjust pace gradually.Maintain this through to 15km.After 15km is anybody's guess at this stage.

Catch Up?

Procrastination + Mechanical problems = Reduced effective training time.

The result is a missed long ride. What I got in was only equivalent to an easy aerobic outing.

Before Sunday's race I'll keep everything else the same and hope I can fit in the long ride (maybe at an even lower intensity) afterwards. Otherwise it will have to count as one of the two allowed missed seasions.



Misnomer In The Beginning

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On the training plan the title for today's session is 'Hard Bike.' It is very misleading at this stage. Progressing from last week the intervals went from 6x3:00 to 6x5:00. All at the same tension level on the trainer, same gearing and same cadence. This week it was even easier and my heart rate was a good 5bpm lower across all intervals to attest to that. Shows you can get improvement without always completely blasting yourself.



Front Loading

A slight modification to the structure is required this week. This is to accomodate the half marathon at the Sri Chinmoy Fitness & Running Festival next Sunday. Within the parameters of maintaining consistent training I will be training through the event. That said I'd also like to get the best out of myself on race day.

To achieve racing with minimal carry over fatigue I will load the key training sessions to the first four days of the week. Then using the half marathon in place of my long run I will then have two easy days leading into the race.

After race day two days are planned for recovery before jumping back into the training cycle.



Week One

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Starting a new phase of training is not very daunting when you know all of the individual sessions for the first few weeks should be well within your capabilities. The last few months have shown I have been a bit to keen to up the intensity. The results have been covered before. Having my current goal simply being 'consistency' has taken a lot of pressure off. As a result, the first week came together like this:

DAY 1
Aerobic Swim: 1800m. Main 10x100 on 2:00 (1:55-1:50)
Hitting 1:55 felt ridiculously easy, surprisingly there was a very big difference in effort when taking off only 5 seconds. There isn't any problem with the engine, but the moving parts need better conditioning. Local muscular endurance is standing out as my key limiter in the water.

Easy Run: 9.75km pushing the pram. A friendly loop that has become a regular route of late. Plenty of action passing by to keep Jaya entertained. I left the heart rate monitor behind and just enjoyed a relaxing run.

DAY 2
Strength:…

Recovery?

I'd like to draw attention to the article Tea highlighted on race recovery.


The article is Determining Your Recovery Time.


An interesting read, but I don't think the article quite reaches where it is aiming. I like the idea of having a guide for expected recovery requirements. While giving plenty of items to take into consideration I don't believe it provides a good algorithm to work with. The problem is inherent in most attempts at reducing all the aspects that go into training and racing into a representative number. It usually just doesn't work.

Two concerns include:
Nutritional elements: firstly how do we define good versus bad, and why does bad equal prolonged recovery. For long events, a forced slow down due nutritional problems may result in less musculature stress and lessen time for recovery.Overall definitions are too arbitrary and seem to give equal influence to every element.Working from the assumption "that you are recovered from the race completely—so th…

Kicked

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Keeping the intensity down doesn't always translate to easy. The backing up a long run the day after a long ride does hurt. It is a style of discomfort I had almost forgotten about. It just doesn't exist I. The same way when training for single sport. I have surpassed my usual long session headache that hits a couple after training. An hour with the feet up is the minimum that is required. Even though slow and kind of a struggle with the carry over fatigue from riding at least the run was still very enjoyable.

Annual

To help make balance of the extended hours of work shifts I get time off in blocks. Currently I have four weeks away from my job. This gives plenty of time with my daughter and time for all the stuff associate with moving house. It also makes training easier.

Using the four weeks as the Base 1 phase I have attempted not to get carried away. I am still just aiming to set up a structure that allows for consistency. The enthusiasm is high and I tempted to squeeze as many hours as I can find. However, this just isn't the time for that. I need to make sure I get groundwork right. After all, a slow, low intensity 3 hour bike ride nearly kicked my ass yesterday.

Blogging Style

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To help keep to my Guiding Elements, my blogging style is changing slightly. To help me switch off from training, I need to nut out and put a few things in writing. I am going to put more of this into my blog. The result will be some less polished and maybe not so thought out posts. Some quite short. On the upside it should give a clearer indication as to what my training really involves and how I am going with it. Unless I find myself having some really good down time, I am not expecting to really get into any detailed analysis of the physiology and other science behind training.

Base 2 - Routine

With moving house over also comes the end of my leave from work. A change in work location and roster provides a some new pros and cons to my training plan. Onto the training document:

PHASE: Base 2 GOAL: Improve Steady-state output CRITERIA: Complete all key sessions LIFE: Lead up to the baby TIME LINE: 16th June to about 2nd September FORMAT: 8 day cycles NOTE: Can push the key sessions if feeling good by upping the average pace.
SESSIONS: LONG RUN: 2 hours steady, progress with gradual pace increase. LONG BIKE: 3 hours with solid output, progress by moving to negative split or faster in the hills in last third AEROBIC SWIM: 10x100, 3 stroke breath, on 5-10 cycle rest cycle, +1-2x100m until 2000m. Finish with 100-300m of strength work
HARD DAY: Threshold-VO2max work on legs. Format can be intervals or sustained effort. Split or single session but must cover both bike and run
The rest of training will be whatever I can best fit in. This includes the equivalent of two strength sessions and the re…

Training Document - Page 1

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First up I need to correct a mistake I've made in a couple of my posts. I have been quoting the wrong season/year for which I will be aiming to race a PB Half Ironman. I am aiming to be at my best for the 2011/2012 season, not this summer.

With that out of the way, it's time to get to the tool that I will be using to guide my training. Working off the setting from the post What's Important I have started my Training Document. This will be dynamic document, that I will change and add to as required, but essentially it is my training guidelines. There are a few parts that makes this up. The first page will set the overriding goal and elements to my training. The rest will then cover the specifics, including what and how long the current phase covers, then get down to nuts and bolts of each week. Instead of getting to far into the rambling, I'll just present the first page:



MAIN GOAL

Race a Personal Best at a Half Ironman/70.3 Triathlon in the 2011/12 season.

Previous PB: 4:3…

Eye On The Sky

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With a forecast of hail and thunderstorms the raincover was over the pram and I was a bit nervous for the run.



What's Important

Following my recent training review it is clear I need to consider what are the most important elements of training. Again working off the back of the article The Year Round Athlete I present what I believe to be the most highlights of the article.

• Make the most of each day, and in turn, each year.

• Break it down into sizeable chunks.

• Learn the value of consistency across the year, and the compounding benefits of continuous development.

• Rest is a relative term

• Maintain balance between family, work, health, social, sport and so on.

• They can switch "on" and "off" on demand.

• Be inspired by your own goals and dreams.

The process is progressing, bringing me closer to putting together a better training package. An extra element I need to add to the mix is accountability. The accountability is to myself and not others. Part of being true to myself and making the right things count.

The end result of this initial process will be my Training Document.

365 (+1)

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Four training cycles have past quickly. Also I am coming up for some time off work (which will be for moving house), and a different roster structure when I return. Add these together and it is probably worthwhile to have a proper review on my current training program.

The original program is covered in The Triathlon Template.



The overall concepts of my training program appear to have been sound. That is working off key sessions, that are placed in each modified week depending on work roster and other commitments. Performance-wise my response to cycling and swimming has and still is variable. Plenty of sluggish, almost backward sessions with the occasional break-through day. Running has remained stagnant. All this I am reasonably happy to accept, as I would expect a lot of variation as I struggle between my current fitness level and what my body remembers it used to do across the disciplines.For the most part training has gone okay, but this is a review with the idea of finding ways to …

Process

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Summer is finally behind me. I'll give the season credit in that it attempted a small come back last week, but it really should know when it's beaten. Day light savings is no longer, and as comes with the change there is less day light hours. Of particular note, and a good notice towards upcoming winter is it has even been raining.

Living in an area where water restrictions are now the norm. Where most grass has forgotten it's natural colour is green. Where my only real concern about the weather in last few months has been how hot will it be? Things are different. Wet stuff has been falling from the sky.

Admittedly rain is not my favourite thing when out cycling. As for running, as long as it doesn't involve the frozen stuff hitting me on the head, I am enjoying running through the wet.



Disappearing into that world of simply running somehow seems easier as the temperatures drop. Soggy paths, muddied legs and that constant haze of rain you almost don't notice takes me …