Wednesday, 7 May 2014

280K bike and 36x100 m off 1:45

Liege Bastogne Liege is the doyenne of the spring classics for the pro cyclists. In other words it is very hard work. Last weekend I successfully completed the ride along with the LFTC crew and my old mate Jevon. I clocked 295km by the time I had ridden to the start and back and taken a minor detour. In order to avoid the race scenario of most sportives they had 4 timed climbs in the last 60 km or so which I  studiously ignored as I focused on getting finished. I think it would really helped my race if on the Sunday I had not tried to drink a beer for every 10 km of the race.

I learnt as ever that there is always the odd thousand people faster, but that I am feeling generally pretty strong. Going into IM Lanzarote I am confident that I should be under the 6 hrs but feel I have not yet developed the top end power that comes from a few short course races and a few more turbo sessions.

Te swimming feels good. Today's key set was 36 x 100m pushing off the wall every 1:45. The goal was to hit 1:30 or under for every 100m rep. Apart from a slightly tough patch around 25-28 reps I managed this. The last 6 reps were not technically the finest but I got them done. I am now confident that my swim will be good enough and should see me around the hour.

Which brings me to the run. I have managed to find some form but I am under run. I know I do not have the volume to hold it together at the pace I would like to go. I hope that. By using a run walk strategy, I plan to walk 80 steps every mile, I will be able to hold of the fatigue for longer but doubt I will do much better than a 3:45.

Which means if I run to plan for the first time I should get under 11 hours at Lanzarote. Well you gotta have a goal!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Running- and no AT

So finally running is coming on but boy is it a hard grind. The physical effects of a long run seem to me now to be my key limiter. Following the 10 % rule of run progression ( don't increase run volume by greater than 10 % in any week) I can now get 17 miles without stopping or any Achilles tendinitis.

Oh joy to not have the deep pain of AT, that ache in the morning, the discomfort at the start of the run that often eases after a few miles only to come back as your run progresses and then that bite again the following morning. What do I attribute to this success so far.... because I fear it can come back at a drop of a hat! Well I think it was lots of free weights especially deep squats and springing up at the end as well as swinging some kettle bells done during the autumn. This dynamic loading of my Achilles has presumably built up the strength there and made them stronger!

With under 4 weeks to Lanzarote  I need to balance the recovery from the long runs with the need for more endurance and a desire to get the run more progressed for IMUK. I plan to try and get two more in with my last long run being 12 days out from IM Lanza. Will it work will the taper be long enough? Who knows but it will be interesting to see.

 Before Lanzarote there is the small matter of Liege Bastogne Liege 270-280 km of Belgium hills with 4500 m of climbing. It seemed such a good idea back in October.  I am hoping it will push my biking to breaking point but not beyond allowing a bounce back in time for the IM. At least the bike leg will seem like a breeze after this.

Finally planning to do the london triathlon two weeks after Lanzarote which is going to be interesting. Speed work 2 weeks after an Ironman usually hurts!  Another interesting idea. I must stop having them.

Friday, 18 April 2014


At 46 years I don't feel old.... But I no longer feel young either. Ironman training is good simulation for the ageing progress. You tend to feel tired a lot of the time, it sometimes hurts to get up in the morning but you know your not going to stop you doing what you need to do. You also get a bit wiser with experience knowing perhaps when to back off and when there is still a bit more to be gained. More attention to recovery is required and I find more and more that the short intensity stuff leaves me fatigued and eats into the next session of training.

This year has seen some highly motivated LFTCers doing regular long weekend rides; This, along with a focus on a small little sportive, Liege Bastogne Liege, has seen my out riding regularly each weekend and boy has it helped. The team ethic of getting out early and getting it done has enabled us to put in some big miles and climbs. Watching others getting stronger and more confident has been great and I am looking forward to some really strong bike rides from a few club members at Ironman France.

With Ironman Lanzarote I am pretty confident I am in a good place for my swimming and cycling. The running has progressed with 5 weeks of injury free running but I am short on volume. As result I am planning to try a minimal taper for Lanzarote and hopefully a smooth transition into a block of run training for IMUK. You never know, with the right balance, I should be there or thereabouts come Bolton.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Riding longer

For those with an interest I authored a blog on LFTC club blog on my insights into the bike leg of an ironman race. Its-all-about-bike

Continuing the theme I though I would report back on my first ever audax or randonneur event that I participated in with John from LFTC.

What is an Audax and why bother? Audax is long distance cycling. A bit like a low rent sportive you are given a list of directions to follow a route, and more recently a gpx file for your garmin. Along the route will be various checkpoints some manned and others asking you to identify some unique information (like who's name is on the bench at the crossroads in the middle of wherever it is you are meant to be going). Some of the checkpoints have got a cafe or e.g. At the town hall on our first stop they were doing tea and bacon butties.

Another term for these events are reliability rides. It is more amiable than a sportive and yet still suitably challenging. Kind of like a large club ride but with people you don't know. Inevitably you form groups and after about 60 km I spent the remaining 150 km with pretty much the same group.

The advantage of the route is you use someone else's knowledge to guide you on a long ride via some interesting scenery. It was fun. Occasionally we would miss the route but a combination of garmins and paper quickly out us back on track.

The ride itself was fun if a bit on the flat side and with a last 20 km into Southall and out again! Not sure why this was felt to be a good idea and coined a new term the urban audax. Apparently this is not the goal.

Finished with 208 km 7 hrs 30 mins or so of riding and a bit of sunburn. I felt particularly good in the run iand did some strong pulls on the front.

Next stop is Liege Bastard Liege  in april 25th which is 270 km with a lot of hills. Should be fun.

... the less said about running the better.