Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Tri Season Is Over, But Not Quite

So my triathlon season is almost over for another year with one race left to go. I have been really happy with my performances this year. Even though I failed to qualify for the worlds in London my overall times have been dramatically faster than previous years.

To end the season I have entered a middle distance race with a couple of friends. As all our major races were done a while ago this is more for the fun, rather than trying to get a really good time. Although that being said I'm sure we will change our minds when the race starts on Sunday.

We are racing the Chichester Middle Distance Triathlon and at the moment the weather looks to be "largely dry". So it should be a good race with a little bit of pre-race camping thrown in for extra fun. There are three different distance races going on at the same time. A sprint, olympic and middle distance. All using the same course for all three disciplines but varying the number of laps to be completed. So with a lot of people racing it should be good day out what ever the weather.

However I have already been informed by one of my friends that his goals is to lap me on bike course. So if you hear that I DNF'd it'll be because I threw my toys out of the pram sat by the side of the road in protest that he wasn't drugged tested for taking EPO! Because that is the only logical explanation right? Although as it is a lot longer than I am used to I'd better getting some excuses ready for if I bonk.

Then it's time for rest and recuperation before the first cross country league race in October. Bring on the mud.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The cycle show

So the last couple of months have been fairly crazy. Having bought a flat training has taken a slight set back.
However its not all doom and gloom. A few weeks ago I helped out my local bike shop Prestige Cycles with some filming for The Cycle Show.

You can watch it on catch up here.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Race Report - Deva Triathlon

The Deva Triathlon started with a river swim where water temp was reported to be 14c, luxury in comparison to the sea at the moment. The swim started off rough with a lot of body contact, luckily my goggles stayed on, however the initial 100 sprint by everyone else except me left me halfway down the field. Nothing to worry about I can work my way back up the field, this was easier said then done as the sun was still low in the sky reflecting off the top off the water making sighting difficult.

The course was 850 meters upstream then 650 down. A simple course just swim straight until you need to turn around. Trying to make my way up the field wasn't a simple as I had first thought. Trying to dodge people who weren't swimming straight meant I kept losing my stroke or getting held up by them. After the turn point the field thinned allowing me to try and make up some lost time on the last stretch. This did not work but I wouldn't know until the end.

Exiting the swim the run to transition was straight up a short hill with a small set of steps to navigate. T1 was smooth with nothing embarrassing to speak of so straight out onto the bike course.

The bike course was a simple loop with no major bumps but the roads were not smooth. 10k in my rear light holder came apart leaving broken light parts all over the road for other people to dodge. I settled in comfortably onto the bike, the time trials I'd been doing had paid off, although I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't time trial and needed to save something for the run. Which looking back now I think I might have saved  little bit too much, but that's the nature of triathlon.

Entering transition for T2 I spotted two people who were just ahead of me on the bike who were just exiting. I knew that I needed to be quick and hunt them down. A smooth T2 helped me exit for the run with them in sight.

I managed to catch up with them at the 1km mark and started looking for more people to chase down. One of the guys I caught picked up the pace and we started to work together for the next couple of kilometres. I settled in behind him running at a steady pace. However the steady pace was his and not mine. After realising that I was not running fast enough I upped the pace and got my focus back. The first lap was done only 5k to go.

The final lap and I upped the pace and tried to make up for the lack of concentration on the first one. I felt like I was running at decent pace but without a watch on I had no idea if this was true or not. Something I will need to address as I train using always knowing my pace but don't race triathlons with it. The 8k sign rolled around and my shoes started to rub against my heels. No time to worry about that now. I kept slowly picking up the pace during the final section running down the finishing shoot to see a crowd of people who had already finished. I was further down the field then I thought. Not good.

The computer that was displaying the timing chip results was not working and was only printing the swim split and overall time. After looking at the swim time I quickly decided that I would not be telling many people.
Grabbing a quick drink and posing for a photo with my supports it was time to find a coffee. The race was over with a disappointing result but with enough lessons that can be learnt for next time.

Final times were

Overall 125
Agegroup 31
Overall 2:14:38
Swim 0:27:33
T1 0:01:17
Bike 1:05:35
T2 0:00:55
Run 0:39:15

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

An outing with some real athletes

So this weekend was the 12 stage road relay race. I was willing roped into running with Brighton Phoenix's team. Only ever have done a couple of cross country races this would be my first proper athletics event. We met at Withdean stadium at 8.30 to all bundle into a mini bus to drive up to Milton Keynes. Everyone
was in good spirits getting ready for a day of racing. As well as a day of standing around in the cold waiting for our leg to start.

Josh our team captain was planning the running order asking everyone how they were feeling analysing peoples times figuring out a best and worst case serious  Trying to predict our position based on other teams that would be turning up. Things were looking goo for Phoenix, we had a strong side and everyone was game.

The weather in Milton Keynes hadn't been perfect but the race director has posted on the event website the previous day that despite the snow the race was still going ahead. We checked the site and looked for updated before we set off and things were still all go. It was not until 20 minutes outside of Milton Keynes that we got message that the race had been cancelled due to the weather as the course was not safe enough to race on. An emergency stop at the nearest service station was required. Our plan was in shattered. After sitting in a mini bus for the best part of an hour and half we were bouncing off the walls ready to race!

We were left with only one option. We were there to run, so dammit we were going to run! Everyone donned their warm running gear, we found a place to run and we got ready. It was at this point that I truly felt under prepared. I was expecting to do a little warm up run my leg and get changed back into warm clothing as quickly as possible! A long run in the cold and snow was not what I had planed. Everyone else layered up with hats, gloves and leggings. And there was me, vest top lyrca shorts I run in and an everyday jumper. Well I wasn't going to let the triathlon side of the club down, it was time to apply to rule 5 and try and keep up!

So even though the race got cancelled it was a good experience spending time with people who don't constantly smell of chlorine and there was almost no talks about bike. All in all a strange but enjoyable none the less, even though it was a long way to go just for a long run.

A lot of questions have been asked about why it took the race got cancelled at such a late time of the day. The 12 stage is a big race with teams from all of driving for many hours to get there on time. When more information is posted I will update. Cancelling a race is always a hard decision to make and will also anger and dissapoint people. It was the general consensus from us that the decision should have been made a lot earlier as the weather conditions didn't change much from early morning to the time that the race was cancelled. However until a full statement is released we will not know 100% the reason why it was cancelled and why they cancelled it so late. Hard decisions have to be made but making sure that people don't injur themselves is a good reason, we will just have to see what they say, and they are going to do in future if this happens again, as I would like to take part next year, as long as the weather allows us!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Where to store that training data?

Being able to plan and record training sessions is important for anyone who has more to think about than just triathlon. Finding a suitable method to do this is challenging as well. There are many different solutions out there ranging from home made spreadsheets to bespoke software. Depending on what you are looking to do depends on which solution is best for you. Here are some of the solutions that I have tried.

Run Keeper

Run keeper was the first training log site that I used. When I first started using the site I was using a mobile phone with built in GPS to record my runs. The site allowed me to install an application on my phone, press start and go running. The app would give me updates, in a friendly female american voice, every 5 minutes telling me my pace and overall distance. After finishing the run it would prompt you to upload it to the website which it would do in a short time ready for viewing later.

From the website you can easily see your splits and map of where you have been. Shortly after I started using the site I bought a Garmin forerunner. The data can be easily uploaded via a simple form.

Garmin Connect

After getting my Garmin I started to use the Garmin connect website. Garmin connect loads of information about your work outs. If you have a Garmin device it really is a one stop shop for storing and analysing all of you training data. The Garmin connect website has many more features such as training plans but when I was using it there wasn't anything relative to triathlon.

But you do get lots of different graphs and charts to look at and being a triathlete that is what really counts.

Excel Spreadsheets

When I first started getting coached I used a combination of Dropbox and Excel Spreadsheets to read the training plan and record session information.

This was a nice solution as I could access the plan from anywhere and enter data into without having to have an internet connection. Which made the training journeys to meeting in London a little less monotonous. I still used Garmin Connect website to store data from my watch and enter the summary details into the spreadsheet.

This did have some slight draw back. There was only a limited amount of space to enter information. If you wanted to record extra data then you would need to create a new column, which as is with all excel documents, would mess up all the formulas and ages to correct.

However the trade off between having limited functionality and the ability to access my training plan from my phone without having to have an internet connection was well worth it.

Apollo Race Day 2

Apollo Raceday was created by PhysFarm with British Triathlon. It's a desktop application that allows you to manage your training plan and record all of the you data. You can download data from your Garmin devices straight into the program. There is no need to have an internet connection, except when you want to sync the data with your coach.

After entering data about each session you can easily see the Training Stress Score which allows you to see if you have been working hard enough, or too hard. However the application is quire complex and has loads of features that aren't so intuitive. But from an athlete's point of you it is simple to use and allows you to record all sessions that you do. Running and bike sessions can be downloaded straight from you devices with support for other power meter devices.

One nice things is that there are numerous ways of entering data for a given session. So for the time that you have either left you watch at home for a track session or you can't used your watch in the pool there are input forms that all you to enter the splits and still calculate a Training Stress Score for you.

There are many other solutions out there that allow you to do many different things, these are just some that I've used.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Anything ending with cake must be good!

So yesterday I competed my first time trial of the season. A very wet and a little windy time trial but complete nether the less. It was a tough day for everyone with a fair amount of rain and a head wind that never materialized into a tail wind. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

After finishing and having absolutely nothing left in my legs and cross the finish line it was a slow cycle back to HQ for some coffee and cake. During the cycle back my mind was split in two. why the hell did I ever get out of bed on such a horrible day to do something so hard and silly. The other, why have I not been getting out of bed earlier in my life to on such horrible days to do something hard and silly.

After getting back to HQ and getting some caffeine in me I was left with only one thought, excluding those about how sore my legs were, when is the next time trial as I've got a lot of work to do!

The main reason for doing the time trial in the first place was to get some power race data for my coach so that she can plan my training for the forthcoming sessions. Doing a 25M time trial is similar to doing a test in my previous post Run Test.

So goals of the next time trial is to make the red and yellow lines on the graph above a little bit higher. Better get training!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Bag Just For Swimming?

Every now and again I look at my life and think "Why the hell haven't I been doing this sooner?" I had one of these thoughts earlier in the week after scabbling around my flat in the dark looking for my swim stuff at the ungodly time of 6.45. What if  I had a bag to put all my swim gear in, then I would just need to pick it up and go.

This isn't an original idea as everyone else I train does it, but it would appear that I'm not as organised as everyone else, until now!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Run Test

So every 7 or so weeks an item pops up in my training plan that reads "Run Test". It is the opposite of all academic test, instead of sitting in a seat for an hour picking out options from multiple choice, you need to run until you die!

Ok that might be a little bit of an exaggeration but it's not too far from the truth. The session consists of two main sets, one 5 minutes, the other 20 minutes. With a little bit of a recovery in between. The pace for the two sets is all out/max/TT/11 out of 10 (it's one faster). The test is to determine the lactate threshold of my body. This will then be used to make sure that I'm running fast enough in the sessions to come in future.

So what is the benefit of doing a test? Well you can track your training to make sure you are making suitable gains as well as make sure you are getting the most out of your sessions.

There are a lot of different protocols that you can use this is the one that I follow

20 min warmup
5 min max effort
10 min easy
20 min max effort
10 warm down

So what do you do when you have the data? Device the difference in betters covered between the long and short intervals by the time in seconds to give you the pace you should be able to hold for about an hour. Below is an example using some dummy data

5 min max - distance traveled = 1.31km
20 min max - distance traveled = 4.67km


4670(m) - 1310(m)  / 1200(sec) - 300(sec)
gives us 3.73 meters per second
convert this into km per hour by doing the following
3.73 /1000*60*60 = 13.4km/h

put this into a pace calculator to get 4:28 per km

Using this figure you can find your training zone and make sure you are getting the most out of your training sessions.

This is just one way of doing a test like this, a quick google will show loads of other ways.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

New toy

So I have just a delivery at work today of a new toy. When I get it fitted and a compatible device I will post more. But for now here's a picture!

Better step up the training to make it worth while!