Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Swim Changes

I started a new style of swim training this week. A lot of it is very threshold focus with the aim of me swimming as close to my VO2 Max celling as I can.  This is where the CSS test last week came into it.  Going off the time trial results, I am able to structure my swim sessions pace and rest around that CSS score.

I swam today with my son Jacky and a work friend Steve Rowlings who is around two levels above me.  The main set was 200m, 25sec rest, 300m, 25sec rest, 500m 25sec rest.  Jacky did every 2nd 50m with me with a few of the sets me swimming on his feet. Man, he is getting crazy fast in the water.  I felt great in the water but for the first time in a long time my shoulders by the end of the sessions were tight. I love that feeling. 

According to my CSS test last week, if I was to do a 3.8km swim (in a pool), my time would be 1:05.  If I did this in the rough ocean water in Cairns I could add another 10 minutes. Crazy. 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

My Training Week

Also added to this, I did 3 mobility sessions, 2 oxygen deprivation sessions and meditated once, swim cords once and used the foam roller 5 times.

My vitals were:
Sleep: 51.5 hours for the week
Weight: 80.6kg

Getting the work in

With Christmas tomorrow, this week I have had a little less than normal available training hours, with that I have also had far less sleep over the weekend than normal. Knowing that I will be limited with sleep, time will be killing me and me working Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, I changed my run program to help get me though the weekend.

Instead of me really struggling to stay awake at work, I decided to run at work when I really struggling. I ended up running four times over the weekend.  I didn’t think the bosses would mind as I am the only person on site and I work on a very large site so I just put it down to me checking the fence lines a few times.  Each lap of the site was 1.5km so it was easy to calculate. 

The runs helped keep me alert and I got the volume in needed for the week. It turned out I haven’t ran over five times in a week for a couple of years.  As I have been a little injury prone a few years ago, I changed my running to only running three times a week with 2x 1hr runs and 1x long run and I have kept that going as it seemed to be working for me so running six times this week felt a little wearied.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Critical Swim Speed

I did a Critical Swim Speed Test (CSS) that includes a 400m time trial and a 200m time trial within the 2km session. 

400m: 6:30
200m: 3:14

This gave my CSS pace of 1:38 per 100m. Looking at the two time trials, I had a drop off of 0.5% and this would fit within an “elite level pacing”.  I just wish my pace was that of an elite swimmer.

Funny enough, both time trials were personal best times of mine.  This session and my last swim session have been the only two sessions of late that I felt good. Every other swim has been very poor. 

Looking back through my log, there could be a few reasons. 

I started doing 21 push ups most days.
The past two weeks I have been well under my average weekly sleep hours, (I normally have around 51 hours sleep a week and in the past two weeks I have fallen short from this).
The weather in Launceston has been rather warmer than normal and looking at most sessions of swim, bike and run. Almost all of them have been either pool or normal. None of them I have felt good.
My diet has been far from good. This could be part of the reasons but it was far from good this week and my training has improved. 
Could be a combination of everything. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Past Six Months

I tried something different after Ironman Cairns last June than what I normally do. Normally I would take two full weeks off all training and three weeks off all running and slowly bring things back.  I do this because that is what you do.  I was taught this by my old coach Allan Pitman.  I never questioned it, I never thought about it. I simply did it. 

This time around I decided to spend a month recovering but still keep training through.  I did take four days after Ironman and was back on the bike.  All my training for a month was between easy to moderate. 

The only downside to this was I went into the Ironman with an achilles injury so I did take two weeks off running but still reverted back to my template for the rest.
3x swims per week equalling 6km
3x bike rides per week equalling 150km
3x strength sessions per week (all body weight during this time)

The results were what I expected, I felt like for months after that I could do an Ironman at any time and get the same time I had in June.  Now I feel like with a months’ notice, I can get a personal best time. 

Would I do this again?  Unless I had an Ironman coming up within four months, I would most likely not do it again. 

Once I got going again in proper training, I hired a cycling coach Wez Sulzberger who had only just started his coaching business after retiring from professional cycling.  I learned a lot from Wez.  Four months into being coached by him, I stopped as I was making a lot of financial cut backs so I can reinvest all my money into my own coaching business Train Smooth. 

I could see the outlined plan that Wez was doing with me so I chosed to stay on the same path of focusing on a higher cadence, strength endurance, VO2 max and sweet spot work. 

I reinjured my achilleas again shortly after I restarted running again so I took six weeks off all running and very slowly started running again.

I changed my swimming structure I had been doing for the past year to include more build sets within my warm up. I have stayed very consistent with my swim but I am now ready for another change.

My strength training, I have been in the gym twice a week and doing another session at home.  Very much to what I have been doing for the past year but this too will need to change. 

Since Ironman Cairns mid-June of this year, I have completed:

Swim: 61 sessions equalling 148km
Bike: 92 sessions equalling 3,812km
Run: 53 sessions equalling 575km
Strength & Conditioning: 73 sessions
Oxygen Deprivation sessions: 70 sessions
Mobility Sessions: 115 sessions
Swim Cords: 25 Sessions
Meditated: 32 Session
Foam Roller: 69 times

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Rostered Days Off

I had yesterday and today off work.  My boss has forced me to use up the rest of my RDOs before the end of the year.  It turned out perfect timing as last night my daughter cracked her toes  and I needed to spend half the day at the doctors and getting her X-rays.

I did manage to get a few extra training sessions in that I would not have been able to get in.  I work on a four-week cycle with a repeat of, one week I work 24 hours, the next I work 60 hours.  I work seven 12-hour day shifts and seven 12-hour night shifts a month.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

This week's training

My Training for this week

Also added to this, I did 5 mobility sessions, 3 oxygen deprivation sessions and meditated once.  I did miss the swim cord session.

My vitals were:

·         Sleep: 46 hours for the week

·         Weight: 80.6kg

Friday, 15 December 2017

From Ironman Cairns 2017 to Ironman Cairns 2018

Looking at my 2017 Ironman times where I got a 10:35, my goal now is to go sub 10 hours.  In June next year I will be 38 years old and my goal is to become an elite age grouper.  My age group is 35-39 years old and to be an elite at this age group I need to go sub ten hours so I am looking to better my time by 35 minutes.

Ideally, I would like to swim 1:07, Bike close to 5:05 and run 3:35.  This would give  me a personal best time in all three including a standalone marathon.  In ball park figures, I will need:

Swim: 15% improvements
Bike: 6% Improvements
Run: 5% Improvements

The two biggest hurdles are the swim and the bike.  I currently swim like a brick and with my available swimming training times each week, a 15% improvement in Cairns will prove very difficulted however that is the target.  The bike is a hurdle as I am already racing an Ironman at 33km per hour and so I will need to improve this to as close to 36km per hour as possible.  The conditions at Cairns makes both these tasks harder as the swim in done at Palm Cove. A very rough, wavy ocean swim and as I mentioned before, I swim like a brick.  Also living in Tasmania, open water swimming is a struggle for most times of the year. Swimming in rough water is almost impossible for me so it is normally the day before the race is when I get to test my body surfing skills. As for the bike, the last 65km of the ride is all in a strong headwind.

While it appears, I am coming up with excuses already, this isn’t the case, I have to keep these things in mind when I am creating my training program for the weeks and months ahead.

Monday, 11 December 2017

26 Weeks till Ironman

Six months from Ironman Cairns. Looking back in the past six months I have been the most consistent within my training I have ever been.  I set myself a template to aim for each week.

Swim: 3 sessions per week with a minimum of 6km.
Bike: 3 sessions per week with a minimum of 150km.
Run: 3 sessions per week with a minimum of 40km.
Strength & Conditioning: 3 sessions per week with 2 sessions in the gym.
Oxygen Deprivation: 2 sessions per week.
Mobility: 3 mobility sessions per week with a minimum of 25 minutes per session.
Swim Cords: 1 session per week
Meditate: once a week for a minimum of 20 minutes

I created this template in the lead up to my last Ironman.  I looked at this as even if I am sore and tired and need an easy rest week, I can still achieve these sessions per week.

Looking back through my training logs for the past year, I have been very consistent. For the most part, the weeks I fell short from achieving my weekly goals were the weeks I would have a injury, illness, work demands were higher than normal or family commitments. 

Rarely did a lack of motivation stop me achieving my weekly goals.  I will keep these weekly goals right through the next six months as a minimum.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Taking a month off running

A month leading into Ironman Cairns, I got a problem with my achillies and even two days before the Ironman, I was struggling to run.  Part of me thought I would get off the bike and will be up for a long walk to the finishing line.  I ran with a wedge in my shoe to help take a the stress off my achillies and everything turned out well.

I took a couple of weeks off from running and things were getting better and better.  Last Wednesday I did a 10km run. Everything was normal and my achillies went again. 

I don't want to be talking about my achillies two months from now so I decided to take a full month off from running and keep on rehabbing it so I can get it right.  This will give me an opportunity to do an extra couple of rides a week and an extra swim a week.  

Running is the training I enjoy the most out of everything I do and I will miss it greatly, I am also looking forward to working on the others disciplines.

Because of the month rest i will be taking, I will no longer do Launceston Marathon.  Maybe if everything is going well I may do the half marathon as I want to support the race being the first time Launceston has had a marathon. If I don't run at all I guess I will volunteer or run with my son Jack who I think is keen to do the 10.5km run.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Getting a cycling coach

After Ironman Cairns, I have been tossing around if I should get a coach again as it takes a lot of pressure off me while at the same time adds a different kind of pressure I haven't had for awhile now and think I could benefit from it.

I really considered going back to Allan Pitman, I also looked into a Tri Sutto coach and almost pulled the trigger of getting Lucho from Bolder to coach me. All three I consider as the best coaches in the world even though it would be another coach from the Sutto camp doing the coaching, it would still be Brett Sutton's methods.

After a lot of consideration I decided not to get a triathlon coach and look at getting a cycling coach instead. Reasons being that I am happy with the way I am progressing with my swimming and with my running it is very clear what I need to do and how to do it. The gym I am right with at this stage. It really is mostly the bike that I need better control of.

In the past three plus years I have become stronger on the bike, I just haven't got any faster. Yes my bike splits on each Ironman is faster than the last but that is simply because I am stronger and able to keep the same effort longer. The last 60-65km of Ironman Cairns is all headwind so strength on the bike was very important to me.

Recently retired pro cyclists Wez Sulzberger who lives not too far from me has started a cycling coaching business.  I got in contact with Wez and described to him that I will still be creating my programs each training block but I am just after a cycling coach who will fill in the blank bike sessions for me.

Wez has agreed to become my cycling coach.  I will personally commit to working with Wez for the next year if all works out well.  Ideally I need to improve my Ironman bike time by around 6% before June next year.

I started this week working with Wez and he has brought something fresh to the table and has already made a couple of changes with the way I train.  I will give it a month or two and report back on working with Wez.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

From Ironman to now

It has been a month since I did Ironman Cairns and I have taken a completely different approach with my rest and recovery than I have in the past. A few friends and family members have made comments and questioning my thought pattern.

In the past I would take two full weeks off all training. I would start to swim and bike in the third week and start running again in the fourth week.  I never questioned  this method too much as this is always been what my old coach would get me to do and his other athletes.  He would often say "It takes two full weeks to recover fro an Ironman". 

Just before the Ironman, I was listening to a podcast called Gaincast hosted by legendary track and swim coach Vern Gambetta.  He was talking about athletes during the break who train lightly versus the athletes who fully rest. In his experience the athletes who do unstructured light training with still the goal of rest and recovery not only start their season in better shape than the athletes who fully rest, but they often out perform throughout the season than the others athletes.

I found myself agreeing to a lot of what Verm was saying even though we are in completely different sports.  It got me thinking back to an interview I read with Le Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins where he spoke about his coach Tim Kerrison's approach to coaching.  Tim is an old Australian swim coach with no cycling background.  He brought his swimming methods and adopted them to cycling.  Elite swimmers stay in the water all year round so this is what Tim got Bradley Wiggins would do.  When Bradley would go on holidays, he would have to take his bike with him.  He raced less but trained more and the aim was to keep his fitness to around 95% of his peak all year around.

Now the problem with this is you run the risk of mentally breaking the athlete.  Yet this still got me thinking so I started to do a little more research and thinking how I can relate this back to athletes who race Ironman.  Racing an Ironman is such a violent race on the body, I do think there needs to be some rest but I am thinking that we have too much rest after an Ironman.

For athletes like myself who love to train and love the process, I thought about it and created a program for myself that would keep me moving sooner rather than later.

Week after Ironman
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 20 minute mobility session
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Ride eighty minutes easy
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 45 minute mountin bike ride

Week Two
Monday  - Swim 2km,  bike 2 hours, Core session, Oxygen depravation session, 30 minute mobility session and meditated
Tuesday - Swim 2km, Core session, Oxygen deprivation session, 30 minute mobility session and meditated
Wednesday: - Bike 2 hours
Thursday - Swim - 2km and bike 2 hours
Friday -  30 minute Mobility Session
Saturday - Core session, Swim cords, 30 minute mobility session, Oxygen deprivation session and meditated
Sunday - Meditated

Week Three
Monday - Swim - 2km, Run 30 minutes and Bike 2 hours
Tuesday -  Bike 70 minutes, Swim 2km, Gym session
Wednesday - Swim 2km, Run 50 minutes and oxygen depervation session
Thursday - Bike 1 hours,Oygen depervation session, Mobility session, Core session, Swim cords and meditated
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - Bike 1 hours
Sunday - Run 20km and 30 minutes mobility session

Week Four
Monday - Swim 2km, Bike 2 hours, 30 minutes mobility session, Core session and a oxygen depervation session
Tuesday - Bike 2 hours, 30 minute mobility session and a oxygen depervation session
Wednesday - Run 1:10 hour, Gym session and a 25 minute mobility session
Thursday - Swim 2km, Bike 1 hours
Friday - wim 2km, Run 30 minutes, 25 minute mobility session and a oxygen depervation session
Saturday - 30 minute mobility session, Gym session, oxygen depervation session and swim cord session.
Sunday - Run - 1 hours

Current Thoughts
There were times when I questioned what I was doing. Looking back at my training diary, it looks like a lot but it really hasn't been too much at all.  My main focus has been on recovery and rest and my training hours are very low. I am use too and the intensity is low for most sessions.  I took a little extra rest from the run as I went into the Ironman with an achillies injury  At this stage I am very happy with my process and I am looking forward  to seeing if I am on the right track with this approach.

I am still around a week away from me building back up. My body is absorbing everything nicely except the gym sessions but my body has always struggled a little with this over the past year. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

May start blogging soon...... or not

I have been tossing up if I should start blogging again. Part of me thinks it is narcissistic and I have been trying over the past year to have less narcissism in my life and there is another part of me that enjoys writing about crap I am doing and learning.

For the people who pops on this site from time to time (it is becoming less and less these days as it has been six months since my last post), Yes I have removed all old posts from the site. Fresh start.....

I will keep thinking