I've been busy! But a new year and a different year.
This year I will be sharing much more of my training as pre previous entry I am self coached now and learning many things as I go.
Hopefully some of the lessons I learn will help any others that may come across this and if not just be amused by the mistakes as they arise!
So, Mini Catch up:
Sept - finished 2013 race season - my 3rd full year in triathlon.
I had a great year, and after 2 full season with Base 2 Race Academy, both Coach and I felt the time was right to spread my wings and I ventured off into the wild.
I'm fortunate to be still in contact with the Group and Coach Eanna, and have been taking advice as it comes and probing questions as I've a lot to learn I know this!
So, after a few weeks break I started back into a light training load.
Nov-Dec saw me concentrate on run volume primarily, with a bit more strength than normal and biking dropped in exchange. I was biking maybe 4 hours a week on average for these 2 months and it was dismal!
I was doing maybe 2 intensity based sessions on the turbo thinking I was going to progress anyway and could add the endurance aerobic work later. This was a conscious decision to see how I reacted to an increase in run volume.
So, Running increased gradually and cautiously. Not to massive figures but I did hit 70 and 80km weeks which were big for me. I kept it easy so as not to stress the body too much, and I must say I felt I responded quite well to this.
In December, I ran a 4mile PB (22:29) and a 5k PB (17:17) off zero speed work. I mean zero.
This surprised me but also confirmed I was responding to the volume and easy work.
Now, as mentioned biking was low, but with a bit of quality I was still hopeful of gaining small watts and not being in too bad a shape...
Well, not so!
An FTP test in December confirmed the worst....
Whilst my 5min TT power hadn't dropped too much (down from 350w last yr to 330w in Dec), my 20min TT was in worse shape.
My 20min TT was a poor 280w, which gave me an FTP of 262w and down over 10% since my last test early 2013. I think I got up to around the 4.65-4.7 watts/kg in peak shape last season, so to drop to 4.09 watts/kg was a kick in the stones!
But expected, and I was being patient telling myself it's ok, I'll pick up the volume in January...
Christmas - I took it easy, enjoyed the break, had my 2014 focus in mind and it was for a late season peak so I took some down time and some low training weeks - 10 hours and less, but still doing a bit of running etc.
So, away we go?
Pretty much, I did have 1 low week in Jan due to a tweak in my swim muscles which was new.
Swim - Basically I was maintaining this in Oct-Dec and just getting easy work in and working on technique.
In January I had a mini breakthrough of sorts and started to use my lats and triceps more at last.
I was always pushing down on the water with my forearm, no matter what coach tried to tell me I just couldn't shift my mindframe or mechanics to respond.
How ironic then, that a couple months of swimming on my own and I take the time to look at my catch, and as I try to adjust it to a wider one I gradually start to engage my lats and swimming becomes easier almost immediately.
Was this a combination of building my lats and backs in the gym over the last 2 months thus making them now more responsive?
Or just from a natural feedback and final click of the technique after 2 years of Eanna trying patiently to get me to respond!
A combination most likely, but either way, I was now pushing the water back with my upper arm and there's no doubt I was swimming better....
Was.... In mid Jan I woke one Monday morning having slept head over foot to a dull pain in my triceps area.
Raising my arm to practice a swim movement resulted in pain.
I rested a couple days, then hopped on the turbo only to get off after a couple hours with numbness in that arm down to my fingers. Hmmm.. trapped nerve?
Off to physio a couple days later to words of your lats and triceps are very tight.
This helped, as did foam rolling which is now a daily occurance in that area.
In fairness, I had got away with it for a long time!
So, I'm taking this as good news. I am now engaging the correct muscles in swimming and they are getting tight from over use and lack of stretching/massage/foam rolling.
Par for the course you'd say if running so lesson learned - more massages and foam rolling and onwards I go.
I'm not back to full swim volume just yet, and have absolutely lost a few seconds/100m due to last couple weeks of lighter pool time but it's early days and I'm not concerned.
I will have plenty of opportunity to get in the quality so now is the time to get the maintenance right and ensure I am ready for the volume.
Back to Jan - yes, consistency is returning and bar the above upset I'm back in the game.
Biking is up, woo hoo, and starting to feel the benefits already.
Running is slightly down as a result, but also a result of me trying a bit of a different approach during the month. This saw me add a bit of intensity and it didn't work for me. I lost consistency, didn't recover or get the volume in as a result and didn't respond positively I felt.
So I'm back to my Oct-Dec method of 80% easy, 20% hard - hard can just be hills or a tempo type run nothing mad just yet. This approach seems to enable me to get in the required volume which I feel gives me the best return, at least at this time of year anyway.
February see's me pick up the hours a bit more and I'm due an FTP test in the next couple weeks to see if I've started to claw back the lost watts.
I'm currently very lucky to be training near and with some of the best triathletes around so despite losing the B2R group, I'm still in a group environment when my schedule allows and that's fantastic to have.
So that's my mini update for now, I'll finish with my race calendar and an empty promise to keep this more updated....
I'm aiming for a late season peak this year, and I'm going long at last with my first ironman race at the end of the season.
I am currently researching and trialling a few different training approaches to blocks and will update as I learn and experience different methods.
One area I'm still working out is how to peak for a late season race.
I have options such as a mid season break, and my calendar allows for this, but there are also other methods such as a system that includes a monthly break so the accumulated fatigue never gets too much to leave you stale. Whether this yields the best response etc is something I may have to learn as I go but I may try a combination and report back.
Early season duathlon races allow for some experimentation as do the early triathlons but obviously I hope to race as well as I can in all of these, but want to peak at end of the season.
2014 Race Calendar
March 1st - Fingal Sprint Duathlon
March 23rd - Naas Sprint Duathlon
April 5th - Fingal Standard Duathlon NC
June 7th - Tri an Mhi Half Ironman
June 28th - Kilkee Olympic NC
Aug 30th - Lost Sheep Half Ironman NC
Sept 28th - Ironman Mallorca
That's my draft set of races at the moment.
I may add another 1-2 if I am trying a monthly peak approach but time will tell on this.