Training has been going well, no injuries and very consistent. They say consistency is one of the keys to this game so it’s my aim to remain injury free and stay healthy. Volume wise there is a marginal increase this year but not a lot. I’m still a good bit below the weekly hours of other more regular updater’s but I am noticing steady progress and being consistent which is working well for me.
I don’t really get sick at all fortunately and again, have been lucky with injuries so I don’t miss training sessions or get run down.
Regarding the training sessions themselves, it’s been the usual 3 morning swims a week but with less rest/recovery/chat and as a result coach has managed to sneak up the volume and work effort. That’s absolutely fine with me, with the odd added swim at the weekend it all helps in my attempts at improving my swim technique to get the elusive “feel for the water”.
I am noticing performance improvements slightly and on a slow but consistent basis. In particular endurance and effort levels seem to have benefited. Recent Swim TT’s of 22:55 for 1,500m and 30:24 for 2k indicate I’m close to cracking the 1:30 barrier per 100m for endurance efforts. One of my swim goals this year is to swim a sub 28:30 1.9km and on paper I’m close to this in the pool. I’d really be hoping for this in open water but it’s too hard to track really – both currents/conditions and also accurate distances but as long as I’m not giving away too much time to the fish compared to previous years I’ll be happy.
I’ve done a bit of research recently and know where I want to be in terms of watts over the 90km 70.3 bike split. Taking the one 70.3 bike file I have from Miami, I averaged 244 watts which works out around the 3.65 watts per kg. For a competitive Age Group bike split at 70.3, that number needs to be closer to 4.1 watts per kg or so at Vegas. Indeed to be competitive here in Ireland you’ll require the same numbers over a 70.3 bike split if you want to even get close to a Bryan McCrystal bike split.
So what does that translate to? Well for me it will mean increasing my previous 244 watts to 270 watts average over the 90km. Just 26 watts. Doesn’t sound too unrealistic in the space of off season does it? I’m under no illusions, an extra 26 watts over that duration will be hard to achieve. That’s my coach’s job though. I’ll do the work, remain injury free and healthy so on we go.
As a side note, my research suggests FTP of around the 4.75/4.8 watts per kg to be a competitive Age Grouper level so that’s the goal. That will mean a 20min test of 325/330 watts for me. Not there yet but hopefully closer to race season I will be.
Biking has again been regular and consistent. Hard to track performance gains really without doing repeat tests but we did a 70km TT last weekend as a tester.
I was on a recovery week so had no excuses and felt I paced it well and happy with my result. I improved on m time 6 months ago by 10minutes in similar conditions, and my Power numbers appear to be considerably increased also so positive outcome all round. There’s a couple variables as to whether to take avg power or normalised power etc. It appears normalised power is the predicted power for the distance if bursts were removed. In Miami this was just a 4 watts diff however for my 70k it was more due to the hilly course. Taking the lower number of avg watts, I averaged just over 4 watts/kg for the 70k so signs are good and positive towards improvements. Very much more to come in the next couple months I think so looking forward to race season.
7 weeks now before the duathlon champs which will be the first real tester to see where I’m at.
Running has been interesting. I spent much of the first 8 weeks or so thinking am I doing enough? Shouldn’t I be running more? Should I be running harder? Are my easy runs too easy? I’m confident of saying Coach was sick of me and my concerns as much as I tried to hold back on questioning or asking I just couldn’t at times. But coach, McMillan running calculator says my easy pace should be this but sometimes I’m going a good bit easier than this? FREAK OUT! Be patient. Be Patient. Patience. Yes coach.... Then I finally got to run a race. The Dungarvan 10 mile and with one of the group training buddies and club mate Mark Horan. I was back to my trusty (but perhaps not bible like) McMillan calculator. Previous run PB’s – well, that would be my last run race in March’12 of 37:05 for a rolling 10km. What’s that McMillan? 10 miles in 1:01:59. Really, 62 minutes? Assuming no run improvements other than endurance. Hmmm. Ok then let’s aim for 60. That would be a 36 minute 10km equivalent. It is early in January but be great to show some progress for my run?
Dungarvan 10 Mile run race
Happily I had a great run, with no taper and in the middle of a nice block of training. I started too many rows back from the front and it was too late as I realised, a slightly slow congested start but I went around the outside and up to pace early. Through the first few km's in 3:35 pace and feeling good. Reeling in people and using them as targets. There are marshals at every turn and even marshals at every mile with stop watches coordinated to start time and reading out your mile split as you pass! now that's impressive organisation and effort. Wouldn't it be great at tri races to have marshals updating you on position or time gaps to leader at races.
Course slows around half way and we were up a slight incline into head wind. Slowest km splits here but still around the 3:50 pace. I'm racing via perceived effort level, but also tracking via my Garmin to ensure avg pace in order and on track for sub 60.
About half way I realised this is comfortable, I’m on track for sub 60 and feel good. I know there’s a slight incline around the 8mile and up the pace on this to maintain speed, then push the last 2 km’s though they were mainly downhill/flat also. Over the line in 59:14 and I’m happy with that feeling I could have carried on. McMillan now thinks I should be capable of a mid 35min 10km, and still thinks I should be running my easy runs faster than I do....!
I’m happy with that, on paper I’ve improved my 10km by 1.5mins and managed to slowly claw into the gap to podium athletes hopefully. I’d class Mark as one of these, and he ran a 57:07 10 mile or on paper a low 34min 10km capability - again going on McMillan’s rough calcs so he's in great shape.
So, coming away from Dungarvan I’ve left my run concerns in Co Waterford and very much to Coach’s relief! McMillan is no longer a regular checker and I’m confident of making more improvements ahead of race season. Mark has always been a very fast runner and is likely to be close to heading up run splits at domestic races this season in my opinion so to have closed up compared to last March is already some good progress for me. I’ve more to come before season start so I’m aiming to close that gap more all going well.
Our race calendars are similar and Mark knows I’m going to do all I can to beat him this year! In fact I reminded him of this near the end of a Sunday long bike recently, it was barely 5 minutes later as I’m in cruise mode and moving for traffic that he launches an attack up a hill and pedals off into the distance!! Classic stuff, when I did catch up after he waited I said sorry Mark, I didn’t realise you were launching an attack up that hill there.... His reply.... – "What attack???" We’re not a competitive bunch at all I swear...
We’re the second week into February now, I’ve 7 weeks to the Duathlon Champs which would be the first real race of the season. I will do a sprint duathlon (Naas) 2 weeks before this to dust off the cobwebs and open up the lungs and transition practice ahead of it.
In other news, the Base 2 Race Academy (Group) are setting up a website/blog for anyone interested to have a read of. We’ve a pretty damn great group of athletes and a brill mad scientist coach so it may make for some light reading over coffee – I believe the mad scientist himself may even make an appearance though he’s a bit of a technophobe so don’t hold your breath! This will be on the B2R main website doon so keep an eye... Www.base2race.ie
Race Calendar Updates:
I’ve entered the Naas sprint duathlon in March, the Ashford Duathlon Champs in April and the Tri an Mhi National Middle Distance Champs in May.
Kilkee is next on the list and followed by a change of plans. I want to race Humbert Challenge Half Ironman in July now. I had this on my original calendar, removed it, regretted it and now it’s back on and staying on!
There’s not many half ironman races in Ireland (my preferred distance) so this is a main factor however I would also like to pay tribute to the race organisers at Swinford. I first heard about this race on www.boards.ie where some good race reports were flowing in. Lots of positive feedback and overall enjoyment.
A bit more research saw Swinford’s preview and race reports. A race preview with the key competitors and to me that kinda effort generates a buzz and atmosphere – something that came across in some of the other race reports and feedback I’d found. I also spoke with another B2R training buddy Tamara who won the female race last year and she also had nothing but positive things to say.
So that’s now added to the list and I’m glad to be doing another 70.3 distance ahead of Vegas in Sept to iron out any pacing/nutrition plans and learning’s from Tri an Mhi.
That brings my latest update to a conclusion. I will try to be a bit more regular and will be adding a review of my Quarq power meter soon as well.