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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

early morning swim

Was in the pool for 7:15 this morning and did 37 minutes. Good solid effort, swam over 2000m at a fairly good rate, felt very strong in the water and was balancing better, keeping head still and trying to keep my body in a long line, higher in the water.
Will up the swimming from now on and also concentrate on running. Biking will take care of itself, although I need to get some more miles in my legs!

Monday, 30 July 2007


Had most of the weekend off, except for a 5 mile run on Saturday in the hills near Sheffield. Was good fun, and a nice 40 minute run, only marred by having to find a nature stop and not carrying loo roll!!
Was back to biking to work today, and managed to get in a run at lunchtime. My usual 8 or so miles down to Sandbanks and back. Very warm this lunchtime with not much of a breeze. Felt very good running, legs in good shape, in spite of getting very little sleep over the weekend, having to sleep on an air bed! Visiting relatives. And eating far too much food. Managed to stay off the beer though, so not all bad!!
This week and next and from now until September will find me training really hard. I have 10 days holiday in the middle of August but that will be doing some running up in the Cairngorms of Scotland, as well as a bit of mountain biking with Tracey and some swimming if I can find a pool.
But off to pool at 7am tomorrow and then bike to work. Playing 5 as side football at lunch and then bike home. Wednesday I will have a long ride into work, and then run at lunch, possibly swim in the evening. Thursday more swimming in the morning and bike into work, run at lunch. Friday just a long bike at some point in the day. Possible swim session. Saturday, long bike and run. Sunday, run and bike and sea swim.
I am not tapering for Swanage the following Sunday, I'm training through it. I'm also pulling out of South Coast tri on the 2nd September, to focus on some longer training sessions in preparation for New Forest middle distance tri on 23rd September. That's now my focus for the rest of the season and then duathlons after that. Really want to improve my running off the bike. Duathlons will help.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

early morning swim

went to Wareham this morning for a good swim session. Lane only swimming for people who want to train. Was good, only 6 people in the whole pool and had a wide lane to myself. Took fins and front mounted snorkel. Snorkel was total rubbish, kept slipping round and I kept sucking up water. When it did work I can definitely see a good use for it as it was helping me keep my head straight and focus on my body rotation but just no good. I'll have o fiddle with it to see if I can tighten up the fixing for the breathing tube. If not then I'll send it back.
Training fins were very good, and used these to help kick while lying on my side to balance through the water better. Made me work my legs and when I took them off I could feel how they had worked to make me kick from my hips more. Much better and will help me to work at balance in the water. As well as technique I need to do some more endurance swims. My swim fitness is slacking off a bit, and I still need to get in a couple of sessions a week just swimming 1500-2000m. It can't all be technique drills all the time, else I'll never improve my fitness.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

lunchtime run

Cycled in to work today via Primera Sports in Charminster, good to get my legs moving well again after a lot of biking at the weekend, feel lots better now, more refreshed.
Replacement bike computer should be back with me today so can get recording all my training data again.
Went for a gentle run at lunchtime. Ran for 30 minutes at very easy tempo. Really lousy weather and light but driving rain. Was good to get out and get some fresh air and stretch my legs. Not much of a workout, and I'd be surprised if my heart rate got much above 120bpm. But it's good to do these gentle runs in between harder training sessions, just keeps my body ticking over and helps to strengthen my running base.
I have an eye on next season already and am using the rest of the year to really focus on my training, especially my limiters, ie. swimming and running. As well as upping the mileage on the bike.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Two rest days

Felt a bit under the weather the last two days so I eased off from the training. I just rode into work Monday and Tuesday. Was going to have 2 swim sessions as well, but I decided to rest instead. Will do a longer ride on Wednesday and a lunchtime run of about 5 or 6 miles, no longer than that. Easy week, while my body recovers and I start feeling better. no biking this weekend as off to visit the in-laws in Sheffield. Best take my wetsuit!!
But will get a couple of runs in and maybe a trip to local swimming baths.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Long time in the saddle

Inspired by the Tour de France and my decision to do Land's End to John O'Groats next year, I set off to do a long ride today, focus on endurance and not speed. So getting back home at 11am this morning, I lay in the back garden, totally spent! 4hrs 27 mins and 15 secs of cycling, 85 miles, at an average speed of 19mph. Good strong ride, the last 40 miles being into a strong headwind. And my god when I set off this morning at 6.30am it was damn cold. In fact I have ridden in February and felt warmer! I was layered up with leg warmers and arm warmers but my finger ends were frozen. Oh, how I do love the British summer. My route: Holton Heath - Poole - Bournemouth - Boscombe - Christchurch - New Milton - Lymmington - Beaulieu - short loop round part of the New Forest and then back the same way I came. Shame I didn't have a bike computer on. Had heart rate monitor on though, and averaged 140 bpm.
Nutrition - 1 bottle PSP22, 1 bottle water, 1 power bar, 1 banana, 3 power gels.
Was short by 1 bottle PSP22 and 1 gel/solid food. But still had good strength left in my legs towards the end, even if they were getting a little sore.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

brick session

Feels a long time since I did a good brick session. In fact it has to be well over 8 weeks since I did one. And it was a good session. 1 hour and 50 minutes on my bike. I had no bike computer, just my stopwatch, so no stats. Took 45 mins for my legs to start moving. That's the minimum time for me to get warmed up properly, before I can really get going. In that 45 minutes i went up 2 climbs, the first was hard work as I went up out of the saddle and really pushed hard and got out of breath, feeling very unfit. The second in the saddle, bit slower, and I got up with no bother. Rode back home fairly strong. I do need to get out and do more training rides, my bike riding doesn't seem firing on all cylinders at the moment. Last Sunday's TT was really positive, but I want to focus on the longer rides now, and being able to go fast over distance.
Back home, changed straight into run shoes and off out, running with a heart rate monitor for once. Heart rate for the first 2 miles was around 160, but then it came down to 152 after that. Another 3 miles saw me push harder and my heart rate hovered around 155bpm, and I actually felt very good running. Finished it there, and good to finish feeling strong and not too tired, as though I could have run a lot more.
More brick sessions like this are now needed and I will make sure I get in at least 1 a week, preferably 2.
Long bike tomorrow, cycling over to the New Forest to ride a set route of 30 miles and then back. Will see me cycle around 80 miles in the morning, from 7 to 11am. Again, no bike computer as I had to send it back to the shop for a replacement, faulty USB connector, unable to upload training data to computer.
Back on with cycling everyday to work next week, lots of swimming and a couple of steady runs thrown in to the mix. Also hope to go road racing on Thursday but will see what happens with that later in the week. And looking for a date for my next Time Trial effort.

Friday, 20 July 2007

lunchtime swim

After 3 days of feeling under the weather and positively ill on Wednesday, I returned to work today, still feeling below par, and ventured out for a swim. Turns out it was just the ticket and did me the world of good. I'm concentrating really hard on body rotation and driving myself froward through the water instead of pulling with my arms. It seems to be working and I am swimming better, certainly more efficiently without losing time. Once my technique starts improving I can then work on speed. But for now and the rest of the year, it's all going to be about technique. Swam for 20 minutes and then did 3 sets of 133m(4 lengths of Poole dolphin pool) at full effort, my best of the 3 being 2mins 29 for 133m. Puts my 400m time at around 7m 27s. Now that is far from fast but 8 months ago I swam 400m in 9 minutes. So I'm moving in the right direction. I know improvement in the next 8 months won't be quite as much but I'm hoping to get to under 7 minutes for 400m by the end of the year, and with an improvement in my technique it should be possible.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

lunchtime run

After a few days off the running I went out today, and to be honest I wasn;t looking forward to it, and almost immediately I was straight into a ferocious headwind. Oh the British summer!! I warmed up for 10 minutes and then set off to do roughly 10km, just over that. Ran in a good time of 45' 18". Run got easier as I went on, but I just feel so slow. I think I have to get more into the mindset that I do on the bike. I'm very confident on the bike, and can push my legs hard and not get out of breath. But running, every time I just push a little harder I feel as though I am using much more energy. That said, my running is improving, it will just take a lot longer for my times to improve. They are getting better, if I look at my run times over the last 12 months. So I'm happy enough for now. It's something I can work on over the winter, with some long slow endurance runs and some shorter 'sprints'.

Monday, 16 July 2007

lunchtime swim

Very good recovery swim today. Swam for about 40 minutes, nice and easy up and down, minmal ue of legs, focussing on body rotation to propel me forward and on my breathing. Long solid breaths out to try and help build a rythmn for my stroke. Good positive recovery session, feel a lot fresher after it.

time trial results

Highly delighted with my first foray into the world of the Time Trial. Here is a link to the results.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Time trialling

Well, today I had my first taste of an official cycling time trial. 25 miles of aero positioning, go as fast as you can riding!!
And what a thrill. Great fun, and what pain! I just about paced myself alright, and finished with not much left to spare. Not bad for my first effort. The woman serving the tea back at race HQ said I looked exhausted and that was 20 minutes after I finished!! She was not wrong. I did 25 miles in 59 mins 24 secs. I was delighted to get under the hour for a '25' at my first attempt. It was quite blustery out there on the course, and even though relatively flat there were a couple of hard sections just because of the wind. I got up to speed very well, and went off like a rocket, as I was a bit over-enthusiastic, speeding along at over 30 mph on the flat. But after 2 minutes I was aware that I was well over my aerobic threshold and would soon be in oxygen debt if I carried on at that level of effort, so I eased back slightly and settled in to a good rhythm, and slowly built it up on each of the 3 laps. I finished strongly and only then, when I was gasping for air did I realise how much energy I had expended.
Such a good feeling when I finished and then to get back to race HQ and find I had gone under the hour, I was really ecstatic. I shall definitely be doing some more TTs. Great fun. The new skinsuit I had on was excellent, very comfortable, and I got my nutrition right before the race. Porage and a banana 2 hours before start of race. 2 caffeine gels right before the off, and 600ml PSP22 energy drink. Just about right. No time to take liquid on the bike as only going hard for an hour and need to stay focused.
So I cycled home with a spring in my pedals. And then at 9am I met with a friend of mine for a ride down to Swanage and over Studland and on the Sandbanks ferry back home. About a 35 mile round trip. It was good fun, nice to spin along slowly, and work the lactic acid out of my legs. Though when I eventually got back home, I was tired, and still am now, and I have a feeling my legs will be quite sore in the morning.

Friday, 13 July 2007

more swimming

Biked into work this morning, the long way round via Swanage, in totally miserable weather. Soaked to the skin by light drizzle in a strong headwind. That said, I did enjoy the ride, and I am really loving cycling at the moment. did about 2o miles, via the Sandbanks ferry to work.
Swam at lunchtime, working on my stroke./ Watched a dvd last night, Shaw method of swimming, very good, and talks a lot about good body position and rotation and shows excellent ways of working on those areas of technique. So I broke my stroke down today and am trying to balance better with my right side down in the water and head to the left. Still sinking and it will take a long time to put tright, but my stroke will be better for it, and eventually I should see my swim times improving.

Thursday, 12 July 2007


Went for lunchtime swim today, in there for about 35 minutes. My god, my swimming is slow. I felt like lead in the water. I don't seem to be improving, and I'm worried that I'm just re-enforcing bad technique every time I swim. I must find a coach and quick. More drill work needed. I will set aside two nights a week to go and work at technique and swim distance twice a week as well, and do a sea swim at the weekend. From now on I need to focus on this. I have a front-mounted snorkel on order and some fins, and a couple of dvds. This should help me improve my technique. I need to really work at zipping through the water. It's down to my poor body position.
I will succeed!!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Training in the first half of the week

Had a good two days of rest after Sunday's race, followed by a gentle swim on Tuesday evening, working at my balance. I have now worked out exactly what I am doing wrong with my stroke. I sink when I rotate to the left. And that creates drag which in turn slows down any propulsion I had from leading with my right arm. I then can't bring my left arm over with enough body rotation to propel me forward because I am too low in the water. My technique needs looking at, and I seriously need some coaching to work out how I can improve, now I know what's going wrong.
That said I had a good 45 minutes in the pool working on some drills and trying to get my balance better in the water. This is going to take some time to do, and I will focus on this over the winter months.
Today I did 8.2 miles in 1 hour 2 mins and 11 secs. Good run, although I set off a bit quick. My first 5km time was under 20 minutes. Too fast and I paid for it a bit later, as it was very warm as well as there being a headwind, which although cooling me down, it was hard work running into.
To be honest I didn't enjoy the run, but I'm pleased to at least run at 7.5 min mile pace over 8 miles. Gives me something to build on. Definitely need more brick sessions and will start doing 2 a week. In fact when I do my longer rides, I'm going to run straight off the bike. And make that a must do exercise. I'm finding that I'm not getting anywhere near the run pace I can do in a race at the moment. Brick sessions are the way to go.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Piccies from Bournemouth Tri

All images taken by Tracey Birtwistle, edited by myself in Photoshop CS2. Tracey uses a Canon 20D with assorted lenses, excellent camera for sports photos. 99% of the pictures on this blog site have been taken by her. If anyone is interested in her photography then please leave me a message on the site.

Provisional Results for Bournemouth Tri

Official time of 2 hrs 28 mins 22 secs. Position 157 out of 408 finishers.

Extremely delighted with that overall time. Swim was not as bad as I thought at 32 minutes, although I know I can go under 30. But very slow 10k run, after such a quick bike. My bike time put me in the top 20 bike times, and had it not been for traffic hold ups would have been a lot quicker. But my first time at Olympic distance and much more learned, so I will go away from here very happy.
I love the 25 mile bike distance, and I think I am strong over that distance, able to maintain a real hard effort over an hour of cycling. Looks good for Sunday's TT.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Bournemouth International Triathlon

Well, what a superb weekend of glorious weather. Lovely sunshine, and clear skies, but not too hot. Excellent racing conditions this morning down on Bournemouth sea front.
Was well prepared for this one, and looking forward to a sea swim in very calm water. It was supposed to be a 1500m swim but it did seem further than that, and this time I managed to stay right on course!! 35-39 age group was the last swim wave to go off at 8 o'clock. I was nicely warmed up having run for 15 minutes and got in the sea warm up area for 10 minutes getting used to the conditions.
So off we all went in another mad dash for the water! Didn't get bumped around much this time and I picked a good line which took me close into the first turnaround buoy and then after that was a long straight to the next one. I managed to stay on course, I always had someone to my right, which is the side I breather on and the turns were all left ones, so it did help. But again, I didn't really work hard enough, I just went through my paces and stroked nice and easy without really breaking much of a sweat. I must try going harder in a race at some point, and keep telling myself it's not a training session!! So I finally got out of the water with 33 minutes gone, a good 4 minutes slower than where I expected to be. And after a short run on very soft sand, it was into transition. I was not as quick as I should have been through here, but got away ok, only to then be held up by a marshall who was letting a bus turn into a stop. Got going again, only to get to Richmond Hill after 50 yards, to be held up behind traffic and a slow van, who were not overtaking riders up ahead. This was most annoying as it was uphill and I was ready to fly up it, feeling very strong and wanted to get off to a good start and get up to speed quickly on the bike. At the top of the short hill I then got stuck behind the same van, and had to hold back because I didn't want to get a 2 minute penalty for drafting. I reckon I lost at least 2 minutes in the first half a mile because of all this. At last I got clear road and hammered it! Out to Ringwood I was up averaging 28 mph, really feeling excellent. Got to the turnaround and started back. NOw I was expecting this return to be easier but there was a slight headwind and my average speed dropped to 23 mph, and a couple of inclines that got the legs working a bit harder than I anticipated. Then came the next hold up, pedestrian crossing. Now Stratford Triathlon took off 30 seconds for anyone held up by lights. Not today. Very frustrating. Then , the bike dismount came up quick, unexpected, and no time to get my feet out of my shoes, so unclipped shoes and ran in to T2 with shoes on, not good, as downhill!! But 40k(25 miles) in around 1 hour 3mins, pretty pleased with that.
Quick in T2 and set off on 10k run.
And again like the swim I just went through the motions and didn't push. I didn't work until the last 2 km when I finally gave myself a good talking to. I don't know what my first 5k time was, but my 2nd 5 k was a lot quicker at 21 mins. Finished with a big smile on my face and had a really enjoyable race. Finish time around 2 hr 30. Slow swim, fast bike, slow run. I have 4 weeks til next Olympic distance, to really work harder at my swimming and running.
See next post for some pics!

Friday, 6 July 2007


Rode into work Thurs and Friday. This morning was a nice 30k spin via Sandbanks Ferry/Studland. Extremely windy, leaning at almost 45 degrees at one point just to stay on the bike!!
Feeling good for Sunday, Bournemouth International Triathlon. Hope the wind drops and then there might be a sea swim. However, well prepared for the duathlon if they cancel the swim. will be 5k 40k 5k, run, bike, run.
Remember to register James Gilfillan tomorrow!! He's hoping to win this thing!! And I'm tasked with registering him and having his helmet checked. DO NOT FORGET!!!!! Lucky so and so has gone up to London to watch the Tour de France prologue!
That's my Internet usage at work going up over the next 3 weeks!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

There is no better stress relief than riding......a bike!

Wednesday evening, got home from work, wanted to ride, but did not feel like going out at all. But I dragged my carcass out and did 25 miles at just under race effort in 1 hour and 7 minutes, including a stop behind a van at a junction and a warm up for the first 2 miles. Extremely blustery conditions, fighting to control bike on some sections.
Followed most of one of the CTT Time Trial routes in the area. Seems like a fairly quick course. Bovington - Wool - Wareham - Nordon and retrace to finish not far off where it starts. I slightly chnaged it so that I rode back home, and fortunately it was exact same distance. Well, actually 24.9 miles on the clock. Rode well within myself but feeling very strong aerobically. Will work at leg strength and pedaling a higher gear early next year, to improve speed. That said I feel I am capable of going well under the hour for a '25'. I am actually doing a TT next weekend , 15th on a very flat course. I hope the wind drops. It's the first one I've done but feeling confident I can do a good time as TTs are all about maximum effort 100% of the time, going hard and finishing completely spent. But judging effort right so as not to blow early on.
Distance 24.9 miles
Time 1 hr 7 mins
Ave speed - 22.3 mph
Max speed 34.8 mph
Ave cadence - 89 rpm
max cadence - 114 rpm
(very pleased with high cadence)

No nutrition - only caffeinated power gel with water before ride.

more swimming

Swam last night at Wareham for a good 40 minutes of drills and workouts, a good session.
Swam today at lunch just for a bit of a de-stress after a busy morning at work. Focussing more on rotating the hips and driving from the hips up the body to the back and shoulders, keeping everything aligned. Feels better, but will take a while to get this going well, keeping my body position nice and straight.
Bike tonight, taking Plasma out for a spin as it's not been ridden for a while. Looking forward to Sunday's race, I should be raring to go!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Sandbanks run on a wet and windy lunchtime

Down to Sandbanks from Civic Centre and back, 8.2 miles in1 hr 2m 15secs.
Set off in sunshine, hit the wind after 3 miles and downpour on 5 miles to the end where sun came out again!!
Great run, legs feeling better, slight twinge around knee but that settled down after good stretch and cool down run of 10 minutes after. Another positive session and whilst running Iwas thinking about racing and how I should be going a lot harder in a race. I'm finishing my races far too fresh, not using enough effort. Like my school report, must tri harder!!!

Swim on a Monday lunchtime

Have decided that swimming on a Monday is a damn fine idea and soothes the stress on the morning, makes the afternoon fly by. 35 minutes of good swimming, broken in the middle by a bried chat with one of the UK's top triathletes, James Gilfillan. His swimming is effortless and his speed through the water is something to behold. He goes nearly as quick as me when he just uses a kickboard and I'm using my whole stroke! That said, I am improving all the time and feel as though I am faster through the water with less effort. Probably not the case, but at least I feel better about it!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Macmillan Charity Ride

Well, the weather has been dreadful the past few days and it wasn't looking good for today's ride.
But, the gods were kind to us and the rain stayed away and we even saw some blue sky. Myself, Si, Tony and Paul set off on a 25 mile sociable ride around the lanes of leafy Dorset. It was still wet on the road and after only 6 miles I punctured! And that was after changing to wet weather tyres! Gatorskins no less, supposed to be more resistant to punctures! Oh well. We made the first checkpoint for some 'hand-baked' muffins courtesy of Madame Le Tesco and got our cards stamped and headed off on the rest of our journey. This route would make a great training ride, and great for a 'hilly' 25 mile Time Trial course. There are a couple of climbs that make you work but on the whole it's rolling roads again, which lend themselves well to train on. A lot of debris had flushed itself down and onto the roads making a couple of downhill sections nothing short of treacherous. But eventually everything dried out and the leg warmers, arm warmers and overshoes came off and it held fine to the end, where we were greeted with malt loaf! Yum!! And then I had a 10 minute massage, a free service on offer, excellent stuff. Sorted my calves out which have been a little sore since HI UK.
I cycled to and from the ride, covering 15 miles in total , so a nice easy bike session today of 40 miles, including a pub stop at the end of the main ride! Good fun and must organise another one soon.
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