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Monday, 13 August 2007

Swanage Classic Triathlon

Sunday 12th August. 7:25am start.

For me this was going to be a good race. The bike course is part of my training route, so I was confident of putting in a good ride. I have swum regularly in the sea at Swanage and my swimming has been improving over the last few weeks. But I was worried about the run because of the steep off-road sections.
So I rode down there feeling good, reasonably fresh and looking forward to the race. Got set up in transition quickly, forgot to get marked up and went for a warm up swim, which was not long enough really, barely 5 minutes. Wanted to warm up for at least 20 minutes, as it takes me ages to get going. But nonetheless I went over to the swim start and when the name checks were done, I managed to get my number marked on me at least. Then to the off. I was at the back and I couldn't get passed some slower swimmers and got boxed in near a line of small buoys and got caught up in rope, then got banged about before the first turn. I couldn't get into a stroke for a good 200m. And by that time I was well back. I am going to have to be more aggressive in open water swims, get my head down and just go for it. I'm too polite, let people go and swim too easy. I can regularly swim under 30 minutes for 1500m in the pool. My time yesterday? - 35 minutes. I was really disappointed in how slow that was. It wasn't until the last 500m of the swim that I at last started motoring a bit and putting in the effort and stroking well. Before that I kept bumping and stopping an checking where I was. I need some more open water swims. I enjoy swimming in open water, I just don't like the starts. I think I'm going to try a keep well out of the way strategy next time, and not get caught up behind any slow swimmers.
So I exited and then onto my bike. I don't know why but I've not been leaving my shoes clipped in. I don't know why, I should do because it would save me a lot of time in transition. And so I got on my bike, and took me a few seconds to get my right shoe in the pedal. I felt really breathless and as I set off I just couldn't get my breath and my legs felt dead. For 2 miles it was uphill but I should not have had any problems getting up to speed, but somehow just could not get going at all. Not until I got to Corfe Castle did I start motoring, and even then I wasn't as fast as I know I can ride, anything like. I was passing people steadily and up around 27mph on the flatter sections, but just not quick enough. And that showed in my bike time. 1 hour 9 minutes for 40km. Very disappointing, even though it was a fairly hilly course. Was held up a bit by a van going slowly, but that said I just didn't go hard enough and it showed. But I had a good T2, and flew out on the run. I was determined to really push myself on the run, and I did. I found the uphill hard going, but I stuck at it and focussed on my breathing and just though 'what goes up must come down'. It really was proper fell running for 1 section of the course, but it wasn't long before descending, quite steep in places, and I got myself into a good rhythm. It was uphill again out of Studland for half a mile or so which was hard going again, but then the last 2.5 miles were down into Swanage and I really made up some time. I did my best 10km run of the year - 47 mins 22 secs. Very pleased with my effort, especially on that course. I was 2 minutes quicker than at Bournemouth and that was pancake flat.
So final time of 2 hours 33 mins, finished 103 out of 280 or so. Very enjoyable race. It's only now at post-race analysis that I'm very disappointed with my swimming and disappointed with my bike. But generally my bike time was ok, not far off the better bikes, and in the top 25 so I'll settle for that. But my swimming needs work, and a lot of it!!
Well done to James Gilfillan yet again, who cam first in a time of 1 hour 56 minutes.
No stopping him at the moment. He's out to do Monaco 70.3 next week, best of luck James if you are reading this, and to add the win yesterday must have been down to that ride on Saturday!!!
Pictures to follow

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Thursday a good training day

Right back on it today. Good hour swim session this morning. Had a chat with Harry Wiltshire, last year's world student triathlon champion, who was very impressed with James Gilfillan's result at Half Ironman UK. Watched him swim. Very quick through the water. Wouldn't class him as an elegant swimmer, but what the heck, it's damn effective!! Got some tips from one of the swim coaches down at Wareham, who very kindly said he would look at my stroke next week. Also had an interesting view on head position which I'm going to try tomorrow morning.
The last 3 weeks has seen a big improvement in my swim fitness and I feel stronger in the water. I'll be keen to see how I get on with my swim time this Sunday at Swanage. 1500m sea swim.
Cycled easily into work in the lovely morning sun, 12km, the shortest possible route. Legs feeling fresh.
Lunchtime I set off down to Sandbanks for an easy paced run. 13.3km in 1 hour 11 mins.
Was very warm in the midday sun, and not much of a breeze to keep me cool, but felt good to run, just focussing on smooth strides and not trying to go too fast. Was about 9 minute mile pace, felt good to do a reasonably long slow run. With the running I'm really now focussing on next season and just building a good strong base, so that I can improve on speed for the shorter tris, and go strong over Half Ironman distance.
Cycled home from work at a nice easy pace and thus completed a good day's training.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Yoga bear!

After a cold cycle to work this morning and a 25 minute lunchtime run at a good pace in very warm weather, I ambled off to a Yoga class! And boy oh boy, I though I was fit! nope! My flexibility is not great, although my core strength is pretty good - triathlon will give you good core strength. Yoga will extend it further. I have to do some more and I'm going to one class a week and will practice some more in between as I have a yoga dvd for some sports specific exercises. £2.90 for an hour class, what great value. Not all that intense, but very good for relaxing my muscles, relaxing my spine and working at my inner core and hip flexors. Meditation bit was good at the end, but when she said to start coming round I was just about getting into meditative state. As with everything it takes a long time for me to get going! Or in this case, takes me a while to switch off.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Monday, Tuesday

Cycling to work everyday now with a heart rate monitor, just to make sure my level of effort is not too great. Keeping my hr below 120bpm on the ride to work, spinning legs well. Monday lunch was a 35 minute effort for 6km, very slow going in warm weather, but legs felt tired. In fact, I had forgotten that I have ridden my bike every day for 8 days, including 2 hard weekend rides, and a lunchtime ride last week, and a bit more inbetween. Tuesday morning, in the pool at Wareham for a good 40 minute swim session. Again though, it took me a good 20 minutes to get properly wamred up before I felt I was really able to swim strong and maintain a hard effort.
Generally as my fitness improves it's taking me longer to warm up. No bad thing, but means that my training time will increase for me to keep making improvements.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Weekend Training

Friday: Cycled down to Swanage from work, about 20 miles. Went for a swim in the sea when down there, it was lovely, no wetsuit, water was lovely temperature, nice and cold, but not freezing, great for refreshing tired legs.
Saturday: biked 30 miles at 19.4mph, followed by a run of 55 minutes. Felt good, run was in hot weather. Well hydrated, ran strong.
Sunday: Swam for 30 minutes, wetsuit,as practice for next weekend. Wetsuit is very restrictive across back and arms, will need a new one but will wait til end of season and sales! Good strong stroke today and reaching well, long body in the water. Followed by bike of 25 miles in 1 hour 9 minutes, steady pace, which followed the route of next week's Swanage triathlon. Was going to run after bike, but when I got back my legs were tired so I just went back in for a swim to ease my legs. Good job too. Now I am tired, so I have drunk lots of water, eaten well and am off to bed for an early night.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Thursday swimming

Good morning session of 2000m of various drills and workouts. 200m, 100m, 400m. Really concentrating on balance and feel for the water. Speed not improving, but level of effort not as much to go at the same speed, which will mean when at race effort will be able to go quicker, expending less energy. Well, that's the theory anyway!
After an hour of swimming I got home and changed to bike to work, only to find I was running late and had to really pedal hard. Was averaging 38kph for 8 miles, pretty quick considering it's in and out of traffic and stops for traffic lights. Strong on the bike at the minute, but that's over shorter distances. Need some mileage in legs, which I will get this weekend.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007


Well, you can't have a good day everyday. And today was one of those days. Felt lousy, legs like lead. Tired, needed the loo, and could not run any faster. Felt like running through a vat of syrup! 22' 45" for 5k. Weather was hot, little breeze, I don't like it warm.
However, I got out and stuck with it when I felt like packing after 500m.
Cycled to and from work today, and what a difference a clean chain makes, and a fresh set of wheels. Got my old Krsyiums back on with Michelin pro race light 2 tyres on. Felt good, and rolling quick; softer ride than the Real Design wheels. I'm going to sell those wheels as I don't really need them, especially now I've got my Eastons.
And I'm going back to my Fizik Arione saddle after trying to get used to a Specialized Toupe. Even though fitted for my bones, not the most comfortable seat and I think of all the ones I have tried the Arione is best. I'll just have to ride it solidly and wear it in some more!
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