Swim and strength training focus

Focus: Get back into swimming. Add some strength training.

Monday: Swim session. 60mins. 2.7m 4x300m/4x200m/4x100m/4x50m/4x25m. In Will’s gym pool after signing up for a two year membership. 25m pool not ideal but only five minutes from my house so perfect to fit into schedule especially as gym is open from 0700-2200. No excuses!

Tuesday: 45 min strength sesssion including an initial try-out on the cross trainer. Really hard going. Did the fit test and the result was one word “poor”! 40 min swim session 20x100m off 2 min intervals. 1:40-1:45 for most 100m. Very close in the band. Finished on 1:37.

Thursday: Run 30 mins 3.67km, 139bpm, 192cal. Swim 1500m timed swim 27 minutes. 327 cal.

Friday: Run 45mins 5.3km 135bpm. Swim timed swim for CSS. 400m 6 mins 34 sec. 200m  3m 13 sec. CSS= 1:41 / 100m.

Saturday: First time to kayak. Enjoyable couple of hours on Dian Shan Lake. Sunny day.

Sunday: Recovery day. Sauna and light swim. 30mins.

Total: 9 sessions ( 8 hours)

Swim: 4 sessions (3hrs); Run 2 sessions ( 1.25hrs); Other 3 sessions (3.5hrs)

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Winter training: Keeping things ticking over

Theme: Fight the cold to do some base training.

Monday: Massively aching after strength training!

Tuesday: Run in park in afternoon. 6.5km. 5 mins run / 45 sec walk. Around 60mins. Took about 15mins for HR to drop to normal levels. Very very easy pace. Plan to do more runs like this. Nice sunny day but still cold.

Friday: Run 60 mins. Very easy walk/run. 6.5km. 144bpm average, 319 cal. Erratic HR. Bike 50mins, 21km, HR 116bpm, 107W, 331cal. Easy ride. Very cold.

Total: 3 sessions (3 hours)

Swim 0 session; Bike 1 session (1hrs); Run 2 sessions (2hours)

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Winter training: Building a base fitness

Theme: Fight the cold to do some base training.

Thursday: Indoor bike session around 40mins. Run in the park around 45 mins.

Friday: Run in the park around 60 mins. Bike indoor around 30mins.

Sunday: Shanghai national training center for morning strength training on core exercises and weight training. Afternoon 90 min spin session focusing on aerobic. 30mins at 75% of maxHR, 10x3mins of 2min sprint at 90% of HR, final 30mins at 75%. Very tough day. Expeting to be very sore tomorrow.

Total: 6 sessions (7 hours)

Swim 0 session; Bike 3 sessions (3hrs); Run 2 sessions (2hours) + plus Strength training (2hrs)

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Re-boot: Focusing on process in the off-season

Theme: Lots of swim sessions; getting the indoor roller up and running. Upgrading to Powertap Pro and new Garmin 910X.

Monday:  60 swim session; 4x300m, 4x200m, 4×100, 4x50m. With 200m cool down. Run 40 mins through the park.

Tuesday: Calculated my CSS which is an acronym for Critical Swim Speed from Swim Smooth.   It’s an approximation of your lactate threshold speed which means it’s a pace that you can hold throughout your swim session and maintain. My target is to swim 1500m in 25 minutes which means my CSS for 100m is 1min 40 seconds. My current CSS is 1 min 49 secs so I have a target for my sessions to reduce my CSS time down to 1:40 as my swim session progress. There’s a calculator at Swim Smooth to calculate your CSS.

Wednesday: 60 mins run, easy to pool and back. Pool closed for next 6 weeks. New pool option?

Friday: 45 min easy run through the park. Just focusing on technique and keeping HR low.

Saturday: First bike session on indoor rollers. No idea how I’ll be able to ride with both hands on handlebars. Kept one hand on side to balance. 45 mins easy to moderate pace. Focus on turning legs over. First time been on the bike since IM WA.

Sunday: Took bike out to use powertap. Finally took it to shop and worked out how to pair with Garmin.  Did around 20 mins on rollers using power. Still a bit shaky on rollers. Power was around 130W. Work on building up a power plan over next couple of weeks.

Total: 6 sessions (4.5 hours)

Swim 1 session (60mins); Bike 2 sessions (60mins); 3 sessions (2.5 hours)

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Week off

Total week off with eating, relaxing and enjoying the festive spirit.

Sunday: 60mins. Swim. 2.8km; 4x300m, 4x200m, 4x100m, 4x50m. Run 50mins to and back from pool.

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Off season: Recovering and restarting

After a complete week off after Ironman Western Australia, it’s time to start thinking about the off-season. Keeping things ticking over with a few jogs, looking at upgrading some equipment, booking race calendar for 2013 and looking at different training options like circuit training.

Monday: Easy jog around 30 mins to renew park entrance card.

Tuesday: Easy 45 mins jog around the park. Trees are barren and leave-less. Not many people around. It is around 1-2C so not a surprise. Shanghai winters are cold.

Saturday: Easy swim around 1500m (5 x 300m). Pool was noticeably cleaer than a few weeks ago. 200m cool down. Nice to stretch out. Planning to up the swim frequency to keep fitness ticking over.

Sunday: Morning swim. 3x300m plus couple hundred breaststroke. 2km. Took it easy. Enjoying getting back in the water. Included 45 mins of running to / back from pool.

Sessions:5 ( 4 hours)

Run: 3 (2 hours) Swim: 2 (2 hours)

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Ironman Western Australia 2012 Race Report

Official results here.

Preparation: One year of fairly consistent training. Five weeks of asthma before race from the cold polluted Shanghai weather. My second ironman’s goal was basically to finish before sunset and with respect. ie run the marathon. I wasn’t sure of time but hoped for under 13 hours and perhaps closer to 12:30. Busselton is 3 hours south of Perth in Western Australia, and is known as a flat,windy and potentially fast course. Of course, it has extreme UVs and the challenge of going from a northern winter to a southern summer. The town of Busselton was great and has some really nice cafes like the Mana Kai Cafe, full of tasty organic and healthy shakes.

The build up to race day saw a changeable weather with sometimes overcast and drizzle, sometimes very hot. The day before race day winds were blowing up around 25-30kmh. Race day was going to be hot with some winds. About what I expected.

Swim: Early start at 0545 but the sun rises before 0500 so with an early 0300 start for some breakfast, down to check over the transition area one last time and a shortish walk over to the swim start by the long pier. Basically swim out and around the pier. The water was choppy after about 200m and big waves were buffeting you around the whole time. Couldn’t see the sea bed after that point. Felt like I never really was going that fast, couldn’t get on anyone’s feet to draft. Heard that people were getting sea sick on exiting the water due to the swaying waves. I held back and took my time so was very surprised and happy to finish in 69 minutes. Having just managed two swims in five weeks due to health (and motivation issues) concerns with asthma, I was really happy with this time. Tick off the swim. Still the start of a long day.  Time 69 mins 21 seconds.

T1: Jogged up to the changing tent and got into my bike gear and applied lots of sunscreen. Took a hit on the inhaler and jogged off. Most of the bikes around mine were gone so no problem finding it. The weather was heating up. Around 5 mins in T1.

Bike: Three loops of 60km on a flat course with some windy sections.My target was to converse energy for the run and hold back. So initially I wanted to get set, start taking on fluids and stay sunburn free. This meant that I was passed by a tremendous amount of people which is tough mentally. You want to push to catch up but you know that a key part of your race plan is holding back. The first 60km went smoothly and completed in around 2 hours. This was worrying about my target time was 6 hours so with 2 laps to go I was likely to slow down and my target time would slip. The next lap was getting tough as holding an aero position for such a long time is challenging. One of the downsides of a flat course. Around the end of the second lap I  realised just how under-prepared I was for this section. I based my preparation on multiple 150km rides which was a lot more preparation than my previous Ironman. I realised I need a lot more 200+km rides. My power really faded in the last 50 km of the ride. I adopted a more conservative approach when I realised I wasn’t putting out the power I needed. I stopped and took on 750ml of water every 15-30km at aid stations as well as filling up my two water bottles. This meant I lost time and of course prompted more bathroom stops. Some guys take a leak on the bike but given my slow time, I thought it wouldn’t matter if I took an extra 10-15mins for hydrating. This strategy paid off big time during the run. Still it was a bit frustrating at the slow time.Although after 4 hours on the bike in the sun, your minds tends to shut down a bit and things go quiet. It’s an interesting experience and I find that after the mind stops chattering, you start to feel a strong connection to the people around you and to the environment. More appreciative of the things around you. More focused on the next breath. I was really happy to see the end of the bike and although the time was slow I hoped I would perform better in the run. Time 6 hours 36 minutes 29 secs.

T2: So happy to see the end of the bike. My body was aching from holding an aero position position for about 6 hours. I took it easy and completely changed into dry clothes. It was really hot outside although it was likely to cool a little over the course of the run. Water stations were every 2-3 km and became targets to run between. Time in transition around 5 minutes.

Run: Having not run a marathon since my last Ironman in 2010 and not run more than 21km this year in preparation, I was not 100% sure how I would last in the marathon.  My goal was to run the marathon by taking my time through the aid stations to take on ice, water and other nutrition. I felt great immediately on the run and my cadence was high which was a good sign. In Ironman the cliche post race phrase is “I was feeling great until half way through the marathon”. In many ways the race really starts in the last 10km of the marathon. Again my target was to hold back for the first half of the marathon and make sure I took on enough fluids. I had been taking a salt capsule every hour through the bike and continued this on the run. When runners hit the wall in Ironman it’s often due to a lack of electrolytes rather than water. The salt capsules keep electrolyte levels topped up. On the run I can just about stomach water and I’ve found that sports drink or coke don’t agree with my stomach. Aid station had jelly beans though and – more for the novelty – a couple of jelly beans kept me going. The hardest part physically came around 34-38km as I noticed my cadence was falling. I focused on raising it and looked for runners ahead to pace off. At this stage most were shuffling along or walking and I went past hundreds of people on the run which was a nice contrast to the bike leg. My goal was finish strong and once I hit 38km things got easier. “only 2km to 40km”, then at 40km, only “2km to finish”. I picked up the pace in the last 1km although I noticed that  I was getting light headed in the final 2 km. I pushed it home and finished at a reasonable pace. Total time on the run 4hours 44 mins 03secs. Very happy with this leg.

Overall time : 12 hours 41 mins 05 secs. 133rd in my age group and 706 overall out of around 1500 competitors.

Although I said after my first Ironman that I would never do another one, I’m fairly certain that this is a race I’ll put to one side for a while. It’s an incredibly challenging races that requires massive amount of time in preparation and a real physical and mental effort on the day to finish. Plus a fair amount of time to recuperate. I’m not too bad aside from a purple bruised toe and a blister or five. While I could do a half Ironman at almost any time given my base fitness and moderate training hours, you cannot cut short training while getting ready for an Ironman and do yourself justice. I’m happy with my performance which was faster by about 75 mins than my first Ironman and was especially happy with running the marathon. That’s the end of a long 13 month season. I’m taking it easy and mapping out Olympic distance and maybe a half Ironman or two for next season.

Photos of me during the race here.

 

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Race week: In Busselton for the Ironman Western Australia

Theme: Get enough sleep, keep hydrated, taper off exercise and food through the week. Get the race plan clear and think through contingencies. Enjoy it!

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: Travel day. All day meetings in Hong Kong.

Wednesday: Arrive Busselton. Easy bike for around 30mins

Thursday: Swim in ocean around 15mins. Run 5km.

Friday: Early morning swim at jetty. Winds around 30kmh were bringing in choppy waves. Will make for a tough swim if it’s similar on Sunday. Also, temperature was low, felt chilly so may need to spend time to dry off before heading onto bike.

Saturday: Early morning swim. Much calmer than yesterday. Blue skies, no waves. Really enjoyed it. Weather forecast for tomorrow is hot (over 31C), windy in the morning (15-25kmh) and a 40% chance of rain! Well, at least the course is flat!

Sunday: Race day. Results here

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One year of training comes down to one day of racing

Moving through fear towards a challenging goal

Value of a big goal

The Ironman Triathlon is one of sport’s most challenging races. It starts with a 3.8km swim, then a 180km bike ride followed by a 42km marathon. All completed back-to-back on the same day. One year ago I decided to enter my second Ironman race despite  having told myself – and everyone else on video – after my first Ironman that I would never do another one again. Why did I take on this race again? The main reason is that when you set a big challenging goal, you create movement. You have to take action and you have to plan across a entire year. Nothing happens until you have decided to commit to an outcome. I find that the bigger that outcome, the more it motivates me.

Action: As we approach year end, what is your 2013 goal?

Power of a deadline

The best goals have clear start and finish dates. A deadline focuses the mind and your energy towards achieving it. When training, you have to make trade-offs. Getting up at 0445 on a Saturday morning versus sleeping in and having a leisurely brunch. Getting out in the evening for a swim when you’re tired after a long day’s work. Knowing that the deadline is immovable and approaching helps me take the actions I need to prepare myself fully. All skill improvements in life tend to fall into the “important but not urgent” category of time management. Use deadlines to bring more urgency and you will be surprised at the energy you can muster to get things done. I broke my training year into four cycles and each week would time-block the coming week’s training times. Be flexible and look for the time slots you have on your calendar.

Action: What deadline can you place on your “important but not urgent” goals? Start blocking time off on your calendar before you commit to other appointments.

Adapting to obstacles

When you plan a massive personal change or challenging company goal, obstacles emerge. Be ready for them and adapt to them. In improvisation, an important principle is acceptance. When you know an obstacle is likely to appear, be ready to accept it and then adapt to it. Since early November when the temperature plunged in Shanghai and with a prolonged period of poor air quality, my asthma was triggered. What this means is that I can barely breath without wheezing and need an inhaler in the morning and evening. It’s very uncomfortable and impacts how intensely I can exercise. On the one hand, this is a sub-optimal way to prepare for an Ironman race. However, I accepted that I couldn’t change the environment I was in. I needed to be in Shanghai for work. It’s cold and polluted. Instead, I adapted. Of course I took some medical remedies through an inhaler which eased my breathing. But I also cut back on my training and instead of taking one rest day a week, I took 3-4 rest days. I also had to reduce the pacing and intensity of my training sessions. One of the most common mistakes Ironman participants make is in over-training leading up to a race and setting out too hard during the early stages of a race. By adapting my training and race strategy, I was sure not to make these mistakes. Obstacles come but always look for the silver lining in the cloud. It starts with your mindset. Obstacles are just feedback that you need to take on along the way to your final goal.

Action: What obstacles have you faced recently? If you accepted them more readily as an inevitable part of your process, how would things worked out differently? What mindset can you bring when you’re facing your next big obstacle?

Getting your mindset right

Despite training very consistently for over 12 months for this race, a few weeks before the Ironman I realised that this race is ridiculously long. It’s too long. It’s stupid. I found I was losing the mental game even before the race started. To get myself out of this slump I had to pull back to assess the positives. Yes, I probably should have done more long runs over 30km and more bike rides of over 150km but I hadn’t so what could I do about that now? It’s not ideal to get a massive asthma attack a month out from the race but I can’t change that now. Instead, I looked for reasons why I would succeed. I’ve completed 12 races already this year. These include four half-Ironman distance races in challenging conditions in New Zealand (out of shape), Singapore (heat and humidity), Galway (wind) and Weihai (mountainous bike course). Each one of these races had been a milestone where I had improved and overcome obstacles during the race. I have a good base. Having asthma might a good thing because it means that I can’t go out too fast on the swim or bike. This steady pacing can give me a better chance at completing the run with respect.

Action: Become more aware about your own perceptions towards a goal you are working on. Do you really believe in yourself or in your team? Are you convinced that no matter what obstacle is thrown up you will see it to completion?

The countdown

One year of training comes down to one day. You have to set yourself up for success. I’ve been trying to sleep more, eat well and think through my race plan. I’ve experienced the swim course in 30 kmph winds and realised that the race day start might mean swimming over big breaking waves. It’s an obstacle that I am ready for and expect. Hopefully the wind will not be so strong on race day. I’ve ridden some of the bike course and felt strong headwinds and seen that the temperatures could be over 30C with extreme UV sun rays. I’m ready for it and ready to adapt. My mantra boils down to “enjoy it”. The scenery is beautiful on the bike course and the run is up and down the sea front. Breathing in the sea air is enjoyable. I have to keep reminding myself that no matter what happens on Sunday, I’ve got to keep enjoying the experience.

Action: The final few weeks or days as a deadline approach can be the most unsettling.You may feel that you are running out of time or are not sufficiently ready. What one thing do you need to focus on to get you through to the end?

On the day performance

Aside from enjoying it, my main goal is to finish before sunset! Which gives me about 13 hours to complete the race. Ideally, I will finish the swim in 75mins, the bike in 6 hours and the run in around 4hrs 30 mins. So including the two transitions this would bring me in in around 12 hours. But if it takes longer so be it. The goal is to finish healthy with respect which to me means not walking the marathon. Let ‘s see how it goes. I’ll send an update and race report after the race.

Action: Always have a range of successful outcomes. Success comes in a sliding range and is never black or white. Celebrate every success as it moves you forward.

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Ironman Training: The final 13 days before Ironman Bussleton in Australia

Theme: Work on the mind game, think about nutrition, look at equipment and logistics. Travel, accomodation, visa etc.

Get in a frame of mind to enjoy it.

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday:  Run around 40 mins out to pool and back to metro station. Very slow and steady. First swim for about 5 weeks! Again very slow and steady for about 60 mins. Bike ride around 30km. Solo ride again very steady. Felt great across all sessions for the first time in three weeks. Ashtma feels like it’s clearing up just in time. Although I expect the higher temperature, cleaner air of Australia will help too.

Saturday: Move house. No training.

Sunday: Bike around 30mins. Run 60mins. Swim 3km around 60mins. 

Sessions: 6

Total time: 5.5 hours

Bike=1.5 hours, Run = 2 hours, Swim=2 hour.

 

Conclusion: Tapering off. Hectic personal life with house move and client work. Combining sessions. Asthma improving for a while. 

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Ironman Training: Final 2 weeks of intense training before Ironman Bussleton in Australia

Theme: Day on-day off. Take the rest to recover with massage, feet soaks. Get more longer 2-hr runs in and re-start swimming 3-4km sessions.

Monday: Afternoon run, sunny but cold. Steady effort, around RPE=5 – 17km in around 1hours 45mins. Felt good and used two gels with small water bottle.

Tuesday: Rest day. Healthy wise no great. Eyes and nose still streaming. Hear other people complaining about the pollution. Using inhaler a couple times a day to get over wheezy chest. Not ideal.

Wednesday:  Rained out.

Saturday: Very cold. 6 hours. Long solo bike ride 130km. Sunny but feet were blocks of ice. Steady ride.

Sunday: Raining. Around 10-11km with STC group. Was getting cold so back for hot shower.

Sessions: 3

Total time: 9 hours

Bike=6 hours, Run = 3 hours, Swim=0 hour.

 

Conclusion: Another week impacted heavily by poor weather (rain) and continuing struggles with ashtma. No swimming and no long runs. I’m not sure how things will pan out in Bussleton but I’ll be glad that a long year of training is over. I’ve probably decided that the full IM is not a distance that I want to pursue as the half IM and shorter races can fit more easily into a normal balanced lifestyle.

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Ironman Training: 4 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: Overcome dips in motivation and coping with the much colder weather.

Monday: Afternoon bike ride. Cold but sunny. RPE=3-4. Around 60mins. 30km.

Tuesday: Rest day to recover from ashtma attack. Bad pollution days.

Wednesday: Run. Easy. 90 mins around 11km. Very slow. Was still a bit chesty at the start. Did 2 mins run, 30 secs walk. Second half could run longer with occasional stop. Sunny day for late morning run. Best time to go. Gets cold in afternoon.

Thursday: Run. Easy paced. Probably should have used inhaler befor run. Got short of breath and had to stop for a while. Took about 60mins. Nice sunny day and good to keep the exercise going. But hope I get over this ashtma soon. Just have to keep within myself and really focus on slow steady pacing when starting out. Ironman race in 24 days and I can hardely run for 5 minutes without stopping. Not exactly optimal training at this point. But I do have a good endurance base this year, have done 4 half Ironman races this year, have done many 150km range bike rides. So if I can keep the running going and get back into swimming, I should be in a position where I can enjoy the race and still finish in a reasonable time.

Saturday: 6 hours bike session, around 130km  including stop off with lads for hot chocolate. Chilly day, very damp, little bit of sun on the way back. Steady pace. RPE=5-8.

Sunday: Rest.

Sessions: 4

Total time: 9.5 hours

Bike=7 hours, Run = 2.5hours, Swim=0 hour.

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Ironman Training: 5 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: Get diet under control and be more consistent in training.

Monday: Afternoon run around 17km, 1 hr 45 mins. Weather was getting cold. RPE=4. Felt good and strong even without any water or electrolyte. Last lap was on par with the first.

Tuesday: Early afternoon run around 11km 80mins. Sun was out but still had a chill. Felt tired after yesterday’s run and also caught a chill due to late afternoon time. RPE=4-5. Ran without water or gel but had a big electrolyte drink before the run to simulate the bloated post bike feeling.

Wednesday:  Evening bike. Getting very chilly. Easy 40km spin in small chain. 90mins. RPE=3-4.

Thursday: Rest day.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Rained out.

Sessions: 3

Total time: 4.5 hours

Bike=1.5 hours, Run = 3 hours, Swim=0 hour.

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Ironman Training: 6 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: Increased run frequency and longer bike sessions.

Monday: Afternoon run around 12km, 70mins. Cool and overcast. RPE=3-5. Conciously slowed down to keep HR in check as a long week of running and biking ahead.

Tuesday: Planned an early ride but pouring rain put paid to that. Afternoon run in park. Afternoon run around 12km, 70mins. Cool and overcast. RPE=3-5

Wednesday:  Rest day.

Thursday: Brick session in afternoon. Sunny and clear day starting to cool a little. 45km in three sections. Around 70mins. First 15km in sub Ironman pace in small chain, next 15km  above IM pace (just) and final 15km more or less on IM pace. Nutrition big water bottle and one sports bottle. Took one gel after 30km. Run around 40 mins approx 6km at steady pace. Found got very light headed and weak half way through. Realised hadn’t eaten much today. Decided to go home and eat rather than push out another 5km. Still got a lot of training to do this week so not worth the risk.

Saturday: Long bike ride around 150km in the morning with group, 11 riders. Very strong head easterly head winds. Intensity varied from RPE=3 up to 9. Probably pushed it too hard as legs were seizing up and energy fading towards end. Had a quick breakfast before final 20km. Made things a lot easier. Approx 6 hours riding.

Sessions: 5

Total time: 10 hours

Bike=7 hours, Run = 3 hours, Swim=0 hour.

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Ironman Training: 7 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: More rest and then combinations of swim, bike, run.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Rest.

Wednesday:  Bike. 40km, Very calm. Around 90mins RPE=4-9. Very high tempo group ride all in small chain ring. Good aerobice workout!

Saturday: Long bike ride around 130km in the morning with group, 28 riders. Did whole ride in small chain ring. Intensity varied from RPE=3 up to 9.

Sunday:  Run around 15km steady. 90mins. Need to get back into running more.

Sessions: 3

Total time: 9 hours

Bike=7.5 hours, Run = 1.5 hours, Swim=0 hour.

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Ironman Training: 8 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: Longer runs plus second core block of training.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Rest.

Wednesday:  Bike. 40km, Very windy. Around 90mins RPE=4-5.

Thursday: Bike 70 mins. Around 30-35km.

Friday: Core Block Day 1: Long swim. Run 30 mins to swim. 4km session [4x400m;4x300m;4x200m;4x100m] Intensity RPE=4-8. Strong until final 4x100m. Bike 90mins.

Saturday: Run 10km+ around 60mins.

Sunday: Bike 100km in small chain ring. RPE=3-8. Long 5km sprint aside, mostly steady. 5 hours.

Sessions: 7

Total time: 12 hours

Bike=9 hours, Run = 1.5 hours, Swim=1 .5hour.

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Fall Anting Sprint Triathlon in Shanghai

Morning of race: Race was a 1330 start so not too early start. Bus was a 0900 so had a couple of eggs for breakfast, prepared a protein shake for later and had some electrolyte as I felt dehydrated on waking up. Got kit ready for the cycle back after the race including some electrolyte powder, yams and dates. Using Merida bike instead of TT (time trial) bike because of the ride back. Arrived at venue around 1030. Sunny with good cloud cover. Race ended up being cloudy which was great for me.

Swim: 750m swim. The sprint group went off as a last wave after the Olympic distance race. The swim was actually nearer to 800m due to the way the course was arranged for the longer race. Got clear water and moved up steadily through and around the slower Olympic swimmers. Felt good and settled into a rhythm and could feel the benefit of extra swim sessions recently. Came out first in around 11 minutes.

T1: The exit around the water was not well designed and I cut up my feet on some rocks and also my hand. Bikes were racked a short run away and had a reasonable transition although wet suit took a little bit too long to remove. Feet were bleeding and stung a bit but not too bad.

Bike: 20km. 2 laps around a flat course with a couple of bridges.Started in small chain ring as start of course was uphill. Got into a good pace and started passing Olympic distance riders. A couple of the replay team riders went past me but no one else. Two strong laps and finished in around 33 minutes.

T2: First into transition area and had a clean dismount leaving shoes on the bike. Quick transition and onto run course.

Run: 5km. One lap. Cloudy and overcast so the cool weather was perfect for me. Intensity was very high and settled into a rhythm that I hoped would get me close to a 20 minute finish. A couple of the turns were not clear and the course was still being set up as I was going around. Having raced the course earlier in the year I knew the course more or less but other runners said they got lost in the park. Course is varied with some off road and mostly paths in the park. Could feel I faded in the final 1-1.5km and as I could not see anyone around I slowed down a touch. Finished in around 22 minutes.

Total: 68 minutes. First place overall.

Summary: A good race and the first time I have raced a Sprint distance triathlon. It’s half the distance of an Olympic but twice the pain! A good hit out and it doesn’t take too long to recover from the race. Had a 2 hour bike ride back to Pudong after the race which burned more calories and made it a good workout day.

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Ironman Training: 9 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: Run more frequently. Race a sprint triathlon on Saturday and enjoy the Kona World Champs! Focused on keeping carbs down and eating more fuit diet this week.

Monday: Run around 80mins. Struggled to keep HR down in fat burn and even aerobic zones. Not sure why my HR was so high – perhaps the extra shots of coffee in the morning didn’t help. Also, a light breakfast and mainly a fruit diet up to the run. Keep an eye on how pre run food affects HR. When I stopped for 10 seconds, HR fell quickly.

Tuesday: Morning bike ride 90mins, small chain ring, focus on pacing in aero zone. Coldish and fresh in Expo area. RPE=3-4.  Sports drink before run.Run through park to swim. 30mins. Sun was out and it was a lovely run. RPE=2-3. Easy swim. Some sets of 400m and sprints of 50m. Around 60 mins. Had a gel after.

Wednesday:  Run for 60 mins before the bike session. Tempo run around 70mins, high intensity. Felt good. Evening bike group around 90 mins moderate to high intensity, gusts of winds. RPE=4-8.

Thursday: Short tempo run. Around 45mins with some stretching. Late afternoon through park, not as warm or sunny as previous days.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Race in Anting Shanghai Triathlon, sprint distance. First place. Race report here. Cycle back after the race, around 60km.

Sunday: Rest day.

Sessions: 7 plus race

Total time: 8.5 hours

Bike=3.5 hours, Run = 4 hours, Swim=1 hour.

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Kona World Championships 2012

The  Kona World Championships 2012 will be held this weekend in Hawaii and proves to be one of the most exciting races with the winners of the past 5 titles, Australians Macca and Crowie holding off the Europeans, Raelert and Vanhoenacker. The women’s race is equally open with defending champ, Chrissie Wellignton not competing. Swiss have Caroline Steffen (who we saw in Weihai recently), Aussie and past champion Carfrae and Brit Leanda Cave all in with a shout.

Race time is Saturday 0630 local Kona time which is 18 hours behind China (so race should start around 0030 Sunday morning and finish for the male pros about 8 hours later) and all the race is available live online. Check out these links to see more about the race and see the race unfold.

http://triathlon.competitor.com/category/kona-2012

http://universalsports.com/triathlon/

http://ironmanworldchampionship.com/

http://kona.ironman.com/

My predictions:

Women Top 3:

Mirinda Carfrae

Caroline Steffen

Leanda Cave

Men Top 3:

Chris McCormack

Craig Alexander

Pete Jacobs

Other guys I would like to see do well are Jordan Rapp and I think a dark horse could be David Dellow.
Going to be a great race,
Warwick

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Ironman Training: 10 weeks until Ironman Western Australia in Bussleton.

Theme: Finishing Core Block 1 and laying down more endurance in all training sessions. Using Heart Rate (HR) monitor in bike and run sessions to keep in low fat burn and aero / endurance zones.

Monday: Bike 30km. About 60mins. Spinning to get fatigue out of legs.

Tuesday: Morning bike sprints with Century Park group, followed by run to swim.

Bike 25km in morning. Very cold. 60mins.
Run to swim. 30mins. RPE=3
Swim 4km. 80mins. Pyramid 4x400m (07:40-07:53); 4x300m (5:40-5:35); 4x200m (03:48-03:42); 4x100m (01:51-01:42).

Wednesday: Rest day.

Thursday:Early morning group ride. Around 110km. Head over on 0530 ferry. Total session 5 hours with around one hour for waiting around ferries and arriving too early. First 20km with group intensity too high so HRwas up in zone 4 (anaerobic). Settled down especially in 35km ride back. Mostly fat burn zone for last 20km. HR average was 136bpm going out and 126bpm coming back. Felt good and no aches or pains nor very drained. Up at 0430 to cook  up egg and bagel, coffee and protein shake. One litre of water and 750ml of 4-hour sports drink (Hammer Perpetuum) plus one gel.

Friday: Rest day. Eat lots to get ready for a heavy weekend.

Saturday: Long bike ride with group. 165km in early morning. Air quality was very poor. Steady to moderately hard intensity. HR in the 120s/130s on average. Tough on muscles during the middle part but after around 100km things seemed to get easier. Could feel the long ride two days ago in the legs. Total session around 7 hours including ferries and coffee in Starbucks after 145km. Early start with breakfast at 0330 and ferry at 0430.

Sunday: Easy run around 60mins in the park, nice sunny day. RPE=3.Around 7-8km. Recovery swim 60 mins RPE=2.

Sessions:8

Total time: Around 17.5 hours

Bike=14hours, Run = 1.5hours, Swim=2hours.

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Recovery and Back into Training

Theme of week: Recover from a tough race and then get enough rest to start the first core training block (one of three) for Ironman Western Australia.

Monday: Easy jog and swim. Jog through park around 30mins, lovely sunny afternoon. and easy swim in pool in 2km mostly breaststroke. Legs very stiff – using compression gear. All trying to relax and stretch out the muscles after the hill stages yesterday.

Tuesday: Legs still very sore. Very easy bike ride just to turn the pedals. 80mins around 25km. RPE=2. Being aware of not pushing it too much. Left hamstring particularly sensitive.

Wednesday: Low intensity bike ride. 3 1/2 hours, RPE=3=4. 70-80km. Steady turning. Staying aerobic. Steady pace.

Thursday: Rest Day.

Friday:Start of Core Block Day 1: 90 mins bike, 45 km with 30 mins at 70.3 pace. HR between 126-130bpm. Run 35 mins easy pace over to swimming pool and back. Long swim session. 4km. Pyramid 4x400m (07:35-07:45); 4x300m (05:45-05:30); 4×200 (03:45-03:30); 4x100m (01:45-01:35).

Saturday: Long bike ride. Up early. Group ride 160-170km. About 5 1/2 hours. RPE=3-8. HR average =125 (for main block of 4 hours). Trying to keep HR in upper end of fat burn zone and aerobic zone.

Sunday: Another beautiful sunny autumn day. Long run in park. 1 hour 45 mins. Around 16km. Really feeling the ride from yesterday in my legs after 7km. Had small bottle with electrolyte. Probably needed a lot more to get through. Running mostly in 130s for HR (aerobic zone). Knee a bit sore after the fall off bike yesterday (not too serious).

Sessions: 8

Time in training: 17 hours.

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Race Report : Wei Hai Double Olympic Triathlon

Background: Wei Hai is a coastal city in Shandong province and this race will host the ITU Long distance world championships next year. The course is famously hilly with wind and heat a possible factor. TBB Caroline Steffen was competing in the pro field ( and looked very strong) and the Shanghai triathlon team had about 20 people competing in the three races (sprint, Olympic and double) across the weekend. We cycled one lap of the 20km bike course the day before and discovered a very challenging course – at least to those of us who only train on the flats of Shanghai! There were some lovely coastal views, winding roads and three of four very steep and long inclines. There would be plenty out of the saddle riding.

Weather: The day broke clear and promised to be hotter than the day before which was almost perfect with cloud cover and no wind. The wind stayed down the whole day but the sun did make an appearance early and stayed hot and sunny. The temperature meant that the 3km swim would be non-wet suit although some people got out of the water shivering so again I’m not sure that temperature is the only consideration when organisers decide on these things.

Preparation: Got up early after a good sleep and had an early breakfast. Tightened up the bike and was ready to go. Transition area was smooth. They would be a long run into and out of the TA from the swim and onto the run. The actual race was very well organised with 20 motorbike riders, TV cameras and photographers everywhere, good support from volunteers and well placed aid stations. There were also several ambulances on the course – and I did see some post-crash scratches on several competitors.  So the physics of the race were perfect.

Swim: 3km on a two lap course with an Australian style exit, which means after the end of lap 1, you exit the water and run over the sand to enter the water again (at the start). We started with the pros and there was some confusion at the gun and I thought we were starting a couple of minutes after the pros (asked an official). It didn’t cause too much of a delay as the first 50 metres were knee high, followed by a sand bank which you ran over then another stretch of shallow water. The water was higher than yesterday but you still had the bizarre sight of people walking out a lot further than usual. Got some clear water – thought I was way back – and settled into the swim. Took at least 10 minutes to warm up and get into a rhythm and although I didn’t pass another, nobody passed me. Did the first lap in 25 minutes and went around without much incidence for the second lap. Exited the water in 53 mins 59 secs. (2nd in age group, 10th overall)

T1: Long run up to the TA and had more to change than usual. Pulled on my white top for sun protection which is always hard to get on when body is wet. Took my time and headed out onto the bike course.  3mins 42 secs

Bike: 80km, four laps of 20km. The bike course started with a very steep incline. It was steep enough that some “riders” actually pushed their bike up it. Had set the gear correctly and grinded up to the top and onto a down section. The first section was coastal roads with a few steep ups, mostly windy roads. The first lap was horrible for me as I am not used to riding in the hills so was not using my gears correctly. I was in the high chain was was running the gears up and down but this meant I had to do more pushing with my legs and this made the cycling tougher than it should have been. Was seriously contemplating quitting after the first lap as I couldn’t see how  I could get around another 3 laps. After talking with out with my mental demons I decided to continue and decided to move up and down more frequently with the high and low chain. This meant I probably used every single gear I had on the bike and it meant that I put less pressure on my muscles and kept my cadence higher while climbing. The long inclines were still tough but with this change in gearing, I managed to get around the course without walking or doing the side to side method of climbing. I started to enjoy the course more and especially the down stretches where speeds of 70-90kmh were recorded! A complete rush – felt like a rocket ship on the descent. A very tough bike course, much more challenging than any other triathlon course I have raced on. I just hoped I had something left for the run. Bike time 3 hours 3 mins 04 secs. (3rd in age gruop, 23rd overall)

T2: Took off my gloves and got out of the shoes before the transition, so transition was quick in and out. The sun was out and it was 1300. The prospect of another possible 2 hours was going to be a mental challenge. 59 secs (third fastest of the day).

Run: 20km, 4 laps. The run course was tarmac and was an out and back along the coast which meant some views were picture perfect. There was a little shade on certain sections. There was also an incline about 2km into the lap which would prove to be a extra challenge. My target was to go under 2 hours and I felt good as I started and focused on keeping a high cadence as well as opening up and relaxing. The water stations were plentiful and it was no problem getting cold sponges and water. As usual I barely drank any water although some slugs of Gatorade on the third and fourth laps were appreciated. I was fairly covered from the sun and kept sponges on my core to keep it as cool as possible. The first two laps were the hardest. The first was completed in 25 minutes, the second in 26 minutes, the third in 28 minutes and final one in around 28 minutes.  Given the heat and fatigue I was happy with the run and managed to finish strong which was a testament to getting my nutrition right. 1 hour 45 minutes 52 secs. (3rd in age group, 17th overall)

Total time: 5 hours 47 minutes 58 seconds.

Position: Third in my age group. 17th out of 106 participants in total.

Overall impression: The race itself was very tough and very well organised. The logistics especially the transportation back to the airport was very poor and the organiser really dropped the ball there. This is a course for people looking for a challenge, preparing for an Ironman or want to improve their hill climbing.

 

More about the race here  http://www.weihaitriathlon.com/2012/AN/index-40.htm

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Race Week: Wei Hai Double Olympic Distance Triathlon

Theme: Combinations of swim, bike, run. Have a good race in Wei Hai.

Monday: Jet lag still nagging me so missed early swim. Just can’t get to sleep in the evenings. Afternoon. Beautiful blue sky and sunny day. Bike 30mins spin in high gear, 15km. RPE=3. Focus on smooth pedaling. Run-swim-run. Run through and back park. 20mins each way. RPE=4-5.Swim – impossibly crowded in the pool with slow swimmers. Managed 4x400m and 200m breaststroke before I gave up. Cramped up a bit so will need to make sure I am eating enough food during the day while keeping a more discplined diet.

Tuesday: Early morning group bike ride. High intensity. 25km. Average speed 35-40kmh. Forget my water bottle which didn’t help. Windy. Good workout. RPE=5-9. Went to park to stretch after the ride. Finally getting over the jet lag but still got to bed very late. Hope to sleep better for rest of week.

Wednesday: Afternoon run; lovely sunny day. Total around 60 minutes. 40-50 minutes tempo run with one lap of interval to test time to complete (around 8 minutes). Felt fairly dehydrated. Home to hydrate and ready for evening group ride. Bike ride, 60km – 20km warm up spinning in high gear and usual 40km group ride. Good strong ride with the added bonus of little to no head wind through the Expo area. RPE=4-7

Thursday: Fast group bike ride in early morning. Misty at 0530 did 10km warm up, then 25km with group and kept with the leading group for the full 25km. Speeds probably north of 40kmh. Good final hit out before the race on Sunday. Will spend next couple of days with very light low-impact work.

Friday: Easy bike ride to stretch out the muscles. Around 60 minutes.

Saturday: Day before race. Cycled 20 km slowly around the course lap. Very hilly.

Sunday: Race Day. See race report here.

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2 weeks until Wei Hai Long distance triathlon (double Olympic distance)

Theme: Keep exercise going while overcoming jet lag.

Monday: Easy run in park before filght. 20mins. RPE=3-4.

Tuesday: Flight back to Shanghai. No training.

Wednesday: Evening bike ride with group. 90 mins. RPE=4-8. Windy with some huge gusts. There had been 80% chance of rain but we got lucky with a dry ride. Practised rotating circle as in group drafting which required a lot of concentration (doubly so on Shanghai roads).

Thursday: With jet lag still in full effect, took the opportunity for a 0430 bike ride around the empty streets. 90 mins steady effort with out of saddle practice over bridges (Wei Hai race will be hilly) and coping with strong head winds and a slick road. No rain but autumn is on its way to Shanghai.

Friday: Another night of no sleep and early bike ride at 0500. Easy ride 45 mins 21km just turning the legs over. No food or water.

Saturday: day off

Sunday: Sunny day with some very strong wind gusts. Steady pace RPE=4-7. 40km Around 80mins. Felt rusty as sleep not great – coming to end of jet lag. Also, didn’t eat much before the ride, carried 1l of water.

Sessions: 5 sessions

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Post race week recovery

Theme: Swim. With five races in four weeks and back in London where the pools are organised and emptier than Shanghai – and no time limits – it’s a good chance for a few long swims. Especially with a 3km swim in the Long Distance Triathlon in Wei Hai in two weeks.

Monday: Rest day. Leg muscles aching after race and long drive back from Galway to London.

Tuesday: Swim. 1500m easy. 500m breaststroke, 500m pulls, 500m freestyle.

Wednesday: Swim 2km. 500m freestyle warm up, 500m pulls, 500m easy-build-easy-hard, 500m (5x100m at 49secs off 60secs).

Thursday: Swim 2.5km. 2km swim without stopping. RPE=6. 500m sprints; 49 secs off 60 secs. RPE=8-9.

Friday: Easy swim. 2km. 500m pulls. 1km ironman pace. 500m cool down (250m breaststroke, 250m freestyle/breaststroke). Run to pool and run back. Around 25mins, RPE=4.

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Long swim. 3.5km session. 500m pulls to warm up. Then 3 x 1km at steady to slow ironman pace. Time for 1km around 19mins 20 secs.

 

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Ironman Ireland at Salthill, Galway

Weather conditions: The previous day saw 25kmph winds and lashing rain for the whole day but race day brought clear calm conditions under a full moon. Remember that this is western coast IReland right on the Atlantic so calm in September still means breezy and headwinds were predicted on the bike going out (and they also came on the run).

Preparation:  I had a set back as all my breakfast food and water bottles got locked away in the kitchen cabin at the campsite I was staying so I had to improvise with some vegetable soup and a gel. It wasn’t ideal but better than an empty stomach. At the transition area, I dried off the bike as bike covers were not allowed due to the high winds. I had a couple of mechanical issues with my back wheel brake pad catching when applied, and a screw falling out of the rear bottle holder. Not major issues but a little annoying.

Swim: 1.9km. The water was as calm as could be hoped but still had a fair swell. The long stretch of around 1500m made it impossible to see the turnaround buoy so navigation was not ideal. As the 1500 competitors went off in age group waves, the start was not too hectic and I found clear water. The swim was smooth although the large waves made it difficult to swim straight. Time 39 mins 29 secs. A bit slower than I would have expected.

T1: There was a very long run to the transition area and an obstacle course to run to pick up bike gear. Then a long run out to the bike course. 5min 52 secs.

Bike: 90km out and back into the Connemara countryside. Road was rough in parts but for the most part it was a lovely ride past beautiful rivers and hills. Was going well and keeping steady with a few pacer riders ahead of me. However, ran out of water between the two feed stations. Also I only took on sports drink, water and gel and not solid food. Later this would come back to bite me as the gap of little breakfast would teach me a lesson in nutrition. I was mostly going past riders and once the turnaround was reached a tailwind picked things up. The final 20km were tough physically with back and neck strains. Time: 2hours 37 mins 37 secs. Average speed 34kmh which I was happy with.

T2: Another long transition run and onto the run course. 2 mins 47 secs

Run: First 3km went well and I went through the first feed station taking some water. However, soon after I started feeling light headed and my pace dropped and the people I had just passed started going past me. I was losing pace rapidly and felt like a switch had been flicked and all my energy was draining away. The next 3km were terrible as I slowly got to the next feed station. I realised I needed to boost up my electrolytes and hope that I wouldn’t react negatively to suddenly eating gels I had never eaten before. I took on a gel, coke, gatorade, another gel, coke and gatorade with some water. The next 3 km were a little better and my stomach felt fine so when I went through the feed station at 10km I took another gel, coke and gatorade. Suddenly I picked up, the switch had been flicked on and my cadence and energy returned. Whereas the first two laps took about 40 mins each, I did the final lap in 33 mins and finished with a strong run into the finish. Time was 1 hours 54 mins 52 secs. I reached my goal of going under 2 hours off the bike. I was also happy with the way I was able to turn around a potentially race ending obstacle.

Total time: 5 hours 20 mins 39 secs. A personal best by 27 minutes. 

Review: Happy with the outcome and an enjoyable, well organised race. While paying the high fees for WTC races is difficult to justify sometimes, this race did deliver on the experience and we got great support from the people of Galway and the 600 volunteers.

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Recovery and Travel in Ireland week

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday – Wednesday: Traveling and touring. No training.

Wednesday: Morning run in Blarney, Cork. Left camp site onto the roads, saw some rabbits. RPE=4. 45 mins.

Saturday race: Kilarney. Time 2 hours 22 mins 30 secs for Olympic distance. 6th place in male race, 7th overall.

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Race report: Two races at The Jensen Button Trust Triathlon in Luton, England.

Mini-sprint distance: 300m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run.

This race was organised by Human Events for Jenson button, F1 driver and triathlon fan. It was located in Luton just north of London and in a country estate with a deep water lake. The format was two races; one in morning and one in the afternoon. Each morning heat contained around 90-100 racers with the first 50 going into the final and the remainder going into a “wooden spoon” race. Early start but without any traffic on a Sunday morning, we arrived around 0715 and parked up in a big field next to the race. I had never raced this distance for a triathlon race so was not sure what to expect. I estimated a finish time of 35 minutes for each race.

Heat 1 – 0900

Swim: 300m swim in fresh water lake. I started wide and found some clear water. The start was frantic was a massive sprint for around 30m got me into calmer water. My legs were pumping with blood and on the second stretch I could feel my heart rate really high. This was something I expected as the distance is essentially a long sprint for 30 minutes. I came out the water towards the front in 5 minutes 36 seconds.  

Transition 1 (T1): Long run on concrete to the bike rack. Had a bit of trouble getting my wet suit off and didn’t get a clean click in with my bike shoes. 1 min 1 second.

Bike: The 9km course was on the country estate and below the tree line which would help protect from the sun. I totally mis-judged the bike course and the opening climb up from the transition area was a very long and steady incline which put a lot of pressure on the legs after the swim (and yesterday’s race) was a real struggle. Got more into a rhythm after that and noticed the road surface was very uneven with lots of cracks in the road. Add some speed bumps and you have a recipe for crashes. Amazingly as far as I know, no one crashed but it was not an ideal race level bike course. The course itself was very challenging with another long steady incline with several extremely fast down-hills including the final mad dash down the hill before the transition area. I just hoped I had enough left for the run. I felt like I had been sprinting for 20 minutes and the pace wasn’t letting up. BIke course was 17 minutes 36 seconds. 

Transition 2 (T2): The downhill was so fast that I forget to take my feet out of the shoes before reaching the dismount line. Once in the transition went smoothly with a run out the other end of the TA and on to the run. 36 seconds. 

Run: 2.5km on grass. The start of the run went well and I managed to kick out the stiffness and get into a rhythm. Sun was out and I headed for the run around tree about 1.25km out. It was tough to maintain a high cadence and there were plenty of good runners. Eased off at the end. Time 10mins 03 secs.

Total time: Total time 34 minutes 54seconds. Heat one: 8th male finisher, 4th in my age group. Qualify for the final. 

Conclusion: Enjoyed the intensity of the race and also how my swim and run went. Both were solid and was now into the final in the afternoon. 

Final – 1500

The sun was out and a managed to stay cool under the tree shade. The final was full of good athletes and I expected a top 30 finish with the hope of beating my heat one time.

Swim: 300m swim. I stayed with my stay wide strategy with a fuller field. I could see plenty of swimmer ahead of me and came out towards the top of the field.  Time 5 minutes 22 seconds. Faster than heat one.

Transition 1 (T1): Long run on concrete to the bike rack. Another weak transition as it took an age to click in again.I need to practice this a bit more. 1 minute 4 seconds

Bike: Felt the hills even more and I felt like I was treading water going around the course. The sharp downhills were exhilarating and way too fast! Amazingly came in with a slightly faster time that heat one. . BIke course was 17 minutes 30 seconds.

Transition 2 (T2): Much better transition and smoothly onto the run course for one final effort. 29 seconds.

Run: 2.5km on grass. I thought to myself that it felt like mile 24 on a marathon – at the start of the race. It was difficult to push things too much as the body was seizing up. The was out at full blast and the running was fast, certainly over 15kmh. I pushed hard in the final 1 km and finished in a faster time of 9 minutes 48 seconds.

Total time: Total time 34 minutes 15seconds.  29th place, x   in my age group.

Conclusion: Happy with the experience and enjoyed the shorter distance and increased levels of intensity. It was a fun day in a lovely setting.

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UK Triathlon: Seaford in East Sussex, South Coast of England

Olympic distance: 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run.

Race was on South Coast of England between Brighton and Eastbourne. Up at 0500 to eat some porridge with blueberries and load up the car with gear. Drove down in around 2 hours. Weather forecast predicted that today would be the hottest day of the year so far! Arrived around 0745 which was just before the rush, got the car parked and registered and set up in a large transition area. Around 200-250 participants including some Sprint and relay races. Decided to set up near the bike out exit as the transition area was all grass and would be harder to run out. Skies were very blue and clear and when the sun came out the rays were very fierce.

Swim: 1.5km swim in the sea. Water was cold but not too bad in a wetsuit. However, after the Sprint race went off 30 mins before us, they changed the course because a lot of the Sprint athletes struggled with a rip tide current. We started 15 minutes late as the lifeguards talked to the event organisers about how to swim the course. The course was shortened with the outer buoy cut out. Started well and got some clear water. Decided to swim wide as there were big waves coming in and didn’t want to get dragged in to shore. The first stretch took a fair while but I felt comfortable. Going around the buoy and heading back was amazing as it seemed to take a minute or two to reach the starting point. The current must have been very strong and when I turned around it took a long time to head back down the stretch. Again with clear water I swam steadily and reached the shore as 8th male out of the water in 23 mins 32 secs.

Transition 1 (T1): Long run up from the beach across coconut mats over stones. Tough on the feet. Another 50-100m into the transition area and change to the bike. Fairly quick change and longish run up to mounting line.

Bike: 40km along the sea. Course was a very un-stimulating out and back for 12 laps with two very sharp U-turns. Strong head wind out and a small bridge before the turn which helped get some speed back. Grinded along as heat cranked up, could see a few stronger rides but as everyone was on the same small loop it was hard to work out who was who and at which stage of their race. The hardest part was to remember which lap I was on. Stayed pretty focused and counted up to 12. Went through a full one litre of water and 750ml of electrolyte. Came into the transition area feeling good despite the very hot weather. Time 1hour 13 mins 01 sec (which includes the long transition).

Transition 2 (T2): Another quick change and out onto the run course.

Run: 10km on seaside path. 4 laps on concrete path in blazing sun. Paths were still open to public but it was still fairly well marshaled. First lap was tough as my legs were stiff from the bike. Mentally tough to get through the laps. Once I got to the third lap things got a bit smoother in my running style and I was holding a steady but not fast pace of around 12 minutes per lap. Final lap was a bit faster and pushed the final 500metres to finish strong down the chute. Time 48mins 33 secs.

Total time: 2 hours 25 mins 06 secs. 15th male finisher, 4th in my age group.

Conclusion: Very hot race conditions. Got sunburned shoulders and chafed from the swim. Overall happy as the swim was in strong current, the bike was congested and the run was very hot.

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Race Report: Waterside Challenge at Bradwell on Sea in Essex, UK

Back in the UK and entered five triathlon races!

This one was based in rural Essex a lovely part of the world and on the coast. The day started cold and dark as we set out on the 2 hour drive from London at 0400. Race started at 0710 and it was cool enough with wind gusts and some heat on the run. The race organiser was Dengie Events and Jamie and his team put on a well run, organised and relaxing race. There were three distances for this race and given that I had just arrived back from China the evening before off a 12 hour flight, I opted for the shorter event which was a little shorter than an Olympic distance. 800m swim, 43km bike and 10km run. 35 people entered this distance.  Had a light breakfast of instant porridge with blueberries and drank some water as I felt dehydrated from the flight. Took a protein shake one hour before and a gel 30 mins before the swim start.

Swim: 800m in the sea inlet. Seemed like there was a tide on the back stretch of the loop. Very salty. I took an inside line and found clear water early and had a steady swim. The sun was in my eyes coming back which made it more challenging to find the slipway to get out but given that I have not done any swimming at all it was a comfortable swim. Time for swim: 18:48 which put me in the top end of the group.

Transition 1 (T1): Long run up the slipway from the water and along a grass bank, through some gravel and into the transition area. I was a bit slow to get my socks on but got out without too much bother in 1min 09 secs.

Bike: The bike course was a technical course with lots of bends, undulating hills and three out-of-the-seat climbs. Plus as the race was on public roads which were not closed, there were three compulsory “stop-go” at junctions. You had to stop and put one foot down before crossing the junction. In the first 5-10km I went passed about 4-5 riders and caught up with the women’s second place rider, we went back and forward for a while before I pulled ahead. The course went through villages and along farms and through one narrow tree-lined road which meant it was very enjoyable ride. The main challenge was the wind which was strong and gusty. I went through 1litre of water and 750ml of Hammer electrolyte. As in previous 40km bike rides, I found it difficult to take the electrolyte drink. I think this is because of the high heart rate I run at this distance which makes it difficult for my stomach to digest. Came home in 1 hour 14 mins 54 secs which was the fastest bike split of the day. Average speed 34kmh which on a technical hilly course and the wind I was happy with.

Transition 2 (T2): Came in to transition area with the race leader – the women rider who had a really strong swim. Quick change in to my shoes and hat and I was off in 27 secs. It’s the first time I have lead a race into T2 so I was happy and surprised. I wasn’t sure how I would hold up in the run due to the lack of sleep, long flight and heavy bike training I have done recently. My 27 second transition was the quickest of the day.

Run: The sun was coming up although the heat was not too bad. The course was a one lap which started on tarmac for around 3-4km and then went off road onto a grass trail down by the sea. The seawall trail was very narrow and over grown with grass, thistles and flowers and I found that it really slowed down my run. I was leading the race for the first 3km until I got caught up by the runners. After about 5km I was down to a jog and when I felt a twinge in my right groin I decided just to get home healthy. In the end I came 6th in the men’s race, 7th overall and 2nd in my age group. The run was tough and I came home in 53 mins 04 secs. Very tough on the run but the race was very enjoyable and a great way to start my trip back to UK.

Total time: 2 hours 28 mins 24 secs.

Full results page here.

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3 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of week: Continue day 8-14 of diet focus. More salad, fruit, water and Eat for Blood Type food.

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: Steady bike session focusing on aerobic HR zone. Average 127 bpm over 40km. Around 80mins. Very blustery winds although the clouds came over and it cooled which was good. 750ml bottle of water.

Wednesday: Huge tropical storm blows through for 24 hours, winds up to 90kmph. Rest day.

Thursday: Easy run in park in morning RPE=1, around 20-30min. Seeing all the carnage from the storm. Workers were righting trees. Very efficient. Afternoon bike road in low gear, 40km, 90mins. Very strong southerly wind gusts up to 30kmph, bordering on the dangerous when then blew. Very humid and cloudy. Two bottles one water one Hammer electrolyte. Evening group bike ride Expo run RPE=4-8, 38km, windy in stretches southerly gusts. Good expo stretch at pace.

Friday: Bike – Early morning sprint laps around the park, 35km, very humid, group of 9 stayed with top 4. Walk in the park afterwards. Evening bike ride easy pace 33km, RPE=3-5.

Saturday: Fly back to the UK. Day off aside from a very short stretch on the bike early in the morning. 

Sunday: Race at Waterside in Essex. Olympic distance. See race report.

Total sessions: 6 sessions plus a race

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4 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of week: Focus on diet eating more fruit, salad and water. Cutting out wheat and processed food. Drew up a 14 day diet focus.

Monday: Bike easy session to try and take heaviness out of legs from Saturday’s long ride. 30km in small chain.  Afternoon run in park, amazingly blue skies and white clouds, burning sun. 11km at easy pace 75mins. Took hand bottle. RPE=3.

Tuesday: Bike in morning around 0900 very humid, 30km, mixed gears, legs still feel heavy, took it easy RPE=3-4. Afternoon run around 1600, 6km, RPE=3-4, 40+mins.

Wednesday: Evening group bike. Total around 75km. 35km solo ride at low HR in zone 1, used HR monitor average 98bpm. Group ride 38 km with usual sprints. Strong head wind due to typhoon in region. Overall session average HR = 112bpm in zone 1. Need a few more longer bike sessions in zone 1 at longer distances like this.

Thursday: Typhoon on the way. Rest day.

Friday: Afternoon run. Felt dehydated and sapped of energy as humidity really ramped up during run. Never rained but went from blue skies to about 99%. 77 mins. 11km approx. RPE=2-5. Felt tired in the muscles and took a couple of walking breaks. Accumulation of the last week on the legs or not enough water during the day?

Saturday: Long bike ride with FHL. 120km. RPE=3-6. Average HR=120. In 130-140 zone (aerobic zone) while riding. Not as hot as last week, some headwinds. Back by 1100. Tested out new elctrollyte drink Hammer Perpetum.

Sunday:Easy group ride with Pudong SISU to ocean wall. Around 60km, RPE=3-5. Hot day blue skies, not too much wind. Caught a fast tailwind in final 5km. Finished with breakfast in Jinqiao.

Total sessions: 8 sessions

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Some Pictures from Qinghai Province Tour – Top of the World

See more photos at my Flickr Photostream.

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5 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of week: Bike and bike in Qinghai province in West China. High altitude 2000m-4000m.

Monday: Bike 80km around Qinghai lake.

Tuesday: Bike 70km in the mountains with steep climbs and 58km flat time trial style slightly downhill to Zhangye in Gansu province. RPE=5-7.

Wednesday: 45km low heart rate training in mountains some steep inclines.

Thursday: 10km out to fields outside village of MenYuan. Afternoon 2 hour hike up to snow capped mountains around 5000m altitude. Afternoon bike 30km mostly down towards Xining.

Friday: No training. Travel back to Shanghai.

Saturday: Group bike ride with FHL from Marriott. 120km total. Back home around 1100. RPE=5-7.

Sunday: Rest day.

Total sessions: 8 sessions

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6 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of week: After easy week last week, put a few longer sessions together.

Monday: Early bike ride small group. 50km. RPE=4-8.

Tuesday: Early bike ride with FHL around the park. 30km. RPE=4-8. Started pouring rain and had to be careful of slick patches. Passed off without a hitch. Afternoon run, stepped out and started raining again, did around 6km very slow. RPE=3. 45mins.

Wednesday: Afternoon run around 40 mins. Very humid. RPE=4. Evening bike group ride with SISU. Good long sprints in peloton style riding. RPE=5-8. Lots of bike riders through the expo. Got a real sweat going.

Thursday: Travel to Xian, no training although a lot of walking around Xian!

Friday: Xining in West China. 15km bike ride around town and out to suburbs on folder. RPE=3.

Saturday: Bike 10km in the morning.

Sunday: Bike 50km.

Total sessions: 7 sessions

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7 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of week: Recovering from race (sunburn and sweat rashes), balancing heavier work load this week and fitting in a long run.

Monday: Rest day – take the full rest. Been putting body under a lot of strain the last few weeks and need a day to recover. Calves sore, sunburn on shoulders and some sweat rash / friction burns from race.

Tuesday: Easy bike ride, 20km at midday.

Wednesday: Morning easy bike ride, 25km, RPE=3-4. Afternoon easy run around 11km, RPE=4. Caught in rain showers. Rain in evening so no group ride.

Thursday: Morning bike, 25km, RPE=3-4, very humid and hot.

Friday: Evening very easy bike around Di Shui Lake after the workshop with participants. Cool, not too humid.

Saturday: Morning bike ride around Di Shui Lake before the workshop around 25km. RPE=3.

Sunday: Easy run through park to breakfast and back again.

Total sessions: 5 sessions with another 2 very easy sessions.

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Race Report: Sanfo Triathlon on Chongming Island.

Build up: Travelling back from Qingdao and flight got delayed so I only got home around 2300 and had a 0600 start! Got some porridge and coffee. Gear was all ready to go as I had prepared before leaving to Qingdao. Taxi to Xujiahui where we met the bus. Two hours to Chongming Island. The race was inside a wetlands. Around 80-100 participants.

Weather: At this time of year you expect a scorcher and the organisers didn’t help by putting the start time at 1145. Luckily it was overcast and stayed that way for most of the race. I still did get sunburned shoulders so really have to watch out for the sun in the next few weeks.  Unluckily, there had been torrential rain the day before and all the transition area was swamped and waterlogged. I would have hoped the organisers / sponsors – who are an outdoor company would have put down some sheets as it make things fairly unpleasant.

Swim: 1km. One loop in a lake. Very shallow and everyone had to wear life savers! Had an okay swim, had free space but could not close on the front group and swam the whole loop on my own. Sighting was good and finished in 22 mins 55 secs which includes T1. Slower than I would have expected. The race winner mentioned that the swim was long and that’s possible although to be honest I was feeling a little zapped.

Transition 1: Up to the bike I was experimenting with no gloves or socks. The gloves worked out as the course was short but at the end of the day my feet were cut up and I probably won’t try this again even in shorter races. Soggy tramp through T1 and then had to scan the timing chip that volunteer was holding at end of T1. Different.

Bike: 20km. Lovely swerving course around the lake, 7km loops. 3 laps. Put my head down and pushed it as hard as I could. The course was well marked and banked by trees. It was a really nice experience. Had two bottles of sports drink and again found it difficult to digest anything at this type of intensity. No one went past me on the bike and finished in 34mins 10secs which included T2.

Transition 2: Took a bit longer to hook the bike on the individual bike stands. Legs were a big heavy as cramping first started when coming out of swim.

Run: 10km – actual course at least 11.5km. Given the distances this race was set up to help the runners. The run was the full Olympic distance, the bike distance a Sprint and the swim half way between a Sprint and Olympic distance. The course was a lovely run through the country side and I settled down enough to enjoy the surroundings. That said, things were tough and I was feeling that my run was not as fast as recent races. The sun came out but I didn’t feel too hot as most of the course was under the tree line. I was wearing both arm and leg sun protectors and when they get wet they cool me down. I felt the course markings were out as when I saw the 5km sign it felt like at least 6-7km. This was backed up later by other competitors with GPS. The course was at 11.5km-12km which was really tough. I faded in the last 1-2km and got past by 3-4 competitors. Finished in 60 mins 58secs. Happy to get it over. Good training day.

Total time: 1 hour 58 mins 03 secs. Slower than expected but given the build up and longer run course, happy enough to finish in the top 10.

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8 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of the week: Surviving the heat while continuing to string training sessions together.

Monday: Blazing heat. Did 30km in early afternoon with 750ml of sports drink. RPE=4-5. Good workout in the heat. Sweating profusely during the cool down after the ride. Approx 61mins. Evening swim easy around 1.5km, RPE=2-3.

Tuesday: Easy bike ride over to Specialized bike store for tune up. Picked up some extra sun protectors for arms as we are going into some fierce summer weather. 10-15km RPE=1-2. Afternoon swim. 1.5km with around 500m RPE=6-7.

Wednesday: Bike 20km. RPE=5-7, quick morning ride. Very hot 40mins.

Thursday: Qingdao. Raining in Qingdao all day. Walked to beach in afternoon. 

Friday: Morning run down and along the beach. Around 35mins. RPE=3. Fairly fresh.

Saturday: Race on Chongming island. Race report to follow.

Sunday: Long rude with Bruce around Expo area. 3 hours. 60-70km. Fairly sapped by the end. Overcast but went through a lot of fluid. Evening functional training. 4 rounds.  Sweated profuesely!

Total sessions: 9 sessions including a race.

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9 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of the week: Get some consistent training into the legs during increasingly hot and humid weather. Get hydration right. Complete a couple of longer sessions.

Monday: Easy ride in early morning, 20 km in low gear. RPE=3-5.

Tuesday: Morning group ride rained off. Poured down the whole day. As predicted, muscles feeling sore after bootcamp training last Sunday. Raining continued in night.

Wednesday: Run in morning, very easy pace RPE=3, around 6km. Raining in afternoon / evening.

Thursday: Easy bike ride, 25km high cadence. RPE=3-4. Humid. Afternoon tempo run around 40 mins, 6km-ish, RPE=5-6. Very humid. Felt like I need to run more often.

Friday: Blazing heat is back. Bike high cadence in afternoon heat. Bottle with electrolytes. 30km. RPE=3. Late afternoon run in park, cooler. 69mins 11km+ RPE=4-5. Felt tired around the second lap so happy that laps were fairly consistent. Took electrolytes between sessions and protein shake with honey.

Saturday: Midday bike ride, extremely hot. 40km in high cadence. HR = 116 average, maximum 133. Target HR=120. 90 mins.

Sunday: Functional training workout with Coinsports Bootcamp. Core strength training.

Total sessions: 8 sessions

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Functional Training:Core strength training

My friend Richard has started a weekly workout class around functional training. (功能性训练)。 This strength training focuses on building up strength in your core abdominal muscles through functional exercises like battle ropes (see picture below). Each station is 40 seconds of intense exercise, a total of 10 ten stations, with 15 seconds of rest in between. The total workout is four rounds. It’s an amazingly intense workout and it took me four days to recover from my first workout. I plan to build this into my weekly workouts as core training has been noticeably absent from my exercise routine.And if you have never tried battle ropes, give it a try. I personally think it’s the hardest single exercise I have tried!!

Battle Ropes

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10 weeks until Galway 70.3 Half Ironman

Theme of the week: With workshop delivery and international travel, the theme is all about keeping the exercise session going and not eating too much in the hotel buffets!

Monday: Cross Trainer for 20 minutes, burned 225kcal.

Tuesday:Cross trainer for 80 mins burned 800kcal and run for 20 mins 250kcal. RPE=5-7.

Wednesday:Cross trainer for 20mins, 260kcal. Then, 26mins run, burn 260kcal. Back to cross trainer for 21 mins, burned 260kcal. Cool down in outdoor pool.

Thursday:Early morning bike on East Coast loop. RPE=3-5. 20km

Friday: Overnight flight to Shanghai. Walk in park. Rest day. 

Saturday: Pouring rain all day in Shanghai. Entered a triathlon in a couple of weeks – 1km swim, 20km bike and 10 km run. Rest day.

Sunday: Morning very easy ride around park in low gear. 20km. RPE=3-4. Very easy run RPE=2-3 around 60minsin park with R.

Total sessions: 6 sessions – good especially with travel.

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12 Week Plan for Galway 70.3

Theme of the week: Getting back into longer training sessions. Continue with some higher intensity and shorter sessions. Keep training going through domestic and international travel.

Monday: Easy swim around 40mins, 1.5km. Felt very sluggish and slow. The week off training and junk food could be felt. Ran back from pool through the park, very humid about to rain. 25mins. Steady pace, RPE=4. Carrying heavy backpack.

Tuesday: Run in 25 mins at the hotel. RPE=3 around 3.5km. Then swim in 25m pool, easy 500m cool down. RPE=2.

Wednesday: Bike in the morning for 20 mins. RPE=4. Then run for 20 mins. Fly back to Shanghai. Group ride in evening. 35km good pace into wind, RPE=5-8.

Thursday: Overnight flight to Singapore. Morning ride 20km loop on East Coast. RPE=3-5. Swim in late afternoon around 2km in very hot weather in outdoor pool. Evening run with Mark J along East Coast Pathway around 15km RPE=5-7.

Friday: Early morning ride along East Coast around 20km. RPE=3-4.

Saturday: Early morning ride, Changi loop around 40km. Fairly hot by end. RPE=4-6.

Sunday:Early morning ride around 50-60km.

Total sessions: 13 sessions – good especially with travel.

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Rest Week

Decided to take a real easy week to give body time to recovery and digest the three races I have done recently. Happy with results of 2hours 22min, and two at 2hrs 19mins which are around 30 mins faster than last year and represent a real step improvement. However with more travel coming up I will taper off Olympic distance races and start thinking about longer, less intense training to build up to the Ironman Western Australia in December.

Monday: Very gentle jog around the park.

Tuesday: Rest. No training.

Wednesday: Rained in the afternoon, so no ride this evening.

Friday: Morning walk in the park. Enjoying the week off. But to be honest while it’s important to give the body a rest I am itching to go and exercise. Peggine a 70.3 in Galway on 2 Sept 2012 as a target race – going to see if I can get the bros involved in a road trip over to the birth place of Grandad!

Saturady: 4am bike ride. 100km with small group. Solid ride. Lots of stops and a noodle breakfast. Some head winds. RPE=4-7.

Sunday: Long run. 16km. Steady run. RPE=5. Very humid and warm. Lots of sweating. There was a global walk day in the park so cut the run short.

Sessions: 2 main sessions with a 2 couple of light sessions.

Next race plan: 2 Sept 2012 in Galway. 70.3 – Half Ironman.

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Anting Olympic Distance Race in Shanghai

Third race in four weeks. Up at 5am, Porridge, vitamins and supplements. Two fried eggs with soy sauce.

Anting Auto City. First race organised in Shanghai by Bruce and Nicole and the STC crew. It was a great day with very smooth organisation and most people enjoyed the experience. Coaches were put on from Puxi and Pudong and there was enough water and refreshments after the race. Good day. Weather started hot and then cloud cover came which helped cool things down.

Swim: Two laps. Felt slow. Had a clear swim the whole way which was good. The fast swimmers in my wave disappeared immediately but I was not that far behind according to the time of of the water. Water was cleaner than expected. 24 mins 02 secs.

Slow transition as I couldn’t get my gloves on as quick as I liked. Have to think about how to manage that better next time.

Bike: Four laps. Steady around 66 mins. Felt really tired on the bike and towards the end my hamstrings were stiffening up all the way to my hip. I put this down to over-training in the week leading up and have decided to have a total rest week after this race. Had issues with the derailleur again before the race and managed to adjust it so that the chain ran smoothly but I should have made the time to get the bike in for a professional adjustment. Was biking alone for most of the race and was a little disappointed to see third riders more or less riding together who passed me on the fourth lap. Found it very difficult to digest the sports drink and will have to eat less porridge in the morning as it kept trying to come up. Got through a gel and a half and water. Spoke with Chris after the race and he advocated just using water. Maybe I will have to re-think nutrition for my next Olympic distance race. Time: 66 mins 53sec.

Run: Nice run course with some off-road and across grass. Two loops. Started to get hot and there were two water stations on the run which in the end was enough. I picked up my hand-held water bottle which I used up and was probably the right choice given the heat. There were only people finishing the sprint course ahead of me and I ran past most of them steadily. One part of the run course was not clearly marked but I didn’t do too much of a de-tour. Picked up the pace for the final 500m and finished in 45 mins 22 secs. Happy with the run as this was the third run of 45 mins in three races where previously I was struggling to crack 60mins.

Total around 2 hr 19mins 24 secs ( a personal best by 5 secs!)

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6 days countdown until Anting, Shanghai race

Monday: Long swim in morning. 2km around 40 mins. Steady pace as haven’t swam for over a week. Run 30mins from pool through park back home, RPE=3. Approx. 4km with backpack. Extra run session in the afternoon! Was a beautiful sunny afternoon and needed a break. Lovely slow run around the park 6-7km, 45mins. RPE=3-4. Really enjoyable.

Tuesday: Bike sprints in morning. 35km in under 60 mins. RPE=3-9. Kept up much better with the group, lasting 4 laps this week. Swim 2.25km, 2x1km off 20mins coming in around 19mins. Finished with 5x50m sprints on 45 seconds.RPE=4-7. Run back from pool, around 25 mins, 3-4km. Beautiful sunny day. RPE=4.

Wednesday: Very heavy rain all day. Cleared up for evening ride. Usual 25-30km ride around Expo – long stretches, very windy through Expo area. Good work out. Lungs / throat feeling bad from pollution.

Thursday: Afternoon run in park, cloudy and warm. RPE=4-5. Around 11-12km, 68mins.

Friday: Relaxing swim in evening. Lots of people. 500m warm up then 50m sets of steady sprints around RPE=5-6. Total around 50mins. 1.5km.

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Race day. Olypmic distance race in Anting.

Sessions: 9 sessions (not including race)

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Recovery and build after race week

Diet not great this week. A few splurges and more wheat than ususal giving that bloated feeling.

Monday: Very easy run in the morning. Aroundf 6km. Stopped off for coffee and pastries. Lovely sunny day. RPE=3.

Tuesday: Early morning sprints with FHL club. Large group of around 30 riders. Made mistake of starting at the front and got blown away after 1 lap. Did total of around 30km finished with chat with Alan. Good workout to start the day. Very fresh air. RPE =4-9.

Wednesday: Evening bike ride with group. Good pace. Turning a low gear to build strength. RPE=4-7.

Thursday: Rest day. Legs felt really heavy and very tired in the morning.

Friday: Still felt exhausted waking up. Went for 60 mins 30km bike ride, very windy. Steady ride. RPE=4=5.  Run in park, around 80mins, 11.5km, RPE=5. Had a couple of protein shakes and felt better after the run.

Saturday: First group ride with FHL riding from German Center in Pudong. Large group of around 20-30 riders. Steady pace out to sea with a faster pace around aiport stretch. Got dropped for last 5km before the turaround point. Coming up some very fast stretches around 45kmh+, very good pace. I was mostly on the aerobars and on my lowest gear but stayed with the first 6 riders. Back around 1000. RPE=4-9. Around 80km. Good experience and worth making this my main Saturday ride.

Sunday: Long slow run, RPE=3-4, 2 hours, around 16km. Nice sunny day. Felt really sluggish, probably from eating too much junk food yesterday.

Total: 7 sessions

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Race report: Gansu Triathlon 20 May 2012

Two weeks after a 20 minute personal best time in Fuzhou and with one weekend missed training due to a conference speaking engagement, I was not in the tip top shape I hoped but reckoned that the base training and a good mid-week bike sprint would put me in reasonable shape. I was not sure about my run as I had not done any fast runs before the race.

Altitude: Almost 1700m in the desert

Climate: Extremely dry, your lips crack up immediately after touching down in JiayuGuan Airport.

Temperature: Mid 20s with the sun very harsh when it came out.

On the day:

Luckily the weather stayed cool and cloudy with only a few strong wind gushes on the run. In fact, my hands were cold on the run. So conditions were perfect for me.

Took a light breakfast around 6am, two boiled eggs with 2 buns and two bowls of congee like soup. No coffee. Then one hour before, took a protein shake. 30mins before took two caffeine pills and a gel. Sipped some water.

Swim

Myself and Chris had done a practice swim the day before and although the water was predicted to be very cold, it was bearable. I swam in a single swimming hat and didn’t feel cold. The water took a bit of getting used in as the thinner oxygen made it more difficult to breathe. It was a wet-suit swim with the water temperature around 16C. This is good for me as I am comfortable swimming in a wet-suit and the extra 10% speed you get.

The field was smaller in this race perhaps around 50 or 60, Start along a pontoon with a clockwise 750m loop. I started well and importantly got into calm water where I could swim by myself. I saw Zennon and Dan Qi sprint off into the distance and tried to settle into a rhythm. It took around 300m to get calm and smooth. I then found two swimmers just ahead and for a rare occasion, I could more or less stay with them as a guide and sometimes draft. We finished the first loop together, got out of the water, sprinted across the pontoon and dived in for the second lap which felt good. We passed a few of the slower swimmers and came through almost together out of the water for the 50m run to Transition 1.

Time: 26 mins 4 secs

T1: Swim to Bike

I saw Zennon in T1 but as I was stripping off the wet suit and getting my socks on lost track of when he left. Smooth transition although it seemed to take a long time. Time: 1 min 55secs

Bike

40 km course arranged around 6 laps on a flat windy course with a few technical turns. Only one sharp U turn. One slight incline which become more noticeablely harder after the 3rd lap.

I was hoping my bike would hold together. My back shifter was loose and was not sure how to put it in place. Eventually borrowed some tape from Kellit and taped it more securely to the aero bars, and it held well during the race. Also, the day before I was having trouble with my shifting and had to adjust the front derailleur. Not being a mechanic or having a clue about such things made it more difficult. I got on Google and checked out a page to get a few tips and then trial-and-errored my way to aligned the front derailleur until the the chain went smoothly and could shift. In the race, the gears held up.

I enjoyed the bike and only Chris passed me on the fourth lap. I held a good pace and took the corners at pace and smoothly. With my watch I was able to check my times through each lap, so avoiding the mis-counting stress in Fuzhou. I wanted to average 11 mins per lap and was under that the whole time.  Nutrition worked out well. Went through one bottle of water, one bottle of sports drink with two tabs of electrolytes (with caffeine). Took two gels on the bike on the start of the second and on the fifth lap. Ate them slowly instead of the usual one gulp. Didn’t have any of the digestion issues from Fuzhou.

As the course had lots of bends it was hard to see who was ahead. I finished strong and came into transition in 64 minutes 42 secs. Average speed approx. 37kmh. Chris did an average of 41kmh completing the bike course in around 58 mins., Smoking!

T2: Bike to Run

Was surprised to see Zennon in T2 as I had not seen him ahead of me at any time on the bike. Had a fairly quick change, although I dropped my gel as I was going out. Actually I glad I did as I couldn’t stomach much on the run. We came out with two other Chinese athletes who quickly powered ahead. Time in transition 1min 20 secs.

Run

I wanted to start strong and get into a rhythm. The sun threatened to come out but instead we were treated to strong wind gushes on parts of the course. I was glad that I could race in my white Craft compression top and RocketScience shorts without having to change – the benefit of the wet suit – as it prevent chafing on the swim and sun burn on the bike and run. I overtook Zennon in the first hundred meters and steadily moved away during the run. I got into a fairly good pace and was happy that there were enough water stations to sponge cold water on my hat and neck. I tried to drink water in the first couple of stations but got sharp stomach pains. So after that either took a small mouthful or just spat it out. Wonder if the water was real bottled water or tap water.  First lap was completed in 22-23 minutes and on the second lap started to pass runners on their first lap. One strong runner overtook me and set a good pace but did not pull away. I used him as a pacer and eventually caught him as I was going into the finishing chute. Sprinted the last couple hundred meters.

Time: 45 mins 28 secs

Overall time: 2 hours 19 mins 29 secs – a personal best by around 3 minutes. came in fifth overall. Position in age group second.

I was very happy with this race again as I put in a good effort and was competitive in all three disciplines. The weather was very dry and I felt bronchial after the race and had to take a couple of hits on the inhaler. It may have been from the exertion or from the altitude.

Enjoyed travelling with the Shanghai team and there was good spirit and camaraderie. Also we got to meet some of the professionals and learn from them. Next race is in Anting, Shanghai. It will be nice to do a home race.

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Two weeks until Gansu Triathon Race

Looking forward to the race in the middle of a desert at altitude. The water will be cold – currently 14C! and it’s at altitude. The heat has kicked in here in Shanghai so I need to make sure I can sustain performance in the heat. Body probably needed the rest days. Need a few intense sessions over the next 4-5 days to tune up for the race.

Monday: Rest day. Realised I trained for 15 days straight! No wonder my shoulder is hurting…

Tuesday: Rain washed out the early morning fast session with bike club. Afternoon run in park, 11km, drizzle. Shoulder sore but at fairly slow pace wasn’t a major issue. RPE=4.

Wednesday: After applying a heat patch to my shoulder it seems to be healing up. Skipped a run session this morning as I feel my body needs more rest. Went for very slow 5km run around dusk, RPE=2. Bike ride in the evening. Hard ride RPE=7, around 30km+. Good run out, some head wind in the expo area.

Thursday: Easy run around 11km, sunny day in the park, 75 mins. RPE=2.

Friday: Tempo bike ride, 30km around park, RPE=5=6. Very windy in stretches. Beautiful day, warm enough for shorts. Not much traffic.

Saturday: Confernce in Hangzhou. Late night, early start and late night. No time for training.

Sunday: Took another rest day as I didn’t fancy running in the acidy rain and hotel gym didn’t open until 1000.

Total: 5 sessions

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Recovery and rebuild week after race

Monday: Day after race. Got out on bike for 20km felt pretty drained so took it real easy. Cool weather. Very windy on stretches.

Tuesday: Long swim, 3km, steady pace. Feeling stronger than a month ago. RPE=3-4.

Wednesday: Steady run, around 11km RPE=3-4. Calves still stiff/sore. Applied some cold cream and wore compression socks. Beautiful day in the park, very lush and fertile.

Thursday: Steady bike ride, RPE=4, sunny day, 30km around park.

Friday: Very light run in morning, around 30 mins, RPE=1-2. Late afternoon run through park to go swimming. 2km circuit broken up as 500m warm up then 5x200m off 4mins, 3m 55sec down to 3m 40sec. Found that I am swimming around 3m 30 for 200m so might need to adjust the starting time next session. Finished with 500m, 50m breaststroke and 50m RPE=6-7 around 45sec freestyle.

Saturday: Easy swim, around 1km, focusing on stroke count. Around 56 strokes per 50m at 45-55secs.

Sunday: Long bike ride, around 110km, went across on ferry to Puxi ride around 80km with gruop of 8 riders. Nice Hot chocolate in Starbucks and then back across the river. Felt good. Solid week back after race.

Total: 8 sessions

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Race Week for Olympic distance race in Fuzhou

Monday: Easy run, around 50 mins, RPE=1-2. Beautiful sunny morning looked like first hot day of the year.

Tuesday: Long swim in the morning, 0700 in the pool. 3km, steady swims 3 x 1km with about 20 seconds rest in between. Felt strong and consistent for the full 3km.

Wednesday: Easy swim. Evening bike ride around Expo area. Four or Five strong riders, speeds up to 40kmh. Good hit out. RPE=5-7.

Thursday: Run in park around lunchtime. Lovely day very sunny. RPE=5/6. 11km. 1hr+

Friday: Travel day to Fuzhou. No training.

Saturday: Cycled down to watch the pro race, and over to register. No other training. Ate early and slept early. Drank plenty of water and got race gear ready.

Sunday: Race day – cool conditions, drizzled from time to time. 2 laps swim, 6 laps bike, 4 laps on the run. All flat. Result: 2 hours 22 mins 50 secs – a personal best in each of the three disciplines! Swam well through the two laps, we went off 2 minutes after a previous group so had to swim through the slower swimmers but not too difficult as there weren’t that many people. I didn’t race with a watch and a HR monitor so had no idea what time I did but felt good. Got into a rhythm and didn’t go off course too much with regular sighting.

Bike

Transition was a 50 metre run and took a bit longer to put on socks for the ride and run. Didn’t put on the top as it wasn’t sunny – although later I would find that my shoulders got a little sunburned. Got out on the course and kept a good pace on first lap. Realised I couldn’t stomach much as every time I drank some sports drink my stomach cramped a little. Stuck with the water. Field was fairly spread out although later in the race the usual drafters would come out. About what you expect, I kicked a few people off my wheel. Started raining on the first lap which made the 180 turn interesting. Apparently a few people crashed. Took a gel on the third lap as that was all I could take down. Was going well until on the fourth lap after I shook someone off my wheel, I lost my concentration and lost count of the laps! Without a watch I was not sure whether I was on the fourth of fifth lap. Took a while before I asked a friend from the Dalian club for the time that I could work out that I was on the fifth. Finished fairly strong and came into the transition ready for the run. I went through full bottle of water and most of the 750ml sports drink.

Run

It was cool with slight rain on the run. Perfect. It makes such a big difference the temperature being low twenties compared to the usual mid thirties. Learning from the time trial the week before, I wanted to go out strong on the first lap and then get into the rhythm. The course was a four lap out and back to GuShan bridge so an interesting feature was that you ran past your competitors several times each lap. I saw Eric on the first lap and he looked totally fresh and I thought for sure he would catch me. Noticed the leading Chinese racer Dan Qing who was about a lap and half ahead, so I realised then that I had probably done the right number of laps on the bike.  Felt good over the first half and as more racers came on the run course I could see all the Shanghai Triathlon Club members on the course and the fast runners like Bruce went past me albeit a lap back. I got into  steady pace and kept pushing on the third. Started to flag a bit on the start of the final lap although my club members weren’t making significant ground. Pushed a lot harder from about 1km out and finished strong. There was no clock at the finish so I didn’t know my time. Found out it was a personal best 2 hour 22 mins 50 seconds with a breakdown of 27 minute swim, 67 mins on the bike and a 45 minute run. Fifth in my age group.

Total sessions:4 plus the race

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