Cycling

The Long Course Weekend

Every July since 2010 Pembrokeshire plays host annually to one of the most difficult multi-sport events – the Long Course Weekend. This unique event lasts three days and has grown from humble beginnings to now accommodate some of the best triathlon talent in the UK and the world, including a number of athletes utilising it as the perfect preparation and build up to the Ironman Wales event in September.

Beth did the event last year when I was away training in Switzerland and thoroughly enjoyed it so this year we both signed up for the full Long Course Weekend event; it was great preparation for Beth’s Ultraman event later this year and in my case I still love to participate in the sport I coach. There are a number of options for each discipline but to qualify for the Long Course and that elusive fourth medal you clearly have to do the full distance in each event. The weekend kicks-off on the Friday evening with The Wales Swim. There are two options a 1.2 mile and a 2.4 mile swim and it takes place on Tenby’s North Beach. The Long Course athletes have to complete 2.4 mile swim. Having not swum at all for a month due to a rotator cuff injury this was never going to be pretty for me and so it turned out with me exiting in 117th place. The course is a two-lap swim, for the full distance, with a so called “Aussie exit” (although I’m led to believe that Australians have no idea what an Aussie Exit is, nor why we call it that) and goes in a clockwise direction. The first buoy was reportedly 800m away but it seemed to take forever to reach it. There was a minor swell running and it was a little lumpy, there were reports of jellyfish last year but I only saw one however it genuinely was the biggest one I have ever seen! Straight up this event felt different to an Ironman branded event, with very little of the testosterone fuelled hype at the start and a much friendlier atmosphere. So straight away I liked it. We had stayed in a B&B in Tenby so you could just walk down to the start in your wetsuit if you wanted although we chose to just change on the beach and use the bag drop which was all very efficient. It was also quite nice to just do the swim and go back to the B&B rather than the thought of getting straight onto the bike.

On Saturday the attention turns to The Wales Sportive, and 112 miles of “undulating” Welsh countryside lined in parts with enthusiastic crowds. There is also a 44 mile and a 66 mile route option. This ride is extremely tough and some of the “undulations” are full blown hills. The weather was dark, rainy and in parts foggy. The rain did not ease up for the entire event and I did not take the rain jacket off. They start you in small groups and I started near the back and was constantly passed at the start by the likes of Lucy Gossage who was safely tucked in behind a peloton of riders from Cambridge. I wasn’t able to stay on the back of the group, to be fair I couldn’t even get on the back of the group! It is not a ‘race’ as such it is sportive so is fully draft legal. For me I spent the majority of the ride on my own and it wasn’t until near the end that I started catching riders. I rode my road bike as opposed to my Tri bike and at the time this seemed to be a mistake as there are certainly large parts where you can get nice and aero on the tri bars (perhaps a bit of grass is greener) although I was happy to be on the road bike for the decents as in the rain and fog with steaming up glasses there were a little sketchy, quite a few people came off. The ride is tough and my ride was fairly miserable going about 90 minutes slower than I did at my last Ironman. Got it done though and saved some time by not using the sportive style food stations and carrying my own food; I finished in 98th place.

To finish the weekend, the athletes have the small task of completing the 26.2 miles of The Wales Marathon, which is quickly establishing itself as a fantastic event in its own right. There are 5k, 10k and Half Marathon options with the latter two starting after the marathon. The Half for example starts 2 hours after the marathon start so if you are quick enough you will be cheered on by those runners waiting to start the half. In my case the fastest runners in the half and the 10k started to pass me around my 20 mile mark. The run was by far my best event and with the weather being much improved I aimed to run around 3:15 pace or 7:30 per mile. The route is an extremely hilly single lap and is not the Ironman Wales run course. I stayed on pace until around mile 18 or 19 but started to drift off towards the end. I came in at 3:25 which was the 26th fastest marathon time. Swim and bike for show – run for dough! You can tell which event runners are doing by their bib colour and both spectators and other runners alike were appreciative of the Long Course athletes. I passed a fellow LCW athlete on the run and rather than trying to race me he was complimentary about how well I seemed to be going – this isn’t what happens in an Ironman when you pass someone in your Age Group!

All in all I can thoroughly recommend the Long Course Weekend. It is challenging but more than that it is a well-run event with none of the drama that goes with the Ironman events, so no huge race briefing, no racking of bike or dropping of bags and it is conducted in an inclusive and friendly atmosphere. With the pick and choose nature of each discipline there is something here for everyone. For those doing an Ironman later in the year you could do the full swim and bike and perhaps just the 10k to save your legs for example. Entries for next year are open and if I was you I’d get on it.

If you have any more in depth questions about our experience of the event just contact us.

Thank Goodness for Clif Bar!!

clifThank goodness for Clif Bar!! I have been a bit busy with work, getting the house ready to put up for sale and looking for a new house, (or motorhome -stay tuned!) so I haven’t had the time I would have liked to experiment with nutrition bars. Enter Clifbars - an ethical company that takes whole food seriously. Plant based nutrition AND free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup who have sponsored me on this Ultraman journey AND as well as fuelling me have sent me some cool kit! I did find the time, however, to make these Super Simple and easy to put together (right up my alley!) Onigiri. A Japanese rice ball popular in ultra race aid stations due to its cooling effect on the body – loaded with carbohydrates, electrolytes and salt and easy to digest to boot. The photo is google image (mine weren’t so pretty) and I got the recipe from :

riceEat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

By Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman

2 cups sushi rice

4 cups water

2 teaspoons miso or umeboshi paste

3-4 sheets nori seaweed

Follow the directions for cooking the rice, then rinse and place the rice in the fridge over night to cool.

Using your hands, form a 1/3 -1/4 cup rice into a triangle. Spread 1/4 teaspoon miso or umeboshi paste evenly on one side of the triangle. Cover with another 1/3-1/4 cup rice. Shape into one triangle, making sure the miso is covered with rice. Using half of one sheet of nori, wrap the rice triangle in nori, making sure to completely cover the rice.

 Next time I make these, I am going to make a bit smaller. These lasted a good 4-5 bites and on the bike I am not going to want to hold on to these suckers for that long. I also added pickled ginger (to keep the tummy happy). On the whole I am happy with these and with the seaweed sheets they have their own wrapper.

They are a big hit when you’ve been having sweet stuff and want something salty and savoury. But I’m not against trying these with almond butter or honey…

My favourite thing in the world is quick and easy to assemble snacks with as few ingredients as possible – hopefully at some point I will have the time to get stuck in making more bars. The toughest thing about triathlon- fitting life in between training sessions!

*This week I spent:

4 hours swimming (missed one session)

4 hours running

7 hours biking (cut 2 sessions short)

*And watched:

The Sasquatch Gang

Carpool karaoke with Gwen Stefani, Adel, Sia, JLo, One Direction, Chris Martin, and Elton John – and yes, I sang along.

Hundreds of swimming videos (at least 10)

Britain’s Next Top Model cycle 10… all 9 episodes… I’m not proud of this.

My Vegan nutrition for Ultraman

carrotBeing Vegan and with the rigours of the particular challenge that Ultraman places I have to really consider the nutrition I am going to use and how it will fuel me pre, during and post race so this week I did some nutrition testing. First up was some raw carrot cake balls; next week it is Scott Jurek’s Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri). If you are interested, here is the recipe:

No-Bake Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Courtesy of Amanda @ Running with Spoons

Yields: 12 balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Medjool dates
  • 4 dried apricots                                                    
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

In a food processor, combine first 5 ingredients until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the coconut) and continue processing until smooth.

Roll into balls and press into the shredded coconut .

 

1, 2, 3 ....GO!

So my swim training is kicking into high gear – with 123 days to go, I guess it had to at some point. A Tuesday night 5.6k set took 1hr 45mins – which seemed ok until I realized the race is 10km in Lake Bala so basically I am looking at about 3.5 hours if I don’t speed up!  If you fancy replicating the session it was:  1 x 600 pb/pad

6 x 100 pb only – 10 sec rests

2 x 500 pb/pad – 30 sec rest

5 x 200 1st , 3rd and 5th are pb/pad; 2nd and 4th are pb only – 15 sec

3 x 400 pb/pad – 25 sec rest

4 x 300 1st and 3rd are pb/pad, 2nd and 4th are pb only – 20 sec

Dimond

The weather has been, shall we say, “changeable”. There was a 2 hour window last weekend to take out The Beast (I am experimenting with names for my bike). This was the inaugural outing – and I am so happy to say The Beast is ALIVE! She is a Dimond with Knight 65 front and 95 rear wheels – perfectly fitted as always by Richard at FreeSpeed.

It was nice to be outdoors as I have been doing all of my cycling on the turbo trainer in the garage. At some point I think I will have watched every movie on YouTube!

Happy training!!

 

What do you do when Marathon, Ultras or Ironman isn't enough?

IMG_4348It all started with a book. “The Race Within” by Jim Gourley – a story of passion, courage and sacrifice at the Ultraman Triathlon. Having spent the last 15 years racing triathlon up to Ironman distance and running up to Ultras my planned ‘easy’ 2016 season of ‘just’ racing half ironman distance was slowly slipping through my fingers the more I read.   In December 2015 when I entered UM UK I had a great idea for a blog writing about what it takes to get to the start of Ultraman, as a Vegan how I plan to implement a plant based nutrition plan and ultimately how the race goes – then all of a sudden it’s the MIDDLE of APRIL! Day one of this three day race is 1st of September. Roughly 4 months away. Training so far has been about keeping the fitness I already had from training and racing Ironman distance and staying injury free. Four week blocks of training have emphasized building consistency and volume – nothing too daunting… yet. If you are not familiar with the rigours of Ultraman the race information is below.

Friday – Stage 1 – 10.0 km (6.2 mile) 1km x 5 loop swim up the right side of Bala Lake . The swim is immediately followed by a one-loop 144.8 km (90.0 mile) bike ride beginning & finishing Day 1 in Betws-y-Coed in Conwy. Time Limits – All swimmers must be out of the water within 6 hours and the bike stage must be completed in 6 hours.  Stage 1 has a total cut-off time of 12 hours.  All athletes will be timed.

Saturday – Stage 2 – One-loop 275.8 km (171.4 mile) bike ride beginning and finishing Day 2 in Betws-y-Coed in Conwy County. Time Limits – Bike (Stage 2) in 12 hours. All athletes will be timed.

Sunday – Stage 3 – Mt. Snowdon is central to the 84.3 km (52.4 mile) double-marathon run course. Day 3 begins & ends in Betws-y-Coed in Conwy County. Time Limits – Run (Stage 3) in 12 hours. All athletes will be timed.

Each must be accompanied by an individual support team of at least two persons over the entire course.  Individual resources: mental, physical and spiritual, are shared in an atmosphere where the pursuit of human excellence is the fundamental rule of the road.

Stay Tuned: Next week I will be experimenting with my plant based nutrition plan!!

The ABC of Training

ABC-logoThe 3 key principles of Accuracy of Session, Balance in Training and Consistency are key to any training programme regardless of the sport and are ones that if you or your Coach builds them as central pillars to your programme will aid you in your desire to achieve that PB in the race season. Accuracy of Session or making your sessions more Specific to you, your abilities, your goals and your event is a key pillar to ensure that the desired adaptation occurs. The term specificity is sometimes used interchangeably with the acronym SAID, which stands for specific adaptation to imposed demands. The underlying principle here is that it is the type of demand that is placed on the body that dictates the type of adaptation that will occur. So if you are training for a marathon then an accurately designed session would revolve around perhaps some race pace adaptation, or some shorter interval type work to facilitate that leg speed and improve the aerobic engine efficiency, or tempo work or an appropriately paced longer runs. Not long and slow but longer and appropriately paced. Similarly if you are training for a Ironman Triathlon then you need to swim 3.8km efficiently in a wetsuit, therefore to match the stimulus must match the desired adaptation, so a session might be something like 40 x 100m with some small paddles and pull buoy Would swimming open water make you a better open water swimmer? Perhaps yes, because it is more specific – it is also quite tough to do all year long in most climates. So the examples I have used here are ones where I am trying to activate or recruit the same motor units required by your sport and by incorporating training that mimics the movement patterns of your sport as a Coach I increase the likelihood that muscles involved in the sport will be recruited.

Balance in life whilst still achieving the consistency, that as you will read below is fundamental, is key to achieving long-term success in sport. Training adds to our daily dose of stressors, work, death, marriage, taxes etc. and therefore by achieving balance and limiting that total stress you allow therefore just Training Stress to be placed upon us. If we achieve this then we can perhaps up the training stress thus facilitating greater adaptation. By achieving this healthy balance you can eke out the most from those training sessions.

Consistency is the unqualified key to long-term progress. Consistency in training is paramount and in its simplest form is limiting those sessions you miss. Your Coach may plan weeks where you will do no training – and believe me when I say these will be tough but in principle we look to keep ticking over. Aerobic progress and fitness, in general, respond well to continued stimulation. De-training happens very, very quickly. For this reason, avoiding injury is absolutely imperative. Injuries do nothing but put you on the couch, undermining consistency, and therefore long-term progress.

 So when you or your Coach is designing your next block of training consider the ABCs.

Race Week Advice

Race weekSo race week is upon us and for all my athletes the first thing they will notice is that they will see that we keep training quite similar to that they have been used to. There is no massive taper for the athletes; yes we reduce the volume and for some we keep a bit of intensity but overall we keep a nice consistent training rhythm going. As an athlete you aren't going to get fitter in these last few days but you also won't lose a lot of fitness so don't stress it if life takes over; after all you probably will have some travelling to do and prep for the races. If you have raced before you'll know there is a lot of pre race posturing that goes on, particularly in triathlon, but this counts for nothing when the gun goes off. As a Brit everyone else always seems to look better tanned, have better shaved legs, look more muscular, more lean, have better kit a better bike etc etc but this counts for nothing so don't let it affect you. However staying out of this environment is always worth while. I'd advise spending as little time around others that are racing as you can. Go and register, go to the race brief and check out the course as required and for triathlon the flow through transitions and all aspects you need to know but do all of that efficiently. I like to wear my iPod just to keep myself in my own world. You've been there though you know the routine and how to race but any physical or mental energy you can save here all helps.

As the training load is slightly lower than normal there is no real need to carbo load as you are not burning the calories as normal. Hence with your usual calorie intake from foods you in effect will already be loading up. I always advise athletes to miss any pre race pasta party - no need to go wild at the buffet!

During the race itself concentrate on the process and not the outcome. Try and quieten your mind and never give up. Just be the best YOU can be on race day.

Keep your mind still and just keep working mile after mile. Break the event down and don't let the totality of it overwhelm you; so in a run think of it as 5ks or 10k or look to the next aid station but don't concern yourself with mile 20 while you are still at mile 10. Lastly good luck; we all need it. Concentrate on the process and most of all enjoy the race!

Dublin 70.3 Race Report

Dublin 70.3 Race Report 10448825_497448720387814_4220495444974091941_n Last Sunday Beth and I raced the inaugral 70.3 in Dublin. After a race I like to be quite objective with my race reports in order that I and others can glean some information about the race, and learn from those things that worked well and those things that didn’t go quite to plan.

My objectives for this event

This was a build up race for us in our prep for IM Chattanooga in September but with most races I always aim to do as well as I can.

Swim – as ever try to be strong and get the swim done without it taking anything out of me

Bike – ride a solid bike leg aiming to put myself in a good position to run strongly

Run – aim was to run around 1:30 which I hoped would put me in sight of an age group podium

PRE RACE

On the Sunday before the race I had my last real hit out session with a run that included 20 x 3 min reps at 70.3 race pace with 1 min recovery jogs. After the session I felt like I had a bit of hayfever coming on but early hours of Monday I awoke with a sore throat. No excuses whatsoever but this developed into a cold then a chesty cough as the week went on. Come the Friday I made the decision I would race as I felt it was getting better and we spent the day sight seeing; which culminated in a great meal and a couple of pints of Guinness in a bar on O’Connell Street with some great live Irish music – the Guinness actually seemed to help my cold! Saturday was the usual racking of bikes, dropping of bags and race briefing all of which seemed to take forever as the swim start and T1 was an hours drive away from T2 and the brief.

SWIM

11811294_706981652767852_4258489646522847887_nRace morning felt pretty nervous which I haven’t been since Vitoria last year and this is definitely something to continue to work on. The swim takes place in Scotsman’s Bay, Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leary) and the 1 lap anti clockwise swim was set off in rolling, wave starts; there is a nice video of the swim start here. We were split into gender and age group waves that set off at 10 min intervals but you entered in a very orderly fashion down a slipway into the Irish Sea with the timing mat at the bottom of the slip way so there way no drama of the mass start. The swim was un-dramatic, although was about 300m long! The water temperature was reported to be 14.9 degrees C and there was a bit of a swell running that made sighting awkward. I came out in 40:40 which was 13th in my AG but as it turns out nicely placed with those who would be in the mix as you can see from the results below. The exit is steep but multiple helpers did a grand job pulling you out.

All the bike bags were on racks in a tent as is normal at these events and I found mine and pulled on a long sleeved skins top to keep me at a good temperature and protect from the” Irish sunshine” on the bike. I was away well and pleased with myself for a reasonably slick transition all things considered.

 

BIKE

bikeThe bike course is a beautiful relatively flat course where you cycle on closed roads firstly straight into and through Dublin city centre the out on a one lap route that ends in Phoenix Park. The road surface in the main is pretty ropey to be honest and there were some significant pot holes. There are also at least 30 to 40 speed bumps on the course with 22 of them in the last few miles coming into Phoenix Park. These coupled with the road conditions and the rain shower we had made for some crashes and also the usual bottles and bits of bikes littering the course. I felt like I cycled well and only remember a couple of guys passing me and came off the bike in good shape in 2:33.

RUN

11870694_706847759447908_6256546699818839470_nThis is my strength and I had high hopes of keeping to the 1:30 target I ghad set myself. The run course is three laps around Phoenix Park and is pretty much supported the whole way round. At the end of lap 1 I stopped to have a pee in a portaloo and this was a good move in terms of I ran much better afterwards but took a few precious seconds so perhaps I should have peed on the bike. Technique wise I tried to run light, using a heel strike and hold my hips high with high cadence. It’s never easy in a triathlon but I felt my technique stayed reasonable throughout although I could definitely have run with a higher cadence.

The crowd support on the run was fantastic enthusiastic! My first two laps were pretty much on target and I felt that I was accelerating as the race went on which on a multi lap course is a great mental boost as you spend the entire race overtaking people. I ran a 1:32 so was happy with that time and it gave me a finish time of 4:56:19 and 5th in my AG. No World Championship slot for me although it rolled to 3rd place however Beth managed to bad a roll down slot and therefore we will be making the trek across to Mooloolaba in September 2016. Still time for me to join her racing though!

Summary

Swim – I stayed focused and got it done without it taking anything out of me

Bike – I’m in good and felt I rode reasonably strongly without it killing me for the run.

Run – A strong run, not as fast as some but I felt like I tried hard.

NUTRITION

Overall I went in with a plan and stuck to it and didn’t feel I needed anymore.

Breakfast:

We had breakfast in the hotel: cereal with some fruit and some homebaked Guinness Brown Bread with honey and almond butter. Yes all you Paleo people will be shouting at this.

Bike:

One bottle with 4 Overstims gels in it topped up with water.

One bottle with some Overstims carb drink

1 ½ Powerbars withy the whole bar cut in half.

1 x Double Expresso Clif Shot Gels (caffeinated)

 

Run:

1 x Double Expresso Clif Shot Gels (caffeinated)

2 x Overstims gels

Water

Plan was to eat half a bar every 20 mins on bike then take caffeinated gel at 1 hr 20 then drink from gel bottle every 20 mins to finish. On run it was 1 gel every 25 ish minutes.

OUTCOMES

Positives:

  1. All my gear worked great and I did not get too hot or cold. Huub wetsuit, Cervelo P3, Adidas Tempo run shoes – I’ve run in Adidas Tempo since 2012 if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it
  2. I handled the mental side well once the race started but was nervous before. In the swim and the bike and raced my own race. Felt I ran strongly
  3. Nutrition worked pretty well in terms of not bonking at all
  4. Confident that if things go well I can put together a faster time

Negatives / Work On’s:

  1. Race nerves pre race
  2. Possibly nutrition. I need to think how to transfer this plan to Ironman
  3. Push harder on swim and bike – however cognisant that “you run for dough” so don’t want to overcook it

All in all a great race and one I would certainly do again.

 

 

Are you Doing the Right Training Session?

RickWells-GlenCook-Avignon__mediumHard training 100% of the time is not about going flat out for every session. Instead it is about the difficulty in doing the right session, at the right intensity, 100% of the time”. So said Glenn Cook. I know I have longevity as a Coach when I have to explain who Glenn Cook is but he was a triathlete who made a number of appearances in the British team between the mid 80’s and 90’s and who was a World silver medalist at the first ITU Triathlon World Championships in Avignon in 1989; the year that ITU was formed. For a bonus point can you name the other athlete in the photo? Cook was right of course and I think we are all guilty of doing what we like rather than what we need to do in training and further than that we are guilty of not making those easy sessions truly easy or making those hard sessions lung busting hard. However we can look to Cook’s quote and take some inspiration when designing our sessions. Taking a run example if we want to break 40 minutes for the 10km then we can break this time and distance down and train very specifically. A 40 minute 10k pace means running 25 x 400m at 96s per 400m. So initially we can do sessions where we build up to this; we may do for example 10 x 400m aiming to hit 96s for each 400m and take 30s rest in between them. We can progress this to sessions where we run the 400s but do a 200m “float” jog in between each and work this up until we can run the full twenty five 400s at our race pace.

Of course no one want 40:00 so running slightly faster and getting for you a magic 39 something instead of a 40 something is the way to go so you’ll want to be slightly faster than 96s. This often occurs on race day and hitting race pace in training is tough. However this type of training will give you the feel of what your goal pace is like and whilst not a ‘flat out’ session it certainly can be one of the right session in your build up. For the 40 min 10k runner these repeats will not feel like going 100% for the 400 as they are manageable and this can be, in Cook’s words, “the right session at the right intensity” for you to hit your goal.

Until the next time, heed the words of Glenn Cook and do the right session at the right intensity.

 

 

Rachel Qualifies for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii!

11694943_10152883436441394_6267258858449224294_n
11694943_10152883436441394_6267258858449224294_n

Here is a great Blog post from one of my athletes who recently raced Ironman UK at Bolton. Rachel had the most audacious goal in that our only goal for this season was to win the 30-34 AG at IMUK and qualify for Kona. Coming out the water in 57 minutes, the fastest time in the AG, then riding the fastest time in the AG, 5:52, and finally running the fastest run split of 3:29 is certainly the way to achieve your goal! Rachel finished in 10:28 which won her AG by 32 minutes and gave her 6th female overall and 2nd age grouper so we were extremely pleased and have already started making our preps training wise for Kona. I'll be writing more about how we achieved this in due course but for now enjoy Rachel's report on her race.

How to Predict your Ironman Finish Time

mathsAs a Coach when I am chatting to my athletes it is not long before the subject of Personal Bests/Personal Records and prospective finish times for races comes up. Indeed it is a vital conversation as by having an idea of this information leads to appropriate pacing and very often it is the lack of appropriate pacing that causes races to awry and leads to those ‘explosions’ and statements such as ‘I was going ok until mile X’. If you are looking to estimate your finish time for a run race there are a number of online predictors and you could do a lot worse than to start with those. By entering a known finish time over a set distance these will calculate a prospective finish time for a variety of distance races one of favourites for the marathon was quoted by the late great Frank Horwill from Serpentine AC who stated that if you take you 10km time, multiply it by 5 and then subtract 10 minutes you will get your predicted marathon time. As a rule of thumb for the marathon this is surprisingly (or unsurprisingly if you knew Frank) accurate!

However in the world of multi sport the predictions made become more difficult. Not least that, in the case of triathlon, there are three sports involved and, in the case of Ironman triathlon, the extended duration of the event allows for the potential for more unexpected events or for the terrain/weather/fatigue etc to play a greater part and to make predictions difficult However that is exactly what scientists at the University of Zurich[1] did. They set out to assess whether physical characteristics, training, or pre race experience were related to performance in age group male Ironman triathletes and measured the results at Ironman Switzerland.

The findings show that speed in running during training, personal best marathon time, and personal best time in an Olympic distance triathlon were related to the Ironman race time. The results are not just saying that faster runners over the marathon and the faster an athlete is over the Olympic distance the faster the Ironman finish; they have created a relationship between the times. One of the major findings was related to pace in that the scientists discovered that the triathletes swam and cycled at much faster speeds that they did in training yet ran at significantly slower speeds. The equation that was developed for predicting your Ironman finish time based on Olympic distance triathlon and marathon finish times was:

Iron Distance Finish Time (mins) = 152.1 + [1.332 x (Marathon PB)] + [1.964 x (Olympic Distance PB)]

Whilst your Personal Bests may have been set on a different type of course than the Ironman and the results must be current results I do feel that this formula gives us a great starting point to predict finish times and as a result goals and training paces along with aspirations can be better understood and adhered to. Worthy of note in the research is that slowing down factor on the run and as always it is she or he who slows down least that will do well.

Test it out and let us know how you get on!

[1] BEAT KNECHTLE, ANDREA WIRTH, and THOMAS ROSEMANN (2010) PREDICTORS OF RACE TIME IN MALE IRONMAN TRIATHLETES: PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, TRAINING, OR PRERACE EXPERIENCE?. Perceptual and Motor Skills: Volume 111, Issue , pp. 437-446. doi: 10.2466/05.25.PMS.111.5.437-446

Is your Training Camp making you Slower?

imagesAs we prepare to head out the door to host our April Triathlon Training Camp in Mallorca I wanted to give you some thoughts about the rationale of the camp and perhaps some things you might consider when choosing a triathlon training camp. Each Spring we see northern hemisphere age-group athletes go out in search of some sunshine and great training facilities with the sole intention of getting some big miles in the legs as well as the opportunity to eat, sleep and train with fellow athletes without the distraction of work and family ties. Sounds great right?

The problem is that on some of these training weeks the age group athlete will potentially quadruple the volume that they are used to (believe me I have been there) and this can lead to burn out and over use injuries (again, been there). Yet the true rationale for going on a camp is that we get a performance benefit down the line and actually get faster – isn’t it? So here at Performance Edge the rationale is slightly different. Yes we will train - after all we have great weather and all day to do it – we do not bring our athletes out for a Spa week - but we do not try and over work them to the point of ultimate fatigue as most of these athletes are only really starting to emerge from the Northern winter and this will be the first foray into the sunshine and some consistent volume.

Rather the aims of the camp are:

  • To complete an appropriately increased volume of training with some great rides at an increased volume than they are conducting at home– after all they are not working and we have removed the distractions of home so we do have all day to train.
  • To work on athletic development – so we conduct both run and swim video analysis as well as constantly watching for areas during run & swim sessions where we can improve the athletes efficiency
  • To do all of this in a great location, with some great weather so the athletes can train and recover from both life stressors and the stress imposed by the training they are doing and
  • To return them fitter and in better shape than they first arrived – not more tired and needing the following week off to recover

So at the end of next week I want to see a dozen refreshed, fit, tanned and better informed athletes returning home with a passion and an ability to progress towards their A Race of the season.

ITU Old School Triathlon to the Modern Day

11v5h69Here at Performance Edge we love a bit of Old School Triathlon so we'd thought we'd share a great video that goes along with the International Triathlon Union (ITU) announcement that they are creating a hall of fame.  There are some great footage from back in the day when speedos, crop tops, running vests were all the rage.  Not a carbon bike in view at the start of the video but there is some super fast racing!  For those who more enjoy the modern era it does chart the progress through the Olympics culminating with London 2012.  Enjoy!