Saturday, 21 February 2009
Its our last weekend in Christchurch and at last the sunshine has made a re-appearance. The last week has been cool/cold with the winds from the south brining all that chill right over here from the Antarctic and its been raining non stop for 2 days. I guess that we’re entering autumn now– apples, pears and blackberries are fruiting – as are nectarines and apricots. To be honest the rain has been providing motivation to get to the pool and the gym .Yes, the gym! Scott is on a mission to make me less scrawny, provided a free pass to his gym and pool in town, and given me a short upper body gym routine to follow as well as some stroke specific stuff to focus on in the pool. And I’ve been really enjoying this work – for the first time in ages I am enjoying swimming, and feeling good doing it. I’m not kidding myself – I’m not repping any faster, I’m at least motivated to try.
I’m thankful for this new distraction since under Scott’s guidance, the long explorotary rides that Steven and I had been planning to do last week have been struck strictly OFF the menu in order that I could fully recover from Epic camp and let that training sink in before a final week of race specific work. I really did feel like I was missing out on al the fun, but inside I knew that, although I’d surely manage the long rides, my body was tired and would certainly not benefit from becoming more so. It’s a dilemma that will resurface I am sure – it just happens what we do for leisure is pick a nice looking route, with a few promising café locations, get on our bikes/put on the fell shoes and make a day of it. Though psychologically it‘s a world apart it is not entirely dissimilar to ‘training’ and certainly nothing to do with resting or recovery and will of course impact the quality of my ‘proper’ training when harder efforts are required. Having entrusted myself to a coach’s expertise, I’m really going to have to be disciplined about this…so a 3h ride should NOT become a 5hr ride, just because it’s a nice day and there’s a tempting new climb to ride! And a 40 min run IS worth getting out of bed for if it’s done correctly – no need to double it. So, we’re just going to have to come back to Christchurch next year and do the Akoroa Summit Roads route and see Port Levy and run through the forest up to the nice café on the Lagoon at Brooklands, and the rest….;o) for the remainder of our stay I will be doing what is important for a good race in 2 weeks time, though I am pleased to see that there are a few opportunities to run in the forest and Port hills included in next week’s schedule, as well as some moderate rides in the hills. And of course the gym!
I’m beginning to feel that things are falling into place for the Ironman. Well rested and taking care of my diet, cut out the caffeine and alcohol since Epic Camp and ensuring that I fuel well for harder or longer sessions, I’m getting buzz out of performing a few race intensity intervals. Of course there’s still much uncertainty preceding the first race of the year, paticulary so early in the calendar when the majority of the field, being southern hemisphere based, have been race-fit for months – but I’m looking forward to testing the water, setting a benchmark to work from for the rest of the year, and a fun day out in race kit!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Here i am back in Christchurch, Epic Camp all over, with my 'feet up' and feeling quite sad that it is all over. It was a hell of a week challenging in a number of ways, and being surrounded by a great bunch of people to share the challenges with - that kind of experience really effects me and leaves me feeling kinda empty when its over.
Not only did i achieve a pretty solid bloc of training volume, despite a day out due to injury, and cycling was at higher intensity that i'd usually ride over those distances, but learned a lot from the others on the camp and met some folk that i'd really hope to stay in contact with. In fact, I have just had a bike fitting session with Chris and Marilyn McDonald who had noticed some bio mechanical problems during the camp which they felt could be limiting my ability to maintain power over longer rides. I'm so grateful for their taking the time to come over and help - advice from athletes of their calibre is awesome. I managed to spend some time chatting with Tara too - well more like drilling her with questions about her training - which she openly and thouroughly discussed with me. We are now training under the same coach, after all!
Stats from my training log:
in 8 days of Epic
61 hours training
this week is going to be very light. i feel tired and know from last year that it'll be at least 2 weeks before i feel fully recovered. I have been out spinning my legs on teh bike for about 60-90 min at at time the last 2 days, and had a nice easy swim this morning. I felt like lead in the pool! I may ride little longer today, avoiding hills still though and try a light run tomorrow. My focus will really be on diet - weaning myself of the huge amounts of food that i was tucking into last week and ensuring that i eat really healthily. No more booze, caffeine or sugary stuff until after Taupo now.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Leading on from a previous post, some analysis and goal setting.
The table on the left compares my race results in 2007 and 2008, excluding Kona, against the average of the top 5 female results. It appears that my 2007 performances were better than 2008 – which may be the case or may be a reflection of the improving standard of the field. My running certainly did improve over the course of a year, and it is likely true that my swimming became weaker. The choice of races in 2007 – Lanzarote and Switzerland, both had hilly bike courses and suited me better than the rolling courses at Germany and Wisconsin where I competed in 2008 rather than a loss of strength on the bike.
So lets say that currently my swim was about 15% (10min) down on the average of top 5, bike about 4.5% (15min) and run about 4% (9min) - with total overall time just under 5% (half an hour). I’m not sure where the other 5 min went!
My biggest improvements should come in the swim really – but that’s a lengthy process and the likelihood is that I will not increase my swim training volume by the order of magnitude required to sort it out, and it’s more likely that more immediate gains will be achieved on the bike with the additional time that I have at my disposal.
This ought to drag my run times up a little too.
So, targets for the end of year should be to race within 10% of the average top 5 swim times and 2.5% in bike and the run - that is looking for a general improvement of around 8 min (10%) on my swim times, 10 min (3%) on the bike and 6 min (3%) on the marathon.
IM New Zealand is such an early race that these are probably too optimistic so targets are as shown on the right - within 12% on swim, 3% bike and run and 4% overall.
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