Monday, 14 June 2010

training for london tri in the world's most beautiful location

let's be honest; australia is one of the most beautiful places on earth. during my visit here for the last couple of weeks i've had the opportunity to kick start my training for London Triathlon in some pretty exceptional places. let's look at the highlights;

1. swimming *here* seriously the best view i've ever had whilst getting the kms under my belt. swimming down the lane, you're looking at the underbelly of the sydney harbour bridge. get to the end and turn around, and you're looking at luna park. now that makes training easy.

2. long runs *here*

visiting my parents on the south coast of nsw, two hours south of sydney, has its benefits. like views such as this! hello long runs!

it's been a while since i've been running any distance, so the other week when i clocked 6km - i found walking hard the next day, AND the next!! whoops.; that was worrying! last week i hit 10km, and felt fine. thankfully! these two runs were taken through the coastal countryside, hmmmmmmm.

3. fartleking *here*

this weekend husband + i stayed in sydney for our three year wedding anniversary (!) and this morning i took a run down to the end of the road, and guess what i found? just a little old sydney opera house. perfect grounds for fartleking. looooove sydney!

so london is less than 8 weeks away: how are we looking? getting less than 2.50 is paramount, as i'm NEEDING to beat my time from last year. that is NECESSARY. here's my training gameplan priorities.

swimming; am hitting 1.5km comfortably in a 50m pool, so fitness is okay. not perfect yet, but okay. no idea if timewise i'll be any faster than last year. when i get back to london i'm going to prioritise ows 1.5km +. this is where i'm hoping to improve from last year, as i had no experience at this distance, with wetsuit, in ow.

training priority; 1 x 1.5km+ ows in wetsuit for 6 weeks.

cycling; not good. i've been without bike for 5 weeks. 5 WEEKS. need to get onto that saddle upon return to uk, and pronto. last year i hadn't even cycled 40km - so to be honest, i'm expecting to improve here, even though i've been sans bike for five weeks. but i need to move. soon.

training priority; 1 x 40km+ cycle race pace for 6 weeks

running; it's still hit and miss. last year (again) i'd only once run 10km, so i think i should improve with time. but i find speeding up hard, because running fast is as enjoyable as getting slapped with wet fish. i'm going to keep to my gameplan of how i've previously picked up my 10km pace. long slower runs combined with shorter faster fartleking.

training priority; 1 x 10km run for 6 weeks.

am back to london this week. let's see how she goes!

Monday, 26 April 2010

3 months to London Triathlon

kids, it's that time again.

three months

London Triathlon

i'll be attacking the Oly once again, this time, those times, will be lower.

but for that to happen, i need to get working.

so here she goes!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

discrimination against cyclist rage

i'm on a soap box, and i'm not getting off until the completion of this post. warning.

i am *so* tired of being discriminated against for being a cyclist. most of the time it happens, i'm not even on my bike, i'm just next to it, looking like a cyclist. if you'd gather i'm raging about a specific incident, i am. here it is;

on thursday i was on a mammoth cycle around london with friend lisa. we realise we're running out of time to get home by dark, and voila; we see a DLR station (that's london's light rail network). lisa is pretty sure she's known others to use it with bikes, so we go to the station and look for signs. nothing. no train guard either. we're on the outskirts of london and it's not peak hour, so we make the assumption it's a go-er. we buy our stupidly expensive-for-what-we're-getting tickets, and go to the platform.

the train arrives. it has around six people on it, and we board the train. instantly, an announcement tells us to get off. we're like WTF? come on! non peak hour? six people on the train? outside of central london? no signs at the station??

we get off and when i look back there's a woman sitting on the train, she's got an incredibly smug look on her face, twinged with contempt, and she's shaking her head.

i felt slight rage at having to get off the train, but this woman *really* tipped me over the edge. what gave her the right to shake her head at me?? i wasn't doing anything knowingly wrong, and i was the one who had now wasted my money, *and* would now need to cycle home in the dark without lights. and i deserve the look of death??

i'm tired of people treating me like shit because i have a bike.

i'm pissed off because my bike is smaller in space than 85% of baby buggies out there, and yet they're allowed to travel at free will.

when are we going to shift our attitude towards cycling in this country? in so many countries you're permitted to take your bike on public transport, though sometimes not at peak hour. i get the peak hour thing, that makes sense, but the rest of the time? come onnnnnnn

Our mayor of london, Boris Johnson (above) is supposedly cycle friendly, well it's time to get your finger out. if you want to encourage cycling, stop discouraging us.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

oi! where have you been?

yes, it's true, i can no longer deny. my blogging has halted, my tweeting has suffered. i've been abandoning my online duties. sniff.

towards the end of last year work kind of exploded, in a good way, and i was struggling to maintain the balance between training hard and working harder. this year, i've just slowly accepted i'm not super woman (gasp).

and so, the result of which, training has reduced from 5 days week to 2 days a week.

it's not ideal for the upcoming tri season, i've got two Olys booked, but triathlon was never introduced into my life as a source of stress, quite the opposite! so i'm doing what i can, and weirdly enjoying myself in the meantime.

i've found that since reducing my workouts, i do actually enjoy them more, because it's my 'away' time from work rather than another kind of job. if that makes sense.

SO this morning i had a pump class, followed by a spin class, followed by a quick swim. next weekend i'm heading out for a two day cycle around Cambridge. we're still in the game kids.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

my first draft

i've never drafted before. it's illegal in triathlon, so what's the point?

let's be honest, i haven't even understood what drafting really was. sure i knew it meant you stayed close to the cyclist ahead + saved energy, but that was about the extent of it.

yesterday i was out cycling with the group, and one of the guys suggested i draft off another two boys. we hit a hill, and they were off. just keeping up with them was hard work, but i was managing. i looked down and we were on 20 kph. a few minutes later, and we were on 22 kph. never in the history of my ass on that cycle seat have i gained speed going up a hill. nice.

on the way home, four of us took formation, me at the back. again, it was hard work keeping up with the boys, but once i was there it was a little easier. i looked down at one point and we were comfortably hitting 36 kph. sweet!

so, drafting, how did it feel? to be honest, i was expecting some sort of lovely magical pull dragging me forward with my legs barely moving. but it wasn't like that. i couldn't *feel* anything different, but then when i looked at my speed i was much faster than i usually would be with that level of exertion.

it took quite a bit of effort, being close enough to the person ahead without hitting their wheels. i was guilty of watching their wheel, but according to the folks at that isn't the right way

i'm not used to cycling close to other people, so this is something i think will definitely increase my cycling confidence. and also push my cycling, because keeping up with a faster group takes you outside your comfort zone.

and makes you go faster. and that, i like.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

winter fitness assessment; wowsers

hello jabba

triathletes globally have, in months past, reduced their training and increased their holiday eating. for some, they picked themselves up with the new year, others are still struggling to get on the bike in the arctic conditions.

i'm no exception. training in summer was a five day a week affair, now i'm sitting at two - three day max. my intensity has dropped as well.

in triathlon maths, this should mean my eating has subsided also, but like most other tri-ers in the world of winter training my input hasn't always matched my output and here we have the gaining of two kilos.

two kilos; hardly a gain to loose sleep by. however it did prompt me to wonder how my overall fitness had changed as a result of the reduced training - so i booked myself into a fitness assess at the gym.

i knew the results wouldn't be pretty, but i wanted something to re-focus on when i start training properly again. what's the point in just hearing the good news, right?

here's how i compared from 5 days a week high intensity training, to 2/3 days a week low intensity;

height: 174 cms > 174cms (no change!)
weight: 60 kilos > 62 kilos
body fat: 12.8% > 16%
waist: 25 inches > 25 inches
hips: 37 inches > 37 inches

i'm very surprised that my measurements have remained static while my body fat and weight have increased. most of my winter training has been weights based - but instead of gaining muscle it seems as though i've been turning muscle into fat?!? how can this be?

to be honest, i did starve myself a little before the first assessment, could my lack of water/food skewed the body fat results? or does weight training really do this little?

the results haven't made me want to start training at higher intensity yet; but add another kilo into the mix and i'll be forced to reconsider :)

Friday, 29 January 2010

super exciting gear update

two posts in one week! woaha! and you thought your day couldn't get any better!

i've noticed a few people (myself included) tend to give gear reviews when they first buy gear. but what happens a few months down the track, when the novelty has worn off and the cracks are beginning to show? here's the g-o

1. cateye strada wireless cycle computer
pros: i have only good things to say about this cycle computer. it does everything you want (average speed, are you now cycling faster or slower than your average, distance, max speed, overall distance). it's borderline hard to pop out so no accidents on the road, and would be challenging to steal quickly (you need to know the trick)

cons: BUT now that i have my sweet little Garmin, did i really need the cycle computer? No. now my cycle computer is a bit redundant. so something to keep in mind if you're thinking of Garmin investing down the track.

conclusion: don't buy a cycle computer if you're thinking of getting a Garmin.

2. H20 waterproof ipod and headphones

pros: swimming for ages without noticing the time?! bliss! i'm not sure why these aren't more popular, because they really are brilliant. hands up if you get a bit bored swimming... well no longer! i looove listening to podcasts. super.

cons: the headphones are *rubbish.* one doesn't work at all and the other is so soft i have to wear a swimming cap to hold into my ear to be able to hear. and even then it works itself loose every 10 laps or so. they are also pretty expensive, so i need to get these back to the guys to see about a replacement. and, another con, you look like a total idiot.

conclusion: if you've got cash, i'd drop it on these babies. but keep the warranty close by.

3. knee length compression socks
pros: they keep you warm. they compress (duh). they turn your summer running/cycling gear into winter gear - big bonus. did i notice better recovery time? slightly, but perhaps that was mental.

cons: i bought my pair from the London Marathon Store and the dude who sold them to me said he doesn't use the ones with toes, his cut off at the ankle. i couldn't understand why you'd get those ones, so i got the ones like above, a full sock. BUT now i get it. the sock has a tight compressiony band across the middle of the foot and on long runs this was *really* uncomfortable. it felt like my foot was choking. the next day i could barely walk from the pain/tightness on the top of my foot where the band was.

conclusion: if i was going to invest in compression, i'd get the leg/calf only ones. you don't want to screw around with your feet. they're just too important.

4. Garmin 310 XT

it's been a month since my affair with the Garmin. so where are we at?

pros: the heart rate strap is uber comfy. soft fabric, lovely. i have mine on almost the tightest possible setting and there's ladies smaller than me out there - so something to check if you're little.

the ease of uploading my data. seriously easy. and love my maps at the end. here's this mornings run around the running track:

seriously; how great is that? (even if it does make me look like a rat in a cage)

and i love the calender function on the garmin connect website (which holds all your data). it has colours and everything. yeaha! does weekly totals and everything. love you calender.

cons: the watch hurts my wrist. it's a bit boney, and there's no cushioning on the *HUGE* watch face, so at the end of long stints i actually get little sore patches from all the rubbing. okay so it's not bringing tears to my eyes, but it does suck.

the satellite reception has been a little dodgy. on two runs it *never* got reception, but has picked up its game since then.

conclusion: it rocks my world. haven't looked back.