Sunday, 28 June 2009

5 weeeeeeeks

i love sundays. i get to sit down for ten minutes and write my weekly training report, which includes listing all that i've done that week. yes, i'm that much of a geek. so before i wet myself with excitement, here she goes:

monday> 30min swim drills, 40min spin class
tuesday> 20km cycle, 8 km run, 15km cycle
wednesday> 50 min open water swim training
thursday> 30min swim drills
friday> rest
saturday> 50min spin class, 30min swim
sunday> 40km cycle

as you can see, two long cycles this week, and not a whole lot of running. i was planning on running my 'around-the-hood' circuit but my brick on tuesday absolutely rubbished my legs right up until friday night. sooooo sore!

so the plan for the next week is to focus on the running again. i've got three weeks until my 10km run at Battersea, and would love to use this as a benchmark to see what time i'll get for the run leg. still crossing fingers for under an hour, but to be honest, i'm just not sure i'll ever make it!

in other news i finally got rid of those nasty old mountain bike pedals and have some lovely new fandangle ones, now fitted with strapless toe clips (pic above). my long ride this morning was JOY as finally i am able to use the whole circular motion instead of just pressing down - brilliant! this combined with cycling on the empty roads (i left the house at 5.30am!) was really so very lovely, and it's times like that which make all the training worth it - because i do really enjoy it.

five weeks until the London Tri. good training week!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

first open water swim!

As an Australian kid, i spent a bit of time in creeks, rivers, dams and lakes. Any body of water larger than a puddle was fair game to me, and my mum loves telling me stories of her turning her back, and me darting to the nearest lick of water for a swim attempt. As a result, i started swimming at 18 months old. Mum clearly wasn't taking any risks.

For the London Triathlon in August i need to swim in the Thames. It's not something i've been looking forward to, at all. Like i've said, whales have *died* in these waters. And while i've had my fair share of swimming in random water bodies as a kid, it doesn't compare to swimming competitively - so last night i went to my first training open water session.

The session was held in central London's Hyde Park, in a lake called the Serpentine. It was run by these clever kids,

I arrived just in time, with husband in tow for moral support/hot drink provider, and pulled on my wetsuit, slowly and painfully. The changing room was filled of groans and grunts, it was a very dodgy sounding affair.

We separated into three groups; fitness, technique and new to open water technique. I went into the last group, but upon reflection really should have gone into the second. The instructors were good communicators, and knew their stuff, but the groups were so large it made personal advice pretty much impossible. They do offer one to one training, so if you want anything more than general advice, that would be the best option.

So, open water, how was it?

The lake itself was pretty gross; weeds, rubbish, algae, stuff that moved, stuff that should have moved. But luckily - there were also other triathletes in the water - and when swimming my focus wasn't on all that lurked beneath - but trying to stay out of harms way from all the legs and feet and elbows and hands thrashing all around. It encouraged my stroke to stay long and strong, to get away from the others and into the settled water. Luckily i was able to do this pretty comfortably, but this is all going to change on race day without a doubt!

It was all going pretty well, for 45 minutes or so - and then it all went wrong. Earlier that morning i'd woken up with a cramp in my arch. Really painful, and no doubt a result of my previous days mammoth brick session (and lack of sufficient recovery). I've always been prone to toe cramps in cold water, but as i was in the lake last night, overtaking my last swimmer to take the lead, i got a cramp in my left calf. A show stopping, calf-clutching, face squinting cramp. I hobbled over to the edge of the lake, pulled myself out, and it was all over.

So i've learnt i'm not invincible. I can't expect to go hard on bricks, just drink a bit of water afterwards, and not suffer the consequences. I've never liked the idea of refueling after training because it feels like i'm 'wasting' the efforts - but clearly there's a reason why every other person does this except for me. I'm wrong! (husband take note, i've said it!)

I'm not sure i'll go to another session, as the lake itself wasn't half as much as a problem i was anticipating. It was great experience swimming in the rough + tumble with others, and learning how to sight, and i might try another cold swim in the wetsuit to ascertain i won't have a repeat cramping experience.

Overall though, swimming in dirty water wasn't a terrible experience. There's too much else going on to think about it too much; sighting, legs, arms, technique, breathing. It wasn't even that bad during the moments i was literally swimming through weeds (god that sounds optimistic, but hey - the whale really did die, so optimism isn't really an option. it's a necessity).

Saturday, 20 June 2009

6 weeks to go!

working from home this week has given me the grace of achieving one of last week's major goals; longer training sessions. i've been mixing it up, double dipping, and introduced a 6 day a week running circuit around my house. every week i'm going to increase the mileage until it's tri time. i've really enjoyed getting out onto this circuit everyday, and combined with the added longer sessions - this week has been an absolute pleasure!

so what's been happening this week?

monday > 3km run, 1.2km swim, 45 min spinning class
tuesday > 3km run
wed > 3km run, 1.2km swim, 10 min treadmill run, 1 hr pump class
thurs > 3km run, 45 min cycle
friday > 1.5km swim, 45 min cycle
sat > rest day
sunday > 3km run, 3 hr cycle (that's scheduled for tomorrow!)

i've *still* not gone out for any bike handling time, and my corners still remain a rather slow upright affair... am probably 10% better than last week, but with a long way to go. for my long cycle tomorrow i'm going to head out of london super early, which i'm hoping might give me more confidence with the lack of traffic... but it's all excuses really!!

in other news my swimming has been going brilliantly - loving to clock up the distance at the moment, and timed myself at 30 mins 8 seconds over 1.5kms. wasn't out of breath at the end of this, so much more room for speed!

thanks to the world of twitter, i've learnt about and booked into my first open water session at Hyde Park's Serpentine this coming week. will be the first time i wear my wetsuit in the water, swim in a murky lake, and have to sight! really looking forward to the challenge of all these things at once, will report post session.

so this week has been pretty brilliant all round, hopefully topped off by a successful fitness assessment next week (damn you calipers!) and not drowning in central London's murky waters.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

7 weeks to go!

this week in training; what's been going on?

> monday: rest
> tuesday: 25 minute run speed intervals, gym routine
> wednesday: 1km swim
> thursday: rest
> friday: 25 minute hilly fast run outside + 1/2 km swim
> saturday: 30 minute cycle + 35 minute run outside
> sunday: rest

i'm feeling as though my training sessions aren't really long enough, and this is one of my aims to change for next week. the triathlon is going to be 3 hours, so i'm going to have to get used to working hard for a much longer period of time than my current workouts, which average 45 minutes.

i didn't get a chance to work on my cornering skills, but i did make a very lame attempt at changing my rear wheel - it took 45 minutes!! apparently punctures are very common on the london tri route - so this is something i've got to work on. i'd be soooooo disappointed to be out of the race because of a little puncture!

today at the bike shop i made some exciting little purchases; i collected new pedals, toe clips (non-strap types), cycling/running glasses AND a floor pump (to make sure i'm pumping my tyres enough). i'm a sucker for new stuff.

i've also just worked out my estimated bike time for the London Tri's 40km; and it's 1 hr 28 mins. That's using my time from the previous 23 km tri and some dividing and multiplying...

am feeling super flat about this because looking at last years results that time is pretty bad! looks like i need to hit about 1 hr 15 minutes to be competitive... erg.

ok so goals for the next week:

1. longer workouts!!
2. stop making excuses, start cornering!!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

gear review: listening to music underwater!

product: Waterproof iPod Nano 3rd Gen Case iN3 H20 Audio and also H2O Audio Surge Waterproof Headphones

official marketing stuff:

how much it costs: around £80 (with the waterproof earphones, which you need to buy with it)

would i recommend it: yes for the ladies, maybe for the men

overview: first test was yesterday, which was a complete disaster. second test was today, and was so successful i'm going to partially recommend the product!

what happened:

so the first test left me so disappointed i actually abandoned by swim altogether. the ipod submerged fine, didn't get wet - brilliant. the earphones however were pretty soft over all the splashing. they also fell out my ears every three strokes. i hated the arm band - it was so big and bulky and ugly. overall bad experience.

this mornings test saw me change a few things around, and -what do you know - success! i brought along my swimming cap and used this to keep the earphones in place, and reduce the noise from the splashing - which did the trick. i mean, the earphones still aren't terribly loud, if i stop 'listening' then i struggle to hear - but i am only using one ear piece as i'm half deaf; so maybe with two ears you'd be a little better off!

also this morning i abandoned the arm band, and slipped the ipod case into my swimming costume. it did look as though i had a slightly strange growth, but at least i was able to swim freely, without the big armband. the only disadvantage to this is that this obviously wouldn't be so suitable for the men (unless you were wearing your trisuit!)

the bottom line: i haven't swum any distances for ages, and this morning i tucked my waterproof ipod into my costume, and set off for a very easy 1k swim. twenty minutes later, i'd barely noticed the time had passed - and couldn't believe my stopwatch!

the best thing about this, as opposed to other MP3 players on the market, is that you can download your podcasts and go. when i'm running i can't listen to anything but the exact right kind of music - but swimming, it's all about the podcast. hamish and andy (australian radio show) were so funny at times i had to find a way to laugh underwater.

so when was the last time you laughed underwater?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

London Tri less than eight weeks away!

This week's training was focused on a lovely weekend ride down along the English coast. It was typically raining the first day, which was incredibly hilly with two 12% inclines and one horrendous 14%. The return trip on Sunday (pic above of me about to set off) - was a beautiful sunny day, and this time i was on the right side of the hills! It was lovely being out on the seaside roads, and I managed to clock up 70kms over the two days. Here's what I got up to the rest of the week:

monday: gym routine (including a 20 minute speed run)
tuesday: nothing
wednesday: 1.5 hour cycle outside
thursday: nothing
friday: nothing (hated having a two day break!!)
saturday: 35km cycle (very hilly, took 3 hours!)
sunday: 35km cycle (on the right side of the hills today, took just over 2 hours)

Having spent so much time run + cycle focused recently, I'm going to get into the pool this week and test out my new waterproof ipod gear (can't WAIT!) It's been a couple of years since I swam 1.5 kms in the pool, so will aim to complete the distance rather than look at times (this is what i say, not what i will do).

I've also decided to delve into some extra goals over the coming weeks:

1. Learn how to corner on my bike, without slowing to a near stop (wasting lots of time in the process)

2. Buy toe clips for my bike pedals (i'm not going to buy bike shoes, so this is the best i'll get). Also need to buy some bodyglide for getting out of the wetsuit - tried it on the other day and took me about five minutes of rolling around to get out of the stupid thing!

3. Practise running after having a drink and/or eaten some refueling type stuff. Previous sprint tris have seen me remain liquid free but this Olympic is going to require some hydration/energy. during the half marathon i drank some lucazade and spent the next twenty minutes bringing it back up - so am really worried about taking liquid/food on board during the race - BUT need to get over it. lots of people say lucazade is terrible, so i need to get to the Tri store and have a look around. do feel like a bit of a tri-hard getting those hardcore energy bar/gel things... but hell, if it makes me perform better...

Can't believe it's less than eight weeks away now> brilliant!