Monday, March 31, 2008

Greetings fellow athletes and couch potatoes. I hope all is well with you and that, like me, you are feeling a certain lightness of being as winter begins to give way to summer and hope is once again restored to our hearts.

This weeks photo is of myself and my Dad following our Sunday bike ride. For those of you who may doubt my father’s athletic prowess, let me tell you that the man you see in the photo once cycled for the British Army, rode from Preston to Lancaster and back again the morning of his Wedding Day (when the Wedding was at 1030 am !) and, in 1956 on a steel framed, fixed gear bike, rode 4 hours 17 minutes for 100 miles. There, that wiped the smiles off your faces, eh. Anyway, riding with my Dad is always a highlight and this was no exception.

Last week was a short but productive week. Following the trauma of the arctic brick sessions with Team MK, I settled down to some solid training. I was concerned that although fit, my long runs weren’t long enough and so I rectified this by introducing a longer session to my Tring Running Club Wednesday night exertions.

This means I plough my own, lonely furrow as my club mates go about their off road relays and muddy exertions, but it’s the only way of getting a solid long run in outside of weekends which I use to concentrate on my long bike ride. So Wednesday saw a solid if uneventful 15 mile run in freezing rain with a time of 2 hours 7 minutes and an average heart rate of 135. The important thing for me was that I felt very strong and ‘in the zone’ and perfectly capable of running another ten miles or so at the same pace.

Saturday saw a long bike ride with some of the faster riders from Team MK. I’d cycled over to Newport Pagnell to meet them - which meant I’d done 23 miles before we started – and managed to stay with them for a further 50 miles before turning for home as they disappeared into the distance. I rode 83 miles all told and, although the average time of 17mph wasn’t startling, I’m convinced I’m riding better and stronger than last year. Once again, working with better cyclists will only work in my favour.

I also returned to swimming on Friday after eight days rest to try and cure a left shoulder injury which had sprung up from nowhere. Although not totally gone it is much improved and I came through my 3.2km session unscathed and happy to be back in the water.

On the injury front I’m having work on my right calf which is teetering on the brink of pulling. Dave, my IronMan mate and training partner from last year seems to have replaced Will as my injury guru of choice. That’s no reflection on Will, just that Dave does house calls and trains with me so knows me and my regime a little better.

I’m going to drop in on Will soon and let him be horrified at my right knee.

So… a shorter week (as I included Monday in last week’s training stats) but a strong one.

Tuesday: 70 minutes high cadence turbo cycling
Weds: 60 minutes bike turbo, working at heart rate below 80% of max. 2 hrs 7 minutes, 15 mile run.
Thurs: 20 minutes recovery bike ride with Fiona!
Friday: Swimming: 75 minutes broken 300m sets plus drills to 3.2km. 45 minutes pyramid bike heart rate session on the turbo. Warm up, warm down plus extended periods at 75%, 80% and 85% plus. 15 minute run immediately afterwards.
Saturday: 4 hr 34mins, 83 mile bike ride. 17 mph average, HR average 135bpm.
Sunday: 1 hour recovery cycle with my Dad. 75 minute tempo cross country run.

Total training this week (6 day period) 13.68 hours.

I know you’re itching to hear about the film quote so here’s the answer. Last week’s
Quote was:

"I have to go to the bathroom. Is that all right?"

and was spoken by Michael Corleone prior to retrieving the gun taped behind the toilet cistern and shooting dead Captain McCluskey and Virgil Solozzo. The movie was ‘The Godfather’.

Can you tell me which film this week’s exchange comes from and what use was the woodchipper put to?

You're sayin' - what're you

You're sayin' that we put in
all the money and you collect
when it pays off?

No, no. I - I'd, I'd - pay you
back the principal, and interest
- heck, I'd go - one over prime -

We're not a bank, Jerry.

Train hard, smile harder.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tri Harder

Happy Easter everyone. Hope you had a relaxing time and the chocolate eggs don't hang around your hips too long.

My main news this week is that I've not only joined Team MK (the Milton Keynes Triathlon Club) but done my first sessions with them over the easter period.

I've long realised that I need to measure myself up against stronger athletes and force myself out of my comfort zone. Well -I've certainly done that. The MK athletes are enormously strong and fit and, frankly, well out of my league. But that's exactly what I need: bootstraps to cling on to and the inspiration of others to make myself better.

I ran a two hour cross country run through the grounds of Woburn on Easter Saturday and on Easter Monday we completed a fairly monstrous brick session of 4 x 10 mile bikes interspersed with 4 x 2.2 mile runs. The course was their hilly 10 mile bike run which is a relentless up and down, highly demanding loop. The run was equally as hilly. Add in blizzards and arctic conditions and it was a formidable session.

But everyone made me welcome and I already feel a part of the club. I'm looking forward to more sessions and to being a part of Team MK's assault on IronMan Austria when 25 or so are taking part.

Funny week this week as the weather curtailed my long bike ambitions at the weekend. I'm long enough in the training tooth now to realise when I'm risking injury or illness and, where a year ago I would have foolishly rushed into the abyss, now I step back, consider my options and train safe.

That said, a shoulder injury has stopped me swimming at the moment. Following a productive session at swim therapy I had plenty of drills to work on to accentuate my body roll, my water catch and leg kick. Unfortunately, after going at them for one hard session I twisted said shoulder. So not much swimming this week.

So... my week last week was as follows:

Monday: 1 hour bike. Little ring fast cadence recovery ride. 45 mins run, mixture of half marathon and marathon pace.
Tuesday: 2 hour coaching swim session at Swim Therapy. 45 minutes run, concentrating on keeping good form during main session of hard running.
Weds: 1 hour swim, incorporating 2k plus drills. 1 hour 35 mins long run. 11.35 miles at 141 bpm average heart rate.
Thurs: 45 mins swim. Relaxed pyramids with Colin and Dave.
Fri: Rest day
Saturday: 2 hour cross country run with Team MK.
Sunday: 1 hour high cadence turbo bike session.
Monday: 4 hours 10 mile plus 2.2 mile run x 4 brick session.

Total training time (Monday to Monday) 14.81 hours.

Finally, of course you all wanted to know the film quote from a couple of weeks ago...

"I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you" was spoken by Tom Cruise (Maverick) to Val Kilmer (Iceman) in the movie Top Gun.

You knew that though, didn't you.

Here's this weeks:

"I have to go to the bathroom. Is that all right?"

Who said this, in what film and what happened when he returned from the bathroom?

Have a good week.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Long and Winding Road...

I'd spent the week calling all my cycling buddies, desperately hoping just one of them would say "yes" to a Saturday morning bike ride. You see, secretly, deep down, I know that none of them would want to ride a century and we'd end up doing another tough but do-able sixty or so.

But everyone was otherwise engaged.

Which just left me.

And my bike.

So off I plodded and six wet, windswept and lonely hours later returned sore of knee to the warmth of a Saturday lunchtime bath, my first century ride under my belt. I found it tough, I'm not going to pretend otherwise. But mental toughness is as valid a part of IronMan training as is physical fitness. There were times around the 80 mile mark when I felt like heading in, especially as by then I was looping fairly close to home. But I knew I wouldn't. For, as my mate Tom Williams said to me... "Ironmen are made in winter" :-)

I was interested in the stats as last year my problem on the bike was nutrition. My ride took six hours for 101 miles (16.83 mph average) which I'm reasonably happy with considering weather, clothing, bike set up (mudguards etc) and my average heart rate was 74% of maximum. It burned over 7,500 calories (as calculated by my Garmin computer) and to complete it I consumed approximately 2,240 calories. (Large breakfast of porridge, toast and orange juice - approx 650 cals, 4 x Torq bars at 330 cals each and 1 x SIS Go Bar at 275 cals on the ride). Using accepted wisdom that we can take on board 500 calories per hour and that 650 of my calorie intake came before I started the bike, it seems I once again underfed myself on the bike to the tune of 1405 calories. I am determined to shovel that stuff into my mouth, whether I feel I'm going to be sick or not.

In addition I consumed approximately 2.7 litres of water and 300 ml of carbo drink, making a total of 3 litres or an average of 500 ml per hour, roughly in line with my targets.

Anyway... make of that what you will. Heres that week in full:

Monday - 60 minutes Swimming drills and training.
Tuesday - 45 minutes swimming 2.5k pyramids, 45 mins easy 10k run.
Wednesday - 60 mins swimming warm up, pyramids etc, 60 minutes bike (turbo - high cadence session), 75 minutes long slow 8 mile run at Tring Running Club (low heart rate).
Thursday - complete rest day
Friday - 45 minutes swim (1km timed at roughly IronMan pace plus warm up drills and short distance work). 1 hour bike - easy local ride.
Saturday - 6 hours 101 mile bike
Sunday - 1 mile, 6 minute run just to get some life back into the legs.

Total time training this week: 13 hours 36 minutes.

Feeling good. :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Livin' in the Free World...

G'day all... and what a fine one it is too, post-storm. The heavens raged yesterday. Branches crashed, winds howled and the full power of the earth was once again on show.

Power's a strange thing, isn't it. In my second year of triathlon training I'm learning to control my power output during certain parts of my training, saving it for others. Meaning? Meaning that I guess I'm beginning to control my effort, my heart rate and my overall work rate to enable me to peak at a certain time. Looking back on last year I approached training and preparation for IronMan Austria with my usual gung ho attitude. If I'm honest, I think I peaked a month and a half too early, that I didn't manage my injuries cleverly enough and that I didn't 'train smart'.

I feel I'm training a lot smarter this year.

So what of the week past? Well, once again I've been in Manchester on business, living an itinerant life which makes it difficult to train with any degree of regularity. However, I've managed the following week:

Monday: 45 minutes swim (drills and skills)
Tuesday: 60 minutes swim (pyramid short distances)
Wednesday: 45 minutes running at medium tempo, 45 minutes swim (2km with various warms)
Thursday: 45 minutes swimming (2.5km relaxed)
Friday: complete rest day
Saturday: Long easy bike with Mark K and Slacko from Tri Talk. 70 miles in 4 hrs 15 at very low heart rate of 118bpm average followed immediately by 5.5 mile run at average pace of 8.22 minute miles (sub Ironman pace) and average heart rate of 141. Time 45 mins.

Felt a couple of tweaks in my right calf during the week so

Sunday: 2 hour country hike with Erin (eldest daughter). Really enjoyed this and felt it was good so am including it in my training.

That makes a total time of 10 hours excluding my Sunday hike.

Not bad for a busy week. And good training again.

On Saturday we went to see Neil Young at the Hammersmith Apollo. Tickets were like gold dust and justifiably so. The set went on until midnight which, for someone who had cycled 70 miles and run nearly six, was way past my bed time. I loved every minute of it though and, if you're not familiar with the Youngster's music I urge you to check it out. He's one of the most important singer songwriters still alive today (along, I guess, with Bob Dylan) with an amazing back catalogue. The set was an acoustic hour and a half with just NY on guitar/piano/organ/mouth organ... followed by a short break and then another hour plus of a heavy electric set with his band. As my New Joysey mate Craig said "Awesome, man. Awesome."

For those of you interested enough to be still reading.... "Plastics" was, of course, from 'The Graduate'. This week's quote may be a little easier:

"I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

Who said this? And in what film?

Have a good week.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ticking over...

I've been working away from home for much of the previous week which is never easy when it comes to scheduling training but I managed to keep a steady schedule of mainly running and cycling.

Monday: 60 mins swim, drills. 50 mins run, pyramid marathon pace sessions with lower pace rest periods.

Tuesday: 45 minutes swimming

Wednesday: 60 mins swimming, 200m timed reps.
60 mins cycling (off road on mountain bike... really enjoyed the change of this). 65 minutes slow run at Tring Running Club.

Thursday: Complete rest day.

Friday: 45 minutes swimming at Garstang 20m pool. 30 minutes tempo run.

Saturday: 80 minutes off road hilly run with Mark K.

And I'm afraid I decided not to risk any biking in the wind with my injury record. For once, discretion was indeed the better part of valour.

I'm away in Manchester this week but am continuing to swim and run and am feeling strong. My improved diet is paying dividends and I'm looking forward to getting on the bike for a long ride with Dave and possibly Mark on Saturday.

I couldn't find any pictures to post so I've included a gratituous poser photo of me directing Michael Parkinson on a recent AXA commercial I shot.

Each post will finish with a quote from a film... kudos to those who can name the movie...

This is from my favourite film of all time and is simpy...


Have fun, everyone...