I've been working on 'good form' recently. In swimming this is concentrating on steady, rhythmic cadence with a good catch of the water and keeping my arse in the air. In cycling it's my pedaling stroke, push and pull rather than up and down. In running it's concentrating on my foot strike and a correct roll thereafter, in addition to keeping my arms relaxed and my elbow angle at no more acute than 90 degrees.
I'm hoping it will give me a better balance when undertaking all three disciplines that will, in turn, lead to increased speed combined with a saving in energy. We'll see how it goes.
Yet there's another balance to be undertaken when we IM train. The balance of the disciplines themselves. I see and hear of a lot of folk spending hours in the pool and hammering away at the swim. Yet, in reality, swimming is (at least for me) less than 10% of my total IM time. Biking and running are by far the largest constituents, with biking being the most important.
Well Ironman isn't just about putting together a good bike time. It's about putting together a good bike time and being able to run a fast marathon off it. And there's a world of difference between the two. To achieve both, there is no other way than to get on the bike and ride.
Miles and miles.
I'm trying to get to a stage where I can reduce my bike time from the 5 hrs 20 mins I took in IMDE last year, yet expend less energy in doing so. I'm working on my core so I can be more productive in the aero postion and also be stronger when finally upright and on my feet. I'm also getting used to pushing a big gear and keeping my heart rate low. I think this is the key to Ironman biking. Low heartrate.
So I've decided to reduce my swim sets to, at most, three a week and focus more and more on bike and run. Even though I'm doing a fair amount of biking as it is. It's a question of balance in my training and I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.
Here's what last week looked like:
Mon 3.3km swim set
Tues 33 mile bike, 5.6 mile run
Weds 60 mile bike, 2.5 mile run
Thurs 5.6 mile run
Fri 2km swim, 30 mile bike, 5.6 mile run
Sat 63 mile bike
Sun 11.3 mile run
Bike 186 miles
Run 30.8 miles
Total training time 18.15 hours including a sports massage. That broke down into 11% swim, 61% bike and 21% run with the rest going to core and stretching.
I reckon that's a good balance.
Congratulations this week to Mark Kleanthous for completing the fabulously hard IM China in 12 hrs and 29 mins, a fantastically good time in the 36 degree heat. My Twitter friend Brian Payne had to quit after half the run but put up a great show until then. He'll live to race another day.
Erin is super excited about being selected for her school's World Challenge Expedition to Mongolia in Summer 2011. It's a huge challenge for which they have to raise £ 3,500 and will result in a month away in the land of Ghengis Khan. What an opportunity! I seem to remember we had a few trips to Chester Zoo!
Must rush as I've spent over an hour in the dentist's chair and now am off to London to record a voice over.
Train hard, play hard and make sure you get the life balance right.