Monthly Archives: June 2013
I went along to the first race of the Midweek MTB Madness series at Haigh Hall in Wigan last week. I really enjoy mixing up my cycling with some MTB and I did 3 of these events last year and they are very well ran and have a good atmosphere. In all the events I entered last year, my best result was 17th. This year I finished 10th in the race, gutted after having a puncture on the final lap and having to yield the lead. The turbo sessions and weekend long rides have obviously crossed over to some great MTB fitness. I discussed the cross over both disciplines in an early post here, but I was happy to see such an improvement to get my within touching distance of that prize money!
I toyed with the idea of doing an Aquathon down at Salford Quays, organised by Manchester Triathlon Club, but it was maybe a blessing in disguise to not race on the receiving knee. My coach Paul did well and finished 2nd so it was good to see him in action.
My turbo sessions are a good starting point to see the benefits it has for mountain biking. MTB events typically have short, harsh climbs, and the most extended of climbs are never too ardour compared to something like Rivington Pike! Here are my regular turbo drills:
3 x 10min hard
6 x 5min hard
10 x 2 min hard
20 x 1min hard
I spread these out over the 3 turbo session I do each week. Obviously the fitness levels are raised from these, but also mentally I could work out the each of these mountain bike hills were no more than any of my turbo drills. If I can go hard at home for 10mins I can do this on the mountain bike. What goes up must come down so there is a nice roll at the end which corresponds to my rest period on the turbo session.
I went back down to the second race of the series and ended up 4th, pipped at the post in a sprint finish for that final podium spot. I am quite good at motivating myself, but there is no real practice or training session you can do that replicates that pre-race feeling or pushes you enough for that dash to the line. I love it.
Here’s a closer look at the sessions I’ve been doing with my swim training.
I have continued to work hard in the pool. Twice a week in the pool has recently progressed to the Open Water now the weather has made it possible to have a purposeful workout rather than a war of survival in the chill.
In the pool I was working on Endurance and Speed in two separate session. Enduarnace I was going 5 x 400m off 8mins and then later in the week working off varying speed sets:
10 x 200m off 4min
20 x 100m off 2min
10 x 50m off 1min
It’s nice to see these efforts have been converted into progress too. On May 7th I did a 3, 800m time trial in 75min 26sec and then backed that up on June 7th with 70min 11sec. Some great numbers to reflect on there and head to the open water.
As this is my first ever time in a wetsuit & my first ever time in open water, I am slowly building similarly to when I took up pool swimming all those months ago. I began with a session of just 35mins and then a session of 50mins and this week have done a 65min session. Just time in the water and getting used to the slight differences in technique between pool and open water. Most noticeably, the buoyancy of the wetsuit in the open water was more than I thought. I was warmer than I thought. I only really kicked when I could feel my feet and legs getting chilly just to keep the blood moving. It really is just a focus on making sure the hands are passing the thighs, staying on track and getting more adept to the feeling of going from horizontal to upright at the end of each session and getting that wetsuit down and off quickly.
The guys down at uSwim on Wednesday evenings (Dock 9 Salford Quays from 5:30pm) are very welcoming and it’s a really nice atmosphere. Coffee and a cake afterwards, or even a massage.
Going back a year when I was doing a 400m pool swim flat out at 9min 10sec I am delighted with my progress in 10 months on my swimming. This is massively credited down to my coach Paul who set me these drills and has kept me motivated with the challenges these time and distances bring. Although a wetsuit hickey was an amateur error. Get yourself some body glide!
Firstly I bought this book on a whim, as a last resort almost, clutching at straws. I had become more and more disillusioned with my absence from running I thought I may as well read about it while I’m taking an extended break. Chi Running is quite an old book, first published in 2004, so I’m not stumbling on something too ground-breaking here. It has genuinely helped I think. There are a lot of principles we can take from Chi and put into our running, perhaps the book goes into slightly too much detail for the majority of us, but I felt I gained a few lessons in just to reset myself back to running.
Returning from an 8 week absence was always going to be a slow job for me, slowly building back up the miles was something I was happy to do and now I would spend those early short miles working on a new technique. More lean, better posture and hopefully all as a means to run injury free.
I feel I am not yet back to 100% with my ITB, but it has become manageable. Cold mornings, prolonged sitting and walking in shoes always makes me aware there is a historical problem down there, just to the left a little.
220 Triathlon featured Chi Running in a recent edition when looking at other running forms.
Download and have a read here, or buy the book – it was only a fiver.
I’ve just completed a block of 4 x 6 mile runs and have come through relatively unscaved. This technique does need work though, and won’t be achieved in your first session. I also punctuated this technique change with a new pair of running shoes. I went back to Nike – they came with a free placebo affect!