Monday, 30 April 2012

Week 17 - The Next Level

23/04/12 - Free Run (Treadmill)

When I first saw the training plan back 6 weeks ago, I was dreading this week, I knew it was going to be a hard one, and the first session of the week was a long run. I do miss running, as I used to do a lot in last years training schedule but I need to work on other areas in my triathlon training so the running had to be cut. As this was going to be a hard week I didn't want to kill myself on the first session of the week even though I managed 9.5 miles in 90 minutes on the treadmill. I wish I could go outside and run but I've only got the time to get into the gym and then back to work.

Free run was on the cards today, I started the session at 9.5 min mile pace and when I loosed off about 3 miles I upped the speed to 8 minute mile pace. I managed to keep the heart rate relatively low, again the HR monitor has had a spike which I think is down to the machinery, as my heart rate hasn't seen 223 for years so I doubt this is right very much. My heart rate averaged out at 151 beats per minute, which is a nice T3/T4 session.

Now the sessions are getting longer I need to take on more fluids ans I ran out on mile 7, so I ran the last 2.5 miles with a dry mouth, it was pretty hot in the gym so I was sweating lots, next long run I do in the gym I'm taking 2 bottles with me.

Session Details
Duration 01 30 00
Distance 9.5 Miles
Average HR 151 BPM
Max HR 223 BPM

24/04/12 - Cycling (Spin Bike)

Session Details
Duration 02 00 00
Distance 40 Miles
Average HR 120 BPM
Max HR 172 BPM

25/04/12 - Rest Day

26/04/12 - Rest Day

27/04/12 - Cycling (Tenby Loop, Pembrokeshire)

A late evening ride was on the cards for me, it was a bit windy, but at least it wasn't raining. I was scheduled a 2 hour ride, but I ran out of time, so I had to head back home before my sons bed time.

It was a relatively flat ride, and no massive climbs and I joined some of the route for the Ironman Wales bike course, I hope one day I can race on this route in IM Wales,

This route started with a strong head wind and it effected my average speed, but I decided to try out my new Aquacell drinks system, and I must say I wasn't very pleased. I filled up the bottle, 2 chambers one with water and one with USN fuel and I think most of the water ended up all over me, I wasn't luck enough to be riding on perfect tarmac roads, all the bumps and dips helped in soaking me right through, this in turn made me cold. I'll be giving it another try with the net lids to see if its any better, otherwise its going on eBay.

I did work hard on the hills, its something I've been working on in the gym and on the spin bike, I want to try and keep the momentum going up hill, as that's where last year I saw other athletes leave me behind. It has been my worse area so I've put a lot of time into the bike this winter, I'm preparation for this triathlon season. This rid I got to a maximum heart rate of 177 BPM and averaged out at 145 BPM, the spikes are for the up hills obviously.

I did some of this route for the Go Tri race in Tenby last season, and I remember the hills, I remember the burn, but this time, it didn't hurt as much, so I must be progressing somewhere. At the start of the ride the cadence line seems to remain "sort of" straight, but as the ride gets long, I can see myself working hard, and this was because of the drop of head wind. I didn't go flat out on this ride as I've got another planned for tomorrow, a harder ride, but I still clocked in a maximum speed of 39 MPH.

Session Details
Duration 01 27 37
Distance 23.21 Miles
Average Cadence 81
Max Cadence 142
Average HR 145 BPM
Max HR 177 BPM
Average Speed 15.9 MPH
Max Speed 39.7 MPH

28/04/12 - Cycling (Freshwater West & Angle Loop, Pembrokeshire)

I got up early, as this was going to be the long ride, and when I drew back the curtain I was very happy to see it not raining, so I layered up and got out on the road. After being out for 30 minutes the heavens decided to open, and out came the rain jacket. I am definitely a fair weather cyclist, that's why I bought a  turbo trainer, but I suppose if my half Iron race is going to be completed in the rain I may as well train in it.

I decided to complete some more of the Ironman Wales route, this time hitting the coastal areas of Freshwater West and Angle. There are some great hills to get the legs working, but there is also some cracking down hills so you can get a great land speed record, even though you have to close your eyes going downhill due to the spray. I forgot my buff and my Oakley's.. Not great planning!

The climbs did make me work harder than yesterdays ride, as my heart rate hit 185 BPM in places, but the average was 133 BPM, I reckon this was also down to the cold, as I slowly started losing the sensation in my hands and feet.

Considering the weather I managed to get a top speed of 37.3 MPH, I did chicken out a few times and used the brakes, my no fear attitude to down hills is great I just hope that I don't take a tumbles soon and shatter that confidence as this is where I can gain a place or two in races. My average speed for the ride is quite low, down at 13.6 MPH, but I think this is down to the weather.. I hope it is down to the weather!

Session Details
Duration 02 05 57
Distance 28.44 Miles
Average Cadence 74
Max Cadence 185
Average HR 133 BPM
Max HR 185 BPM
Average Speed 13.6 MPH
Max Speed 37.3 MPH

29/04/12 - Rest Day

Week 17 Totals
Cycling - 91.65 Miles
Running -  9.50 Miles
Swimming - 0 Meters

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Compressport Arm Sleeves - Review

The lovely people at CompressportUK  have sent me a pair of arm sleeves to try out and and review. Compressport keep on produced top quality products for all athletes and a must for the training essentials to keep you warm this triathlon season.

As soon as you take them out of the box you can see how good the quality of these are, they are made with the athletes needs in mind. They are well fitted (They come in a number of sizes just like there other products) and are really easy to get in to. As soon as you have them on you can feel the 360 degree compression all the way from the grey band at the top of your arm, all the way to the wrist.

I always worry about over heating while training, so I have tried to put on as less layers as possible, so when I got the arm sleeves I was worried that I was going to sweat more, this meaning that I'd have to take on more liquid for my training. This is NOT the case with these, the thermo technology that goes into the arm sleeves is brilliant, it draws away the sweat from your arms and as I train in the UK you don't feel the moisture in the arms so the wind chill on your skin. On the flip side, they are are packed with UV protection up to UPF 30, so if the sun shines in the Wales, I'm sorted.

The arm sleeves wash really well, they do not smell after hard sessions, they still look like a brand new pair after a hard two months of half Ironman training. They are loaded (just like the other CS products) with anti bacterial agents to stop, germs or bad smells, as I find you need to be comfortable in your gear while training. I have worn them for long rides and run sessions under jackets and just on there own and they have kept me cool throughout the sessions. When I have started to heat up they are really easy to roll down and take off, even while wearing my Garmin watch.

The arm sleeves can be used pre, during and post session, they help aid recovery as each movement triggers the micro massage session in your arms which feels great. The compression that you feel all around your arms delays muscle fatigue as less vibration is past through your joints while your moving. You really do need to try these out. Compared to other arm sleeves on the market these are years ahead, no irritation, no bad smells, aid recovery, this goes with all compressport's gear... No other product compares.

I have been using the arm sleeves for well over two months now and I can honestly say they are a excellent bit of kit. If your thinking about getting arm sleeves then definitely think about getting a pair of these. You can get them from HERE

Thanks again Tim

Monday, 23 April 2012

Week 16 - Water Week

16/04/12 - Interval Run Session (Treadmill)

Back training with a new drive, after a recovery week last week I was keen to smash my first session back and make it a hard one. By hard one I mean get into T5 for some parts of the session. This session was all about how my legs and lungs can cope with the change of intensity in the session of 75 minutes.

It went really well the session was a mixture of 2 intervals for the 75 minutes.

5 minutes T3
15 minutes T5

It definitely broke up the treadmill session, and made it that little less boring, I know I should be outside in the light now, but I think all this training indoors is making me soft.. so much for wanting to be an Ironman.

Session Details
Duration 01 15 00
Distance 8.13 Miles
Average HR 157 BPM
Max HR 172 BPM

17/04/12 - Rest Day

18/04/12 -  Swim Session (Penlan Pool, Swansea)

Its been a while since my last swim session on the training plan so I was keen to get in the pool, and it was a longer session that the norm, only an extra 500 meters but I felt that 500 meters in the arms by the end of the session. There are normally 3 empty lanes when I turn up a the pool, but today it was rammed. All 3 lanes were full with about 4 swimmers in each so I had to go in the non lane section. I didn't really mind this as I could swim up and down the line on the bottom of the pool and practise "NOT" crossing my arms under me with each stroke. I swam 1500 meters on the line until there was space for me in a lane, so I completed the final 1000 meters (500m with fins and 500 pool buoy) so I could work on my arm technique without worrying about my legs and remembering to kick.

1500m freestyle, 500m fins, 500m pool buoy = 2500 meters

My next 2 sessions are swims so it will be early starts for me again I just hope its quieter than today.

Session Details
Duration 01 05 00
Distance 2500 meters

19/04/12 - Rest Day

20/04/12 - Swim Session (Penlan Pool, Swansea)

How different the pool was on this session to Wednesdays workout, a lane, a half pool to myself. The swimming club had the other side of the pool so I got a gob full of water every other length as the masses swam furiously up and down.

This session was lighter than the other day, 500m meters lighter, today's session was:

100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m = 2000 meters

Session Details
Duration 00 50 00
Distance 2000 meters

21/04/12 - Swim Session (Penlan Pool, Swansea)

Last swim session of the week, and the shortest too. I've really enjoyed swimming all week, even though its been early starts and cold showers.

Simple session of 4 x 400 meters (2 sets with fins, 2 without)

I was lucky enough to have a lane to myself again for this session, so I could concentrate on my arms not crossing under my body, and I think I'm starting to et a breakthrough, as I have noticed that my arms are starting to listen to my brain and keep wider so I can get a better action and less resistance in the water.

Session Details
Duration 00 45 00
Distance 1600 meters

22/04/12 - Cycling (Turbo Trainer)

Today's session was meant to be a 2 hour bike ride, but as time was so limited it ended up only being an hour turbo session. It was a quality hour but my plan says 2 hours, it should effect me to much and I'm sure I'll over train one week before I race the half Ironman (Cotswolds 113).

I can normally hit the 20 mile marker on the spin bike for an hour so I was keen to get that distance in for this session, anything over it and I would be happy.

 My heart rate stayed pretty low for this session, but it was sweating buckets in the lounge, I think it was down to a combination of my wife having the heating on and me working hard to get over the 20 mile marker. My heart rate maxed at 134 BPM and averaged out at 116BPM. My Cadence line managed to keep relatively straightish, well close together no massive spikes and no massive dips, I suppose this shows I worked the same intensity throughout the whole session.

I know I only did an hour but my legs felt great at the end of the session, I could of carried on and I even did a little practise of taking my shoes off while still riding, I'm not sure that's going to work come the tri season, as I nearly fell off and the bike was clipped into the turbo trainer.

Session Details
Duration 01 00 00
Distance 21.25 Miles
Average Cadence 82 RPM
Max Cadence 97 RPM
Average HR 116 BPM
Max HR 134 BPM
Average Speed 21.2 MPH
Max Speed 26.1 MPH

Week 16 Totals
Cycling - 21.25 Miles
Running -  8.13 Miles
Swimming - 6100 Meters

Monday, 16 April 2012

Week 15 - Regeneration Week

09/04/12 - Rest Day

10/04/12 - Free Run (Treadmill)

A simple 75 minute run in T3/T4, my legs felt great after a few days off since the long ride on Saturday. The pace for the session was only at 08.57 minute mile pace, which is a bit slow, I know I can do 7 minute mile pace for a half marathon but should I be training harder and be working in T5 most of my sessions, the joys of training in T3/T4 is that I'm not to tired to train the following day. I'm trying to follow my plan to the letter, so fingers crossed come race day I'm in perfect shape and get the best time possible.

I tried my hardest to keep in the T3 zone for the run, but for the last 10 minutes, I went off piste and pushed myself and tipped into T4. It was a good feeling knowing I've got power left in the tank after an hours run, just hope the power is there after 50 minutes of swimming and 3 hours of biking.

Session Details
Duration 01 15 00
Distance 8.35 Miles
Max HR 177 BPM
Average HR 155 BPM

11/04/12 - Interval Cycling (Spin Bike)

1 hour of interval cycling, 10 minutes standing out the saddle, 10 minutes recovery peddling in the saddle. This is a great quick workout that gets the heart rate high and the sweat running down your face.

As its recovery week, I made sure I stayed in T3 for the session, so I started low and kept the heart rate within the boundary of 147 beat per minute, but I hit this on the last interval out of the saddle, my heart rate averaged out at a very low 113 beats per minute. I'm glad this is a recovery week as that average heart rate is so low, I would class this session as a work out.

Session Details
Duration 01 00 00
Distance 8.35 Miles
Max HR147 BPM
Average HR 113 BPM

12/04/12 - Free Ride (Spin Bike)

The same set as yesterday, 10 miuntes on, 10 minutes off, just as hard just as sweaty. If anything was different to yesterdays session, it was a took it slightly easier, as I felt a little fatigued. I feel more tired this week, and its been a recovery week, than I did when I did 8 hours last week. How strange!

Its been Fawlty Towers week on the iPod for training, and people must thing I'm mad at the gym, as I'm out the saddle, with a high cadence laughing to myself at Basil and Manuel.

Session Details
Duration 01 03 00
Distance 20.00 Miles
Max HR135
Average HR 111

13/04/12 - Rest Day

14/04/12 - Rest Day

15/04/12 - Rest Day

Week 15 Totals
Cycling - 40 Miles
Running -  8.35 Miles
Swimming - 0 Meters

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

New Balance 573 Off Road Trail Trainers - Review


Thanks to Tom at S&X Media for the pair New Balance 573 off road trainers. This has been my first pair of off road shoes and all I can say is how surprised how light, comfortable, and water proof these trainers have been. When I think of off road shoes, my first thoughts are bulky, heavy, dull, boring, Wellington boot like.. these New Balance 573 are far from it.. they are an amazing off road pair of shoes.

I have used the trainers in cross country and off road half marathon races and they have performed on all levels, to a great standard. My feet stayed dry for the whole race, and I ran through some streams, bogs and ditches and the trainers repelled the mud and water and any surface water left on the shoe soon dispersed. The grip on the shoe is brilliant, I had plenty of traction throughout the race and even in the deep mud, and excess mud on the sole very quickly came off so I could climb hills with ease.

The trainers looks great, the yellow and grey detail stands out and the design of the shoe is very modern and stylish. The trainer stands out from the crowd. Although looking good is important, the most important factor is size and fitting and these New Balance 573 off road trainers fitted like a dream, I had wore the trainers a good seven or eight times before I raced and I had no blisters, no rubbing inside the shoe and no pressure points how every running shoe should be. The trainers stay tight, no slackness once I laced the trainers, which stopped any moving of my feet inside the trainers, another comfort plus. They are really easy to clean and a quick scrub with a brush and then stuff them with newspaper and the following morning they are ready to use again.

New Balance have created an excellent off road trainer in the New Balance 573 off road trainer, they are not too expensive compared to other trainers on the market and they looks and feel great on your feet. They will cope with anything you throw at them from simple cross country training to full on hardcore off road challenges. Look no further than this pair from New Balance.

You can purchase the trainers from HERE

Thanks S&M Media.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Week 14 - Its A Hard Week

02/04/12 - Rest Day

03/04/12 - Brick Session (Swansea Pool of Wales & Swansea Sea Front)

This is the first brick session that I've done that is from the pool to the road, and it went pretty well, there was some stiffness in he arms when I first started but that soon went, and as I was still wet from the pool I didn't have a chance to get on my tights so it was a cold one for me.It was great to swim in a different pool, it felt like a completely different swim, and I had to fork out for new goggles as I left my predators at home. The session was an endurance effort swim, a full 2000 meters in one hit and then straight out for the run (I did have to change first though).

I managed to complete 8 minute mile pace run, and maxed my heart rate out at 176 BPM, it was a flat run, but a cold one, so I pushed hard to get out and back as it was sushi for tea. I can see from the training plan there are more of these to come so I'm keen to get another one under my belt.

Session Details
Duration 01 30 00
2000 Meter Swim
3.79 Mile Run

04/04/12 - Rest Day

05/04/12 - Free Run (Treadmill)

A simple run today, get some simple miles in the legs, I felt strong and could have kept going, but I know I've got to do the same tomorrow too. I had to keep the session in T3 and under but I can see from the Garmin I had a spike in the graph. I don't know what that was from?

I've started wearing calf compression gear on the treadmill and quad compression on the bike, Its feels great and its definitely helping me push onto the next level of my training. Its helping me recover quicker too so I'm ready for the next days punishment.

Session Details
Duration 01 30 00
Distance 9 Miles

06/04/12 - Free Run - Interval (Treadmill)

This interval session was the same as yesterday as i completed it on the the treadmill. I decided to 15 minute mile pace and 20 minutes 8 minute mile pace. It was a great little number on the treadmill and it never got dull even though I watched homes under the hammer at the gym TV. I hope I can get out on the bike tomorrow!

Session Details
Duration 01 15 00
Distance 8 Miles

07/04/12 - Cycling (Rhosilli Bay, Swansea)

I was lucky enough to have company for this long ride, I had family friends down for the weekend so we had an excuse to get out early on the bikes. It was a lovely morning, and quiet on the roads so the road was ours all the way to the coast.

I managed to get a top speed on the bike in this session of 42 MPH, my no fear attitude to speed is still in tacked, until I fall off and I wont go above 5 mph then. I was a little disappointed to see the average speed of the ride was only 13.5 MPH. This is a little slow for my liking, but I know I can work harder and I had plenty of power left in my legs, to keep climbing the hills for home. On the flip side of that I was running low on energy and supplies (Gels, bars, fluids, etc) so I still need to work on my food strategy for the bike.

The climbs on the bike looked a lot higher than the Garmin says, but the stats never lie. I was slower than I thought I would be on the climbs , but my legs didn't give in, I could feel the burn but carried on through it. We rode some of the race course for the standard distance Mumbles race, I only did the sprint last year so when It comes to do the race this year the hill should be too much of a killer.

My heart rate averaged out at 136 BPM, which isn't to high for the endurance bike ride, but I felt great and I had plenty left in the tank, ready for the additional 16 miles on race day. I hope there are less hills on the Cotswold 113 bike route. My heart rate maxed at 169 BPM, which was for the highest climb of the day (80 meters)

It was great getting out on the road, it definitely beats the turbo and spin bike, and I cant wait for the brighter mornings so I can get out more often and longer as the sun rises earlier.

Session Details
Duration 03 11 32
Distance 43.11 Miles
Average Cadence 75
Max Cadence 145
Average HR 136 BPM
Max HR 169 BPM
Average Speed 13.5 MPH
Max Speed 42.0 MPH

08/04/12 - Rest Day

Week 14 Totals
Cycling - 43.11 Miles
Running -  20.79 Miles
Swimming - 2000 Meters

Ironman Wales 2016 - Race Report

Ive been a while writing this one.. Nearly 2 years but its still fresh in memory, like it was yesterday, so grab a cuppa as your in for a...