Thursday, 31 May 2012

Week 21 - Heat Wave Training

21/05/12 - Rest Day

22/05/12 - Rest Day

23/05/12 - Open Water Swim (North Dock, Llanelli)

What a lovely evening to do some open water swimming, the sun was shining and the water was.. well... warmish. I was reliable told its the warmest it had been all year, so I was happy to get in and get some meters in. I've been testing out some goggles, so tonight was a mask pair, you probably cant see them from the photo above, but I'm the head with the orange swim hat on the right.

This was a great session, to get me back into the open water scene, 50 meter warm up, then then sprint 20 strokes, 10 recover, then sprint 30 strokes and 10 recovery. To finish we did zig-zag sprints, about 100 meter sprints with 30 seconds recoveries.

My arms were really heavy after this session, but its a good pain!

Session Details
Duration 01 00 00
Distance 2000m

24/05/12 - Free Run (Llansamlet, Swansea)

Its hot out there and I'm wearing black, no the best choice of colours for a long run. I have to do an hour session so I'll be looking for the shade for a break. I decided to run an old route, and then top it up with a few laps of the surrounding lake, to make up the hour. I did the 5 mile route in a time of 39 minutes, which is great, anything below the 40 minute mark and I was happy. I then continued with more full laps of the lake, which only got hotter as the shade disappeared.

I have been trying out bits of kit for my race season, different socks, different gels and today was the day for the visor, I haven't run with one before and I found it pretty good, different to a cap as the top of your head can get some cooling, and it soaked up most of the sweat, I used a CEP compression one, I know there are better brands out there to try, like "Headsweats" but before I spend y hard earned cash on an expensive cap its best to try it out first. I was pleasant surprised and I think this could be and investment for the race season. I was really please with the session, especially how hot it was, I still managed an average minute mile pace under 8, and I havent been working on speed recently, its all been about endurance ready for the Cotswolds 113.

Session Details
Duration 01 00 22
Distance 7.54 Miles
Average HR 161 BPM
Max HR 173 BPM
Average Pace 7.54
Best Pace 5.00
Calories 1089

25/05/12 - Spin Session (Gym)

This was a standard spin session, 10 minutes in, 10 minutes out, and finished with a 15 out the saddle for the line. I know this is going to help me with my climbing.

Session Details
Duration 01 15 00
Distance 25 Miles
Average HR 101 BPM
Max HR 131 BPM

26/05/12 - Free Ride (Black Mountain, South Wales)

A 05:00 wake up and off out on the bike for a tough cycle, I needed to get out and get home before the sun got to high and I burned to a crisp. I was being taken out on a new route with one of my Ironman mates so I was keen to stick with him all the way, but he just blew me away on the up hills and as we climbed the black mount he found himself waiting at the summit for some time before I got to him.

The highest point in the session was 1500 ft climb and that is where I got blown away by my Ironman mate, even though this was 3000 ft of climbing it felt far easier than the tour of Pembrokeshire, that was 6000 ft. I'm definitely beginning to get my legs used to biking and I'm in far better shape for the bike splits than ever before that part of my race let me down last year, i just hope I've done enough for this season. I have a Club time trial next week so I can gauge how quick I'm going and if its in the right direction. Maximum speed was only 36 MPH, but I didn't know the roads so I did hold back on the down hills, but next time I know where I can open up and smash some speed in. My average speed was up from my last long ride, its gone up a massive 2 MPH, its not much but I suppose its a step in the right direction.

Session Details
Duration 04 26 00
Distance 61.37 Miles
Average Speed 14.0 MPH
Max Speed 36.5 MPH
Average HR 140 BPM
Max HR 170 BPM
Average Cadence 72 RPM
Max Cadence 113 RPM

27/05/12 - Hill Run (Morriston, Swansea)

The last session of the week and it was a tough one, I wanted to do an easy flat run, but this did not happen, I ended up with a hilly hard run. I waited till late in the day for the sun to set before I went out, and it was still humid and hot! When I say hill session, I don't mean 500ft climbs, but this session was laps of the park and its just shy of 90 ft climbs

This run, got easier, I found the first lap the hardest for some reason, I needed to make sure I was out for the hour which was great as I did a long ride on Saturday and my legs were tired, but it shows I'm gaining strength in my legs.

I also needed to clock in over 6 miles as I've completed 100 miles in the week which I'm happy about as I don't often hit 100.

Session Details
Duration 01 01 34
Distance 6.68 Miles
Average Pace 9.10
Best Pace 5.35
Average HR 149 BPM
Max HR 1659 BPM

Week 21 Totals
Cycling - 86.37 Miles
Running - 14.22 Miles
Swimming - 2000 Meters

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Week 20 - I Need Some Motivation

14/05/12 - Rest Day

15/05/12 - Rest Day

16/05/12 - Brick Session (National Pool of Wales & Swansea Sea Front)

After have 2 days off this week already, I had no drive to get out for this session, but when I did finally get the Speedo Jammers on I was really keen to get into it. I decided to hit the 50 meter pool and complete a 4 x 500m set (2000 meters) and get a 60 minute run under my belt. The weather was lovely and I was keen to make the most of it.

I was lucky enough to have a lane to myself and so it was a interrupted set and and a quick change into some running gear I was out the door and on the sea front listening to my ipod picturing myself running the last 7 miles of the Ironman race.

I felt good, really good and could have quite happily kept on going on the run!

Session Details
Duration 01 40 00
Distance Swim (2000m) Run (7 Miles)

17/05/12 - Cycling (Spin Bike)

I was still feeling it a bit from last nights brick and the alarm clock went off far to early, but no pain no gain and I know how good I feel after training so I had that to look forward to for the rest of the day. Same session as the norm 10 mins T3 in the saddle, 10 mins out the saddle in T4/T5.

Session Details
Duration 01 40 00
Distance 33 Miles

18/05/12 - Free Run (Manobier, Pembrokeshire)

This was a cold, wet, misty run from the start to finish, I don't mind running in the rain, so it didn't bother me, I haven't run this route for some time, and after looking through my Garmin records, I was 23 seconds slower than the last one (Sept 11). I haven't been trying out my racers for the last couple of runs and I must say they have been brilliant. If anyone is after a new pair of trainers definitely look at Newtons.

There were some hill in this run which I remember being a lot harder to get up, but my legs seem to find the climbing a lot easier, I know this is down to the amount I have been training, but I was all compression sport geared up, so I know this helped with the muscle fatigue and kept me going harder for longer. I've got a run scheduled for tomorrow too so I hope this positive momentum keeps taking me forward. I forgot my Garmin for the training weekend so I don't have any stats for the weekends workouts, but it was good to train to how I felt and not on the watch. I did use an SIS gel on the 45 minute marker but it didn't do anything, so I'll stick with the normal GU gels I use.

The only bad thing about this run was that my lovely new yellow racers are now a grey-ish yellow now.

Session Details
Duration 01 24 00
Distance 10 Miles

19/05/12 - Free Run (Pembroke/Carew, Pembrokeshire)

Its amazing how quick the conditions can change in 24 hours, today's run was completed in lovely sunny skies, not breeze and no shade from the sun. I managed to plot a new route, one I had done in the car, but never on foot. I now know why I did it in the car, it was a slow incline all the way till the last mile, which was a sharp downhill.

It was lovely to be running in the country side, a completely urban free run, it took me back to the time I ran the Pembrokeshire half marathon, just with less hills! I managed to clock in 8 minute mile pace for the whole session, even though most of it was uphill and I did a long run the day before so I am getting some great base training on tired legs, ready for the half Iron in June.

Session Details
Duration 01 00 00
Distance 7.5 Miles

20/05/12 - Rest Day

Week 20 Totals
Cycling - 33 Miles
Running - 24.5 Miles
Swimming - 2000 Meters

Monday, 14 May 2012

Tour Of Pembrokeshire - Sportive

After the rain we have been having recently I was hoping the sun would come out for this race, It was my first sportive and I needed the good weather to help me home as I knew I would find some of the climbs difficult and the duration in the saddle the main concern as it was going to be the longest ride for me ever.

I woke up before the alarm after a good nights sleep and I sneaked downstairs for larger than normal pre-race breakfast, got dressed for the race, a quick kit check, packed the car and off we went to the start line, an hours drive.

Parked the car up at the destination, registers and got the bike ready to go, you had a window from 08:00 - 10:00 to start so I saw a group of other riders from the club and congregated with them towards the start line. The marshals scanned my timing chip and off I went.

The sun was shine, there was a cool breeze, I found a comfortable gear and off I went.

The first 25 miles was brilliant, relatively flat, no massive inclines, it gave me plenty of time to get down on the aero bars and get comfortable. As I arrived at the first aid station, there was a mass of people, more than were at the start line, I know it was a pub but surely they weren't having a beer? Soon after leaving the feed station you realise what you going into. Firstly you hit a time trial hill climb, there was no way I was stopping at the base of the hill to have my chip swiped, I carried on going, and then the burn hits you, your thighs feel the burn and this burn stayed with my to the end of the race. I have never seen so many hills in Pembrokeshire, I think the car would have struggled to get up some of these, but my achievements was not to get off and walk, well I never did all the way around the route.

I managed to average 70 RPM on the cadence front which I was really pleased about, I have an alarm on the Garmin that tells me if I drop the cadence below 70 and I heard that alarm quite a bit going up hill, but it didn't distract me I just kept on going till the end. The final half a mile was a killer, I was expecting to come back via the route we left, but no, we came through the St Davids Cathedral grounds which is all uphill. sneaky, very sneaky!

I'm still lacking in fear going down hills, I managed to get a massive 42 MPH maximum speed, which was the normal for me, I even had time to get off the aero bars and give the camera man a thumps up.

Average speed for the ride was a love 11 MPH, but this was down to the amount of climbs, I knew before the sportive that this wasn't a race, and time didn't really matter to me, my main goal for the event was to finish and finish strong, which I feel I did.

At feed station 50 miles I was so happy to get off the bike, for that 5 minute break stretch my legs and back out, get my timing chip scanned. east some soreen and welsh cakes and off I went to a massive bloody hill. I'd by lying if I said I didn't work hard, I can honestly say I haven't worked harder in any session to date, its up there with the Pembrokeshire Half Marathon, but I definitely was hurting more after this ride (2 days later). I don't think I would have completed the sportive if I had been working on my bike so much this year, It definitely showed last year i my races that I had a weak part of my races but since hitting the bike for 2 hour sessions I have come on so much. My heart rate maxed out at 189 BPM and this was thanks to the hills of Pembrokeshire and my average was 150 BPM, which is still high for an average session for me.

Overall this was a great day for me, I pushed my body to a new limit and its pushing me that step closure to my ultimate goal of Ironman status, I haven't been put off this race, I would do it again if they sort out some of the road issues as my new tyres have had a hammering. I was please with my first time over that distance and its a marker for me so the next race I need to beat this time.

(Half way = 50 Miles)

Session Details

Duration 06 46 36
Distance 76.18 Miles
Calories 2112
Average HR 150 BPM
Max HR 189 BPM
Average Speed 11.2 MPH
Max Speed 42.3 MPH
Average Cadence 70 RPM
Max Cadence 135 RPM

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Week 19 - Rest Week But Not a Rest Week

07/05/12 - Rest Day

08/05/12 - 5km Time Trial (Swansea Bay)

I missed out on the this race last year as it clashed with another race, so I was keen to race it this year. My PB was 21:21 last time so I wanted to know how far forwards or backwards I've come. Thankfully I've moved forward and I posted a 20:49. I was very please but I did run out of juice for the last 300 meters, I probably went out that little bit to fast, but I know where I need to work. Considering all my training for the half Ironman has been endurance based I wanted to know how my body took to a speed session.

I was really happy with my time in this speed race, I averaged out at 6 and half minute miles and I'm surprised my legs worked that quick since the type of training I have been doing, I even managed to get a best pace of 5.23 minute mile pace, but I wasn't going that quick for long. The big dip in the middle was the turn point, so I needed to slow down to get around the cones. This is the first time in a long time that I've also noticed my heart rate so high, I was in T6, which is a new zone for me, my heart rate went up to 191 BPM, and averaged out at 180 BPM. I know my legs are going to be stiff in the morning!

Session Details

Duration 00 20 49
Distance 3.15 Miles
Average HR 180 BPM
Max HR 191 BPM
Average Pace 6.31
Best Pace 5.23
Calories 442

09/05/12 - Interval Cycling (Spin Bike)

This was a quick 40 minutes intense session on the spin bike, I wanted to turn my legs over before the weekend and this interval pyramid session is brilliant. It is made by Audio fuel and it written by Chrissie Wellington so it must be good right?.

 The Pyramid was:

Warm Up
1 min HARD
2 min HARD
3 min HARD
4 min HARD
5 min HARD
4 min HARD
3 min HARD
2 min HARD
1 min HARD
Warm Down

This was an ideal session for me, I did the 2 x 4 minute interval out of the saddle, which made me work harder, but I'm used to the 10 minutes sets now so 4 minutes was a breeze. I got to zone T4 on the heart rate so it gave me a good work out. Rest is the key now ready for race day on Saturday.

Session Details
Duration 00 45 00
Distance 15 Miles
Average HR 133 BPM
Max HR 159 BPM

10/05/12 - Rest Day

11/05/12 - Rest Day

12/05/12 - Cycling (Tour of Pembrokeshire Sportif - 75 Miles)

See Race Report HERE

13/05/12 - Rest Day

Week 19 Totals
Cycling - 93.18 Miles
Running - 3.15 Miles
Swimming - 0 Meters

Monday, 7 May 2012

Week 18 - Half Way There & I Get A Cold

30/04/12 - Rest Day

01/05/12 - Cycling (Spin Bike)

After 2 days off it was hard to get back onto the saddle today, but If I want to get over that finish line I've got to keep on going, as as this week is the half way point I'm nearly there.

I made sure I has plenty of water and supplies, last time I did 2 hours on the spin bike, I flagged at the 1 hour 40 mark. I was loaded up with 2 bottles and a energy gel to make me last the duration of the ride, and keep riding hard till the last second.

The session was 10 minutes standing (T4/T5) and 20 minutes recovery (T2/T3) which is a great session, I have been trying my best to get into T5, as previous session I have only managed T4, so the resistance has been cranked right up and the work rate has also gone up too. The last time I did this session my maximum heart rate was 147 BPM, but this session was 181 BPM, a massive 36 BPM difference.

Session Details
Duration 02 00 00
Distance 40 Miles
Max HR181 BPM
Average HR 125 BPM

02/05/12 - Swimming (Penlan Pool, Swansea)

Today's swim session was a endurance session of 2000 meters (4 x 500 meters), there wasn't a swim session in the plan last week so this week I have to back to back sessions.

Session Details
Duration 0 45 00
Distance 2000 Meters

03/05/12 -  No Training - Illness

04/05/12 - No Training - Illness

05/05/12 - No Training - Illness

06/05/12 - Brick Session (Cycling 1 Running 2)

After having 3 days off down to sore throat and blocked nose (I put this down to the pool) it was great to get back in training. I decided to come back in gently and cut the planned session in half. 60 minutes on the bike with a 30 minute run. I thought I even try out my new Newton racing trainers and they really comfortable, I'll be using them again for my 5 km time trial on Tuesday evening.

Today's session was 10 minutes in the saddle 10 minutes out at T4/T4 work rate with a high resistance, which was great and then a 30 minute high intensity run on the treadmill.

I was lucky enough to have the gym to myself so I had control of all 3 TV's, rugby on 2 of them and music blasting out the other so it helped me get in the zone with the music and watching the rugby to distract the intensity pain. I normally do this session for 2 hours (10 min in/out the saddle) so it was a breeze doing hour, I could have kept on going, but as it was my first session back I took it easy no the duration, but kept the work rate high. I maxed my heart rate out at 167 BPM which is average for me, but a little higher than normal but I think this was down to the cold.

I wanted to give it everything when I got off the bike, so I cranked the treadmill up to 7 minute mile pace and went flat out for 8 minutes, I had no wobble in the legs, no issues at all it was a great transition from the bike. after the first 8 minutes I sat back and put it to 9 minute mile pace and then repeated to 7 till the end of the 30 minutes, and fished with a sprint to get to the 6km marker. The run session averaged out at 8 minute mile pace and I maxed my heart rate at 185 BPM. Just on the edge of T5. I plan to push past the T5 zone on Tuesday for the 5km time trial. Wish me luck!

Session Details
Duration 01 30 00
Distance 23.73 Miles
Max HR167 BPM (Bike)

Average HR 133 BPM (Bike)

Max HR185 BPM (Run)
Average HR 162 BPM (Run)

Week 18 Totals
Cycling - 60 Miles
Running -  3.73 Miles
Swimming - 2000 Meters

Friday, 4 May 2012

GU Energy Gel - Review

The lovely people at GU sent me some samples of the delicious energy gels to try out, and I must say they tasted lovely and definitely do the job. When I first read the flavours I was slightly concerned that they may be hard to swallow and digest but they are far from it.


The flavours I tested were:
  1. Tri Berry
  2. Lemon Sublime
  3. Jet Blackberry
  4. Strawberry Banana
  5. Vanilla Bean
  6. Chocolate Outrage
These don't sound like your average sports gels flavours, but I can confirm they definitely work on all levels, flavourings and taste, easy of use and most importantly instant energy. My favourite flavour of the test was the chocolate one, it was brilliant, it went down so easy, no need for water for help swallow, it was brilliant to change the favouring on your palette from the sport drink you have been using all session. Also another benefit of the chocolate flavour was that it has caffeine in it so this also gave me that additional boost to kick on during my training session.  The gel strategy I use is, If I'm out for longer than 60 minutes then I need a gel every 45 minutes to maintain the same high work rate. 

The GU Gel is very easy to carry on your runs, its one of the smallest packets on the market so I could quite easily fit 3 gels in my rear pocket on my shorts, so this was enough fuel to keep me energised for long training sessions, either running or on the bike. I found them easy to get into, no messing about with the tops, rip is straight off and easy to squeeze out unlike others on the market, even on the bike they were easy to use and no messing, so the hands stay clean and no sticky mess.

Even though it comes in a small packet its packed with 100 calories, and 20 mg of caffeine (Chocolate, Vanilla, Tri Berry only) sodium and potassium, (to replace lost electrolytes) simple carbohydrates and digestible sugars, so it is packed with the right stuff to keep you going to the end of your work out.

At the end of the day its down to personal preference with what is good for you or not but I would definitely recommend GU gels to any athlete looking for additional energy from a gel whist racing or training, these have been the best tasting gels I have used and I will continue using them as part of my race plans.

You can purchase the GU Energy Gels from HERE

Thanks Charlotte.

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...