Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Big Week, training for Celtman/Norseman double.

Apologies for the lack of blogging recently but that does usually mean I have been up to plenty, training has to take priority and keeping focussed is key, as I was reminded by a few friends recently. If man calls you a horse call him a fool, but if two do buy yourself a saddle..or at least get sat on the bike one. :)

We have had the Big Day blog, so here is the big week, a training camp of sorts but no travelling involved. The Lake District provides all I need for the races that inspire me so as always I do my best to use it, sometimes even the weather plays ball! If not no worries, at least come race day I can welcome whatever conditions are thrown at me, knowing I have trained in worse.

Bit of background, I had a tough couple of weeks, lots on as well as training and work, a few disappointing sessions, then I got a cold the day before a race I had entered. I took a few days rest and then booked 5 days off from work. The goal was to get back on track, mainly swimming. Blair Davies  scheduled 5 swims for me (love checking training peaks for these!), I planned a recce of an English Champs fell race (Duddon) ) and wanted to get plenty of time on the bike in too. I had a trip to Dublin for a christening at the end of the week so I would get a rest during this time.

So I might schedule 2/3 weeks like this in my build up to racing Celtman and Norseman, both really ultra distance triathlons and with only 5 weeks to recover between. A week like this is pretty hard on the body, so recovery and nutrition are super important. I find CurraNZ such a help to get through sessions/weeks like this and honestly see it as key to the gains I have made this winter so far. 2 caps a couple of hours before my main session for the day seems to work wonders, for recovery and during the training itself, particularly in my experience for threshold work. I have also added some Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), Glutamine and Beta Alanine to my diet, before and after training. This has also been great for recovery as I have stepped up the training this year, thanks TrecNutrition!

First up was a 5hr day in the fells, 1800m of ascent and about 30km. Off trail on pretty rough ground, a tough start to the week but maybe best to get it out of the way :). It had everything that I love about training in the mountains, almost perfect weather and great company. The sort of session I would normally expect a bit of Doms from...

Day 2 and the first of 6 swims in 7 days. The thing I love most about Blair's coaching is the variety. Every set has different paces/recovery/focusses but I swim hard, short, long, threshold, you name it. All carefully thought out and scheduled, most importantly specific to my goals. I would like to be racing in Norway, so getting completely left behind on the swim is not an option. My sessions reflect this, but also they also allow me to recover. Today was 6x100, Max effort, with 6mins active recovery between. My Max effort are now 10secs quicker than this time last year, most importantly I am feeling stronger all the time at holding pace. The gains are still coming!

I also did a steady 50min turbo, zone2 and a short bike to spin the legs out from yesterdays efforts. Guess what, no sign of the dreaded Doms, a little heavy to start but warmed up fine. 

Day 3, 1hr30 in the pool, more Max 100's but also an aerobic set to finish. The long warm up with drills etc made up for a tough set and I felt a little tired from yesterday.

Today was also long bike day. I don't really like to just go out and plod, so had one sub-threshold 20min interval on flat/rolling planned the a challenging section with lots of hills for more of the same. It was an awesome day for riding, 5hrs in the saddle, with plenty of quality. My biking is a lot stronger than last year, good to confirm this out on the long rides. This is a classic lake district training loop, well worth a look if your after a beautiful, challenging ride without a super steep pass.

Day 4, 1hr pool, aerobic/endurance focus, 10x200, even splits, every second with pull buoy. Starting to get back into the swimming now.

The afternoon was 2.5hrs on the fells, with the focus being about 1hr, uphill at just below threshold. A weather front hit just as I reached the top, epic! It was hard to run down hill, straight into it. Lucky I had packed the extra kit, finished of with 30mins low level trail running then had a massive cup of tea and warmed back up!

Day 5, today I feel like a swimmer, 4 days on, sessions challenging but manageable and recovery great. First goal of the week complete, swimming feels back on track!

Bike today was short but steady, on the TT bike. Another route I used a lot last year, 1 short steady climb with a 10mile flat section. I will be back here for some intervals through April and May, great for tuning into flat\rolling race specific paces. Steady effort level.

One more swim to go before a rest day, but have to admit I am enjoying it now! It would be a Blair Davies special with the words hard before it though! Bring it on!

20x50 Max effort with 40secs rest, plus an aerobic set to finish. I ended up doing 25 due to a busy pool and miscount, have to admit the rest day was such an appealing thought after the session! Sorry arms!

A rest day the onto swim number seven. I had just under an hour in a 50m pool (love them!) So did 4x100  hard, 2x200 pull, 4x100 hard, 2x200 pull with a warm up and cool down. Swim was confirmed back on track!

In the evening I did 30mins tempo on the road, not far off managing a 10km pb in the 45min 12km session, must have been the CurraNZ and good Dublin air ;).

I won't bore you with a full run down of the stats but it was about 25hrs in 7 days, with plenty of swimming, quality and hills. A good solid week in the bank, best thing is I carried on into the current week feeling great, no recovery issues or niggles. A good test of the winters hard work. Thanks Curranz and TrecNutrition :) Looking forward to an easier week next week though, race season is getting closer and I cannot wait to get started! 

First up will be the awesome HighTerrain Events Winlatter Extreme Duathlon, hoping the weather allows the full 1st run course this year! Maybe see you there. :)

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