Sunday, 23 August 2009

Catching up

Hello, remember me? I know its been ages since we spoke but I hope we can pick up where we left off....

I'll try and wrap up the last few weeks into a reasonably concise post but can't promise.

In summary (good idea!) its been a solid few weeks. Getting back into consistent training has been great, albeit a shock to the washing machine!

I've been pleased with the training - particularly the bike. My plan for getting to Barcelona was to focus on the bike, developing more power, enabling me to get off the bike in better shape than Roth and therefore able to run closer to my potential. During the week, a fantastic article hit my in-box which summarised perfectly what my thinking is for Barcelona - here you go.

So, one superb bike fit session, some new bars & stem and some consistently decent rides and I'm feeling like its coming together. Ironically, the run hasn't kept up the pace (literally) but I'm confident that with more focus that this will come good.

Swim-wise, its feeling better. The new suit feels good, a session with the swim team helped me get back to focusing on a long, smooth stroke and my times vs. effort in the 50m pool are improving.

In fact, as I've been so "in the moment" and just focusing on hitting the plan, it hasn't really sunk in that I've got my second iron-distance race in only six weeks. This is a total contrast to Roth, where I was literally counting down the days & weeks and correspondingly topping-up the pressure cooker.

My whole attitude to Barcelona is different. I'm seeing it as a great opportunity to test out my development in a non-pressure environment. Roth was all about getting an iron-distance race under my belt, Barcelona is all about enjoying putting my training and training theories to test.

One of those training theories is training with power. I've been doing a lot of reading and speaking to some valid sources about adding power to my training tool-kit. This week I managed to borrow a Powertap from a local bike shop and took it on my Saturday ride. I rode the same course as last week, a pretty tough 57 miles over the North Cotswolds. There is plenty of climbing involved, and this is where I found the power data to be very useful. As I hit the gradients, you could see the numbers shoot up and knowing that I wouldn't be able to sustain that kind of output, I backed off the pedals. Using the gearing to hold the wattage at a sustainable level I climbed in far more-balanced way than my usual "crash & burn" way.

The end result of this was - a) I didn't go pop, ie hit max HR! which enabled b) a far more balanced ride which felt much more comfortable than the previous week and left me in a much better position to be able to run off the bike (if I needed to).

The total ride time was equal to the previous week, but with a lower average HR and definitely a lower RPE, and I was really pleased with how much more "intelligently" I rode.

The next challenge is to figure out how I'm going to be able to afford to buy one - which is a fiscal endurance challenge in itself!

Speak soon amigos,