Sunday, 22 August 2010

Only as strong as its roots...

Afternoon All, 

Just a quickie this week as busy flying around aiming to keep all my plates spinning....

A few things to share with you - all related to my current focus which is putting the plans together - both physical & non-physical for having an epic 2011. 

Training-wise - its great to be back to being a multi-sport athlete. 

I've talked about this before but I do really enjoy the feeling of being able to train well across the 3 disciplines - and then look to bring in the gym / floor work as well. 

I always said August was going to be all about my return to swimming - as this is coming true. Don't get me wrong - this hasn't been an easy return, in fact its been very difficult. Due to lack of focus, my swimming fitness & technique has completely eroded. 18 months ago, I was swimming better than ever - holding a cruise pace of 1:32/100m - now I'm struggling to hit 1:35-1:40. 

However - what I am excited about - is now looking to re-build myself into a better swimmer than I have ever been. It is these type of developmental challenges which I really relish. If I am to achieve my goal of becoming a sub-10 hour Ironman - I need to become a sub-60 min Ironman swimmer. Therefore, I need to rebuild my technique to such a standard than I can achieve this. 

Improving technique - more than absolute fitness - is my focus for the next quarter. I know my fitness (with some specific training) is good enough to complete a sub-11 hour finish - but whilst I can put a heck of lot of effort into trying to improve fitness for arguably marginal gains - if I can improve my technique in all 3 disciplines I can make step-changes in my performance. 

So - what does this look per discipline?

Swim - it means improved body position in the water. Simply put, I basically drag my legs along through the water. I need to start swimming in a more horizontal position - with my legs much higher in the water thna where they currently are. I've started to do a drill I know Brett Sutton gets his athletes to do regularly - swimming with a pull-buoy & band around the ankles - then bringing in paddles. Basically, this gets me in a horizontal position - giving me the feel for what this is like and how I can then develop the front-end catch & pull. 

These are tough sets - but really great for getting me used to swimming in a more horizontal position and are superb for developing my core strength & stability. 

Bike - I need to develop bike-power. Simple as. I need to work hard on becoming a solid time-trialist. Yes, my cycling has improved ten-fold since my last iron-distance race but I still feel I can go much further. This winter I HAVE to be disciplined enough to do power-focued turbo sessions. No excuses. 

Run - more efficiency is the goal here. The Ironman marathon doesn't scare me - I've run both of mine without walking. Its not the distance - its the pace I need to run at to hit a 3.30 Iron-marathon. I need to run more efficiently. Focus will be top-end speed with better run technique. 

So - there it is - technique, technique, technique. 

Which brings me on to my next point...

All of the above areas of development have one common physical link - the need to develop better core and lower body strength. 

Why can't I swim with my legs high in the water? 

Poor core strength - and low hip / glute strength & flexibility. 

Why can't produce my bike power? 

Poor core strength - and no glute power. 

Why can't I run a 3.30 Iron-marathon?

Poor core strength & low glute power.

Put it this way - my physio cannot believe that I have done what I have done with the lack of core & glute strength I have. 

As she eloquently puts it "for a bloke with no arse, I can't believe you managed to do all of that!". 

So - winter work will be in the gym - focusing on core & lower body. 

Plenty of lunges, single-leg work and core strength. This is going to hurt - but I need to do it - its not optional. 

I've paid lip-service to doing this type of work before but then reverted back to type and gone for a swim, bike or run instead - but this time its going to be different.... 

The TRX system has been ordered, the physio is giving me a training plan, sessions will be added into the plan. 

Swim sessions will be drills-based, turbo sessions will be stuck to, and runs will be technique-based. 

I feel like the Lee Majors TV character Steve Austin (I know I'm not that old either) - you know the one...."we can rebuild him". 

So - here we go - let the re-building commence.....

Lets hope we see the sub-10 hour opening ceremony at Roth 2011...!