New Forest 70.3

Just posted the pictures of the New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon! (click on the photo below or the Flickr photostream, right).

And the results are in. Finishing time 6h03 and 125th place. Swim + T1: 46min (132nd).  Bike: 3h10 (141st). T2 + Run: 2h06 (129th). Matt finished in a very creditable 6h25, especially considering his only previous tri was a sprint last year!

Overall I’m very happy with the result – I’d have taken 6hrs if offered to me beforehand. But, like most of us, I’m already looking at where I can considerably improve. If anything – on reflection – I took my running for granted, choosing to focus the middle part of this year (post-London Marathon) on cycling and swimming. Whilst this has definitely paid dividends, I dropped the ball on the second half of the run: my knee pain returned, and I just hadn’t done enough hilly long runs or brick sessions to cope with the ruthlessly difficult off-road run route in this tri. I know what I need to do for IM Switzerland! That said, this is a very tough 70.3 and having completed it in target time I’m confident in moving forward with winter training and 2010.

Half Iron 016A

Big thanks to the organisers, the marshalls and the venues. This is a fantastic event and is a must for any triathlete. 2010 races can be found here: http://www.racenewforest.co.uk/

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Training diary: weeks 1 & 2

I wanted to add my training plan and diary – in the build up to September’s 70.3 – as an embedded feature on the Training Plans tab. Sadly I’m having issues with this function as my site is WordPress.com hosted, and the ‘help’ pages and comments haven’t actually helped at all! Instead, I’m just going to periodically post my training exploits for the 10 weeks to the New Forest Tri.

So, for the time being – in a wholly less dynamic format – here’s weeks 1 and 2:

Week 1 (w/c Sunday 12th July)

Sun: SWIM (40 mins, Southbourne beach); Mon: RUN (1hr steady); Tue: BIKE (2hrs inc sprint intervals); Wed: SWIM (2.5k, London Fields Lido); Thu am: RUN (12 x 300m @ 10K pace / 2 mins rec); Thu pm: GYM (core workout + upper body weights); Fri: SWIM (1hr, SFT coaching inc drills and lengths); Sat: BIKE (62 miles, Hell of the Ashdown route).

Week 2 (w/c Sunday 19th July)

Sun: Rest day; Mon: RUN (1hr steady); Tue am: SWIM (1hr, drills/technique work); Tue pm: RUN (5 x 1k @ 10k pace); Wed: RUN (1hr steady); Thu am: SWIM (3k, Clissold Leisure Centre); Thu pm: RUN (25mins tempo @ 10k pace + 10 x 300m @ 10k pace / 2mins rec); Fri: RUN (1hr steady); Sat: BIKE (70 miles, North London/Herts)

Notes from the pool

In search of lost time, or Swim for Tri session three

I made a mistake: after session two with Swim for Tri, I didn’t get back in the pool for four weeks. Big mistake. Okay, I ran the London Marathon, I recovered from the London Marathon, I moved house, I was busy with work, I needed bike time ahead of a series of sportives…  Maybe – after the quick success found in sessions one and two, the rapid growth in confidence, the comfort in bilateral breathing, the lowered stroke count – maybe I was over-confident. Or maybe I just under-estimated the work to be done in the pool.

Session three was a refresher. Warm up, rotation and extension drills, then the introduction of some new ‘catch up’ drills for timing. But by the end I just didn’t feel good like before. Where had the confidence gone? And – more importantly – what was I going to do about it?

Enter Clissold Leisure Centre.

Clissold Leisure Centre

Lottery funded, and playing a supporting role in the London Olympics, it’s a cracking facility in Stoke Newington, North London. Pool membership is just £26 per month unlimited usage.

I’ve committed to 3 to 4 swim sessions a week now – no messing around – and this is where I’m going to practise. As Dan Bullock of Swim for Tri says: you have to practise regularly, do drills regularly, avoid time lost through re-learning the movements, regaining feel for the water. The muscles need to learn how to execute the stroke and get used to the additional workload. Dan recommends shorter but more frequent sessions to accomplish this; minimise the time between sessions to maximise muscle memory.

I swam 2k today in around 45 minutes – swimming easy, not pushing it, in a crowded pool – with a stroke count typically 18 per 25m length. I’ve got the feel back for the water. I’m breathing bilaterally all the time (something I wasn’t doing before).

The clock is ticking to 1.5k in the London Triathlon, 1.9k in the New Forest 70.3, and likely 2 x 1-hour stints in the English Channel Team Relay.

The question is: can I make up for those lost four weeks?