Winter 2012 Training Plans and Goals for 2013

With Tour de Bowness and the Kelowna Apple Triathlon behind me, my Road Racing and Triathlon seasons have come to an end. I made it through the season in relatively one piece. I had to deal with a bit of an arch injury after Fast Trax 30km, left some skin on the Crit course at TdB, and have picked up a slight cough that I haven’t been able to shake since Edmonton ITU but other than that feel pretty good right now.

With the temperature starting to drop, only Cyclocross season remains. I have really mixed feelings about CX right now. It seems like it is going to be absolute blast, but I’ve crashed fairly hard on every CX ride I’ve been on to this point, so if I can end that trend I’ll be much more thrilled about the sport. So far I have 3 races in mind, the Kettle Cross Enduro, School of Cross, and Hop N’ Hurl. I plan on really only tapering for the first race as it will be quite a long solo effort. After the last cross race of the season, and when the snow hits the ground for good, I plan on taking a hard rest week to give the body a bit of a chance to recover.

Below I’ve attempted to outline my basic goals for next year’s race season.

Running

As of the first week in September I will be back to training with the Triathlon club full time as I am required to coach Tuesday and Friday evenings and will being participating in our club’s swims on Mondays and Thursdays. One of the big goals I have for next year is to complete the Grizzly Ultra Marathon in October 2013. The race consists of  a 50km trail run with 1 691m of elevation gain(OUCH!). I’ve talked with Jack from Fast Trax, who is the head coach of a pretty hardcore Ultra running club in Edmonton, and he’s built me a modified training plan based on what his racers normally do. I made it clear that I only have time to run at maximum four times per week, and not the 7-9 that his crazy athletes do. For now he has me on a Half-Marathon speed program which I intend to begin with the first week in September. My long term goal is to be able to go sub 1:29 at Edmonton Police Half-Marathon which means being able to run below 4:13min/km for the duration of the race. After completing this race in April, I will rest up and begin increasing the duration of my base and long runs towards the longer distances I need in order to do the Grizzly.

The training plan looks something like this:

Tuesday – Base Run < 60 minutes

Wednesday – Intervals or Tempo Run

Friday – Base Run < 60 minutes

Saturday or Sunday – Long Slow Run or Intervals

Since I really neglected my run near the latter half of the summer, averaging about 12km/week, I plan on getting my distance back up to around 25km/week and then will increase the volume slowly through September and October as biking season ends and my legs are more likely to survive  the 40+km/week the plan calls for.

Triathlon

I am not completely sure what my plans are for Triathlon next year. I am considering the move to longer course racing. I think I have the ability to race a Half-Ironman in a reasonable time. I am considering racing either Calgary 70.3 or Great White North however I cannot afford to do both. I am also considering the possibility of doing the Kelowna Apple again. I have a score to settle with that race. I feel with consistent off-season swimming, biking, and the run plan I intend to do, I will be fairly strong coming in to next year.

In terms of swimming, I’d like to crack the 30 minute barrier for the 1500m open swim. My best time this year was 31:40 at Edmonton ITU without a wetsuit. This takes a combination of sighting and fitness, which I think should be well within reach next year by swimming twice a week regularly through the Winter. This also means getting my race pace under 2:00min/100m. Without consistent summer training I believe I have gotten it down to somewhere around 2:05min/100m. Blazing fast, I know.

Bike Racing

I plan on hitting bike racing hard next year starting with Velocity Stage Race, Pidgin Lake Road Race, Devon Bikefest, Banff Bikefest or Rundle Mountain Stage Race, and then finally Superweek in Calgary if I’m not frazzled from all of the other racing I’ve done to that point. Ideally I hope to upgrade into Category 4 next year. Another Fall/Winter of hard work on the spin bikes plus hitting bike season earlier should enable me to score the remaining 20 points I need to make the jump fairly early in the season.

Fall/Winter Training Schedule

Monday – Core 1 hour, Swim 1.5 hours

Tuesday – Run 1 hour, Bike 1 hour

Wednesday – Run 1 hour

Thursday – Core 1 hour, Swim 1.5 hours

Friday – Run 1 hour, Bike 1 Hour

Saturday – 2-3 hours of biking/running or Off

Sunday – 2-3 hours of biking/running

Total: 12 – 16 Hours

Or, subtracting for about 30 missed workouts due to resting, holidays, school, social life I should log somewhere between 325 – 475 hours of training during the school year. Since the beginning of April I’ve logged 185 hours not including swimming which I suspect would push the total to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 225 hours. That also includes some pretty hard race tapers, and a 2 week dead zone where I did virtually nothing in July after Edmonton ITU.

Great Speed Swim Workout

With my upcoming race on Saturday morning, I decided to give my legs a break from the regular Thursday night pounding that hills with ERTC inflicted on them. Instead I went to our Tri club’s swim practise and was treated to a great workout by our coach Mike. It provided a good combination of pacing work, speed, and endurance all mixed into one package. I found this to be a lot of fun and am writing about this as much for the 10 people that might read this as for archiving this workout so I don’t forget.

The distance worked out to 2.2km and I finished it in around 90 minutes. I consider myself an “advanced beginner”.

Warm-up:

3x: 100m easy free style, 25m backstroke

+ 25m of back kick to get back to the start

Main Set 1(Hard Kick, Race Pace):

6x: 25m of kick at 40 seconds, 50m of freestyle on 1 minute, 30 seconds rest

Main Set 2(Race Pace – 10 seconds, Race Pace):

1x: 50m on 1:10, 50m on 1:00

1x: 100m on 2:20, 100m on 2:00

1x: 150m on 3:30, 150m on 3:00

Main Set 3(Active Recovery, Race Pace, AR, Above RP, AR, 2 x All Out):

100m on 2:30, 100m on 2:00, 100m on 3:00, 1oom on 1:50, 100m on 3:00, 50m on 50s, 50m on 50s

Cool Down:

100m easy free style

Notes:

-This workout uses speeds I am comfortable with where my race pace is approximately 2:00/100m. Based on that time you can adjust the workout to fit your own race pace speed.

-If you need more distance, tack it onto the 3rd Main Set

-On the 2nd and 3rd sets I worked on pacing myself so I arrived exactly at the allotted time which allowed me to practise pacing and also made for 2 sets of 600m of consecutive swimming

Coronation Triathlon

Well, today I officially became a triathlete. I also found out that you can do all of the brick’s, mini-tri’s and training you want, but nothing compares to the overall hurt that you experience in a real triathlon.

The swim was about what I expected it to be. I actually did a pretty good job of predicting my overall time and got seeded with a group of people who were all pretty close in terms of speed. Our lane had no real issues with passing or turning. One really annoying feature of Peter Hemming way pool that I discovered really quickly is that it lacks the little lip around the edge of the pool. While this really has no affect on you if you can flip turn, I cannot and it made grabbing onto the wall really tricky to do my side turns. There were probably about 4 or 5 really terrible turns that I had probably cost me a couple of seconds and some wasted effort.

The swim itself wasn’t bad, I felt I paced myself pretty well and made sure that I didn’t blow up. I did get the light headed feeling that I get when I really push my distance at high pace. It’s almost like a strong head ache, but I’ve had this before so I didn’t panic. I got out of the pool after swimming my 1000m and felt horrendously bad. This being the second time I’d swam 1000m in my life after doing 100m repeats and 400m time trials for most of my most recent training it was definitely a bit of a shock. I think it was more that I hadn’t really experience the feeling of swimming hard, or that long, then pulling myself out of the pool and sprinting for T1.

My transition was surprisingly fast. I got out of the pool about half a length behind the other 2 faster guys in my lane who said they had some major race experience and beat them onto the bike course. While I didn’t practise my transitions before hand, I really spent some time and thought about what I was going to do and laid my gear out pretty well. The toughest thing to simulate is the feeling of having shaky arms from the swim and feeling like you are going to pass out/vomit. Also, getting my tri-top on was another funny scene to watch. It’s tough to do when you are soaking wet.

The bike course was fairly tough. On the slight down hill heading towards the river, there was about a 20km/h headwind which really kills some of your momentum. There was one spot where the shelter was really good and the course got a bit steeper so I really pushed hard to get up near 47km/h ish. It was surprising how many people were not taking race lines, people were pretty much everywhere but on the fastest path through the course. This worked out really well for me as I didn’t have to deal with getting around people who were in the race line. The uphill was tough to gauge. It was in that awkward spot between a hill climb and a gradual slope so you really had to work hard to find the right effort/gear to climb fast but not waste energy. Also, it felt pretty sweet pacing people with race wheels and aero bikes and aero helmets on my entry level road biking Cannondale.

Other than the feeling of T1, the run was the hardest part and definitely hurt a lot as to be expected. I was familiar with the rubbery feeling that accompanies changing from the bike to run was from all of the brick sessions I’d done. But for some reason I had gotten really tight on the front-outside of my leg between my knee and my ankle. I have felt the feeling before when running on a sloped highway so maybe the strange elevations and angles of the roads and paths caused it. It really felt like the limiting factor in my run. I was going about as fast as possible without it exploding in pain. That being said I was still around ~165bpm average on the heart rate and was still going fairly fast. The only flat part of the course was the last 1.5km.  I started feeling a bit stronger and the pain in my leg either went down or adrenalin kicked in and I was able to lay down some sub 4min/km for the last little bit. I sprinted it in to finish the race off, I think people thought I was dogging it and then picked it up at the end when really my last 1km was a sprint in comparison to most of the people I passed.

Official Splits(with transitions)

1:40:29 Derek DOWLING Edmonton 7/26   M2029 231 
Swim: 113th   21:56 
Bike 36th   47:28 32.9km/h (includes t1 and t2)        
Run: 22nd   31:06  3:54min/km

Takeaways

-Need to do some more distance work in the swim

-Once my tri bike shoes come, I need to practise the flying mount. Running down pavement in carbon soled shoes is both expensive and looks really dumb.

-There is definitely value to taping gels to the top tube of your bike, it’s hard to get at them from the side pockets of my vest

-Power Gel’s taste about 100x better than GU’s

-Need to get out of the shoes on the bike quicker, could have had a train wreck when I came flying up to the dismount line and wasted time

-Need to drink more on the bike, felt pretty dehydrated going into the run

-Need to run more, I’ve been neglecting it

-Need to brick off of road rides more, it’s a lot different than bricking off a spin bike

Also, based on my Garmin which is pretty accurate, the course was short by about 1.9km on the bike and about 0.7km on the run. The difference between 7th place and an age group podium finish was about the difference between my swim time and the average of our age group.

Latest Swim TT

So today I did another 400m swim TT. My 100m splits were approximately:

1:49,1:44,1:39,1:30

For a grand total of 6:42. This absolutely demolishes my last PB in a 25m which was right around 8:32. Great to see the swim work continue to pay off. The big take away from both of my most recent swim TT’s is pacing. Instead of coming out in the first 100m like a bat out of hell, start fast but relaxed and gradually crank up the intensity as you near your goal. Ideally it would be best to swim the whole thing equally at threshold, but I still need to practise something like that before I try it in a race.

Peak Week and Other Race Plans

Spring has sprung, school is out for the summer, and I have been training like crazy. Since my schedule has stabilized I have been moving towards approximately 12-14 hours a week of training with a schedule of:

Mon: Long Run

Tuesday: Morning Swim, Night 4x5km bike tt’s

Wednesday: Open, but normally a recovery ride

Thursday: Hill Night on the Bike

Friday: Morning Run Intervals, Night open

Saturday: Medium Distance Ride(~100km)

Sunday: Long Ride (120+km)

Coronation is fast approaching and I am starting to feel like I’m getting into race form. My legs are constantly sore, a bit fatigued, and it will be nice to take a couple of days to rest them up. Today in the pool I did both a 400m TT and a 200m TT. These are both great for pushing race pace and are made up a great workout to peak off of. The catch was I decided to use the Wetronome to determine the approximate pacing I would use.

In the last TT’s I completed, I swam a 8:28 400m, and a 4:02 200m. This worked out to a Critical Swim Speed of 2:13/100m. Since then I have continued to work on technique and have spent a lot of time doing 50m and 100m repeats well above the 2:13/100m pace. While it was hard to see improvement as I was doing these sets, in both time trials I felt much more comfortable pushing the pace and was able to hold an elevated perceived effort for much longer than I normally could. After examining the splits from my last 400m TT, it was quite obvious that I was really inconsistent and came out and swam my first 50m in 52 seconds, whereas my second last 50m was 1:09, not ideal for distance swimming. This time Stefan, who’s been acting as a swim coach for me, decided to put me on a 1:02/100m pace. In combination with this consistency and intervals, I was able to swim an 8:11 – 400m and a 3:58 – 200m which are both PB’s. On top of this I have dropped my CSS time by 5 seconds to 2:06/100m meaning I should be able to hold this pace on race day for great distances without faltering. It turns out that my last test results were on April 17th, so I managed to make this much of an improvement in a month which is awesome.

My goal is to swim 1000m in under 21:00 at Coronation. It will be fast, but I think achievable if I am careful about pacing.

In other news, I have been attempting to get my Summer race plans all sorted out. This is the tentative updated version:

May 27th – Coronation (Sort of Olympic Distance)

June 16th – Fast Trax 30k Ultra (Trail Run)

June 23-24 – Devon Grand Prix (Bike Race)

July 7th, Edmonton ITU (Olympic Tri)

August 3-6th, Tour de Bowness (Bike Race)

August 18th – Kelowna Apple Triathlon (Olympic Tri)

September 23rd  – St Albert Fall Challenge (Half-Marathon) (Optional)

After this point, I hope to throw in a couple of Cyclocross races as well. It’s going to be a busy but fun summer of all kinds of racing I think! Hopefully I survive.

 

The Swim to Coronation

So after taking a 6 week hiatus from swimming in early January because I completely messed up my shoulder, I’ve completed my physio and am back in the pool. I’ve essentially had to restart from scratch as my swimming endurance has all but disappeared. To make matters more interesting, I’ve got my first Triathlon in 12 weeks and am currently trying to balance building endurance and strength while not re injuring my shoulder.

My physio, who was so awesome, started me out at 300m of total swimming for the first Monday day and said I could move up to 500m by Friday through 10 x 50m. From there she said I was allowed to either increase the distance per set or the total number of sets, but not both. As well, every 4th week I need to crank back my total distance by 30-40%. What this leaves me with is 9 build weeks and 3 down weeks to get race ready enough not to make a fool of myself.

As well, I am using the Swim Smooth website as the basis of my technique. I read the Total Immersion book but found that it has too much focus on drills and caused me to really overglide in my stroke which partially caused my shoulder injury. That being said, it is definitely a good place to start for brand new swimmers.

Starting tomorrow I am going to be working with a club member at the Kinsmen centre bright and early at 7:30am. He is a much better swimmer than I and has agreed to help me with my form through drills, wetronome work, and by filming my stroke as well. He has also suggested that I move up to 3 swims a week which I will probably do as I can make smaller jumps in total distance while still building a good swimming base. I will probably do Monday, Thursday, Saturday swims, but am going to do a check up with my physio to make sure everything is all  good before I crank up the volume.

Here is sort of what I made up for myself to get my distance and volume up. It assumes you have a decent swimming base and can swim about 200m comfortably in one set. You could probably follow this as a crash course to get yourself ready for a Sprint Distance tri. I haven’t incorporated any interval or real speed work for this plan as I’ll be honest I don’t really have knowledge of how to incorporate it into a swim workout like I could running or biking. Any ways, here it is:

Week Date Distance Warmup Distance Other Main Set Distance Sets Cool Down
1 – Base 1 300 50 6
500 50 10
2 500 50 100 4 50
600 50 100 5 50
3 12-Mar 700 50 150 4 50
700 50 200 3 50
4 – Down 19-Mar 500 50 100 4 50
550 50 150 3 50
5 – Base 2 26-Mar 800 100 200 3 100
1000 100 200 4 100
6 2-Apr 1000 100 250 3 100
1100 100 300 3 100
7 9-Apr 1350 100 300 4 50
1300 150 350 3 100
8 – Down 16-Apr 900 50 100 8 50
900 50 200 4 50
9 – Build 1 23-Apr 1500 100 200, 300 400 2 100
1600 100 200, 300 400 2 200, 100
10 30-Apr 1600 100 150, 250 500 2 100
1700 100 200, 300 500 2 100
11 – Down 7-May 1200 100 300 3 100
1200 100 200 400 2 100
12 – Peak 1 14-May 1700 100 200, 300, 400 600 1 100
1800 100 200, 300, 400 700 1 100
13 – Taper 21-May 1200 100 400 2 100
1100 100 200 300 2 100
Coronation 27-May 1000