Mid Winter Update: Triathlon Training

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. As the winter has decided to actually show up this year compared to years previous, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a break from training intensely and let my body rest. I took about three weeks off completely in December, got more sleep, continued stretching and didn’t care what I ate. Granted my eating considerations are different from the majority of people out there. I’m usually more concerned with making sure that I get enough calories and that I’m balancing out my diet with fruits and veggies. My focus on my break was to let any planning go and rest my mind too. If I’m being honest my guilty pleasure is Taco Bell. The value combo and upgrade the fries to a Fries Supreme is the best $5.65 CAD that I’ll ever spend and I kept going back. I can’t help it.

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My First Half Marathon: Stouffville – Angus Glen

I completed my first half marathon. Or should I say that I joined a large group of people for an organized run together. People from all over the area came to run at the same time through the same path. A community if you will and a community of like minded people doing the same thing as me. My training is done alone, early in the morning and I decided to run a half marathon which 5 years ago was not an option at all… I simply could not have run that distance.

I entered it a little last minute but was very glad that I did. It was minus 4 Celsius and sunny. It warmed up slightly as the day went on and was great to run in. The event was well organized but could have used a little more direction once inside the race kit pick up area.

I hadn’t run 21k in over a year but had done a number of 10k runs and also a bunch of 8k marches with a 65lbs pack on my back which usually take about an hour and a half. I figured that with being on my feet with the pack for the same duration as the race and also running shorter distances that I would be prepared. Well, I was right.

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Rest Week and Evaluation – Duathlon and Triathlon Training

JTF2 PreFit Pic

I’ve done four solid weeks of the JTF2 pre-selection fitness manual and it was exhausting. It’s basically a heavy duty short distance triathlon training plan.  Sub out some runs or marches for some bikes and voila… a triathlon manual with some weights. I’ve mainly stuck to the manual’s prescription. Week one was a fitness check and in week six it’s a rest week and evaluation week. As demanding as it has been my body has adapted and the volume of training doesn’t seem new anymore. In the beginning I was tired a fair bit and noticed that my recoveries took a long time. As the training progressed my recovery got shorter and my energy level started to increase and handle the new workload I put it under. Psychologically there was also an adjustment. Two-a-days aren’t easy and that is definitely true in this case when there will often be an 8k run in the morning followed by some plyometrics, sprint sets and a full upper body circuit in the afternoon. By the end of the four weeks I was feeling pretty burnt out and was physically and mentally looking for a break. Since this is week six I get a bit of a rest and a chance to see my progress. Well without further adieu here’s the progress I’ve made: Continue reading

There Aren’t Enough O’s in Smoooooth

Day and night. My training life has just been transformed. Over the last month I’ve acquired some pretty sweet gear (by my standards anyways). I picked up a 2007 Louis Garneau TT 8.8 Carbon bike, some Tri Speed Louis Garneau shoes and some Speedplay X2 pedals.

Before I go any further here’s a picture of my new rocket ship:

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To get an idea of the “before” image like a Jenny Craig infomercial here’s my old chariot:

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So yes, I used a mountain bike with some road slicks to do a duathlon last year but Continue reading

Facing East Again

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Today is the first day that I’ve seen the sun rise in almost three months. Most workouts are done before the sun even thinks about showing its face.

I’ve been battling plantar fasciitis for the last three months. The initial phase of pain in the morning is finally gone. It still gets sore but it feels like a sore worked muscle rather than the tearing/burning pain it use to be. I’ve only been biking on my trainer and swimming for the last 2.5 months. Very slowly I started to experience less pain. I’ve been rolling the bottom of my foot with a golf ball during the day, stretching the plantar tendon and calves several times per day and icing the foot once per day. A PT has been doing acupuncture with stimulation (electrodes) and some shock wave therapy.

Today is my first day back in the run game. Work out was 5 min EASY jog, 1 min walk, 5 reps. Felt good in the beginning, a little sore towards the end and as the day is going on no pain! Thursday another short jog then 7,1 on the weekend.

I actually thought my running days might be over but that probably isn’t the case.

Last week’s workout:
Rest and sleeping in.
Thursday 30 min fun ride on my trainer with my new Louis Garneau TT 8.8… Awesome
Saturday 30 min run/walk

I am a NINJA triathlete

Every morning I move in stealth (to not wake up my household) while heading from my bed to my workout. I am learning to move in silence, to hold my breathe and exhale at just the right moment, to open my gel pack without a sound, to run the tap to fill my glass without the sound of water and to open and close doors without evidence I was even there.

I am a Ninja triathlete.

4:50am the alarm goes off… Quietly. I have the alarm turned down so much I can barely hear it and it won’t disturb my wife. I get up without moving the bed and slide on my work out clothing. Not easy when it’s Lycra or a fitted Under Armour shirt and if not executed correctly it makes that “slap” sound.

Negotiate the bedroom door without waking my 11 month old. If he wakes up the workout is blown. Workout is over before it even began.

I live in a 30 yr old dojo so Continue reading

Sink or Swim – Learning to swim a Triathlon

So I’ve never been much of a swimmer. Okay I know the basics but have never done any competitions and certainly didn’t train. Now with my new triathlon endeavors I want to learn to swim. Up until 2 weeks ago I could easily do the breast stroke for a bit but could only do the front crawl for maybe 25 meters – that’s one length of the pool. After 25 meters of front crawl I was out of breathe. After 4 visits to the pool I’m swimming 50 meter lengths pretty well and do about 10 lengths with 15-30 second breaks between laps. I think my detriments stemmed from poor technique. I had three issues:

1. Panicked when I had my head underwater.
2. Had trouble breathing and definitely didn’t know what getting in to a rhythm felt like.
3. Would get tired very quickly.

Off I went to learn on my own how to swim. First I looked on the internet. I came across this great YouTube video that showed how to swim and was all about swimming without stress. The most helpful exercise was side balancing. When I did this I realized that I can kick and move forward while keeping my mouth out of the water to breathe. Knowing this helped me know that I can simply stop using my arms and take a break while still moving forward and get some air. Detriment #1: overcome.

There were two tricks that I found to really help. First was learning to breathe. This article talks about leaving your head in the water so that it pushes the water away from your face and leaves a pocket to breathe in. Check it out here.

Second trick was Thumb to Thigh. This helps create a long swim stroke and encourages follow through. Basically the stroke your arm should extend all the way so that your thumb hits your thigh before exiting the water. I say this to myself as I’m swimming. It also helps to slow things down. Detriment #2: overcome.

Apparently swim clubs train in high heart rate zones but a smart triathlete wants to be fast and exit the water with a conservative heart rate so that when you hop on the bike you’re starting from 10-20 beats per min less than you would if you were going all out. This should give you more energy and a better time on the bike which is the longest event. Check out this great article.

Next I needed a plan. I bought the book Training Plans for Multisport Athletes by Gale Bernhardt which is really awesome. It has a great recap of how to train, types of training (aerobic/anaerobic… What?), VO2 Max (What?), nutrition and other great things. One of the great things about this book is that it has plans for people without much time in the week, plans for people with an event coming up soon and also plans for people who have longer periods of time to train. I’m following the 6 weeks to an Olympic Triathlon plan and the first swim is 10 lengths of 50 meters. Hard for a newbie like me. Detriment #3: overcomING

Practice, practice, practice… Or should I say practice SMART.

With my goal of doing two Olympic tris this summer with a half ironman in the fall I’m confident that with time I’ll be able to do the 1,500 m and 1,900 m that’s required.

Weekday swims are 5:30am starts and Sunday mornings at 7:30am. I don’t swim any longer than 30 mins at a time.

Happy swimming.