Initial Training log

In order to get started at the beginning of this year, I first completed a 10-Week Schedule designed to build a solid base of aerobic fitness in all three sports. Details of each workout are listed below in reverse order. My swim workouts included some tempo and technique training from the start and I built some tempo training into the bike and run sessions after the first few weeks. This schedule was an adapted version of the Olympic Tri programme made available by the Ottawa Triathlon Club, so my thanks to them! Every fourth week was a low-intensity rest week, and I had one rest day per week. I also did some basic core strength training and stretching throughout the 10 weeks.

Overall, I think that this programme was successful for me – at least I made major gains in technique and confidence. One area in which I was not successful was working within appropriate heart-rate zones and pacing – I aimed not to over train and have fortunately managed not to incur injury, but I now realize that I often pushed the pace too much when I should have been working at a lower speed to build an aerobic base: were I to keep going like I was, I would burn out.

I’m now working with a coach and learning a great deal in the process. For anyone who has a tendency to want to push too hard, or who is simply inexperienced in training for endurance sports over a full season (or more), I would now say that some coaching is essential (whether individually or as part of a club). If you train too long and hard, or improperly, you will get farther away from your ultimate goals and risk injury.

Given that the training programme designed by my coach is copyrighted, I won’t be posting it or full details of my training results here any longer. But I will be giving regular training updates on my blog in the form of posts.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

51:30-min. run, 11.3km. For this last training session of my 10-week aerobic base programme I backed off the overall time of this run a bit (it was scheduled for 90 mins). After these past two weeks my legs have had a solid workout and I didn’t want to overdo things heading into my new programme this coming week – I also have a 10k race coming up next Saturday and thought I should give myself a bit more rest moving towards that. My plan today was to go out relatively (but not too) quickly in the first 5kms, then back off that pace a bit more for the back half of the run. I was pleased with how this went – my pacing for both halves (which I did just by feel, as my GPS was in my pocket) was quite consistent, which has not always been the case. I felt relaxed throughout, especially when I slowed the pace at the 5km point, resulting in a relaxed but respectable time for the 10km distance (45:19).

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

123:59-min. bike, 60.82km. Today was a beautiful day, sunny, warm (up to 20 degrees), and perfect for a longer St Patrick’s ride. After the strength work in the cycle class on Thursday, I just took today easy on flats (with the odd gradual hill). I kept a steady pace at just over 30kms/h for the first 40k (1:19:35), including some traffic stops, then backed off just a couple of seconds per km for the rest of the ride. At the 51km mark I paused the workout for 30-40 minutes to stop into the bike shop to get my gear shifter adjusted and pick up some new padded shorts. I then just had a relaxed 10km ride back into town. When heading into the wind I had to work hard at times today, but otherwise I felt I just worked at a steady relaxed pace. Overall I felt strong and stable and concentrated on really keeping my upper body relaxed while riding.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Rest Day

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

60:00-min. indoor cycle class with Katja. Good workout: Frequenz, Hills long and short, and more Frequenz. I feel like the hill sections of these classes have really been building strength.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

45:00-min. warm-up swim 1500m + 60:00-min. swim technique session with Erica + swim test: the CSS swim test went reasonably well, with the 400m in 6:05 and then after 3 minutes rest the 100m in 1:21. I’ve got a lot to work on technique wise in the pool, but we’ll take it one step at a time.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

60:00-min. run training group at track with Katja. We warmed up, stretched, did some technique and strength drills, then did stairs (short steps and long steps) with 1km runs in between at half-marathon pace. I went out too fast in the first run unintentionally (4:10/km), but then calmed down after this: I find it very difficult to judge my run pace by feel. I still have a long way to go on technique but hope this will come.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

70:00-min. swim, 3.3km: 1×250 warm-up, 1×1500, 1×250, 5×100, 2×200, 1×100 sprint, 300 drills (25 kick on front or side then 25 normal swim). I felt really tired in the pool today. I didn’t feel badly throughout the day after the bike-run workout yesterday, but I also didn’t sleep well last night as NP was up a lot. The 1500 felt okay, especially once I settled into it, but I was lacking oomph overall. After I hit the 3000m mark, I did drills for the last few minutes, so my distance was a bit down from the last 70-minute session. On the positive side, I tried to work hard on technique throughout the whole swim, particularly arm entry (distance from head and depth/glide) and body roll. I found that incorporating bilateral breathing steadily really helps to bring a better feeling on the left-hand side, but I did find the bilateral hard to maintain throughout the 1500 – as I worked harder, I wanted a breath more than every third stroke. I’m sure this will come though.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bike-Run Session = 62:58-min. bike 31.79km followed immediately by 48:02-min. run 10.12km. This was the first session where I’ve run off the bike and I was reasonably pleased with it as such. I felt great on the bike today: my average pace was 1:59/km, but this includes some slow sections in traffic and three outright stops at traffic lights, so I was moving more quickly than this and had a lot of energy at the end of the hour. The run time for the 10km mark wasn’t terrible: 47:24. But I found the first half of the run today a bit of a mental challenge – I felt like I was running on jelly for the first km, but then settled in reasonably well.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Core exercises and stretching. Tomorrow I’m combining my shorter bike and run sessions into a brick training session (bike followed immediately by run), so today I concentrated on stretching and basic strength exercises. This is something I’m going to be working properly into my schedule from next week.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Rest Day

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

105:04-min. run, 21.27km: this was a decent run. I slept terribly last night, so wasn’t expecting terribly quick times. I started off relaxed through the first 9kms. Things then got much harder when I turned at the bridge in Neckargemünd, as there was a wind (and sometimes rain) working against me. My splits reflect quite accurately the effect of the wind: from kms 10-19 my splits dropped and varied between 4:45 and 5:30/km, but once I turned over the bridge and back into the city out of the wind, my split for km 20 dropped immediately to 4:25 even on a slight incline. I think that I can go faster over the half-marathon distance, but as this is the first time I’ve run it since starting training this year, I’m not upset with 1:43:35. I tried to incorporate some of the drills for form at various points throughout the run, especially near the end when I was getting tired. Hard to evaluate myself though on this front.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

90:00-min. Run Technique Analysis with Katja Schumacher: I did this session at lunch, which focused on natural running technique. We worked on the university track, did a variety of drills, and looked at my form from the beginning and end of the session on video. Certain aspects of my technique were okay, but I also have a lot to work on (centre of gravity and time on the ground especially). I now have drills to incorporate into my runs. I feel I learned a lot and am looking forward to working hard to improve my form.

75:00-min. Swim Technique Session with Erica Hemmy: in the evening I went to the pool to work on technique. I learned surprisingly that I have a very good kick (I have always thought it terrible!), but also unsurprisingly have a number of things to work on with my overall technique. As earlier in the day with the run, I feel I learned a lot and am looking forward to working on technique as a go forward (which is so important). From a workout perspective, this class was very light, but we did a lot of useful drills that I will now incorporate into my swim sessions.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

155:57-min. bike, 68.34km. Very enjoyable long ride. It was cool again this morning after wind and rain yesterday, but a beautiful sunny day which warmed up to 8 degrees Celsius by midday. I went out at about 1 p.m. and after a few kms on flats out to Ziegelhausen to warm up I first went up over the mountain through Wilhelmsfeld and down to Schriesheim: that climb was tougher than I expected (from 120 to 506 metres on switchbacks over about 6km), but the scenery and peace of the forest kept me going and once I hit the top I had some easy kilometres downhill to Schriesheim to get a bit of a rest. I then did loops around Ladenburg on flats from km 20 to 60, and was pleased with my splits there (even some into the wind, which was up a bit). I had a few annoying slow sections in traffic through Schriesheim, Ladenburg, and then on my way back into Heidelberg, but remained relaxed about these (my new cycling philosophy). I had hoped to go over 70km at the two and a half hour mark, but with the initial climb and traffic, I’m not devastated with the overall distance.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

70:00-min. swim, 3.7km (all freestyle except cool-down): 1×250 warm-up, 1×2000, 1×250, 4×200, 3×100, 1×100 cool-down. I generally felt good today coming off the low-volume week. After the long set and subsequent 250, I felt tired in the first two 200s, but then my energy came back to finish up – my sluggish feeling on the first 200s could also have been form related (I’m looking forward to some critique on Wednesday). There was a lot of traffic in the lane today, which made things a bit crowded at times.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

40:02-min. run, 8.82km. This was the last session of my low-volume week and the run went pretty well. I was basically at a 4:30/km pace for the run, which included a few ups and downs out to Ziegelhausen and back, and I felt good today. Back to the grind this coming week!

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rest Day

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Friday, March 2, 2012

40:00-min. swim, 2.1km (all freestyle): 1×250 warm-up, 1×1000, 1×250, 2×200, 1×100, 1×100 cool-down. Today was a reasonable swim, although my legs felt a bit sluggish after the cycling yesterday and the warm pool (another Warmbadetag) made me thirstier than usual. Overall, however, I felt energetic, and it was nice this afternoon because the lane was very quiet.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

60:00-min. indoor cycling: worked hard tonight, especially on the hill sections. My legs are tired now, especially after doing hills on the bike yesterday too, but I feel well and full of energy. The work tonight probably contravenes the spirit of my rest week, but I was feeling already tonight much fresher mentally.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

50:00-min. bike, 18.75km. Far from the best bike I’ve ever had. I like consistency in a workout, and this didn’t have it. The main problem was that I didn’t know my route and got lost a lot, which meant quite a few stops in traffic in the first five minutes. I first tried to find a route up to the Königstuhl, but after a bit of a climb ran into a road closed to construction. I then went along the Neckar and crossed over to Ziegelhausen, where I got some excellent and hard climbs in. I quickly, however, got lost in the winding streets and was climbing steadily away from Heidelberg, so eventually had to turn around so as not to turn my short ride into a long one: and the bad thing about really steep climbs is the steep descents, which I took very cautiously given traffic (good for the bike-handling skills I suppose). I had so many little detours today that splits became meaningless. Once back down to the river level I got about four solid kilometres in with little traffic, where I pushed the pace (sub 1:50/km), and then looped around the bridge back home. On the plus side, I did get some good hill work in, and I now know a good route over the mountain to Schriescheim, which is in my plans for next week.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

40:34-min. run, 7.84km. I went out running from the new apartment this evening and didn’t really know where I was going, so my route was a bit haphazard. But I started off with a steep climb up from the river to the castle, which made for a slow first split but worked the leg muscles. Once at the top, I was pleased with how my body settled back down, I had a relaxed downhill stretch, then mostly flats for the last half of the run. I learned a new uphill route (the one I took down) that is more reasonable than the one I took up tonight (which was an uneven footpath in the dark), so I’ve already got my route planned for later in the week. I want to give these shorter runs a kick by adding some good hills.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

40:00-min swim, 2.1km (all freestyle): 1×250 warm-up, 1×1000, 1×250, 2×100, 1×300, 1×100 cool-down. This swim was a very enjoyable start to my reduced-volume week. I really pushed the tempo on the 1000m, in which I was helped by having another swimmer in the lane against whom I could pace and push myself. I kept everything else at a relatively relaxed but steady pace.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Move Day: we moved today to a new apartment. Needless to say, it was a busy day, and I decided not to do my shorter run as my legs were feeling tired after all of the box lugging. I did also get some cycling and a lot of walking in as a result of the move. This leads into my reduced-volume week, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the pool tomorrow for a sharp, quick swim.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rest Day

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Friday, February 24, 2012

92:00-min. run, 19.03km. This was far from my best run. I felt very relaxed with my cardio throughout, but my legs just didn’t have any push in them today. My time was slower than for my 18km run last week (my 10k time was two minutes slower at 46:39) and I just didn’t feel I could pick up the pace. My knee unfortunately was giving out a few twinges about 45 minutes in, but then felt better as I went on–I’ve been managing this well, and when it does make an appearance it isn’t debilitating, but I need to be careful with it (and get it checked if it doesn’t disappear entirely soon: I still need to get a roller). Perhaps the sluggishness is the result of feeling a bit ill yesterday, or just running after a long-cycle on Tuesday and then the spin-class last night, but I’m hoping that I’ll have more oomph for my shorter run on Sunday after a rest day tomorrow.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

60:00-min. bike, indoor winter cycling class with Katja Schumacher. The hour had a warm-up set, one frequenz set, two hill sets (the latter longer hills), and then a bit more frequenz at the end. Good Kraft training. I slept poorly last night and have felt a bit ill all day, but I managed tonight better than expected and actually feel better after the training.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

60:00-min. swim, 3.1km (all freestyle): 1×300 warm-up, 1×1500, 4×200 (30-second intervals), 4×100 (15-second intervals), 1×100 cool-down. Pretty good swim. Once my muscles warmed up, I ticked along well in the 1500 and then pushed the pace on the shorter sprints at the end.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

137:48-min. bike, 65.78km. Today was an exciting day as I got back outdoors on the bike. It was about minus 6 Celsius and clear when I woke up this morning, but the forecast was for a high of plus 6 with sun by the afternoon. I went out at about 9:45 in the morning and felt comfortable (even my feet) for the whole ride. I also today got out on proper roads (secondary motorways, i.e. roads with a speed limit of 70km/h rather than the autobahn, as opposed to tertiary farmers roads). I got lost on my route out to these roads and had some frustrating moments turning around with a lot of slow sections, but was soon into a relatively steady state cycle. I was mostly on flats with small hills. There was more wind than I thought at first – when going with it, I felt like I could go forever, when against it I felt like I was heading up the side of a mountain. Despite the slow sections at the outset due to misdirection, I did the first 40km in 1:20:55 and at that point my fitness felt great. I began to feel very tired at about 2 hours in (especially when going against the wind) and I think nutrition was again an issue – I really need to sort this out. All in all, however, a good and enjoyable ride, with an average pace of 2:05 min./km.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

70:00-min. swim, 3.5km (all freestyle): 1×300 warm-up, 1×1500, 5×200, 6×100, 1×100 cool-down. Today was a reasonable swim. I had a mildly frustrating morning at the office, which made me feel rushed heading into the swim, during which I felt I was working hard at times, especially in the quicker-paced 100s at the end. But I felt great coming out of the pool.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

45:14-min. run, 10.24km. Today was my light run for the week and I decided I wanted to attempt some work on technique and speed so went out again to the track. I slept poorly last night because NP was up at 3:00 for a teething party, and to be honest I felt a bit sluggish midway through (although enthusiastic). My time for the 10km was actually quicker than on Wednesday (44:02), which is good, the difference being that unlike on Wednesday I didn’t feel much like continuing on to do another 10km. The big thing for me today is that I was trying hard to implement Newton Natural Running form as my consistent running technique (a forefoot strike landing under the centre of gravity). This is taught by Katja Schumacher (and followed by many top triathletes, including Craig Alexander), and I’ve been reading and learning as much as I can about it. It is a very efficient technique, which also significantly decreases the risk of injury, and I’m excited about it. I must admit that I find it very difficult to evaluate my technique as I’m going, and I’m looking forward to doing a run seminar/tutorial with Katja. Today I tried to concentrate on body position (slightly forward and looking forward to allow gravity to propel me) and proper foot strike. It felt good, and I had absolutely no problem today with my left knee (which is great!). I did, however, feel my calves a bit more and I’m not sure if I’m now possibly landing too much on my toes.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rest Day

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Friday, February 17, 2012

60:00-min. swim, 3.1km (all freestyle): 1×300 warm-up, 1×1500, 4×200, 4×100, 1×100 cool-down. This was a reasonable swim. I aimed to push the pace on the 1500 a bit, and felt like I did, but I still don’t have a clear sense of time without a good clock (26 minutes?). I also worked hard in the shorter-distance sets and again tried to concentrate on long, strong strokes, and today working my kick into the rhythm of my stroke. One downside to swimming on Friday (and Saturday) is that the pool I’m swimming in has Warmbadetage those days: they put the water temperature up to 30 degrees Celsius, which is far too warm to be swimming in. At least, I don’t think that warm water is something I’ll have to deal with much in races!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

60:00-min. bike, indoor winter cycling class with Katja Schumacher. The hour had a warm-up set, two hill sets (with varied times for build in resistance, up to short periods of maximal push standing), and then a speed set at the end (again with varied builds in tempo). I was working hard, especially in the last two sets, and I was sweating up a storm. This was the first time I’d ever done a proper indoor class, and Katja is great: matter-of-fact and calmly inspirational. It was great to see how one can effectively incorporate resistance work indoors, and my legs undoubtedly were worked tonight. In future I think I can work harder even, but I wanted to get a feel for things tonight in the first two sets.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

84:19-min. run, 18.2km (mostly on the track). This was the best and most enjoyable run I’ve had since starting my training this year, which came as a great surprise. I felt tired and generally unmotivated when I set off today and my first km was very slow at 5:08 min. – when I saw that, I goaded myself mentally and picked up the pace, and my legs surprised me by feeling strong and staying that way. Perhaps the increased warmth (plus 4 Celsius today rather than minus 10-15 Celsius as last week) helped my muscles, or the increased traction on the track gave me a boost (which had a layer of snow on my last longer run), but whatever the case I kept my splits below 4:30 through the next 9 kilometres (4:10, 4:25, 4:20, 4:14, 4:17, 4:20, 4:23, 4:25, 4:29) to give me a 10km time of 44:15. I then slowed things up a bit for the next 8km, but still kept reasonable splits at 4:52 or lower until the last km (5:15). Most importantly, I felt really relaxed through the whole run after the first km, which is very encouraging.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

60:00-min. swim, 3.3km (all freestyle): 1×200 warm-up, 1×3000, 1×100 cool-down. Today was a great swim. I decided that I should for one swim per week lengthen out the long continuous section I’m doing and I therefore set myself the goal today of swimming 3000m continuously. The idea of counting down 120 lengths in a 25m pool was at first mentally daunting (I long for a readily accessible 50m pool), but I settled into a nice rhythm and felt great throughout. The pace wasn’t lightning fast–my time (again inexact due to lack of a proper clock) was somewhere around 56/57 minutes)–but the pacing was I think relatively steady and I felt strong at the end. One downside today was that I was (unusually) the fastest person in the lane throughout the hour, which meant a lot of passing and (friendly) jostling, but I suppose this is good training for the bustle of the open-water race. My legs felt sluggish today after the bike yesterday, so it was nice to work the upper body hard in the pool today.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

120:00-min. bike, indoor on spinning cycle, + short warm-up and cool-down. This was a tough workout today. It is the longest I’ve been on a bike and I’m not sure if I went off too quickly, but I really had to will my way through the final twenty minutes to keep my pace (I was pleased how I handled this mentally though). It was mostly steady resistance, but I did some five-minute and shorter sections with harder resistance to keep things interesting. Nutrition was again a factor as I could feel my body lose energy at about 105-110 minutes in – I went through two liters of liquid, with salt and electrolytes, but this seemingly wasn’t enough. Generally, my nutrition yesterday wasn’t as good as usual and I didn’t sleep well last night for some reason, so perhaps these were also factors. All in all, however, a good session and another step in the right direction. My legs are tired tonight, but my energy is back after a great dinner!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

47:54-min. run, 9.83 km (avg. pace 4:52/km). Today was a good short run. Having been on the flat track for my longer run this week, I decided to work in some hills. I went up the Philosophenweg, which is a relatively steep climb (the run goes from about 120m up to 245m in about 2.5km) and then back down. My pace naturally dropped on the climb (from 4:07/km in the first km on the flats to 6:02/km up the steepest incline, then down to a steady 4:47/km in km 8 and 9 back on the flats), but the hill felt surprisingly manageable (I might have pushed harder going up, but as I hadn’t done a hill this steep in a while I didn’t want to go off too hard) and when things leveled out I fell back into a good rhythm. Once up on the Philosophenweg, there is a nice gradual incline and it’s a beautiful run through the woods. I didn’t, however, like the run back down the hill – a steep decline always seems to me like a recipe for injury and if I go up there again I want to find a more gradual decline on the other side of the hill around Ziegelhausen (if one exists).

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rest Day.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

60:00-min. bike on indoor spinning cycle. The cold weather and roads sent me inside again today for my shorter cycle of the week. After going for 105 minutes on Tuesday, this workout on the bike felt short. I went at steady resistance for the most part, with sections of increased resistance to simulate some hills. I could in hindsight have handled a higher resistance at the outset, but wanted to pace myself (I increased the base steady resistance half way). I was sweating buckets again today and at the end my legs could feel the workout, but I didn’t feel too taxed on the cardio front-I wish I had a heart-rate monitor to measure. This was my scheduled Saturday workout, which I did today to have the day off tomorrow.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

50:00-min. swim, 2.7km (all freestyle): 1×300 warm-up, 2×750, 4×200, 1×100 cool-down. Today was a solid workout in the pool, if nothing too special. I pushed hard on the two 750s, with a full 2-minute rest in between them (I should perhaps have reduced this, but I wanted to feel a bit rested going into the second one). I felt a bit drained at the start of the 200s, but then settled into these reasonably well. In the end, the swim felt short today.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

71:19-min. run, 14.42km. Today I went out for my run just before lunch, as I’m working from home today. It snowed yesterday, but was only about minus 7 Celsius today and so a reasonable temperature for a run. I ran up to the outdoor track here and did most of the run around the track, then back home. The track had a light dusting of snow, but the traction was quite good. I enjoyed working on the track and will use it sometimes in the future: it’s a completely flat run, but the track is better for the knees than the pavement, so I think it will be good to switch it up for street runs now and again. My pacing was quite good over the first 8km, but my speed dropped by about 10 seconds per km at 9km, before picking up again later–I felt around that point that my legs were tired, but then my energy came back around 12km. Overall I wasn’t very pleased today and think I can make a lot of improvement in the coming weeks.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

105-min. bike, indoors on stationary bike. Today it was minus 15 Celsius and snowing, which would have made a long cycle outside both unpleasant and dangerous. I therefore took to an indoor stationary bike for the day. This was a serious workout, almost harder than on my bike outside, as there are no excuses for quick rests around corners or when going downhill. I kept a steady resistance, with short minute-long bursts at higher resistance at ten-minute intervals (although not all ten-minute intervals), and was pleased with a consistent cadence. I was sweating buckets, but kept well hydrated and fuelled. I will sleep well tonight!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

60:00-min. swim, 3.1km (all freestyle): 1×300 warm-up, 1×1500, 4×200, 4×100, 1×100 cool-down. Felt good in the pool today. The 1500 was somewhere between 27 and 28 minutes without flip-turns (impossible to be more exact given the pool clock without a second hand). My flip-turns are, incidentally, getting much more comfortable and I’m using them on the shorter sets-I’ll eventually work these into the longer sets too. I feel like my pacing is getting better on the longer sections, but I could have pushed more between 750 and 1250 of the 1500 today, as I had a lot left in the tank at the end.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

42:56-min. run, 9.1km. This was a much better run than on Wednesday and felt suitably relaxed for the end of my reduced week. It was cold out again today (minus 15 Celsius at 8 this morning when I checked), which made for a bracing introduction to the run, but once I was out there in the sun for a couple of kilometres, it felt pleasant. My pacing was better today: I had some slightly higher splits in the 5th and 7th kms, and as usual a much lower split in the first km (bloody enthusiasm), but otherwise was quite consistent.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

47:10-min. bike, 21.48km. Today was another cold day, minus 13 Celsius plus the wind (17km/h). I dressed very well (much better than yesterday), and the only parts of my body that really felt cold at the end were my feet (although nothing worse than after skating outdoors in February in Canada). I had a good workout, especially heading into the wind, although my splits were a bit slower than I would have expected in warmer weather. The amount of ice in my beard was comical by the end of the ride, but the sun was shining brightly, the roads were dry, and I was happy to be out today at 8:15. The sun is coming up earlier and earlier, and I love training in the morning.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

45:00-min. bike, approx. 20k (I didn’t have my GPS on). This was not what could be called a solid workout. In great news, I picked up my bike this morning from John’s Radhaus, which John had fitted with a new front tire and tuned up – it’s riding well. Bike in hand, I went for a ride on roads around Edingen and at times managed some reasonable speed and small sprint sections, but there were lots of traffic stops and one quick stop back into the shop to fix a small glitch with my gear-shifting. Also, it was minus 11 or 12 Celsius today, and heading into the wind was arctic. So, I’ll accept today as a good stretch of the legs in my recovery week, and a relaxed step back onto the bike after last weekend.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

40:00-min. swim, 2.1km (all freestyle): 1×250 warm-up, 1×1000, 1×250, 5×100, 1×100 cool-down. After a day without stress and better eating I’m finally feeling better after the weekend, and my swim felt great today–just the way a solid short swim should feel. Once I got warmed up I was a bit quicker in the 1000, and felt strong right through to the end of the workout.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rest Day, swapped for Friday this week to work around getting my bike fixed. This will mean two days of cycling in a row on Friday and Saturday, but they’re short rides and this shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll be back in the pool tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

43:27-min. run, 8.84km. Really not a great run. It felt far too taxing for a short run with a slow pace. I did a route that went out and back the same way, and it was more challenging on the way out because of a strong wind. I was then roasting on the return with the wind at my back in the sun (note that zero degrees Celsius does not require two jackets). I suspect that the stress I’ve been feeling over the past few days has taken a toll, and I also did not eat well this morning. On the plus side, my left knee didn’t bother me. I really think it was my IT band and that good regular stretching will keep the problem at bay.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

40:00-min. swim (all freestyle): 1×250 warm-up, 1×1000, 1×250, 5×100, 1×50 cool-down. This is the beginning of my recovery week with decreased distances (which will happen once every four weeks). My pace for the 1000m was about 18:00. This was my first day back after my crash on Saturday. I’m still a bit sore in places (some of which I did not expect, such as my rib-cage on the right-hand side), but overall I’m starting to feel better both physically and mentally. It was good to be in the pool today.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day-Off. After my crash yesterday, I was upset and barely slept last night. I decided that with that and my bumps and bruises, I would take today off (I did at least get a run in last night). I plan to be back in the pool tomorrow.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

10:00-min. bike and then disaster. I had a crash on my bike, due to some people coming out in the road – I went into a fence. I am okay, although my front tire is bent. I think that all is well, although this shook me up a lot, and I’m still upset mentally. Not a good training day, of course, but I’m thankful that everyone appears to be alright. I’ll need to get my bike fixed and a new helmet next week. I’ve got two big bumps on my left knee, a scrape on the left thigh, but thanks to my helmet my head was protected – I’ll probably have a stiff neck tomorrow. This may sound crazy, but I really needed to clear my head after this, so I went for a quick 7km run (32:20), which included some hills. My tender left knee of before didn’t bother me, but I could feel the new bumps a bit and my body still overall feels a bit shaky. The run helped to calm me down though and made me feel better about getting some training in.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Rest Day

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

50:00-min. swim, 2.65km (all freestyle except for cool-down): 1×250 warm-up, 2×750, 1×50 kick, 1×200, 5×100, 1×150 cool-down. This was an okay swim. My arms felt tired after the swim and DWR yesterday, but I maintained a reasonable pace on the two 750s. I dropped the 50s from the workout today, as I can still work on speed in the 100s. My triceps and lats were telling me that they were working hard by the end of the 100s. The worst part of this workout was my kick, which really is weak (something to work on). I was working on bi-lateral breathing on the 100s.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

75:00-min. swim + DWR: swim 1×100 (warm-up), 1×1500 in around 30 min., then 45 min. deep water run. The swim felt good today. At about 500m I was feeling tired, but then settled into a rhythm and felt best I think in the last 500m. This was the first time since beginning training that I’ve done the full 1500m distance continuously. I then started right into the running. After 20 min. an actual water running class came into the section of the pool where I was running, which provided the advantage of some music (albeit bad music)–one thing about water running is that it is extremely boring. Also, their coach took it upon himself to give me some advice about my form, which really did help. I felt like I was working a lot harder in the second half of the run section. I would definitely prefer to be out on the roads than running in the pool, but a swim + DWR is I think a good alternative. At the end I jumped quickly back into a lane for 1×100 cool-down.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

90:25-min. bike, 43.64km. This was a good ride, the longest I’ve done so far and the first time I’ve done 40km on the bike (my time for the 40km today was 1:22:28). My pace was a bit quicker than on Saturday, but the wind was also not as strong. Today I was careful to take in water and electrolytes regularly (I make my own energy drink for training, which really only requires the proper ratios of juice, water, and salt for quick absorption by the body, and is cheaper than commercial options), which I think really helped to keep my energy levels high as the ride went on (the general rule I learned with running is that if you’re training for more than an hour you need regular intake of water and electrolytes from the beginning, and I assume this applies to any activity).

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Monday, January 23, 2012

50:00-min. swim, 2.65km (all freestyle): 1×250 warm-up, 1×1000, 1×250, 5×100, 10×50, 1×150 cool-down. I felt strong today on the swim. There is lots to improve on with technique, but I know that I could now swim the 1500m continuous comfortably. I felt today on the shorter sprints also as though my speed increased while concentrating on a long and smooth stroke – I often feel with swimming in particular that it’s easy to work harder and yet go slower, but I’m now getting a feeling for what type of hard work brings improvements in pace. Once I’m comfortably up to 3km on the swim I’ll be able to branch out more with my workouts, and hopefully start doing some swims with the local tri club.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

45:22-min. run, 9.54km. This was a pretty good run after my deep water running on Tuesday. I thought I could feel the left knee a bit at the beginning of the run, but found that a long and relaxed stride removed any unwanted sensations. My overall time was a bit quicker today, with more even pacing, and when I reached the end of the run up a small hill I felt great. There was no pain in the knee immediately afterward as I walked to cool down and my legs felt strong.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

61:37-min. bike, 29.46km. This was my first day out on my new road bike (more on this in the blog), which was incredibly fun — and it allowed me to take another full 15 seconds off my average kilometre over the hour. The pace felt very comfortable and I know I can improve on this pacing – it was rainy, windy, and wet out today, so I took all corners very slowly while getting used to the handling of the bike, and was stuck behind a bus in the first km. My split for the 23rd kilometre was still 1:58 and much of the up and down in splits I attribute to the wind from the south-west (the weather station tells me up to 30km/hour, but I don’t think it was that strong for most of the time; my route was principally a large repeating square around country roads, so I had equal amounts of help and hindrance). There is of course lots to improve on and I’m now in that wonderful period of working into a new activity with steady gains before reaching the inevitable plateau. Perhaps the main thing is that I’m really loving being out on the bike. Let’s hope for sun on Tuesday!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Rest Day

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

45:00-min. swim, 2.25km (all freestyle except for cool-down): 1×250 warm-up, 1×750, 5×100, 12×50, 1×150 cool-down. Felt a bit tired today getting into the water, but felt great once I got into the longer 750. I then felt much stronger on the 100s and 50s than on the previous swim day, and had lots of energy at the end of the workout (maybe I should have pushed harder at times). I’m trying to work on keeping my stroke long and also use bilateral breathing, and some of my flip turns felt efficient and relaxed today. I feel consistently that I need to improve the power in my kick and plan to introduce some proper drills for this next week.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

50:00-min. deep water run. I reported after Sunday’s run that I felt a bit of a twinge on the outside of my left knee. It turned out that this was indeed a bit tender on Monday, although I had no problems on the bike yesterday and it seems better now. I wanted to reduce the impact of today’s run to give the knee a few more days to rest, so as to avoid any serious injury. I therefore took to the pool today for fifty minutes of deep water running. I’ve been aware of this for some time, but had never done it in earnest until today. I didn’t have a flotation belt, so it took me a little while to get into what I felt was reasonable form (a coach might of course have said I never got into form!). From the cardio perspective, I think things were good: I didn’t have a heartrate monitor, but as long as I kept a high cadence I felt like I was working hard. The resistance in the water also gave me a good muscle workout, although not quite as on an actual run, and also in my arms and shoulders. I also experimented with trying longer strides, but had trouble keeping this up. I loosened up at the end with a few lengths of freestyle swimming, and I might definitely in future combine a proper swim workout with a bit of deep water running.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

75:51-min. bike, 31.88km. This was an okay ride. I felt strong for the first 50 minutes and kept a good pace, despite having to slow a few times due to traffic on some narrow roads. I learned something, however, about nutrition today. After the 50-min. mark, I started to feel unbelievably hungry and also needed more water, which certainly contributed to a feeling of losing power in my legs over the last 25 minutes. This is no doubt in part the result of not having had a complete enough lunch, but I also need to be taking something in on workouts lasting longer than an hour. I won’t let this happen again. No problems with the knee on the bike.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

45:00-min. swim, 2.1km (all freestyle except for cool-down): 1×250 (warm-up), 1×750, 5×100, 10×50, 1×100 (cool-down). Started off the second week with a good swim. Felt really strong on the 750 continuous, with good form and pace (13:00) – could have kept going. Tried to pick up the pace on the 100s (30-sec. intervals), and started to feel tired at the end of these, but I tried to concentrate on a long and smooth stroke. My form could have been better on the 50s (15-sec. intervals). I’m doing flip-turns on the 50s, and some of the 100s, but not on the longer continuous sections. It’s probably because I’ve lost my ability to do these properly (sometimes I’m not tucking my head enough and coming off the wall too deep), but I feel like I struggle with consistent breathing on the flip-turns because I’m under the water for too long. I’ll keep working and hopefully they’ll come along (although, on the plus side, there will be no flip-turns in the open water).

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

48:39-min. run, 10.05km. Not overly pleased with this run. First, as I’ve been feeling great with my cardio (I don’t have a monitor, but haven’t felt that my heart-rate is getting too high), I started at too quick a pace for my legs and had to tone this down throughout the run not to work too hard (started at 4:37/km and ended the last three kilometres at 5:00/km) – I haven’t been running properly now for a good six months and need to give my body time to get back into steady and regular action. Second, and more upsetting, is the fact that I had a twinge on the outside of my left knee, which I can feel a bit after the run (didn’t really bother me while running, although I did feel it a bit when going over some dirt paths). Perhaps this is the result of heading off too quickly, but I’ve not had this problem before. I don’t think it’s serious, but I’ll need to keep an eye on it. On the plus side: 1) cardio felt great and I’m very energetic after the run, and 2) it’s another beautiful sunny day!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

61:23-min. bike, 26.27km. Great ride today. To begin with, we had our first full day of sun and bright blue sky in a long time (months, that is). And then, I cut over 30 seconds off my average kilometre from last Tuesday! I’ll give myself some credit for this, as I felt more comfortable with where my fitness was throughout the hour and so knew how hard I could go and still feel strong at the end. But my magical training tip for drastically increasing your speed: make sure your tires are properly filled with air!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Rest Day

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

40:00-min. swim 1700m (all free except cool-down): 1×200 (warm-up), 1×500, 3×100, 12×50, 1×100 (cool down). Felt a bit sluggish at times this morning, but I made it through and felt better as a went. Same workout as on Monday but with two extra 50s – also decreased my rest between 50s to 15-20 sec. The lane was really crowded this morning, with some good and some thrashing swimmers – good practice I expect for the tussle of the open-water.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

41:14-min. run, 8.5k. Positive run, although I didn’t enjoy the route much (too many car fumes until I got back into the countryside by the zoo). My cardiovascular fitness felt great today, even if my legs were a bit sluggish at times. My splits dropped by about 7 seconds in the last two kilometres, so I will aim for more consistency in that respect.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

63:00-min. bike, 22.3k. This was an okay workout to start off with on the bike, even though the pace wasn’t very quick. Positives: beautiful morning ride through farmers’ fields with the sun in my face, maintained a regular cadence and pace, enjoyed myself and felt good overall. Negatives: numerous bike problems, including the saddle tilting back at around 35:00, the gears slipping, the right grip falling off, and my wet trainers slipping on the pedals (something needs to be done on this front, but more on this on the blog later), felt some muscle fatigue in thighs after 45 minutes, a slow pace.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

40-min. swim. An enjoyable swim for the first proper workout of my 10-week base schedule (all freestyle except for cool-down, when I did some breast and back): 1x200m warm-up, stretch, 1x500m, 3x100m (around 1:00 intervals), 10x50m (about 00:30 intervals), 100 cool-down. I need to get some kind of digital watch to time my splits exactly, as they don’t have a proper pace clock in the the pool where I’m working out (they have what looks like a swim clock, but oddly there is no second hand).

 

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