Forgive me for I have sinned. It has been 11 weeks since my last confession.
My so-called comeback training regime has been rather interrupted for various reasons. The usual suspects - work, babies, injuries, etc have all conspired to keep me from ticking the training box with any consistency.
As discussed in The Comeback Part 1: Setup there is a long-term goal of Ironman in 2021, but I needed a few quick wins to help with the motivation. 2021 sounds so far away however age and lifestyle mean that I just don’t have time to cram in all the training at the end. I need to build up nice and slow. So, a few little races this side of Christmas will help keep me nudging forward.
First off, I entered Bondi to Bronte, my favourite ocean swim. After a few false stars, I started swimming about 4 weeks out. I learnt years ago that I needed to swim often and concentrate on technique first – frequency before volume. However even I wouldn’t recommend swimming just 400m to 800m per session for the first three weeks. Then all of a sudden I realised the swim was next Sunday! To help settle my concerns about making the distance I swam 24x 100m and felt great.
Something I see a heap of training buddies and Studio members doing is swimming without a planned session. When I swam these 24 100’s it was broken into 4 sets of 6. I wanted to focus on holding the time repeat with as little effort as possible. I set the repeat time at 1:50, something else lost to many is the importance of the time repeat – Charles, much more useful than a swim time and a rest time.
The first set of 6 were all easy technique and breathing focused. This can really only be done when swimming easy at the start of your swim - Dermot
Second set I swam controlled and then hard for the last 25m. Ordinarily this would be the last 50m but I’m pretty unfit so took the safety first option.
Third set was a hard last 50m. I really gave it all I had in the last 50m, meaning that I was gasping for air at the end of each rep. This is where holding the repeat time comes into its own. I was pushing off the wall still struggling for air.
The fourth set was a technique focused. I swam backstroke 50m, front skull 25m and FS 25m. Holding the time repeat mean the backstroke and skull had to be fairly hard.
When I finished this set I was pumped. The session plan worked well, the goal was achieved and my shoulders and lats were twitching (not my chest).
The week before the Bondi to Bronte I did a 900m Cloey dip on Monday. I didn’t get another swim in until Friday so thought I’d go a little long and steady 5x 400m on 7min followed by 5x 50m hard/50m back. Please ask me if you want to know why I do so much backstroke?
Come race day I was just loving it. What a great swim and so great to be back in the ocean. I started on the sand a few rows further back than normal as I was still worried about pacing it right. When Andy gave the GO I ran down the beach, a little high knee action and a few dolphin dives and I was leading the age-group. Needless to say it didn’t last long and by the second can I was dropping back to the fourth set of feet. At about 1k I predictably blew up and dropped a few more places. Coming into the beach I tried to swim south over the rocks but was sent back into the rip by an angry water safety dude – should have stuck with the north side. Reckon that cost me an easy minute or so.
It was great having mates from the Brat Club and the Studio down there for a swim although a solitary post-race beer was a little light from the lads J. I was most impressed by the awesome swim Riccardo Dasio put in. His swim just keeps improving and it’s great watching his Ironman plan come together.
I managed 8th in the age-group – 3 guys swam off the front with sub 30min then six of us swam 33-32mins. Judging from the results I reckon I was only a few minutes off what I could swim if I was fit. Definitely the idea of technique swimming first and then bringing the volume and fitness swimming in later works every time – for every level of swimming - Dave F. Read my truths about swimming here and here.
Next up was my much loved Woodford to Glenbrook run. This was just a training run put on by SEAC Studio, but I still had to get through the 26k-odd. I have been nursing a calf injury for a few weeks before finally following the Dumb Triathletes Guide to a Calf Injury to the letter. This meant I didn’t run for three weeks and then ran 45min and 55min on Wednesday and Thursday before the run.
Thankfully it was scorching hot which slowed the pace down considerably and allowed me to keep up. Surprisingly the calf felt great the whole run and even the days after the run. You can read a bit of a mixa-run report here. As to why I so often run long you can read the benefits of the long run.
Now I am madly trying to bring my bike legs back from the brink of
extinction in time to survive our Noosa Training Camp in January with Jason Shortis. In the seven months from December to the birth of baby Jarrah in July I was managing one or two Studio rides per week. The last six months has been next to zero riding indoors or out. My FTP has plunged from 310 to 245 while my weight from 82kg to 88kg or 3.8 to 2.8watts/kg.
The fastest way for me to build bike power and endurance is a mix of strength and speed sessions in the Studio. The ride from Cloey to the Studio is 25min – a great warmup. A forty or so minute quality session in the right zones and then an easy 25min commute home. This 90minutes is the best use of my time. Of course I could ride into the park and do laps but I just don’t find the quality as good.
If I had spare time to burn then sure a ride around the suburbs or laps of the park would be ok. With spare time I could make up for the poor quality with volume. Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on your perspective) I have no spare time. If I am going to train then I am going to ensure it is all quality.
Not to mention in the Studio I can do my strength work before the ride, make my client calls during the ride and swim off the bike.
Noosa will be an awesome week of training. I don’t have to be super fit on day one. I just have to be able to get the long bike sessions done and be able to do a little training in the afternoon.
This crash course swim bike and run training is not ideal and not recommended at least not under normal circumstances. However the small dose, specific training works for everyone and it works every time. Not too many folks have the patience or the trust to let your body adapt like this.
It is an awesome feeling to be on the move again and stringing together a few sessions. Really looking forward to getting back to some old fashioned racing 2019.