Training Log October 2012

As I write this on the evening of October it’s Halloween. Good month, October! All racing is now done and dusted for 2012. There are no more races to even consider going to – not that I did any other than the swim across the fjord in Vejle.
It’s a good thing – focus can now go thoroughly to 2013.

There were no holidays in October either, which had an immediate effect on training time. In fact the time trained makes October 2012 the month that I’ve been able to train the most only second to March 2011.

So with no further ado, here are the highs and lows from October:

  • Swimming: Cranked up the volume on the swimming again. Didn’t improve at all in terms of speed. The distance per session, however, has gone up drastically, so the average speed is the same, but it’s maintained for much longer. Plus!
  • Cycling: Had a few days of unexpected summer and moved outside. Besides that though I’ve moved inside on the home trainer. That setup is working well and not quite the motivational issue I expected it to be. Every session is roughly 2 hours in heart rate zone 1. Feels very good so far!
  • Running: Injury is still there, but have done some good work with the physio. Right now, the sessions can be up to 30 minutes at about 6min/km pace. I’m not going out and crushing it, but at least I’m going out running!! Happy about that and hope I can build on that !

For those who care, here are the numbers from September:

  • Total duration: 26hours, 6 minutes trained – up from 14 hours, 28 minutes in September;
  • Swim:
    • 8 workouts – up from 5 in September;
    • Total duration: 6 hours, 38 minutes – up from 2 hours, 27 minutes in September;
    • SWOLF score stabilized completely at 40 – no improvement;
    • Average pace: Stuck just above 1:50/100m;
    • Total distance: 18,97km – up from 7,15km in September.
  • Bike:
    • 11 workouts – up from 4 workouts in September – combination of 8 home trainer sessions and 3 rides outside;
    • Total duration: 17 hours, 46 minutes – up from 6 hours, 41 minutes in September;
    • Average speed: 29,60 km/h – up from 29,54 km/h in September – no speed measured in home trainer sessions;
    • Total distance: 135km – down from 197km in September.
  • Run:
    • 4 sessions – down from 10 sessions in September;
    • Total duration: 1 hours, 41 minutes – down from 5 hours, 19 minutes in September;
    • Average pace: 5:32 min/km – improved from 5:54 min/km in September;
    • Total distance: 18,28 km – down from 54,18 km in September.

More numbers next month…

Training Log September 2012

Early September was still very much a holiday month and the second half has been dominated by getting used to new institutions for the kids. As a result the total training time for September is still far from that of July, but still much closer to what I’d like it to be. In fact at about 13 hours it’s up there with some of the training months I put in leading up to Challenge Aarhus 2011.

The image to the right is of Vejle Fjord Broen. Actually it fits my last post better, as that’s exactly where we crossed the Fjord back in August. Good memories from that race, though. I’ll be doing another post on that topic…

Here’s the full status from September with a few thoughts for October:

  • Swimming : Lot less swimming done. Seems I haven’t lost or won any speed. Following an early-October VO2 maxtest the focus is now on building base condition;
  • Running: Injured. Ended up giving my right calf a rest in September. Haven’t been running since Septemer 20th and physio and a exercises are both in the works. The plan for October so far is: No runs!
  • Bike: Pretty happy about my bike progress. Had a Retül bike fit – something I’ll elaborate on in another post. In October the bike trainings will move indoor on the home trainer – it’s getting too wet and cold outside. More on the home trainer setup at a later stage.
For those who care, here are the numbers:
  • Total duration: 26 hours, 6 minutes trained – up from 14 hours, 28 minutes in September;
  • Swim:
    • 8 workouts – up from 5 in August;
    • Total duration: 6 hours , 38 minutes – up from 2 hours, 27 minutes in September;
    • SWOLF score stabilized completely at 40 – no improvement;
    • Average pace: Stuck just above 1:50/100m;
    • Total distance: 18,97km – up from 7,15km in August.
  • Bike:
    • 4 workouts – up from 2 workouts in August;
    • Total duration: 6 hours, 41 minutes – down from 3 hours, 20 minutes in August;
    • Average speed: 29,54 km/h – down from 30,83 km/h in August;
    • Total distance: 197 km – up from 103 km in August.
  • Run:
    • 10 workouts – down from 11 workouts in August;
    • Total duration: 5 hours, 19 minutes – down from 6 hours, 35 minutes in August;
    • Average pace: 5:54 min/km – down from 5:32 min/km in August;
    • Total distance: 54,18 km – down from 71,43 km in August.

More numbers next month…

Training Log July 2012

After the completion of Challenge Aarhus 2011 I had made a conscious decision to slow down training during the second half of the year for personal reasons. Eventually the result was training duration anywhere from a mere 30 minutes to 6 hours per month – 6 hours being a really good month.

Recently that all changed and in July that training duration changed a lot. The result was that all three sports saw a bump in time as did of course total training time.

Here first some numbers:

  • Total duration: 24 hours, 12 minutes trained;
  • Swim:
    • 11 workouts;
    • Total duration: 6 hours, 36 minutes;
    • SWOLF score dropped about 3 points from 45 to 42;
    • Average pace: From just over 2 min/100m to just under 2 min/100m;
    • Total distance: 17,15km
  • Bike:
    • 9 workouts;
    • Total duration: 11 hours, 26 minutes;
    • Average speed: 29,01 km/h;
    • Average heart rate: down about 12 BPM from June;
    • Total distance: 332km;
  • Run:
    • 13 workouts;
    • Total duration: 6 hours, 9 minutes;
    • Average pace: 5:33 min/km;
    • Average hear rate: down about 10 BPM from June;
    • Total distance: 66,74km

What does all that mean? Not much in itself without knowing what the departure points were. In short I’m happy with July as a training month and the reasons are:

  • Trained more in July than the all previous months of 2012 combined;
  • Body is OK, so I can keep this activity level up for now. It’s tiring at times, but doing OK. Only slight issues are a slight calf strain at the end of hard running sessions and a shoulder issue, which I’m working out in the pool through improved technique;
  • Swimming needs to improve. Still have more than 3 minutes down to my best 1,5km time from 2011. Potentially the change in how I train impacts the time negatively (more intervals, more breaks, more slow work to recover+improve technique);
  • On the Bike things are going fairly well. One hour time, and all distances at 50K and under improved in July. Doing more intervals to improve speed. Using Garmin 910XT to do time trials on fixed routes.
  • Running is going well. While the average pace is not fine at all, the pace in the intervals is going well, approaching 4 min/km in 1km intervals. That’s nice! In addition I ran the best 5K of 2012 at 24:03 – a time that has already been improved in August.

What was new in July?: The volume went up. Used intervals in all three sports. Started using time trials in cycling and will start using for runs as well. Got working on swim technique. Trying out CytoSport Muscle Milk and CytoCarb2 for recovery.

What’s new in August:

  • Considering going to the track once in a while to do some track work, to improve speed and endurannce;
  • Will start using time trials on runs;
  • Will continue using Strava when cycling along with Garmin Connect and Endomondo;
  • Reviewing swimming style to reduce drag. Currently looking into high-elbow-pull;
  • Considering talking to a sports dietitian for improved health and performance in all areas of life;
  • Look into the value of improved sleep;
  • Get a sports medical test done/planned (booked for September – exciting).
OK, I think that’s it. Lot’s of stuff to do, then. Gotta get moving !

 

Challenge Aarhus 2011: Age Grouper Race Report

On the 3rd of July it was finally time to toe the line at the inaugural Challenge Aarhus of 2011 – a half distance triathlon with 1km swim, 90km bike, 21,1km run. Months of training with hours of training per week was about to climax in what I hoped would be less than six hours of triathlon activity. Swim had been shortened for safety reasons due to low temperature (13,7C) so less than six hours looked very likely.

Slept OK the night before the race and woke up well in time for my race morning plan and could take the car to the start area with no stress. Good start of the day.

With three transition bags and a start bag packed and ready to go there was plenty of time to get all bags properly placed and change to my wetsuit for the start. So wetsuit was on at about 7.15 and from then on it was more than an hour wait to get into the water.
Finally it was time for my wave to make our way into the 13 degree celcius cold water. Even with a wetsuit that water felt very cold. One of the other guys in my wave had done all his open wate training in Indonesia. HE was feeling cold. Just a few minutes to the start now – everyone were eager to get going.

Tooooooot! And of we went. Man, that water was cold!! For the first 25 meters or so I just couldn’t seem to breathe right. It was as if the low temperature along with the sudden increased physical activity prevented proper breathing. That was a surprise. Anyway, the swim went fine. I’m not a very good swimmer, so because I don’t race up in front with the tough guys, I also tend not to get hit or kicked a whole lot. The water was pretty calm too, so 1000 not so eventful meters later I got out of the water, ready to transition to the bike.

Earlier this year I did a self supported half ironman as previously described here. Having done that and with two more months of training, I figured I’d have no problems getting through Challenge Aarhus. There’s half distance and there’s half distance, though. Challenge Aarhus proved to be a LOT hillier than the route I did in training. I guess I also did it a bit faster – maybe not so smart.

The bike section of Challenge Aarhus takes you through some of the most stunning scenery of East Jutland in Denmark – just truly spectacular. Add to it that participants get to ride the route completely without having to worry about other traffic than fellow participants. At the 2011 version of Challenge Aarhus the organization and volunteers took excellent care of participants on all legs of the race. On the bike that meant two major aid stations with all you can eat and drink energy.

The days leading up to the race had been fairly wet, but when we started on the bike it hadn’t been raining for a while and the roads were getting increasingly dry. Conditions proved excellent for cycling. I just took it easy going South through the forest and slowly build some speed. Just enjoyed the non-drafting cruise. Maybe I did increase the speed a bit too much, going too fast and spending too much energy on the hills South of Aarhus. I came back to the transition zone feeling a little tired, but ready for the run.

After a quick change to running gear I exited the transition tent for the last leg of the half distance – the half marathon. I’ve been living in Aarhus for several years, but I never thought of it as a hilly place – not the center of the city, anyway. This particular Sunday Aarhus had suddenly grown some hills. The Challenge Aarhus run had 3 laps, taking triathletes through the center of Aarhus – plenty of spectators watching for the fast guys – not so many when I passed by. Still the experience was great. With three aid stations along the route, the major challenge being the stairs of ARoS Museum of Art and plenty of participants struggling through the last bit of the race – everyone with the last little bit of energy just disappearing from the legs as they carried on putting one foot in front of the other. Just spectacular!

My run didn’t go so well. Well… I guess it went alright. Given the amount of training that I’d done, the hills on the bike and run course and my relative lack of experience with the distance, I guess it went pretty OK. Still, this marathon was quite a bit slower than my only experience with this triathlon distance so far. My guess is that I just wasn’t as good at taking in nutrition at the right times and that I maybe raced a bit too much on the bike leg. Or maybe it just was the hills on the run – and those stairs. Either way I managed to finish my half marathon strong – ran much faster the last few kilometers with each taking less than 5 minutes. Even outsprinted a few of my fellow participants going down to the finish and shot over the finish line to finish my first ever official half distance triathlon.

What had started in December of 2010 as one of these half crazy ideas and a bit of a dream of doing a long triathlon had finally become reality thanks to the crew and volunteers around Challenge Aarhus. My entire race was a magnificent experience from I signed up to the race until this moment where I sit and think back at the race. I hope the other triathletes at Challenge Aarhus 2011 will do that as well and think: I too was fantastic!

 

That concludes my Challenge Aarhus experience – other race reports can be found here:

Peter Raahauge

Road to Challenge Aarhus: Can You Do It?

In this post I’ll cover learning and observations from a self-supported half ironman. I’ll relate it to the time I train and share what I plan to improve at the Challenge Aarhus half ironman triathlon in July 2011.

I think one of the most intimidating aspects of endurance sports on longer courses is the question that pops up every now and again with most people: Can I Do It?
That goes for any run distance beyond 10km all the way up to marathon and, even more so, ironman distance triathlons and ultraruns.

While I like a good challenge, I just don’t want to be toeing the line on raceday not knowing if I can do the distance. Therefore, if I have the chance, I put in a race distance training of my own to confirm to myself that I can in fact do the distance. In addition that’s an excellent way of checking your weak spots or things that don’t work, like nutrition, pacing, etc.

On 16/4 I pulled myself through a half ironman triathlon (70.3 to some) on my own – with a bit of help on the run. It was a great experience and important for me to highlight what will and what will not work at the Challenge Aarhus half ironman in July this year. This is the full race report including things I learned.

Got the day started at about 6:00 a.m. with a huge bowl of oat meal. Wanted to make sure to get enough carbs in long before the start. This worked well for me!

The swim got started at about 09:30 and was fairly uneventful as it should be. I did a pool swim, so that will be different in Aarhus. I think the waves will be limited there, though, and it’s a wetsuit swim too, so if anything it should be easier. I just very much dislike swimming far in salt water. The salty taste just gets in everywhere. Here’s my time for the swim.

Having finished the swim, I did a brief shower and changed into my trisuit, went to “T1” (aka my car), got the bike out, put on some cycling specific clothes to keep warm, and then left. That transition took about 23 minutes.

For the bike I had myself a plan of staying calm, keeping the heart rate below 140. That worked well – I managed to resist the urge to start hunting down other cyclists. In addition the nutrition plan was to take in 500ml drink every hour and an energy bar every 35-40 minutes. That worked well too, and I had no energy dips while on the bike. Interesting, as always, to see the heart rate increase temporarily around meals. Did start to feel a bit tired when I got within 20km of T2, so I had an extra energy bar and reduced speed to give the body a break before the run. Here’s the time for the bike.

Back at T2 I took the front wheel off the bike, put it in the car, changed from cycling top to running top, running shoes on and grabbed the drinks, gels, and some salt tablets for anti-cramp purposes. It wasn’t a hot day, but I wasn’t sure if I’d cramp up, so before the run I had a single salt tablet just in case.

Now info tue run. Immediately felt a bit of pain in my left leg which quickly subsided. The pace was relatively high for being about 4 hours of activity into the event, and things were looking pretty bright. Had a gel around the 5km mark and continued to follow my nutrition plan and drink energy drink from the fuel belt bottles. Shortly before the half way mark I noticed that I had started to look more frequently at my Garmin 310xt – I took that as a sign of getting more tired. At this point I should have probably gobbled up another gel, but I didn’t.
The next 8-9 kilometers I kept pushing out sub-5:30 kilometers, but with energy stores being depleted it was only a matter of time before I would crack. On kilometer 20 I couldn’t keep it up any more and dropped the pace by 30 seconds per kilometer, while watching my Garmin all the time. Needless to say these 2.1 final kilometers were the toughest of the entire day. Here’s the time for the run.

I made it!! All sorts of triathletes had told me I should NOT do a half ironman as part of my training due to risk of injuries and too long recovery. But all that is important experiences for me to have, so I needed this training. Now that I have it, I know a few pitfalls and how to avoid them. I know the distance and that I will make it. I know the energy food and how I react to it.

In so many words, I know how to be better on raceday than I would have been if I hadn’t tested myself.

If you’re wondering how I train to get the result above and to put things in perspective relative to training volume: I train just about 5 hours per week. Right now I have a swim session, two run sessions and maybe a bike session per week, but that could change. The reason I mention this is that most triathletes will tell you that 5 hours per week is not enough to do a half ironman.

Well, I say it is – if you train smart and injury free. We’ll see how things go in Aarhus.

Road to Challenge Aarhus: Nailing 70.3 Nutrition?

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Yesterday evening I spent some time trying to get my nutrition for the upcoming self-supported 70.3 half ironman triathlon on 16/4 right. It’s a pretty tricky calculation when you’ve never done it before. As ever so often with these kinds of things, I set up a Google Doc spreadsheet to help out with the numbers.

As previously explained I’ve never really had a go at this distance, so making a nutrition plan that works is unlikely. Another good reason to try things out beforehand. I’ve now settled with about 560 grams carbs for an estimated 7 hours of activity. We’ll see if that does it. Either way I should bring some extra energy onto the bike.

In order to have everything nailed there’s one thing that I haven’t calculated: my hourly sweat rate. Without that, I really do not know how much I need to drink or how much salt I need to take in. I’m just going to have to wing that one, but I’ll bring 3 tablets for the run to avoid cramping as I had some cramping issues last year going from bike to run in the Aalsmeer Sprint Triathlon.

For final prep I need to pack the whole thing, check the bike, pack the clothes and God knows what else to finally be ready for the start on Saturday morning.

Road to Challenge Aarhus: March Training in Review

Beautiful Views on March Morning Runs

What a month. After February I had a few things to get working on and in March I have definitely moved closer to half ironman fitness. One of the things that all endurance athletes struggle with is time. After February I figured that adding 10 minutes per training would take the training volume up by about an hour on a weekly basis. By and large that has worked out pretty well. Where February ended up being a 14 hours 24 minutes training month, March had another 12 hours in it. It was especially the two first weeks that were really good. The two next weeks were pretty OK, but with other commitments the bike had to suffer and that took total training time down.

I learned a few things too that I’d like to share. Maybe they’ll prove useful to you:

  • Forefoot running training from zero to long distance takes long! I’ve had to set my sights on 5km forefoot running this year. Maybe next year I’ll be able to do 10km.
  • Nearly doubling training volume from month to month is a bit of a stretch. Be cautious and make sure to be listening to your body to avoid over-training. This goes for all sports, but especially for running!

Also, March seems to have been a bit of a strong month for social training platform Endomondo. I at least started getting invitations from people I connect to on Facebook, LinkedIn and from people I just haven’t heard from for years. That way I get to know another side of these people, which has been very interesting so far.
The weather has been very mild too so more and more people start training outside – also very encouraging!

Finally here’s a run-down of how I think March was per sport and what needs to happen over the next 3 months prior to Challenge Aarhus:

Swim: No real change since February. Still have to watch my left shoulder, so my number of swim sessions will stay flat until Challenge Aarhus. The required 1,9km is not a problem at all, so the swim is still on track! Learned in a podcast from TriSwimCoach that it could well be very smart to do a very relaxed swim in order avoid getting out of the water with a too high heart rate.

Bike: Weather was mild in March, so I’ve been outside a few times. Right now it’s a bit dark in the morning, but soon I should be able to do a morning session on the bike. This is probably where I need the most improvement, but we’ll see about that in April. For sure I will have to add kilometers to the cycling.

Run: March was an excellent month for running. Did my first half marathon in training in a time I believe is a personal best (note to self: check that on Athlinks). That said I probably can’t recommend doing three times the training volume month over month.
Now that the half marathon distance is in place I have started working on speed. For April that will mean shorter runs with 1km intervals at race speed or faster. Race speed is the pace I need to maintain to run “Broløbet” on the 28th of May in less than 1 hour and 45 minutes.

As a final challenge for April, I’ll be doing a self-paced and self-supported half ironman on the 16th of April. Standing at the starting line of a race without knowing that you can make it, doesn’t seem like a good idea…
Experienced triathletes have advised against doing half ironman as part of my training, but it just feels like the right thing to do. Therefore the week from 9th to 16th will be extremely relaxed with just a few relaxed and relatively short runs. After the half ironman the interesting part will be: how long does recovery take.

In other words: An interesting month lies ahead! 🙂

Challenge Aarhus, Half Ironman Triathlon: I’ll be there!!! :-)

I just had to participate in this one!!: The Challenge organization has come up with a new spectacular triathlon race. This is one is a half ironman distance race in my home city. Welcome to Challenge Aarhus.

The Challenge organization which also host to triathlon ironman distance and half ironman (70.3) races such as Wanaka, Roth, and Copenhagen is now getting ready to launch a new race: Challenge Aarhus !!

Challenge Aarhus takes place on July 3rd 2011 and is a half ironman distance race consisting of a 1,9km swim, 90km bike and 21,1 run. What makes me so enthusiastic about this particular race is that it takes place in my home town of Aarhus, Denmark, and the route is nothing short of spectacular!

That’s also why I’m very excited to have joined Challenge Aarhus, which will be my very first half ironman distance race – I simply can’t wait! It will be one of the great things of 2011 and I’m looking forward to it like a kid looks forward to Christmas. Just set up the event on Endomondo too and added the race to Athlinks.

The route promises to pass through spectacular sites. With start at Tangkrogen, which is also the starting point of the Marselisborg run and bike races, Challenge Aarhus will pass the Sculpture by the Sea on the swim, the hills of Aarhus on the bike, and then finally will pass through the ARoS Museum of Art as part of the half marathon route. Absolutely amazing!!

I’ll make sure to post more about the route, my training and thoughts on the race as we get closer to race day!!