Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Race Report: Barrelman Half-Ironman

What a great event! The swim was well laid out and straightforward, and what's better than racing in what feels like a big swimming pool? The bike was flat and fast, but not boring like most flat courses. The varying roads and scenery kept it interesting and the time went by quickly. The run was deceivingly tough, but you never spent too long on the same road so that made it go by fast too. This is probably my most favourite course I've ever competed on. And I've been doing this for a long time!

Unfortunately, I think this will be the last of the year as I re-sprained my superior tib-fib joint near the end of the run. I want to rehab that properly and get my run fitness back before competing again.

1. The highlights of the day included:

- The course, as I mention above.
- Seeing the TTC athletes I swim coach swim and race fast, having the 5 athletes I personally coach get personal best times and achieve their goals! Congrats to Andrew, Renee, Sara, Rachel and Kevin!
- Feeling AMAZING on the bike. I worked hard to catch the two lead females and overtake them, then I let up my power a bit to save my legs for the run. Being so in control of my race is a first for me. And I set a new PB of 2:20 over that distance and clocked the fastest female bike split
- Getting to lead the race on the run up until the 14km mark was exciting!

2. Learning points:

- My run fitness is still behind. My knee injury, a sprained superior tib-fib joint and some hamstring/piriformis issues prevented me from running long. I only have about 4 runs longer than 20km all summer. So, I need to do a better job of injury prevention next season.

3. Pictures:

Swim: Right off the start a lead pack of swimmers took off on me, leaving me to swim the first 1km all alone. Just past 1km the speedy Mat Reid and Angela (who started 1min back) caught me and passed me and I stayed in their draft for a bit, before getting dropped. Then another swimmer passed me and I worked hard to stay on his feet until the swim exit. (Photo credit: ZoomPhoto)

Bike: The bike started off really well and continued to go well throughout the race. I could see the first and second place riders about 500m up the road and I decided to go above my power target goal, but below threshold, until I could catch them and then hope that I could let my power drop a bit once I took the lead to save my legs for the run. When I caught and passed the first place competitor at around 50km, I was at around 190W and then finished the ride at 183W. Exactly to plan! That rarely happens.(Photo credit: ZoomPhoto)

Run: I knew that my run fitness was lacking. I figured I could get in about 10km at a good pace and then start to fade. While I'm disappointed that this did happen, I'm not surprised. Here's hoping 2017 brings more consistent run training.(Photo credit: Brenda Santos)

Sara on the bike! (Photo credit: ZoomPhoto)

Adam was 3rd in the swim-bike (Photo credit: ZoomPhoto)

4. Interview with another participant:

BERNARDO: His first half-distance triathlon

Q. Name, Age, One word to describe yourself?
A. Bernardo Majano, 34, disciplined.

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. I started when I was 11 (was a mediocre swimmer at the time) and raced Juniors/U23 until I was 19 in both triathlon and cycling. I had the opportunity to race internationally for El Salvador (my hometown), which was fun but also made me realize I had to go school as I just wasn't good enough to try to make a living out of sports =o) I got back into the sport last December, I couldn't be any happier with my decision. The sport has grown so much over the last 15 years.

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. Too many: making it to the finish line despite having my legs cramping pretty badly on the run, hanging out with friends and family afterward, post race food!

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
A. My usual breakfast: oatmeal with flax, fruits, vegetable juice and coffee.

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. My first triathlon, which I completed on a bmx bike.

Q. How many hours/week do you train?
A. 8 -9 hours per week is my target, although sometimes work gets in the way and have to cut back a bit.

Q. What is one thing you are proud of about yourself, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. Learning how to overcome limited talent and other barriers through hard work, discipline, passion and perseverance.

Q. What/when is your next event?
A. Barrelman was my last triathlon of the season. I will be doing some Fall and Spring running races though: Scotiabank Half and the Boston Marathon.

5. Course Information

6. TrainingPeaks/Quantitative Race information for those interested

WARMUP: 10 minute bike, practicing getting my feet in and out of shoes while they were in the pedals, 5 minute run, 500m swim warmup with 3x40 strokes fast

SWIM: 2000m, 28:51 (~1:26/100m)

BIKE: Speed - 37.9kph, NP - 183W (3.45W/kg, 90% of FTP), Avg Power - 180W, Avg Cadence - 80rpm

RUN: 21.1km, 1:36:41 (4:36/km), Avg HR - 169bpm

7. Thank-you:

- My parents for their continued love and support throughout this crazy adventure of mine.
- My health care team of David Lamy (RMT) and Bill Wells (Chiro).
- Adam, my coach and partner, and just a great guy in general.
- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours
- MultiSport Canada and all the volunteers!
- Fellow athletes at the race and training partners, especially those at WattsUp and TTC!
- My other coaches: Kim and Nigel from NRG
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, MultiSport Canada, The Urban Athlete, Fitt1st Bike Fitting

Friday, September 9, 2016

Off Season Training

It's happening. September is upon as and that means that the end of triathlon season (at least in Ontario) is only weeks away. Hopefully you have had a successful season and are looking forward to some time off the race course.

One big question that people have after their last big race is, "how long should I take off?" Some athletes will feel guilty taking any time off training, while others want to take the entire winter off. When making this decision, keep in mind both ends of the spectrum. If you take no time off, you are more likely to become overtrained and suffer an injury in the upcoming season. If you want to take a lot of time off, you should know that it only takes about 4 weeks of inactivity for you to revert to a pre-trained state.

My recommendation is to take about 1-2 weeks off triathlon specific training. Yup, you heard me. Now, I didn't say not to do any activity during this time. Walk as much as you want (within reason), take yoga classes, dance or play soccer or basketball with the kids, get on your commuter bike for a family bike ride. Do not turn on your Garmin, do not log in to your TrainingPeaks or Strava account, do not track every detail of your sleep, nutrition and weight! Have a glass or two extra of wine, catch up with your friends and sleep in (if you can).

What do you do when you do get back into training mode? Well, what you shouldn't do is get back into the same training routine as you had in race season. Take some time to plan your season, write down your SMART goals, write down some habits you want to change. Then come up with a plan of action [or hire a coach like me :)] Break-up your 2016 to 2017 training plan into 4 or 5 phases so that you change up your training every once in awhile. Have a different focus for each phase that is more and more specific towards your race as it gets nearer. Keep in mind that you should include a swim, bike or run once every 3-4 days to maintain fitness in that sport. Focus first on what you need to improve the most, and spend a majority of your time in the fall training that sport. As your get nearer to race day, spend a proportionate amount of time each week on each sport relative to the time you will spend on that sport during the race. For example, don't swim 3 times a week if it means you can only bike 2 times a week.

Here is an example of a triathlon season plan for someone training for a half-ironman:

Phase 1: October, Goal: (1) Improve muscle engagement of weaker muscles like core & glutes (2) Improve swim technique

- Strength training (3 times per week)
- Swim - Technique focus (2 times per week)
- Bike - Aerobic, one legged drills (2 times per week)
- Run - Short, base (2-3 times per week)

Phase 2: November & December, Goal: (1) Strengthen muscles like core & legs for cycling & running (2) Improve swim endurance with new technique

- Strength training (2-3 times per week)
- Swim - Increase mileage without compromising technique by doing a lot of swimming with lots of rest (2-3 times per week)
- Bike - Aerobic and slow cadence, high power intervals
- Run - Aerobic running, one short brick run, your longest run at about 1/2 your goal race distance (2-3 times per week)

Phase 3: January & February, Goal: (1) Improve FTP on the bike (2) PB in 400m in the swim (3) Improve run efficiency

- Strength training (2 times per week)
- Swim - Speed, pull paddles and race pace efforts
- Bike - VO2max and FTP+10% work, one longer ride/week
- Run - Hill repeats, one short brick run, your longest run at about 2/3 to 3/4 your goal race distance (2-3 times per week)

Phase 4: March & April, Goal: (1) Improve 2-3 hour power on the bike (2) PB in 1500m in the swim (3) Improved endurance for running off the bike

- Strength training (maintenance mode)
- Swim - Longer race pace efforts
- Bike - FTP & Tempo efforts, one longer ride/week
- Run - Hill repeats & speed work, one longer brick run, your longest run at about +/- 10% above your goal race distance (3-4 times per week)

Phase 5: Triathlon Season, Goals: PB or finish goal race

I encourage you to use the above as a template when planning your own season. Keep in mind that this will vary depending on the individual, your own abilities and the distance you hope to complete.

By: Miranda Tomenson, Triathlon Coach, RMT, MSc