Feeling 100% ?

Feeling100.jpgI’ve decided to write this ahead of Ironman Western Australia as I feel it adds more weight. It’s easy to wait for a result and then analyse events leading up to it and make them fit. Results in great analysis but doesn’t necessarily truly reflect what you felt ahead of the race.

Over recent years I’ve said to many people that we often don’t realise grains aren’t good for us because we’ve never had a period without them in our diet. You may never realise that you’ve always just felt 80% since that’s how it’s always been so you assume thats what 100% feels like. It’s not until you give up grains for a decent period that you start to realise just what healthy really feels like.

This morning as I did my easy swim and felt like a million dollars a penny dropped. I just wondered whether over the years of just doing loads of stuff I got used to the norm being being tired. Now with recovery from Kona and not getting back in to big hours I’m starting to feel refreshed. { should I pause now for all the “less is more”, “quality not quantity” (god I HATE that phrase) brigade to tweet and hold this up as conclusive evidence } Joking aside, the last 3 weeks has seen me do 24,25 and then 30 hours of training and much at a great click. It’s big volume by most standards but compared to the week in week out 40 hours I did ahead of Kona it’s low. I’ve had time to rest, relax (there are few distractions here in Christchurch) and I feel really good.

Most sessions now seem easier but the numbers I’m seeing are better. Heading out for 5 min intervals @ 275 watts and I find myself hitting 300 no problem. In the pool I’m managing 5:20 for 400m in a 50m pool at the end of a set of 7. 1:15 100m with paddles (I’m normally slower with paddles). At the South Island Half Ironman this weekend I swam the swim leg in a team getting first out of the water in 23:18 ahead of guys I wouldn’t normally beat (our team of James Gibson and Jo went on to claim the team prize ;o)) Then running – I head out for bricks and find myself at 4:30 / KM pace or below, long runs at 4:45s. I’m looking forward to the Busselton run now. I’m not promising miracles but I feel I should be able to demonstrate some of the fitness I felt I had heading in to Kona.

The picture above is my target basic week. I say target because so far I think every week has seen this tweaked. I’ve moved the long run to Mondays on occasion and with various events we’ve had at weekends I’ve moved things around. Overall this is what I’m aiming to get done. In a 31 day month this is the limit of what I can get done. The overall aims of this are:

  • Ensure I can get enough sleep. Only one morning do I feel I have to get up – thats for squad swim. Other mornings I will go swim whenever I wake. This will change once I’m not in Christchurch since pool time is far more limited elsewhere
  • Aim for 2 consecutive days off running each week. This is giving my foot a nice rest. In fact, my aim is to give my legs a decent rest
  • My own swims tend to be either a 1h solid swim aiming for distance or at least include a decent main set of 200s or 400s for at least 2k. I’m trying to figure out how little swimming I can do and maintain my current speed. Doing main sets like this allows me to monitor how my swimming is going. I know the times I should be able to hit if I’m on form.
  • All my running is meant to at slowest be 5 min /k. I want my default pace to be at least that fast
  • Easing myself in to track running – so far I’ve been going to get in the habit but not done anything above 4 min /k. Tending to do 400 or 800 repeats. This served me well when I was running my fastest times. Going to ease up my pace for these sessions.
  • All runs aimed at negative split. Long runs often done in thirds – getting faster each third
  • The balance of my runs targeted as bricks though sometimes I find I leave them till later in the day to ensure I run them well
  • Gym limited to 1 hr covering full body. This has been achieved through a small reduction in exercises and only doing one set of each. Aiming for ~ 20 reps.
  • Key session of the week is the Wednesday Brick. The ride, so far has been tough. In the first half I break it up with shorter intervals at threshold watts. 5 minutes repeats generally. Second half is aimed at long interval at Ironman wattage. Generally have a short break for food and fluid between.

It’s on the record. I’m feeling good and confident right now. We head off to Busselton on Friday. Tomorrow I have my final big session and from there it’s all pretty chilled to the start line. It will be interesting to see how I go but I certainly don’t feel it will be any real evidence for or against this approach as it’s just not been long enough.

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