Friday, June 18, 2010

You can't swim fast if you don't know how to swim!!

As I am finding out, swimming is not like cycling & running where fitness is the main player for performance. Swimming is not about power, not about fitness, although they do contribute.....Swimming is about technique and efficiency.

I decided to go back to basics and learn how to swim, yes swimming lessons (I have felt like I am 10 years old going to learn to swim). For those that know my back round, I did swim as a youngster, however let it slip by in my twenties. With having the back round that I have had in swimming in my early years, I didn't think that it would be long to get my technique back from the "early" days. Yeah right, the first realisation was how bad my technique is. Obviously, fitness was what got me my 57 min swim at Ironman, not technique!! After a few session, Coach Paul decided to give me an insight of what my stroke looked like and how to fix it. WOW!!! A long way to go.

So in saying this, Paul has totally pulled my stroke apart and started with the basics again to get me to get a "feel" for the water again. Following the black line during training is boring and hard enough, let alone doing sculling drills to try and help out (and I suck at drills). Another thing I have found with swimming is that you might be fit, but when you swim efficiently and effectively, the fitness you thought you had does not exist as the muscle group used was the wrong one to get maximum benefits!!

With 2 sessions per week, pumping out a massive 1.5k for each session, I am feeling the benefit of these sessions already with my technique improving and my times becoming some what faster. Even though the distance is short, my times are decreasing. The "new regime" has been very refreshing and I am reaping the benefits with both my swimming and running to date.

Gone are the days of just swimming along the black line slapping and splashing my way through the water, with the investment of a swim coach (who, mind you has national swimmers on his books) I am looking forward to shaving minutes of my swim times.

With drills & technique it is a long slow process, however the benefits at the end of it are far greater than your everyday swim squads/sessions that make you "red line" for most part. I am looking forward to the journey of improvements ever if I am no good at the drills for now.

My running is also seeing some improvements, which I expect that it should with a smart program to follow. Unlike last year where I ran when I felt and for how long that suited me, I am on a structure that has enabled me to build to over 70+k's per week and with the forecast being close enough to 100k's per week in the near future it is not daunting. Previous training has seen me tackle sessions that took me 2-3days to recover from, as I was unaware on how important a build was to get the body used to running consistently (especially important when you are 95kgs).

The time in the saddle is about to increase from the 4 hours per weeks currently to something that I have been more familiar with. I am hoping that the riding will no take away from my running, with the effect that one will compliment the other.

My first race for the season is a mere 8 weeks away, which has snuck up on me, however this race will just be a gauge on how everything is going. I have no expectations for Yeppoon except a solid performance that will be the stepping stone for bigger things to come.

For now...


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Role Reversal

So, I am a week later posting than what I would have liked, however, as they say better late than never!!

Even though I am happy writing this blog, this particular topic is one where I would thought I would never write about.

A few weeks back a mate of mine, Jason (uber mtb'er) suggested that we do a team offroad duathlon. Now if you read between the lines here, you know where I am going.....if you can't here it is:

Offroad = Mountain Bike

Jason = Uber Mtb'er

This leaves me, having to do the run!!! I don't know if he was desperate to race and needed someone to partake in the running or he actually thought that we would be a chance of being competitive with me running for him?!?!?!

So after agreeing to race with him, and knowing that I had been doing a little bit of run training as this is my focus right now, we discussed the race with another couple of mates who also agreed to team up and have a crack at it.

With entries done, the banter started. Random emails and text flying back and forth and round abouts between the four of us. Race tactics were discussed and sledges were discovered. (And yes we were just taking the piss as it was only ever designed to have a fun day with some mates, and not racing for sheep stations)

That was until race morning. The abuse and sledging started as soon as we formed our convoy down to race HQ. Mind you the weather was a refreshing 1 degree Celsius when we arrived at our destination, Lyseterfield. Jas and Stormy (the mtb'ers) didn't understand the whole idea of transition and both complained that they would get cold waiting for Benny & I to drag our sorry arses around the run course....pfffftt, they were dreaming!!

Check in done and bikes into T1. I was under strict instructions to ease into the run and then wind up in the later stages. Obviously coach didn't know what we were racing for....bragging rights between mates, this being way more important than the final placings!!! A few weeks earlier Jason & I were also reminded that there would be others in the race. From memory our response was; doesn't matter where we finish as long as we beat Ben & Stormy!!

So, trying to keep with coaches orders, but not let Benny have to much lead after the first run, I started mid pack. Of course I ran hard from the get go, which I almost missed due to nature calling way to close to the start of the race. Had a good warm up getting back before the horn sounded. So, my mid pack start, in my mind meant I wasn't going as hard as I would if I was up the front. Yeah right, I looked down, only to see sub 3.30min k pace to start. This is going to hurt. I managed to lead Benny to the half way mark but once we turned, the old fox surged on me and I couldn't go with him. (He still didn't look like he was trying).

The first 3.5k done in 13 and 1/2 minutes with and ave HR of 188 and max of 195. I blame Benny on that, trying not to give Stormy too much start at the beginning of the bike. I entered t1 and handed the reigns over to Jas in about 13th position.

The bike was 20km and was more like a sprint for the seasoned riders. Little did Benny and I know that Stormy decided that enough was enough and decided to have a little rest mid race (Yes he crashed). Now depends on who you talk to depends on how major or minor the fall was. Now, I won't let the truth get in the way of a good story and say that he was lucky not break bones at the speed he was travelling!!!

Waiting for the guys to return from the ride was different, as we had no idea the order or the time it would take for them to return. The first 2 riders returned, and unlike the typical bunches that enter t2 in triathlon, there was a good 3 minutes between 1st and 2nd. Then to my shock (only because it meant I had to run like I stole something) Jason returned in 3rd place outright and 1st team. The 2nd team was only 30sec behind which meant I was a monty to lose my place and cope a spray from Jason for letting the team down.

Now, under strict instructions to take the first 2km easy then to "open up" (from coach) was quickly the further est thing from my mind due to pride taking over and the win only a tad over 6k's away. All I had to do was run my arse off!!!

Once again the heart almost pounded straight out of the front of my chest with the 3.30 first k. My mindset was to run the first 2 really hard and then try and settle into some kind of rhythm to hang on. The only thing I could think about was the tongue lashing I would cope if I let the win run by.

I did hold on with a sub 23min 6k with some undulations (once again, depends who you talk to - I thought it was a mountain pass) and held on for 3rd outright and 1st team.

The highlight for Jas & I was receiving the winners cheque, yep one of those fake ones you get. (see photo below).

This race was a really positive as my run focus is now showing some signs of ability albeit a tiny bit. No speed work has been entered into yet and if I can maintain focus and restrict injury, I am very confident of becoming some sort of runner. (I WILL NEVER LOSE MY BIKING THOUGH!!)

For now...