Tag Archives: ironman

Scaling workouts to fit in with busy lives

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Scaling Workouts

It’s a busy and sometimes stressful time of year. Everyone wants something done before Christmas, you may have more family/social commitments, and it can be tricky to balance everything. Keeping consistent in your training can be hard work, but if you know how to scale a workout down, then things can become more manageable.

First you need to know if your workout is a key session or not. If you are only doing 2 sessions in each triathlon discipline, then its safe to say that both sessions are key sessions. If you have more sessions then it may be worth checking which ones are key.

If you can only fit in key sessions then you may need to scale them down. This is how I would recommend doing it.

Scaling workouts to fit in with busy lives

Scaling workouts

Warm up

Hopefully, you can keep the whole warm up in. It’s an important part of your session, which prepares your body and mind for training. If you are going to be working at threshold, then add some work building up to the level you will be working at. Don’t expect your body to just kick in to threshold work, you need to prepare a bit. If you need to do any activation work, to get your body used to the movement patterns, then now is the time. If you do have to shorten your warm up, then make sure it is still at least 10 minutes long, and if you skip the build work, then expect your first few intervals to be a bit off.

Main Set

Lets say the main part of your session is intervals and you didn’t build to the interval intensity in the warm up then use the first few intervals to build up to that level. If you did warm up thoroughly, then complete as much of the main session as you can. This is the key bit of your workout. When your session is an endurance session e.g. all at one pace, then you may just need to cut the session short.

Cool down

If you have time for a short 5 minute cool down, then great. If you don’t, then don’t worry about it, but avoid spending the rest of the day in one position. For example, seated at a desk. However if you do find yourself in this position then try to get up and move around every 20 minutes or so, and try to find time to stretch at some point in the day.

Below I have an example of how you could scale down the swim session shown, in order of priority.

Scaling workouts

  1. Remove cool down
  2. Shorten or remove build set
  3. Shorten warm up
  4. Shorten main set

This advice will help you to gain the most from your training sessions at this busy time. Enjoy the holiday season, and stay healthy!

4 things that you can practise in yoga, and training or racing endurance events.

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Mental Training to improve performance.

Yoga and an Ironman race may sound like 2 complete opposites, but there can be many similarities in the way we practice in both areas. As well as the physical benefits of practising yoga, there are many psychological benefits too.

Imagine you are getting ready to race an event, you feel nervous and scared. Practising yoga will help you to alleviate these fears, here are some examples in how you can transfer your skills.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present. At the beginning of a yoga class you may sit and ground yourself, by closing your eyes and focussing on your breathing, then letting go of what happened to you during the rest of the day and becoming present focussed. You can use this skill at the beginning of a race to clear your mind, and also throughout racing, if something goes wrong, for example you get a puncture, accept it, and calmly do what you need to do, to get going again. More importantly, let go of the feelings of upset, that you may have about having a problem, then you can continue to race at the best of your ability.

Breathing

During a yoga practice the breath is often linked to movement, becoming aware of how you are breathing is an important part of yoga practice, and this can also be transferred to a triathlon. Before a race you may use breathing techniques to calm yourself down, and whilst racing you need to be aware of how you are breathing, as it is linked to how much effort you are making. Check in with your breathing every now and then, you could even visualise your blood being oxygenated by your breathing.

Mind over matter

Imagine you have been asked to hold a pose in yoga, your legs start to shake and you start wondering when you can release the pose. Your teacher tells you to breathe and relax into the posture, and you begin to feel better in that position. The same thing can happen in endurance racing/training. There will be times when you feel bad, and you don’t want to carry on, just relax into it and know that it will pass. You can’t fight against the feeling, just realise that it won’t last forever, make sure you are not holding tension anywhere in your body/face, and maybe use some positive affirmation.

Positive affirmation

One of the Yamas of Yoga is Ahimsa (non violence). This is the practice of compassion, and being kind to yourself. This may sound strange when you are asking your body to push itself beyond what it finds comfortable, but you can do it in a compassionate way. For example, you may be going through a bad time during a race. Instead of being unkind to yourself by telling yourself that you are not going fast enough or making enough effort, change the way you speak to yourself. You could have a phrase that you repeat for example “I am the best that I can be” “powerful and strong” This will override your negative thought patterns. Think about how you speak to yourself, are you being kind and compassionate? Would you say those things to someone else? Read more about the 5 Yamas of yoga here

Acceptance

Sometimes, if you are in a yoga class, the person next to you, or behind you, is able to do a pose with ease, and you are struggling. Sometimes what you did one week, feels impossible the next. It doesn’t matter, we are all different, instead of comparing yourself to others, accept yourself and your situation as it is. You may have had a bad training session/race, it happens, and in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that important. Learning to accept, and move on is a useful skill to develop.

 

Mental Training

Reflections and moving forward

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How do you come to terms with a race that didn’t go as planned? Usually it’s fairly easy to put the race in the past, as you know there will be other races and opportunities to shine, but when the race is Kona it is a bit different, as I know I won’t be going back there any time soon. One way of dealing with a disappointing race is to go and do it again, and a lot of people will be doing just that, by getting fired up to race in Kona again, taking the lessons they have learned with them. As that is not an option for me, I have had to find a different approach.

So if you had a disappointing year this is what I recommend you do,

Be thankful

Now that I’ve unpacked my bike and seen some of the damage done to it, I am feeling grateful that I finished the race. That was the main goal, and I am lucky that I didn’t have a worse injury. After reading other peoples stories who DNF’d or had bad crashes. I feel that, although I was disappointed, I did the best I could on the day, mentally it was the toughest thing I have ever done.

Even if you DNF’d there is always something to take away, and being thankful for what you have achieved, or gained is a positive way of moving forward.

reflections reflections

 

Spend time doing other things

If there are things that you have been putting off doing, then do them. I have spent a bit of time working on my website, and I need to make decisions about our barn conversion which I can now think more about.

 

reflections

Just need to hide the neighbours falling down shed!

Think about what you love doing. What has made you happy? What is it that you love about triathlon?

Thinking about what I love, I have realised that I love being outdoors, and being in new places. I enjoy different terrain which makes me feel close to nature.

Once you have spent a bit of time doing these things then you may have more of an idea about what it is that you want to focus on. Go into the season doing what you love, and you will be successful!

Home

I am a mother of 2 boys. with a passion for exercise, the outdoors, food, and nutrition.

I provide coaching services to help you achieve your goals.

I aim to work with you as an individual, and find out your unique training needs.

I have a proven track record of self coaching with success at all distances of Triathlon.

I started Triathlon as a way of getting back into fitness after my first son was born, I have gone on to compete in all distances of triathlon, with success in self coaching.

I believe that through my varied experience (outdoor instructor, teacher, and cycling coach) I have the tools to help people to achieve their goals.

My ethos

  • To empower you to make positive improvements in your life.
  • To demonstrate and teach best practice.
  • To keep up to date with developments and apply these to your training.
  • To be flexible in my approach.
  • To find out about what works for you as an individual.

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To see what I can offer you please click here.

Letting the dust settle

A week of relaxing and contemplating

(To skip straight to my Ironman Wales race report click here)

It has been a week since I completed Ironman Wales, and I have spent the week doing gentle walking, and a couple of swims. I haven’t really considered next year yet, but I have learned a few lessons from the race. The race itself was a fabulous day, the weather was perfect, the support on the course was incredible, and I would love to experience it again.

Sams amazing banner, thanks :-)

Sams amazing banner, thanks :-)

One of my pre race mantras was “through my race I learn”, so here I go… Overall I was really pleased with my result. The swim was hard work, I knew I would be slower than hoped but I still came out in an OK time. I pushed myself on the bike, and stayed in the right power zones.

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What the book says!

 

Power zones

What my power looked like.

I still think my Variability index was a bit high, there were a few instances when I went way over threshold, but it was so hard to keep a lid on it when everyone was cheering and you are going uphill, however my V.I. was 1.08 compared to 1.11 at Wimbleball last year so I’m pleased with that. My intensity factor on the bike was .73, and it should be between .70 and .76 so that was spot on.

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Power graph, power dropped off towards the end, but not too much!

The run was OK, I had wanted to run about an 8:30 min mile, and thought I may be able to go quicker. You can see that I sustained it for the first 2 laps then didn’t manage to keep up the pace, my heart rate dropped, and I was just trying to keep going.

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Pace and heart rate dropping

pace dropping from halfway

 

When I finished I wandered around for a bit before realising that all I wanted to do was lie down.

Feeling rough

Feeling rough

I ended up in the medical tent and had 2 drips. Looking back now I started to get a headache on  the second lap of the bike from Carew to Cross Hands. I thought it must have been because I was tired, as I was still drinking and peeing. (I peed 4-5 times on the bike) I had calculated the liquids that I needed and I had enough water (7 bottles). I used electrolyte tablets in my water, but after a bit of research I may have lost too much salt. Next time I will pay attention to any headaches! And carry salt tablets.

Saying all that I still had a brilliant day and was within my goal time, I did my best, and next time…..well I will learn from my experience!

My plan

My plan

 

 

A week to go.

Last minute anxieties

A few weeks before a race I start thinking “If I had……. it would make my life better” Cue ordering unnecessary stuff. I have so far accumulated energy drink, gels, tyres, and new gloves. The energy drink I won’t use as I haven’t used it in training, the gels I will use, as I have had them before (but I accidentally ordered 3 lots!) and the gloves are not as nice as my old ones. However I did need new tyres.

Moral of the story, “new things will not make me faster”, (repeat, repeat, repeat)

Crazy cooking woman

I also get obsessed with cooking, and have started making yummy things to take on the bike, which I have blogged about here. I did just read in Tri220 that Chrissie only has energy gels, drink, and some dark chocolate on the bike and can’t understand how anyone can eat sandwiches etc on rides, as she is working too hard. “Must try harder on the bike”, (repeat, repeat, repeat) Anyway I made the most of the fantastic weather and sat out on the lawn to calculate my intake of food for the bike leg, and have now planned out what I am taking.

Like summer again!

Like summer again!

Time to take stock

So its time now to reflect on what I have done up to this point and hope that I have a good day next week. I feel ready, but also still wondering if I have planned my peak and taper right, (need to get rid of a few gremlins here!), We will see on race day. I will give it my best.

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Dyfi Enduro 2014, feeling tired.

Dyfi Enduro 2014

The Bank Holiday weekend was our annual trip to the Dyfi Enduro. I didn’t manage to take the camera, as I had enough to worry about, but I got a few snaps. There is a good write up of the event here, and my race report is here, I took it steady and was quite pleased that I was 2nd female in the distance that I did. (I did the shorter loop) Afterwards I also noticed that my neck, shoulders and back were not so stiff as usual, must be due to the strength and conditioning work that I have included in my training this year, its amazing what a few press ups will do. However I’m feeling the effects of staying up late, camping, and off roading, so have adapted my training for the week!

Time and result

Time and result

Comparison between this year and last years data

Comparison between this year and last years data

Back to it

I tried to do a tempo run on Tuesday but my legs were not feeling it, so I eased off and cancelled my swim plan hoping for a better session on Wednesday. My swim on Wednesday was pretty lethargic too!

If you are interested heres the data!

If you are interested heres the data!

My plan is for quality workouts, so I missed my long ride and opted for a shorter turbo session with focussed intervals instead, I spent most of the morning (when I should have been on the turbo) faffing about with the computer.

I decided to do a job that I had been putting off instead and went up to get an old bikes bottom bracket removed at AWP engineering. I watched two men struggle with my seat post for about half an hour, which was quite interesting, then got home to do my turbo, finally. I’m quite looking forward to doing up the bike though, its slowly getting there!

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Work in progress

The Preseli Beast

I’m very excited to have entered The Preseli Beast, well the beast bach anyway, I had a look at this race last year and thought it looked fun, but I haven’t been doing the run mileage to be able to do the long one, and I would also probably set myself up for an injury again! Will be a good run though :-)

Bucket list, collecting data, and Level 2 assessment complete

Bucket list

Finally entered Ironman Wales (woo hoo!!), which led to the list. I have been contemplating making a list of triathlons that I aspire to do one day, so I thought I’d put it in writing, so that I stop obsessing about them! In no particular order

At that point I will stop, as I know there are lots more I’d love to do….

Collecting data….again!

Not Garmin data, but race data, I have been trawling the internet to find old race results, so that I have a copy of them, here it is;

2007

Fishguard Pembrokeshire Sprint Triathlon   7th female, 45th overall

2008

Bala Standard distance 29th female, 275th overall

Gower Peninsular Triathlon (sprint) 4th female, 50th overall

Pretty sure I did an xterra sprint event at Resolven, but can’t find the results, and an off road Duathlon at Margham park which I was 2nd female in.

2009

Had a baby!

2010

Fed baby

2011

Activity Wales Gower Sprint 3rd in category 7th female, 95th overall

Must have done something else this year, but can’t remember!

2012

Pembrokeshire Duathlon 2nd female, 28th overall

Tri Exercise Pembrokshire Coast Triathlon (standard) 4th female, 39th overall

Kinetica Gower Triathlon (sprint) 1st female, 50th overall

Anglesey Sandman (standard)1st female, 32nd overall

2013

Pembrokeshire Duathlon 2nd female, 22nd overall

Seen to help Slateman Triathlon (standard) 5th female, 70th overall

Ironman 70.3 UK Wimbleball 21st female, 6th in age group, 266th overall

Level 2 British Cycling assessment

Completed my assessment in Carmarthen and passed, so very pleased with that, and then had some fun doing cyclocross with the family on Sunday at Clerkenhill. The sun was out, so we had a lovely day, and all managed to have a race.

Devon, enjoying the race.

Devon, enjoying the race.

Short Ironman loop

On Thursday I had a go at the short Ironman loop to see how fast I could go with a relatively easy effort. It was pretty windy, thats my excuse anyway, and also not being on the bike much recently. Theres a lot of work to do before next year, but I’ll leave it for now!!