Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Room to let for a month?

Dear All
Just a quick one for you...Georgia (who used to train with the group, awesome runner, but who recently moved back to the UK) has a physiotherapist friend who is coming to do a course in Perth at Curtin Uni in Jan/Feb and is seeking a room to let for a month in a shared house. If you know of anyone who would be keen or if you have space yourself, please email Georgia (not me) on georgia.wood@talk21.com - thanks guys and girls!

Simulated Half Ironman Session 6th September

Its getting to that time in the Ironman Program where some of the crew are either flying up to Singapore for the 70.3 event on the 7th September, or are planning to do a simulated Half Ironman training session on Saturday 6th September.
Those who are flying up to Singapore are all set and we wish Judi and Mike the very best of luck in the event - go groovers!!!
As for those staying here in Perth, the plan is to do a simulated HIM session at 7.00am starting off with a 2km ocean swim (bring your wetsuits) up at Sorrento Quays, then a 90km ride (route TBC) followed by a coastal 21.1km run - phew! Please let me know asap if you are planning on attending this session!
Following the weekend, those who are doing the IM program will be taking a well-deserved week off!
This Saturday's ride will be an easy cafe ride meeting at the Bell Tower at 7am.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why did Saturday's Bike Session feel so hard? Some tips about why we train the way we do!

Dear All
Saturday's bike session down the Freeway and back (~100km) was found by most to be quite a tough session - but why so? Many of those who participated have now been training consistently for a good 3 months or so (especially those doing the Busselton Ironman in December) and whilst we haven't yet begun the main "specific phase", one might think that most of these guys would simply sniff at the thought of a 100km ride on the flat, especially given that their nutrition plans were well executed too.
Whether or not you rode, you may be keen to hear the 3 explanations for this and how these explanations may help you understand where we're at, how and why we structure our training the way we do (often against the "norm") and how this will help you understand what we are aiming for in future training sessions for yourself whatever your discipline.
  • Hills .vs. Flat - which is "harder": Possibly the simplest explanation is that for the last 3 months these guys have been doing predominantly hilly bike rides, and whilst you may think that a hilly ride would be harder than a flat one, think again! A flat bike ride offers relentless pedalling which starts to become very fatiguing after about 2+ hours on the legs and lower back due to being sat in the same position for a long period of time. On the hills, you get chance to cruise, recover and stretch on a regular basis, so whilst each hill might feel quite hard, overall a flat ride can be quite a bit harder than a hilly one, especially with the headwind we experienced on Saturday! Many think that hilly rides are scheduled to build "strength" but in reality, cycling is NOT a strength-limited sport and as such, the hilly rides (in this case) are (as explained below) a chance to build some "general base" in a nice, engaging surrounding.
The flat riding (as boring as it might be) is the start of us getting a little more "specific" about what we're doing. As this was our first major flat ride, it was always going to be deceptively tough.
  • The Workout - Recovery Cycle: Every program that you do should have periods of high volume and / or intensity followed by adequate periods of rest and recovery in order to allow your body chance to adapt to the hard work you are subjecting it to. Seth Hosmer of the velocoach.com wrote and excellent article about how and why this is entirely necessary (see http://www.freewebs.com/velodynamics2/workoutrecovery.pdf for the full article). Essentially, it is absolutely imperative that when an easy or recovery session (or even rest day) is scheduled, that it is performed (or taken) as planned. All too often people make the "dangerous" mistake of thinking "I don't need to go easy today - 'easy' is for 'wimps'" but in reality this is putting your whole program in jeopardy...make the easy sessions too hard and in the short-term the "hard" sessions aren't hard enough (due to residual fatigue) and in the long-term you end up breaking-down, possibly with injury. As explained in the article, your body needs to be subjected to periods of "over-load" or "training stimulus" in order for it to get better, and right now, those who are training for Singapore 70.3 and the Busselton Ironman in December are right at the peak of one of these over-load periods, meaning that some sessions are going to feel quite tough and tempers can often become "frayed"!! This is to be expected and is entirely normal.
Managing this with the next fortnight of easy recovery work and then a full week off (for these athletes) will be essential to making sure that we don't get into the dreaded "over-training" zone. As such, Saturday's ride would have felt quite tough, as too could this Saturday!
  • Correct Periodisation: Most will have heard what it means to "periodise" your training, and in a nutshell this simply means that as you progress through any program, you should go from being very "general" in your approach to being very "specific". Many people make the mistake (for distance events in particular) that this means doing a LOT of slow endurance work at the start of a program to "build you up" and then (suddenly) transition to a LOT of speed work to "sharpen you up". This is entirely INCORRECT: correct periodisation for endurance events is all about developing form, speed and power at the start of the program (i.e. true "general" base-work) and then working to lengthen the duration of your sessions and reduce some of the intensity in order to "specifically" prepare for the job at hand. Many worry that leaving the long stuff till the "last minute" won't have you adequately prepared, when in reality there is no such "sudden" transition, but moreso a blend from one to the other ensuring the whole spectrum of your training preparation is taken care of. If you do not develop your form and power in particular at the start of a program, you have no hope of then lifting it at the end. As a result your racing performance will always be limited to where it can go. The other thing that people fail to realise is that a 2hr "power" session, also provides 2hrs worth of endurance for the "bank", whereas a 2hr "steady" session provides just endurance benefits but no development of your power! The following article is quite entertaining reading on this front: http://www.triathloncoach.com/pdf/rideless.pdf with the summary being "if you want to ride faster, so too you should!"
As such, with where we're currently at in the program, a long endurance ride last Saturday would have felt tough as this was our first true transition to our more specific endurance phase...when done consistently over the next few weeks the developing endurance plus the power that we have developed at the start, will ensure that not only are we riding long distances, but we're riding them much faster too!
I would strongly suggest that if you want to make the most of this program or of any future program, that you have a read through of the following article http://www.theteamcore.com/coreperiodisation.html which gives you the full "nitty gritty" of how and why we do things the way we do. Oftentimes my biggest battle in coaching is educating people on the most current methods in training and racing performance and how they WILL help you improve. However, this is often an uphill struggle due to much of what is now concurrent is quite different to the "old school" or even what you perceive to be "correct".
The other thing to remember is that all of what we have just discussed is the "science" behind coaching, whereas good coaching requires a blend of science and "art" - the art being the intuition to know how and when to modify the program on a needs-basis in response to how each individual athlete is developing. Training with the squad on a daily basis or communicating online daily with your coach as to how you are performing is absolutely imperative...this is YOUR commitment to the coach-athlete relationship, so please get good at it!
Hope that all makes sense and adds a bit more understanding as to why we do things the way we do, even if this differs from what your other triathlon buddies are doing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Early finish to Monday's Cycle Windtrainer Session

Dear All
Please be advised that due to a Dolphins WaterPolo team meeting at Claremont Pool tomorrow evening (Monday 18th August), we will have to finish our cycle session by 7pm. As such, please aim to be at the Club Rooms for 5.45pm so we can get started at the slightly earlier time of 6pm (normally 6.15pm). Its a "short, sharp" session anyway tomorrow so this will give us ample time to get in what we need to.
Thanks - see you there for some solid fun!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Training this WEEK

Dear All
Well what a fantastic Olympic Games it has been so far - totally inspirational!! The swimming in particular has been a massive favourite for me as your # 1 "Swim Geek" - Michael Phelps, Eamon Sullivan and the three Australian female superstars (Libby Tricket, Leisel Jones and Steph Rice) are just sensational right now. Its also very addictive sitting down and watching all the TV coverage (as good or as bad as you perceive Channel 7s coverage to be!). I've found that the Official Olympic Games website at http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/SW.shtml offers the easiest way of finding all the results that you may have missed during the day.
Make sure you don't miss the two triathlon events next Monday (women's) and Tuesday (men's) where my tip is for a win for Emma Snowshill and Javier Gomez in the men's. Both should be great events.
So, whilst you are no doubt pinned to your seats watching as much as you can, don't forget to get out there and keep yourself active as well! I went for a swim today visualising that I was swimming like Phelps and despite being relatively unfit right now, it was amazing how good I actually felt in the water by feeding off this inspiration - so make sure you get along to a few sessions this week and give it a try and see what I mean!!
Upcoming "attractions":
Those that are running the City-2-Surf will no doubt be well on their way with their preparations for that event - but what of the other big events this season? We have full details of the various programs that we will be offering up at http://www.theteamcore.com/futureprograms.html
Personally this year I will be preparing for my first ever Rottnest Solo Swim which I'm very excited about. We're going to get the program for this rolling from the start of September and then really hitting off on the 6th October (20 weeks). Its a great challenge and if you've ever thought about doing a solo, duo or team, now could be the year to make that happen. We'll be introducing a Saturday morning long distance open water swim session from October onwards which will be a great chance to practice some open water specific skills and swimming with a support paddler. Let me know if you are keen - we have about 12 people keen so far.
Training this week:
The weather has really picked up in the last fortnight, but three of our sessions are struggling to attract the interest that I would hope and that will allow us to keep running these sessions. These are:
  • Monday morning long run (free) - meet at UWA Car Park at 6am on the corner of Mounts Bay Road. Whilst we all run at various speeds, just having the motivation of meeting someone else and running with a group can do wonders for getting your week off to a good start!
  • Tuesday evening run technique and drills (1 credit) - meet at McGilvray Oval at 6pm for a 6.15pm start. This session is ideal for those wanting to improve their form and technique in an environment which is supportive, encouraging and motivating - you don't need to be a "whizz" to partake in this session as all abilities are catered for.
  • Wednesday evening swim session (1 credit) - meet at Claremont Pool at 5.50pm for a 6pm start. This is a challenging but enjoyable threshold-type swim intervals session (e.g. 100s and 200s). As numbers have been low since its inception, those who have attended have reaped the rewards of some good individual attention on their strokes.
We really need numbers to get up to 10+ to make these sessions sustainable, but rather than just cancel them immediately, we'll give them until the last week in August to see if they pick up at all and then make a decision on whether to cancel these sessions. You don't need to let me know if you're coming, just check out the details at http://www.theteamcore.com/weeklyprogram.html and venues at http://www.theteamcore.com/wherewetrain.html
So, this week, all the sessions are running as normal (http://www.theteamcore.com/weeklyprogram.html ) and this Saturday's bike/run session will meet at 7am at the Dodgy Digital Dunnies (http://www.communitywalk.com/teamcoremap#00046JR7). We'll be doing a 100km freeway ride followed by an 8km run off the bike for those specifically building up for the Ironman in December and other longer distance events. Make sure you bring ample nutrition and fluid even if its a cold start.
Great stuff - see you out there!