The goal for this week was to push hard in Saturdays 3,200 time trial swim. However, that never happened and will explain below. Otherwise, training went well and was feeling strong all week. A little tired during Friday’s run but that’s all.

Tuesday:

  • 45min Intervals run 4x3min
  • 2,900 swim: warmup 700. main set: 7×200 moderate, 5×100 moderate w/20sec rest in between. 300 pulls. cooldown 100.

Wednesday: 

  • Bike:  1h 45min. 36 min at tempo. Kept watts between 220 and 230.
  • Run at lunch: 20min easy run.
  • Swim: 2,900yrds evening swim. Warmup 600, main set: 5×100 at moderate. 6×200 at threshold w/45min rest. 300 pulls, cool down 100.

Thursday:

  • Bike 2hours at moderate intensity.
  • Tempo run: 52min (32min at tempo)

Friday:

  • Swim: 2,800 yards. warmup: 600, main set: 4×100 at moderate speed. 6×150 at speed w/1min rest.6×50 sprints. 300 pulls. cool down: 100
  • Run: 1h 10min. Felt tired during this run. Legs were not there and never picked up speed. I didn’t eat well the day before and never felt that I recoved well from the previous day workout.

Saturday: 

  • Bike: morning started strong and finished 4x8min hill repeats.
  • Swim TT/Run: My wife works on Saturdays so my routine have been to take the kids to the gym with me and get a swim and a short run. They love to go there so we headed out the door. Got to the gym, dropped them off and realized I forogt my running clothes. went back and picked them up from the day care. I can’t leave them there if I am not in the gym so we all headed back home to pick up my running clothes. It is a short drive so that wasn’t that big of a deal. Headed back to the gym and dropped them off the daycare and as I am walking out, my older son looked at me and was crying and telling me that he just threwup and he decided to empty the content of his stomach on the daycare floor. Cleaned him up and sat down to calm him down and make sure he is ok before heading back home. At that point I realized the day is over and got to take care of him. We made it back home and thankfully he was feeling good again. Spent the rest of day watching Kona IM championship.

Sunday: 

  • Brick workout: Bike: the weather was decent. Road were a little wet but no rain. However the wind was very strong and blowing at 20+mph. I thought that would be good training day for Cozumel to simulate windy conditions. So headed out the door and the goal was to keep the ride at 200 watts and run 1hour around 8min pace. Also, wanted to test out taking FirstEndurance pre-race during a workout. Felt great on the bike and no problems keeping my watts which ended up averaging me around 20.5mph. Not bad considiring the wind, and dealing with all the traffic and stop signs. My car garage is usually my transition area, I changed to my running clothes and headed out the door for my run. Was feeling great and running closer to 7min/mile than 8min/mile. I tried to slow down but was feeling great and decided to just run and let my body decide the pace. Finished the run with 7:30min/mile.

Monday:

  • Mondays are usually rest days but decided to go and give another try for my 3,200 yards swim time trial. So I headed out to the pool and started the swim strong. I thought I should be done in a little over 45min so just kept my eyes on the wall clock. Around the 45min mark I stoped to see where am I at and checked my Garmin Swim watch only to see that I have somehow hit the stop button around the half way point so it only recorded 20min worth of swimming. I threw my goggles away and left the pool very frustrated. I just can’t get the swim right. Oh well!

Total training time for the week not including Monday’s swim was 14 hours.

This is my first training log and I am going to try to do this weekly. Hopefully someone will find it interesting or useful.

Week 17 was the start of my peak phase and the goal was to put in more race speed work.

Swim:
11,750 yards of swimming over 4 sessions. Lots of speed work mostly 200s and 100s. Saturday swam 3,500 yards straight at a moderate pace. First time to swim over 3,000 yards feeling strong the whole way despite the 2 hours bike speedwork earlier that morning.

Bike:
This was a huge bike week with over 9:23 hours on the trainer. Wednesday was tempo work. Thursday had a brick session. Saturday 1h30m with 4x6min at threshold. Sunday, the weather didn’t cooperate and ended up doing the full ride indoor. 5h 10min on the rollers with 4x20min at half ironman speed, and 4x30min at ironman speed. I followed all that with a 40min run at recovery pace. Wife definitely wasn’t happy 🙂

Run:
This week run was very tricky. I decided to play with fire and increase my mileage and just follow my plan. I just got back into running after two weeks off after my bike crash. Last week was my first full week of running and logged about 24 miles. This week increased it to 33 miles with a 15 mile long run and two speed work. Friday was my long run and ran at a slower pace than I usually do to be on the safe side. Felt good through out but did feel sore the rest of the day. Stayed in my compressions pants and took an ice bath right after the run. Next week will take it down a little and let things recover. Tuesday was 36 min interval work. Wednesday 20min easy run. Thursday brick run at threshold. Friday 15 mile long run. Saturday 20 min recovery run. Sunday 40 min recovery run.

Total training time for the week was 17hours 33minutes.

 

Gear Reviews, Training

As we  move toward the Fall and the off season for many, I am still gearing up for my biggest race of the year, Ironman Cozumel. The weather in the north east is getting colder and the sun doesn’t show up that often anymore. The roads are mostly wet and the sky is no longer blue.

Many people ask me how in the world do I bike indoors?  My immediate answer is usually it takes discipline and a lot of it. Biking is usually a fun activity and done outdoors. Unlike running on a treadmill, for some reason, biking indoors on a trainer or a stationary bike can even be more boring.

This year, I have only logged 25% of my total rides outdoors. Yes, only 25% (about 49 hours) and that include racing. Usually one long Sunday ride. Even those I have done indoors sometimes to  dial in a specific workout which I can never seem to do with all the distractions of outdoor riding. My longest indoor ride this year has been around 6 hours and have no problem going longer. Yes call me crazy!!!

Let’s face it, indoor riding is very easy to do. You don’t need to worry about traffic, stop signs, and you can do it early in the morning or late at night. If you are like me and get up at 5am for a 2hr workout then nothing can be more efficient and safer than indoor riding.

So how do I do it? Here are some indoor bike training tips:

1- Get a good trainer. I personally prefer having a roller and specifically e-motion rollers. These are by far the best and most comfortable rollers you can get. They are expensive but worth it. I also have your regular fluid trainer but haven’t used since I got my e-motion.

2- TrainerRoad. This is by far the best and most valuable training tool I have right now aside from my power meter. It truly made riding indoor enjoyable. TrainerRoad has been around for less than a year but been in beta for over a year now. Basically, the software you download on your PC/Mac, you create an account and select your trainer model and now you have a virtual power meter. The software will convert your speed and resistance into wattage. Or if you have a power meter with ANT+ it will display the data from that instead. Then select one of their available rides or just follow one of their workout plans and watch your FTP increase throughout the season.

Here is a quick video explaining what TrainerRoad is

3- Sufferfest. If you want more entertainment and like to put yourself in a place you’ve never experienced before, then videos from the Sufferfest might be for you. These workouts are beyond intense. TrainerRoad have all of the Sufferfest workouts so you can just follow the power recommendation and make sure you keep a bucket next to you just in case you need it if you know what I mean! Or if you are like me on rollers then keep a chair or poll right there because you will need it once you start seeing stars.

Some of my favorite Sufferfest videos:

  • Hell Hath No Furry
  • The Haunted
  • Fight Club
  • The long scream (if you want to add more pain to your workout)

And as I said earlier, you must have the discipline and dedication to make this possible. Once you get use to a routine, you will discover the many advantages of indoor training.

Having a chat with my son

My son on the elliptical. Still in his pajamas.

Do you train indoor? If you have any other tips or have any question about indoor training or any of the products mentioned in this post, please feel free to comment below or send me an email.

 

Since I’ve signed up for Ironman Cozumel (2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 mile bike, followed by a full marathon) which will take place in late November of this year, the main question I have been getting by other athletes, particularly runners, if I’ve  ever done a full marathon. The answer to this is NO and have no plans on doing one before my Ironman.

The answer I’ve been getting is I must run a marathon to prep me for this long day and need to learn to pace myself. I have all the respect for the 26.2 distance and because of that I have been saying no, I don’t think I need to run a marathon to get ready for an Ironman marathon.

So I decided to ask the community at Slowtwich and as I expected they mostly agree with me. Some of them even completed Ironmans without running a single marathon. I have my own reasons but I am going to first share some of the answers I received on Slowtwich:

No. You do not need to run a full. A stand alone marathon will teach you little to nothing about pacing the run in an IM.

I’ve run over 75 open marathons and two IMs. The run in each have not remotely resembled each other. I really think running a marathon to prep for an IM is only important if the marathon fits with what you want to do training wise.

I never would, i wouldnt run that long based on what I may find out while running it and spook myself.

No, you need to run two Ironman to get ready for an Ironman.

Having this discussion with Ironman athletes is completely different than pure runners. If you’ve done a long distance triathlon you know it is all about the bike. This is where you can set yourself to have a great run or bonk.

These are my reasons for making this decision:

  1. My Half Ironman season starts in June with Eagleman. I want to do well and improve in all of them. Doing a spring marathon will set me back in my training.
  2. It is all about nutrition and bike. To set myself for a good run, I need to figure out my bike nutrition and pacing. The best way to do this is bike, bike, and more biking.
  3. I am doing three half Ironmans leading up to my full Ironman to practice #2.
  4. Tri running is different than open marathon running. Legs are tired and it is usually in the middle of the day and hot. The best solution for tired leg running is following a high frequency running program. Running a full marathon will not help me here.

I will be doing few open running races up to half marathon this spring. I think that is a good distance for improving my running fitness and will recover quicker and get back into my tri training.  I am also adjusting my tri training to allow for more running. Last year, I had 4 weekly runs, one is part of a brick workout. This year, I plan on running 5 to 6 days per week, sandwiching my medium and long runs with short slow recovery runs.

 

Gear Reviews, Training

freezebikeThe triathlon season is winding down in the northern hemisphere. If you like to milk the racing season all the way to October and you are not one of the few lucky ones heading to Kona then you might need to take some extra layers with you in your transition bag. Few things to consider when racing in probably anything below 60ºF:

– Depending on where you are racing, there is a good chance that the water temperature is warmer than the air during Sept through Oct. Check the water temperature at NOAA and if anything above 60ºF, your wetsuit and your swim cap might be enough. A neoprene swim cap might be necessary for anything below 60ºF.

– For the bike, put on socks and get toe covers for your bike shoes. I like toe covers instead of full shoe covers because you can put them on your shoes before the race and have your shoes clipped on the bike if you wish and ready to go. Get good toe covers and use them. Trust me, your toes will freeze very quickly and if you make it to T2 without frostbite, the run will be painful.

Arm Warmers. There is some magic in arm warmers. They don’t cover much but they do keep you warm. It might be hard to put them on when you are wet. One tip is to keep them inside out and roll them up your arms.

– If it is extra cold, you might need to put on a cycling jacket. Not the best option if you are looking for speed but for the longer distance races such as half iron or full iron distance then a jacket might be necessary. I really like the Castelli Wind Blocker. Short sleeves and you can wear it with your arm warmers. It blocks wind and rainproof. Here is a the long sleeve option as well.

– Another tip is to swim without the tri top and put it on in T1. However, putting a tri top while wet might be a challenge so practice this before you do it.

Gloves on the bike is also a good option. Your fingers will get cold very fast.

Try to experiment with all this during training. Don’t be afraid to go out riding if it is raining or cold. Just like racing in hot conditions, you need to understand how your body reacts to cold and certain weather conditions.

Have you raced in cold weather? Share your experience/tips below.

Training for a long distance race requires a huge time commitment. And if you are training for a long distance triathlon, then multiply that by x3.

When I started training for a triathlon last year, I was getting frustrated trying to find the time to train. Having a full time job and trying to be around for my kids, wife and keeping up the house while trying to enjoy my hoppy was not easy. And I was only training for an olympic distance.

I was getting agitated when I couldn’t find the time to train. I tried to workout immediately after coming home from work but that usually added more stress, came home to an angry wife, and left me with no time to spend with my kids.

By the end of last season, I was able to find the perfect formula to my training.

Early morning workouts have been the key to my consistency this season. It allows me to get my workouts done early and leave the rest of the day to deal with real life issues and a second workout.

Waking up before everyone else is not that fun. But once you get used to it, you quickly realize what everyone else is missing. It is amazing how much you can get done during this time and how much energy it leaves you with. Also, there is nothing like going out for a run when everyone is a sleep and it is you, the road and nature.

These are few things that helped me adjust to this routine:

  1. Plan my workout before going to bed. Usually, I have my workout schedule done in advance so I know exactly what I need to get done throughout the week. I usually have my clothes and nutrition ready, bicycle on the trainer or prepared for an outdoor ride. Check tire pressure, shoes, helmet, etc the night before. The last thing you want to deal with is bicycle issues at 5am.
  2. Get your work stuff read too. Set the coffee maker, clothes, etc.
  3. Going to bed early. I realized I need 7-8 hours of sleep. I am usually in bed by 10-10:30pm. No more late night TV or movies, that’s what the DVR is for.
  4. Get the long session done first. If I have two workouts scheduled for the day, I like to get the long or hard session done first. Usually that’s the bike ride, run or brick. If I am swimming, usually I leave that to the evening.
  5. Take time to wake up. I don’t usually rush from my bed to the trainer or running shoes. I take my time to get ready.
  6. Start with 2 shots of espresso. Now I actually look forward to waking up early just so I can drink my espresso.
  7. Eat something. Peanut butter sandwich is usually on the menu. I don’t fill-up on food. I leave that for later.
  8. By 5:30 – 5:45 I am out the door.
  9. Take a break a morning or two and sleep in.

On weekdays, the longest session is usually not more than 2 hours. So I am in the shower by 7am or 7:30. Eat a big breakfast, grab my coffee and out to work.

Getting into this routine took me a while. It is not easy to be up that early. Your body need time to adjust. Once you are done with your workout, you don’t have to stress out the rest of the day thinking about how you can sneak in a 2 hour bike ride.

Also, I found it easier for me to do the hard session in the morning. Your body is already tired after a long day at work. Adding another 2+ hour bike ride, brick session or a long run later in the day can put a lot of stress on the body. Also if life throws me a curve ball then I can deal with it without missing my main session.

I like to leave swimming to the evening, usually after the kids are in bed usually after 8pm. Being in the water seem to have a relaxing effect on me, even with hard swim sessions. It also seems to help with my sleep. And in my gym, everyone like to swim early. This way I don’t have to share a lane with anyone. Actually, few times I was the only one in the pool.

With this schedule, even though I am putting 11+ hours per week training for my Ironman 70.3, I have a lot more energy, feel stronger, and have enough time between workouts to recover well and train hard.

“no one said life is going to be perfect; build a bridge and get over it”

If you are like me and millions of Americans who seem to get hit with spring allergies as soon as the snow melt off the grass then read on.

For the last ten years, I have tried every possible allergy medication. Some worked, some had no effect, some worked for one season. Finally, I settled on a combination of Nasonex (prescription) and over the counter Zyrtec.

As triathletes, we are out training most of the times and breathing heavily the air around us which is full of dust and pollen. Coming back home from a long ride was usually followed by a ritual of sniffling and sneezing.

So one day at work, someone was talking about the Neti pot. I had no idea what it was and when I read and learned about it, I thought it was a crazy idea and disgusting. However, for around $15 I decided to give it a try.

So what is the Neti pot?

Dwight Schrute uses a neti pot in an episode of The Office.

The Neti pot looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin’s magic lamp. It originally comes from the Ayurvedic/yoga medical tradition.

First fill the Neti pot with warm water and saline solution or salt.  Then tilt your head over the sink, place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril and gently pour in the water. As you pour, the salt water will flow through your nasal cavity and out the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.

The Neti pot has been around for centuries, its use is on the rise in the U.S., thanks to an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and a fair amount of news coverage.

I have been using it once a week during the winter. Now I am using it more often as I started noticing more allergy symptoms.

Give it a try and hopefully it will work for you like it did for me.