Monday, 9 March 2009

Home time...

In a couple of hours time our Thomson Airways flight from Lanzarote to Manchester will touch down (I'm writing this at about 30,000 feet and 300mph) and with another 500 Canarian cycling miles paid into my training ‘bank’ things are starting to look rather good.

H, Andy KJ, Ady and I flew out last Sunday and were joined on Monday by our friends and training partners Pauly P and Sam. The six of us rented a self-catered villa in a quiet and secluded town called Caleta de Famara (point four on the Ironman bike course above) and having stocked up on enough food to fuel a small army set about swimming, biking and running across the length and breadth of this most barren yet beautiful of islands.

With my swimming and running ahead of schedule and the horrendous February weather somewhat limiting my bike volume, this week was about two wheeled training. Swimming would always take a back seat and as such I only managed the one session, a steady 40 minute open water effort around (roughly) one lap of the Ironman swim course in Puerto Del Carmen (PDC). Likewise, I decided to give my run legs a little rest and swapped the usual weekly dose of interval, tempo and long sessions for a steady daily hour, typically off the back of a good bike. So what about the cycling….

Monday (57 miles) – Two hours easy in the morning with AKJ, H and Ady followed by another two hours easy in the afternoon. Nothing strenuous in either session, just a chance to spin the legs and check everything had survived the flight.

Tuesday (100 miles) – In the morning all six of us rode the southern loop of the Ironman course at a nice easy pace (my heart rate averaged 90 for the 65 miles in about five hours). In the afternoon I did the first of my three key sessions of the week and with a fairly steady seven mile warm up from our base in Famara to Club La Santa, I put in six hard two-mile hill repeats up to the town of Soo, the last of which I kept my foot on the gas for the remaining five miles home before sticking a good 60 minute run on the end.

Wednesday (100 miles) – The morning saw us riding as a group once more and in just over four hours and 50 miles we’d taken in the whole of the northern loop of the Ironman course which included the infamous climbs up Haria and Mirador Del Rio. Wednesday afternoon saw my second key session of the week and also my second attempt of the northern loop that day. With Ady setting me the target of beating three hours ten for the super hilly (not to mention windy) 50 miles I was pushing from right from the ‘gun’. Feeling strong it was clear that my bike emphasis of the past couple of months was coming good and at 2:43 door-to-door I’d averaged 18.5 mph, sticking another steady 60 minute run on the back and the week was shaping up nicely.

Thursday (Zero Miles) – I had planned to ride every day but with plenty of good work done, my legs starting to feel the pace and THE key session of the week scheduled for Friday I took an easy day with just a steady run and swim.

Friday (100 miles) – From the moment we booked this trip I’d fancied a crack at a solo TT effort round the entire Ironman course. Setting off in cool and overcast conditions my target was to beat six hours and get as close to my race day target of 5.40 as possible. I should point out that I did miss the short loop around PDC (hence the 100 miles, not 112) but it does seem like that is probably only around seven or eight miles so I’m guessing the course is four or five miles short? (If anyone reading this has measured it I’d love to know?) I think that the key to riding Lanza fast is to never let your effort drop and keep as steady a power output as possible over the undulating and windy route. With an average heart rate of 135 but a max of only 148 I think I managed that and a ride time of 5.39 (plus ten minutes of stops, to by more water) was swiftly followed by eight very hilly and very very windy miles out and back to Soo, comfortably holding sub 7.10 miles. As far as confidence building goes it doesn’t get much better than that, ten more weeks of training and a well delivered taper should hopefully see me cover the extra few miles in the same time and then settle into the required 7.30 pace for a sub-3.20 run… if only life was that simple ;)

Saturday (100 miles) – With my personal goals for the week all but achieved today was about helping Paul and AKJ to achieve theirs. Paul’s taking on Lanza with us and AKJ will hit his first Ironman start line in Austria on July the 5th, for Paul it would be his first century since Austria last year and for Andy his first ever! Eight hours and five minutes (ride time) later and a strong day in the saddle saw all five of us nicely round the mdot course and back in time for H and I to slot in an easy 10k run before a well earned dinner in Tinajo :)

Sunday (50 miles) - The last day of the camp and a final chance to practice the fast and technical downhill sections from Haria and Mirador and also to reach my pre-trip target of 500 miles. Sam, H and I set off on the nicest morning of the week and despite tired legs from the previous days efforts all three of us felt good holding a nice steady pace whilst taking in the first proper sun of a somewhat overcast seven days.

So, that's about it... 507 miles, seven runs and a swim all in about 45 hours training! H and I both set new personal records for not only bike miles in a week and total training hours in a week but also calories consumed... I don't think I've ever eaten so much in my life as each day was a constant battle to not only replenish the energy used but top up for the next session. Thankfully we also got plenty of sleep so once we've got over this late night (having only landed in Manchester at midnight) everything should be good.

It's now 2.46am on Sunday night / Monday morning and with my eyes losing the battle against gravity it's time for bed.

Apologies for any spelling mistakes etc but I'm about as knackered as I've ever been.

See you soon,



Jevon said...

Great week mate. Look forward to catching up soon.

Tom said...

cheers J,

I feel pretty cooked now but am sure an easy(ish) week should see full recovery and a return to maximum mojo ;)

Russ said...

Sounds like a great week of training.

How did you find the solo TT? In terms of perceived effort? From heart rate it doesn't sound too bad. I'd say if you can do 160K in 5:40 as part of a heavy week then 180K tapered should be fine (I've been away too long, I can't work in miles anymore)! I'll have to give the TT a shot once I'm out there.

Three weeks to my first Ironman of the year... Nerves are kicking in and I'm starting to speculate on fitness!


Tom said...

Hi Russ,

The solo TT of the northern loop wasn't far off a max effort, i.e. higher than mdot, however it was the second time I'd ridden over Haria and Mirador that day and I'd done a century the day before.

The solo effort of the whole course however was following a 'rest' day of sorts and was probably at around Ironman effort. At times it felt a little above that but I got off and ran better than any of my previous three ironman races so must have been ballpark. Once Helen gets off her mac I'll take a screen grab of the heart rate profile and email it over. I did also take two stops to refuel (7 mins and 3 mins) but never know if those help or hinder to be honest?

anyway, nerdy stats to follow ;)


Hanno said...

Hi Tom, amazing stuff!

I wish I could have joined you all for this week, instead I had to be content with completing another IM Lanzarote lap on the CompuTrainer, getting it down to 5h34 and change. By the way, last May I recorded it as 110.6 miles. The bit you were leaving out is nearly 6 miles out and a bit over 4 on the way back. There was a slight change of course due to road works in 2008, so it might be half a mile shorter this year, and Transition might grow again, making the bike shorter still.

I cannot imagine the bike miles you got in the bank already, I'm glad if I manage 6 hours a week.

Keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to meeting again in May. Bring it on!


Tom said...

Great to hear from you Hanno. Your double Ironman exploits continue to motivate both of us so much.

See you soon,