Trying Some Old Tricks

OldTricksIn an attempt to get my motivation back to train I’m falling back on some things that have worked in the past. In particular building a new training diary. The net effect is usually a strong desire to fill it with some good figures ! I started my new diary back whilst in Kona but had not worked on it since but now I’ve spent a good few hours on it and am very happy with the result. After a little more testing I will post it here.

It’s now consistent with the training plan and it includes all the previous years data. I’ve managed to build a generic grapher and it’s given me the chance to do some good analysis year on year. The graph above is one of the results of it. It shows how many weeks in the year had training hours greater than a certain amount. It goes in 5 hour increments upto 60 hours – I’ve never had a week above 60 – I came close last year but no cigar. There’s a motivator right there.

The results weren’t as interesting as expected though I think thats because it doesn’t show how the hours were distributed in the year. For instance I know that in the first 5 months of 2006 I was very consistent – no completely bonkers weeks but without fail week in week out I was knocking out 30 hours or so. Need to try and do some analysis around that.

Anyway… getting sidetracked. Points of note from the above:

  1. In 2004/2005 my first two full seasons of triathlon I didn’t have a single week below 5 hours ! Thats two years on the trot training a minimum of 5 hours. It doesn’t sound that great but it surprised me. Not once did I just take a whole week off.
  2. Look at 2006/2007 – there are big humps in the middle. I had loads of weeks in the 30 – 40 hour range but very few above 50 hours. Both those years I had excellent performances in the middle of the year. Again a distribution would be interesting to do.
  3. 2008 – It’s not until you get to 50 hours or more did I manage more weeks training in that level. In the mid range I had a lot lot less. I think this is key to my sporadic performances last year. I had periods where I was nailing big training and others where motivation vanished. Alot of those big weeks were right at the start of the year.
  4. The question is what to take from this when planning. Part of me thinks well you just have to nail the big hours week in week out next year. “Toughen the F%%% up” so to speak. However, I don’t believe thats right. I think it’s more likely that those really big weeks contributed to motivation vanishing and I must aim to get back to consistency of training around the 30 to 40 hour mark.

…. think I may hold off posting this and try and get some analysis showing distribution through the year.

OK, a little later now.

Took a look at a graph of weekly hours comparing years but it didn’t make things too clear. So instead I looked at some straight stats. The table below looks at weekly total hours through the course of each of the last five years.


It’s interesting to note that it’s only in the last two years that I’ve gone a whole week without any training. This is the period when I’ve been part time / not working ! Another bizarre fact is that my maximum training in 2006 and 2008 are the same … thats to the minute – I’ve double checked it, very weird. I then looked at what my maximum in any 7 day period was. In 2008 it was still 58.68 (Epic Camp) but in 2006 I managed 61.32 (My own personal Epic Camp in Scotland which included no swimming, most of the running in the hills and some very wet riding!). There’s another little target for 2009.

Looking at 2005 and 2008 you can see that the average hours are more or less the same but the variability is alot less in 2005. 2005 ended with a 9:50 race at Kona whilst working full time whereas 2008 ended with 10:30 having not worked at all ! Part of the diff is explained by the better conditions in 2005 but not all.

I view 2006 as my best year of performance so far with 2007 pretty close behind. Looking at it that I manage more average training with less variation. Significantly in both those years was that my first key race was later in the year. In 2006 is was Longest Day in July but with several Olympic in June. In 2007 it was Lanzarote at the end of  May.

Here’s the same stats but just looking at the first 22 weeks of the year:


Here you really see the consistency in training in both those years compared to 2008. The average deviation from the mean in 2006 was less than half that in 2008 despite the means being very similar. Both Longest Day and Ironman Germany were at about the same time but at Longest Day (2006) I race awesomely whereas Ironman Germany was my worst ever Ironman performance. Consistency is the key. 2008 was made harder by having Ironman New Zealand in the middle of the winter and thats what I’ve got in store for next year.

My initial reaction to this analysis is that I should be careful about viewing Ironman New Zealand as an A race. Instead I think I may plan on a short taper and try and return to training promptly after with the overall goal being consistency thorough to Lanza.

Expect more stats in the next few entries.

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