I had planned to do separate reviews of bike and run but time has rather whizzed by so I’m going to combine them. Jo and I did an awesome ride on Christmas Day. Similar to last year but this time we headed out over the Port Hills and did the summit road on the way back. The profile of the ride is quality:
What amused me even more than this graph was the climb from Akaroa to the Summit road. This has to be the toughest climb in these here parts. I took a split from leaving the main road to the top (so I missed the first 10 minutes of climbing) but as I left Jo I’d decided my aim was to ride the hill as easy as possible. This is something I often tell my athletes when I know they’ll get an appropriate workout from a hill without trying. So doing this hill as easy as possible resulted in the following:
5km covered, 507m ascent in 33 minutes. Average HR 150, average power 278 watts, average cadence 46. Giving me a more or less best every CP30 ! And that was going as easy as I could. Already have in mind to get back there and ride it hard … not sure it will be that different.
Ok lets get to the review.
So far I’ve ridden 15,141 miles this year only the second time I’ve managed more than 15,000. Thats an average of 291 per week with an average ride length of 74 miles. (Eddington Numbers will be covered in a separate review). My numbers were really heading to be massive until the change in approach after Kona cut back my love (obsession?) with riding long.
Overall my cycling has been pretty solid all year though I’m not convinced it’s moved on since this time last year. In racing I’ve had a couple of rides that have been disappointing but both times I feel the reason lies more generally than my biking. In both cases I felt I was in great shape but with hindsight I was tired. At Ironman new Zealand I’d just not got over Epic Camp and at Hawaii I was darn tired. Almost certainly due to serious lack of sleep in September combined with my highest monthly training hours. Following each of these disappointments I backed up with a solid ride at the next race but the approach was different.
My initial reaction following New Zealand was it was lack of long riding. I’d been so tired post Epic Camp that I’d not done much over distance riding. I felt this was lacking so in April I just put my head down and rode long and steady. I did 19 rides that month covering 1,838 miles ( an average of ~ 97 miles!). This was often in bad weather with lots of it up in the North Yorkshire Moors. It served me well as I rode my easiest Ironman bike at Lanzarote to get 5:20 and set me up for my Kona spot.
Following Hawaii I was pretty convinced I was just tired. So the month after that I did 18 rides covering 1,122 miles (an average of ~62 miles) but with much more purposeful intervals. All long rides include 6 x 5 mins @ ~ 300 watts in the first half and a long Ironman interval in the second. I rode great at Busselton again setting me up to get my Kona slot. What was really pleasing was I almost matched last years split (in harder conditions) whilst knowing I could run and was planning on running hard. It put aside thoughts that the previous years split had only been possible because I knew I wouldn’t be able to run fast.
I’m fully committed to the new approach this year and feel that provided I feel fresh I will be able to hit good solid interval sessions and improve the wattage I can hold for Ironman. Fingers cross it will continue to be fun.
The most enjoyable riding this year has ranked as some of the best riding I’ve done and that was at Epic Camp and on the Five Passes Tour. Both involved lots of hard group riding and I just got such a buzz from pushing hard and long on the front as well as trying to just hang on when the pack surged. I had the sense to give myself the time to recover after the Five Passes.
So far I’ve run 1,606 miles this year my lowest mileage other than last year. Thats 31 miles per week with an average run length of 7.4 miles.
The year started well with Epic Camp. I went into that thinking that there was no way I could win the Yellow Jersey as there were no bike add ons so running lots was required. My competitive side kicked in and I ran lots anyway and discovered that my foot was up to running more.
I’d been slow in my return to running. I was aware of how injury free I’d been post the years in my later 20s early 30s when I’d been unable to run and had 3 knew surgeries. When I finally ran again I went 2 years without doing any interval work. I just ran for fun and ran at a comfortable pace. Following that I was injury free and put it down to the patience in my return allowing my joints, tendons, ligaments etc… to gain resilience.
I continued this post Epic and ran well at Taupo for 24k and afterwards felt it was just a matter of building my run stamina. I continued this with lots of longer runs in the run up to Lanza and managed a 3:33 run which was (just) enough to get the last Kona slot. As with the bike the run at Hawaii was disappointing. It was due to a combination of general fatigue together with my move to racing in vibrams. Coming in to Busselton I made a change to my approach. I started running with a Garmin so I could run at specific paces. All my running was faster and targetted at improving my ‘default’ speed. There was progress and probably as good as I’d hoped. Half marathon in 1:39 then big fade. The latter not surprising given my overall lack of running. Enough to get my Kona spot and as such remove the pressure on the up coming races which has allowed me to step back now and look at my technique. Since Busso I’ve been slowly building back my running with better technique thats hugely to the help from Helen at Ten-Point who has generously given her time and reviewed loads of video footage of my running that Jo’s taken. It’s made running a real pleasure and certainly been interesting. Now my calves ache and seem to be the limiter. In a race it’s always been my quads that have failed me. Discussing with Jo, who clearly runs forefoot striking, it’s always her calves that limit her performance. Anyway, it’s going to take patience and will means the run at Challenge Wanaka in just over 2 weeks will be interesting. The hope is though that I’ll run strong at Taupo and super strong at Austria.