Unorthodox Roth Preparation

RothPrep12.jpgIt’s been over 4 months since an entry on the blog. It has been intentional, the reasons for which I may go in to in a later blog post but for now I’d like to just write a little about my preparations for Roth which, to say the least, have not been typical.

This year is the first time in many where I’ve had a winter not racing. It has been an absolute pleasure to just train without anything applying pressure to do stuff. I’ve regained the joy of exercise. This has required doing what I enjoy which has meant that heading in to Roth I have already done 68% of my total 2011 swim volume, 94% of my total 2011 bike volume, 63% of my total 2011 run volume and already done nine more bricks than in all of 2011.

Looking at performance – in the pool last year I was able to hold 100s off 1:25 with the odd ones off 1:20 now it’s all 5s down being able to hold 100s off 1:20 more or less indefinitely with the odd ones off 1:15. I done my fastest 1500m TTs since my teenage years.

On the bike the CP measure per Golden Cheetah (consistent even if not accurate) has gone from about 300 watts at start of the year to 368 by the end of the last Pyrenees trip. This compares to 342 watts last year leading in to Ironman Wales. I can see and feel I’m riding stronger.

On the run I’m consistently running at higher speed. My average speed for the year is 10s per KM faster last year.

So I’m feeling very fit and having not raced for a long time super keen to race.

Lets back track a little to the lead up to Wimbleball this year. The previous year had been such an enjoyable race but I’d raced it with a specific aim which wasn’t the fastest I could go. This year I wanted to let rip but this was tempered with a desire to do the right thing for Roth.

My approach was – big weekend and monday before the race. Then three light days of squad swim and run followed by a long aerobic ride (135km) on the friday with a squad swim. The day before the race I did our club ride – 2hrs and about 40 miles with some spells of top end work. Following this the race went really well. On the previous year my swim was 2.5 minutes quicker, bike 9.5 minutes quicker and run 5.5 minutes quicker. Following last years Wimbleball I went 9:19 at Austria, my second fastest Ironman ever. So as you can imagine I am pretty excited about racing Roth.

At that point there was three weeks to go and I had Iron Camp with Pyrenees Multisport in between. I wanted to fully enjoy the camp and had every intention of riding hard. So the monday after the race I did squad swim and a long steady ride. Then had an easy couple of days before training in the Pyrenees. Here’s what I did on the camp through to last friday (a week out from Roth).


It should be pretty obvious from that that I did virtually no swimming or running but the biking was massive with serious work every day – there was a KOM (King of The Mountains) competition with at least one climb everyday scoring. I’m not saying this is ideal prep and it’s not but it was all about maximising fun which I did. The idea after that was to just rest up but with a feeling some sort of decent ride would be needed in the week.

So … complete rest last sat and Sunday then Monday I did an easy ride to squad swim with Tri London and a 5 mile run home. The swim was pretty important to me as I wanted to assess if I’d lost any of the swim gains. It was pretty positive when at the end of the first set of progressive 100s I did a 70s 100m. Then right at the end of the session on the second set I did a 68s 100m. Very pleased.

Run home – running great, feeling so positive then I descended steps at Waterloo bridge I got this severe cramp like pain in each of three quad muscles. The muscles weren’t cramping but there was a golf ball size area of severe pain in each that brought me to a halt not long after. The only other time I’ve felt this was mile 3 of the London Marathon in 2004. I had a meeting to get to so I couldn’t just walk the rest of the way. I stretched (yes I do stretch when there’s something that clearly needs stretching) and managed to run (much slower) home.

Ever positive I felt thankful I’d had this now with 6 days to let it recover. I put it down to the amount of cycling without any running.

Tues we drove to Roth so no exercise then yesterday we did a easy ride round the course ( 85km) and I did a run off the bike. Not only to test out how I felt but also to check out the tow path. Glad I did as I know not to run in See-Ya but am considering either Spyridons or Bikila LS. Run went well, felt good. Then descending stairs just after I was hit by the cramp like pain. Now I can say I’m definitely worried about Sunday. Luckily for me Helen at 10-Point yet again has helped me out with excellent advice via e-mail. I have three days to sort this during which it seems I probably shouldn’t touch my bike ;o(

So … not an orthodox approach to an Ironman. At this point I would say that it’s convinced me that this approach is probably best avoided. Perhaps a better balance of biking and running last week would have been OK. My gut feeling is that for me it’s not the overall work done that was the problem but the fact I spent so much time in the saddle with virtually no running.

Time predictions tomorrow or Saturday.

By the way – the photo is taken during my wait at the top of The Tourmalet on the Thursday of camp when we did the monster Etape day. It’s indicative of how hard I rode during the camp.

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