Monday, 22 December 2014

Learning Curves.

I wish I’d had the sense to take more photos yesterday. It would have made today’s blog all the more interesting, but I didn’t, I didn’t think until it was too late, so I’m sorry.
This being the first year I have really bashed the Turbo Trainer - following a prang last year that saw me bust a rib and my shoulder (that’s never been the same since) after hitting the deck on an icy road at 20mph, I have been keen to get out and see how much of an investment (or disaster) the garage based training has been. Its been 10 weeks since I last stretched it out on the road, my longest abstinence for a long time.....
A decent 65 mile ride with a friend was the plan. We are pretty similar pace over distance on the bike, so assuming all things were even with him it would be a good assessment for me as to my current form.  Despite the wind we met up bright and early and headed out into the hills of the Wolds. The first 7 or 8 miles were tough. The bike felt twitchy and different to what I had become accustomed to, and I certainly didn’t enjoy the climbs. I quickly convinced myself that the turbo was a disaster and my form had gone. I also noticed early on that my heart was working a lot harder on the road than the equivalent effort on the turbo, not that it minded. It wasn’t pounding like a jack hammer in my chest so as to be unmanageable, but it was definitely a good 10bpm higher throughout the ride than I would have expected. I've decided I think the lack of sweat pouring profusely from you when you are physically moving due to evaporation, makes a big difference physiologically, and maybe just even that alone stops you working as hard when static?
By 8 miles I had settled in. We had a few good steady climbs under our belt and got our heads down. Olly, being much taller than me was suffering in the persistent and powerful headwind,  jutting up out of his bike like a windsurfers sail. I decided to go easy on myself and given the quite rough conditions that we were forcing ourselves headlong in to, to not be too quick to judge the turbo as detrimental, and just enjoy it for what it was.
Then at mile 12 Oliver unexpectedly declared himself out. At first I thought it was simply an excuse, and he didn’t fancy battling another 20 miles of this before the route changed direction and we got some assistance from the gusts rather than this battering, but on inspection it was apparent his back tyre had popped. Not just the inner tube – the tyre was worn through. There was a quick admission that he had been using the tyre on the turbo, and it had taken its toll. I posted a few weeks back about a friends tyre spraying rubber in the shed, and I’ve experienced it myself at home. Now, having seen the damage it does first hand when the tyre is subjected to the tarmac, I have all the evidence required never to use my road tyres on the machine.
So there we were stood in the middle of nowhere, except for the badly injured owl that was laid on the road half squashed just behind us, scratching our heads..... and I waited, expecting the back up kit to come out so we could enjoy some impromptu roadside bike maintenance. But there was no spare tyre to be conjured. (I didn’t have one either - but my actual tyre is near enough brand new). There were 2 inner tubes, several inflator canisters and a host of tools and first aid kit on my back - If only he had come off in the wind and knocked some sense into his head we'd have been sorted). I did notice Olly had thoughtfully forgotten to remove his mini pump from its home at the base of his seat post however. Useful. 
Next up the admission that he hadn’t brought his phone either. As it's Christmas I thought it best to be friendly, and decided to let him borrow mine. That was a faff, it meant taking my gloves off, my fingers going numb to the wind chill and clatting about disconnecting my headphones. It was worth the fuss though when he then had to admit he didn’t know his Girlfriends phone number (who he has lived with for a couple of years I might add), so he called his dad to ask him what her number was. He didn’t know either. It was starting to look like he was stuck.  
While this was going on a couple of other friends biked past & stopped, one pouring with an impossible amount with sweat given the conditions. When they stopped and I noticed that, it made me realise how cold I had become. This wind was stripping me to the bone of any heat. I hadn’t really layered up as much as I could have, working on the premise that it would encourage me to pedal harder to generate warmth. With the other 2 now present I seized the opportunity to declare my cycle partner a write off, and they joined in with some casual abuse.
And so we wished him luck walking home alone.  It seemed only fair given his gratuitous personal negligence - it would give him time, walking 12 miles in cleats, in the cold and the wind, to contemplate his failings. I bid him farewell, the other 2 cleared off as well, and once back in the saddle I found myself alone on the Bluestone Heath Ridge, in the pummelling wind.
A few times it blew so hard that I nearly ended up in the ditch. The rear wheel disc (mentioned in the previous post) acting as a sail, and forcing the back end all over the road. I was enjoying the challenge.
View from the Ridge.
This continued unrelenting until mile 34. At that point the course changed, and it gave me some assistance. In terms of the turbo, I had had plenty of time to assess my form during those miles. It was hard to tell if it has helped my power or pace, but certainly my endurance was strong. Given the effort of cycling into 25+mph winds it dawned on me I still had plenty in the tank for the mostly steadily uphill 31mile climb to home. A big plus for the indoor work done. Again I got my head down and enjoyed it for what it was.
There were a few back wind /down hills going home, steep and ferocious affairs. Thundering down them, barely in control, belly on the seat, backside mm’s from the rear wheel, chin on the aero bars. Blind from the wind. Adrenalin surging. An overdue reminder that that’s why we cycle.
Home in just over 3hrs. Averaging 18.5mph. I wouldn’t leave the road out so long again, but the turbo has been confirmed in my mind as a valuable means to an end. As a mate said after, it keeps the legs spinning, and lets you do some all out sprints without a fear of coming off.
Trainers on, and straight back out onto the road for a run. A quick 5 mile brick to gauge current form in this department. The legs were tired and angry at this unexpected effort, but gave me a 6:45 min  mile average regardless. No complaints there.
Yesterday was also the last day of the 30 Day Cold Water Challenge.
The 30 days are done, and it went quite quickly. My body has got used to the cold, and I think there has been some benefit in helping me with Ice swimming. Certainly my head has desensitised to the initial ‘ice-cream headache’ type effect I was suffering.
The highlight is definitely that I used to think a warm shower after training was refreshing, I now know it isn’t. I will continue to take a cold shower after a decent session. It genuinely cools you, brings down the heart rate, and leaves you feeling alive and fresh, not tired and sleepy. In terms of training, especially in the morning before work, that is a real gain. 
The only reason I'll really be glad its over are because of the couple of things I hadn't really counted on missing. The first is I always tend to sit in the shower. Cross legged on the floor letting the water beat down on me. I love it. Its also a great place to sit and brush your teeth. When the water is ice cold there is no point trying to relax like that, and its good to be able to do it again, although I have already had complaints that I drain the tank of all water, and how much the family preferred me 'on cold' as it kept an element of brevity to my washing affairs.
Secondly I missed showering with Sarah. Not like hot and steamy showers, but just day to day. We are a house zero privacy, or so it seems. Often when we get up we will both get in the shower together, a quick mutual back wash - and just to save time and water. Its not unusual to be followed into the bathroom by 1 child sat on the loo and then 1 child stood brushing their teeth, all while we stand and shower together. A quirk of our family life that was missing for a month while I had to hang back and let the rest of the family  get sorted before I did my cold thing. Getting back to the everyday routine that I never even knew I would miss will be fun.
The low point in this endeavour came a week last Sunday from an unexpected corner. While we were changing for Ice Swimming in the hut a fellow swimmer asked me how it was going. At that point my mate Alex piped up ‘Are you still doing that??’ I confirmed I was, and asked if he had tried it, to which he replied:
"I thought about it, but we are stood here nearly naked about to get into a lake that’s 5 degrees, I considered that, then thought ‘of course he can do that, it’s no challenge’ so I didn’t bother trying it. We all know you can take a cold shower".
It was a throw away comment from Alex, but his assessment that it was in essence a pretty low bar I had set myself with this one hit home, and it made the final week hard to push through and be bothered to continue with it. Finish what you start though, even if all you take from something is that you saw it through, is a worthwhile maxim. And so that’s what I did. I stopped questioning it again, got on with it, and now it’s finished.  No regrets.
It’s that attitude I hope will carry me through the bike leg of the 140.6 in the summer. No questioning it. Just get in the saddle and pedal.
And so on to the Christmas Holidays, juggling gluttonous excesses and family gatherings that can quickly rob you of structured training. No doubt there will be lapses, but the 2 main pre Christmas evening events have passed without drunkenness, and that is the biggest thief of my time. A hang over seems to last 3 days and ruin training. They have been avoided with a strict personal 3 drink limit, and that is a huge gain.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Making ends meet.

It's been a week. A quick week. The last ramped up week of long endurance base sessions before a deserved rest. It's also the last week of the 30 day cold shower challenge. That ends Sunday.
Rather than repeat myself, or admit to a few smaller sessions I have slacked off on due to the dark mornings (warm bed) and the dark nights (coal fire) putting a dampener on things I have also delayed blogging on the premise it is better to be quiet than repeat myself or be negative and not motivate people.
It's an expensive time of year too though, and it occurred to me today that that is worth blogging about. Any way you can save some money is worth consideration in my mind.
It's not just busy and expensive because its Christmas, it's also the time of year when all the big events for next year are open and you start carefully watching the entry lists to see how quickly they are filling up. Before you know it you have little choice but to fork out for entries or risk being a spectator, and the bank balance can soon take a serious wallop. Today alone I got 'invites' to 4 events in 2015, and spent the afternoon thinking "I'll pay for that one then, this one there... oh, but I need this replacing, and if I hold off and enter that in Feb there's no council tax to go out and we can also book a hotel..." You know how it goes I'm sure....
Everyone has an annual budget. That budget might be £5000, it might be £500. Whatever it is, that doesn't just have to cover entry fees, it covers travel, accommodation, and more importantly kit that might need replacing or improving. This is a tough ball to juggle - once you get more serious about your sport you need the right kit to be competitive, but you don't want to spend a penny more than you have to. After all its got to be better to spend the money on entry fees and competing than it has on having a load of equipment and no money left to race, right? And that's where I did something last year that saved me around £500 and bought me a good few minutes on the bike.
I'm pretty outspoken about how much of a waste of money most kit is. Overhyped, over branded and mostly not worth anything more than a bit of hard graft can't improve on anyway. Something we can't escape though is physics, and the all important chunk of that we call aerodynamics. The stats are out there clear as day on the benefits of good aerodynamics, and a great place to start is a decent set of wheels.
The problem with wheels is they are expensive, and so I had avoided entertaining them up until the point where I just wasn't getting the improvements in my times that I used to, despite training harder and harder. Then I hit on an idea. Having looked at the various designs, and deciding that the weight of my wheels wasn't an issue, the next thing to consider was a disc wheel to really help cut through the air. 
I quickly concluded buying a budget end heavy lump of a disc had to be false economy. What I gained in aerodynamics I would lose in weight, and a decent carbon one was going to cost me dearly. For a solid back wheel I decided that with a bit of thought and patience I could make a lightweight 'in fill' for a fraction of the cost of going out and buying one. So that's what I did. And that's what I want to share.
I was lucky enough to be able to get sheet plastic through work for free. I knew what specification I wanted. Either ABS or GPPS (the type of plastic sheet I was looking to work with - both much lighter than PVC) and rigid but flexible. Anything used in a process called 'vac forming' would be ideal. I got a few sheets sent to me of varying thicknesses and settled on the thinnest suitable one I dare use, 200 microns thick. That's 0.2 of a mm. This I got free, but if you want to buy some it will cost you about £15 a sheet. At most these wheels are going to cost you £30. Just do a Google search on PS or ABS Sheet suppliers. Be sure that the width of the sheet you order is greater than the diameter of your wheel. 
I have put some images I took below with simple to follow instructions.

                                                                The unrolled Sheet PS.

Remove the back wheel and measure the radius from the skewer entry point to the edge of the dish where the spoke disappears into the outer edge of the wheel. Add 2 cm onto the radius depth.
Next secure the plastic sheet to a board with nails in each corner.  Knock a nail into the centre point of the sheet and tie some string to the nail.
Measure the string out to the radius +2cm distance you just took from the back wheel. Tie a nail into the string at that point.


Keeping the nail straight and upright, carefully and systematically work round scoring the sheet, keeping the string pulled taught. Measure intermittently with a tape measure to ensure you are scoring out the required radius evenly.

Once you are happy you have got the right size marked out, cut the disc out. I tried a few methods, a stanley blade was sharp, but left jagged edges. In the end I settled for my wifes dress making scissors. Sharp and smooth, and adds an unexpected element of danger when she finds out!!
Once you have cut out the disc, cut out the centre hole and then a straight line from the outer edge down to the centre.
Carefully slide the cassette on the wheel between the slit and ease it down and jiggle the centre hole around the inside of the cassette.
By adding the extra 2cm at the start you can now finely trim the sheet down to the perfect size so the rim of the disc sits on the dish about 3to 4mm just outside its inner edge. You need to leave a good bit of dish visible between the disc and the tyre for securing the disc to the wheel.

Once the disc is sized up and you are happy take it off and use it as template for the other side. You now have both sides ready to fix up.

I tried various methods, including bits of tubing and cable ties, but found that the best way to secure the disc was using nothing but a good quality duct tape. The glue in the duct tape bonds with the plastic and fixes very securely. Run it the length of the spokes and press it firmly and snugly around the spokes as I have started doing in the image above. Finally cut a flap in line with the inflator valve.
Once you repeat with the other side take your time. Slide you hand up and curve the sheet gently to get access. There should be enough flexibility in it to let you bend it to gain access.
Once it's stuck down both sides it should look something like this.

Now secure the sheet onto the dish by using good quality flexible electric tape. This will shape smoothly around the wheel, if you take your time you can pull it evenly round without pucker or ridges. Run another strip straight down the centre seam. Press it all down firmly.

Once everything is secure clean it up using white spirit or similar, and wipe over with a cloth.

The finished article below.

Before (complete with Aero Pineapple)

After creating this disc I took it out on a well used 10 mile TT route. I instantly took 40 seconds off my PB for that route. An unbelievable time saving at an incredibly low cost. The additional weight to the wheel is a mere 98 grams. It really is a thin and durable disc. Buying a wheel like this would have cost me knocking on £600. That's the entry fee on another 3 x 140.6's. Result.
I have since used this wheel extensively and am happy to confirm it holds up in all weathers and has not once come loose.

It has been used in anger without issue - pushing me to a 24.3mph bike average in the Club Sprint Relays and my part in our team Silver medals, and also at Olympic distance bagging me an age category win and 5th overall. These results wouldn't have been possible without it.
Bored in the holidays? - Get out in the garage and spend some time now to save money and minutes in racing next season.

If you want any more info on the wheel please get in touch and I'll be happy to help.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

An Alternative View

Tri Wife

Martin has asked me to write a post on how it feels to be a tri wife. Having given this some thought it’s a large range of feelings….. mostly positive. I love how positive and healthy and motivated he is about training (when it’s going well) as I feel this translates into other areas of our life. The old saying “If you want something doing then ask the busiest person you know” is very true where Martin is concerned.
Me. Married to Triathlon.
I do wonder sometimes how he manages to fit everything in, but we do. It means he gets up early to fit training in, and of course this does disturb me when he gets up. Martin CANNOT do anything quietly if he tried. I also have to entertain myself when he trains in the evening when the girls go to bed. This I don’t mind, but not sure Ella is thrilled when she gets woken by the post training shower - as her bedroom is next to the bathroom.  I am also very aware that at any time if I asked him stay in tonight, don’t go swimming Saturday morning stay and spend time with me, then he would sack training off. I would never ask him to do this for a couple of reasons

1. He shows me his new training plan and asks if this fits in with family life (it always does).

2. It makes him happy and is very good for his physical and mental health.

3. It’s a positive for the girls to see (a better hobby than the pub).

I have come to realise that the actual races or events are good family fun, but they are such a small piece in the whole puzzle. The girls and I love race day BUT Martin is a nightmare the day before - distracted, can be negative, and can talk of nothing else, which to be fair can be very irritating. He also constantly checks I’m ok with it!!! I understand why he does this, feels guilty, selfish for some reason. But after repeating “I’m OK, and I want to come”, “No the girls don’t mind”, “We love cheering you on” for 20 times in one day….. sometimes, only sometimes, I could scream.  

Getting THE BOX ready and equipment, making sure the bike is race fit seems from my point of view to take hours. (Same thing is needed every race - get a list). We just keep out of his way as I have realised my help is definitely not needed. While Martin prats around gets ready, I do everything else. Making sure we have enough food, drink and tea, clothes for every weather etc.
The All Consuming Ball Box and Bike.
While we sort everything else.....

As a family we have never had a problem with getting up and being on time so we are always at events in plenty of time, which we all love. Martin goes off to set up, the girls and I wander off to have a look around. We always see people we know which is nice. This is my favourite time - I’m a huge people watcher.  Standing outside the transition area is a favourite thing of mine, but sometimes the posturing and overwhelming scent of testosterone is far too strong and I need to move away before I disgrace myself by laughing out loud.

I have come to see that the one who to me have the blingiest gear & flashiest bike does not always show on the results page. I love to see those who it’s their first race. They look nervous but excited and are usually raising loads of cash for charity. The girls and I try to remember who these ones are so we can cheer extra loud when they run or bike past. Molly and I can clap and cheer for England. Of course Martin is the main one we cheer for but anyone from the Tri club or friends will get equal claps and yells of encouragement. Or because we can be quite nice if we think you need an encouraging yell or you are impressing us we will cheer for you. When Ella races I’m sure all you can hear is us yelling, but not to go faster just to have fun and enjoy it. She’s is the one with the biggest grin on her face loving every minute, I’m not going to go on about some of the parents at kids races……but I could. In my book it should be fun.
Ella after a race.
Waiting patiently for ANOTHER T-Shirt.

When racing is finished and we have acquired yet another tee shirt it’s off home. Dissecting the race, chittering about who we have seen etc.

Then the bit that really annoys me goes on. Pulling himself to pieces, texting from the thread to the needle and back again with his friends all about the race. This will go on for at least a week and sometimes can try even my elastic patience. We all love it really and despite what Martin says I’m very easy going and genuinely love going to the events.
Post race dissection pose.

Monday, 8 December 2014

A week of experimentation.

Its been a busy week. The upside of being productive is there is plenty to write about, the downside is that there isn't the time. Thanks to the persistent encouragement of my wife however, I have found that time now.
The beginning of last week should have been part of my rest week, with The Program re starting its 4 weekly cycle last Wednesday. I was enjoying the rest, but it creates time. You get so used to fitting everything in that when you suddenly don't have to find 2+hrs per day to train it leaves you with time to think, and all that extra energy to burn.
Now is definitely the time to try new things, things that will hopefully pay dividends come races next year. With that in mind I decided to step out of my rest week early. Definitely not something I would advocate others to do, but I was feeling strong and well rested by Sunday so decided to trial the concept of the reverse taper. With that in mind I grabbed an early night Sunday, ready for the next few days ahead, and preparation for a local beach front 5k on the upcoming Tuesday evening.
Dodging the usual Monday morning endurance swim set, I started at 6am on a Bike/Run/Bike brick for 1.5hrs. I then repeated that brick Monday night, over 2hrs. Tuesday morning I got up and did another straight brick involving anaerobic interval sets for 45mins on the bike and then a nice 5k run.

My legs were certainly now under no illusion as to what I expected of them, and kept reminding me they were very aware that they had been put to work. By building the intensity and volume over a short sharp period following a rest the theory being tested was that the legs would be ready and expectant in meeting the demands that would be placed on them later. They should still be fresh enough from the rest to absorb the last 48hrs efforts, and know that it was time to work hard without yet being fatigued.
3 of us travelled to the race. Only making it by the skin of our teeth thanks to the abysmal planning and organisational skills of our driver, and his magical bag of kit that included absolutely everything he owned except his bike spilling out all over the car. It had been cold and windy all day, with plenty of rain, and nobody was holding much hope of this changing for the race. As it happened there was no rain, but the wind was strong and bitingly cold. I knew from the Humber bridge 6hr enduro a few months back I could expect plenty of salt and sand in my eyes. It is always tempting to think you will be OK to run in shorts and a vest while you are getting ready in the home, but I had plumped for a compression top and leggings and was pleased with the choice. It was about a mile to the start from the parking, and we took the opportunity to warm up on the way down.
On arrival at the start line I was surprised to find over 200 people in attendance. It's always good to see people who can be bothered to get out and get involved. I've never been a 'stand alone' runner, and could tell straight off there was plenty of pedigree on the line. There was also plenty of other Louth Tri members down there and the time passed quickly waiting for the start while everyone took turns to abuse my choice of bright fluorescent orange leggings. That kind of lip is welcome though, only serving to ensure I try harder to beat them and shame them !
Eventually the whistle blew and we were off. A straight initial 2km into a hard wind. I really wanted to use this event to test the reverse taper on my body, but also get a gauge of my speed once a month to measure improvements over the winter period, so I was keen to give it my best. Learning from the Market Rasen 10k a few weeks previous I eased off at the start, resisting the urge to power off like previously, and stuck just off the shoulder of the lead pack for the first 800m. After this point a hole began developing. It was a carbon copy of the last race. After about 1/2 a mile the lead group were pulling a gap and I just couldn't keep it closed. This continued, my lungs and legs burning as I tried to settle into a manageable pace. By 1200m the gap had extended to about 150 / 200m, but had stabilised. And that in a nutshell was where I stayed. I was up to speed and keeping even pace with the group in front, but once again I was unable to close it, or stop that gap forming at the start. The wind blew hard, and it made it tough slugging it out alone in the no mans land between packs, with nobody to draft behind. I finished 12th with a disappointing 18:54min. That was a good minute off what I had been expecting. Afterwards though it seemed everyone had suffered a minutes gain due to the weather, so all things being even it wasn't too bad. The race had served some purpose, it was highlighting a problem with getting up to speed at the start.
I went away thinking this was down to the reverse taper, and was annoyed at myself for trying it. My legs and chest hurting like hell after the initial start while I tried to settle into pace had served no benefit. A KFC on the way back and the usual dissection of the race with my fellow Louth competitors eased the grief.
Next day however I mentioned this to a fellow club member, and soon to be new club Chairman Steve. With years of running experience under his belt he immediately suggested that I wasn't warmed up enough at the start. He suggested that if my heart rate wasn't up there and ready to go, then that would explain the gap that developed while my body adjusted to what was required. That made sense. Something so simple that I had overlooked, and once again by taking the time to talk it through someone else could see the wood for the trees and had made a sensible suggestion. We had been delayed on the line, it was cold and we passed the time with chatter. That won't be happening again.... arrive in the nick of time, arrive warm and run hard. With so many variables it is hard to know if the reverse taper was a success or not, but next months race falls at the end of the rest week again, and I will take full advantage of that beforehand, and I can then compare more.
Wednesday ticked off a decent balanced swim set, with Ella enjoying the club swimming too.
Thursday, and a cancellation in the diary meant I had time to talk through a friend who I have recently drawn up a training plan for - to set up his turbo, and perform a Lactate Threshold test. By getting him to do a 10minute warm up on the bike, and then move straight into a maximum even sustainable effort for 20minutes, then taking the average heart rate during that 20 minutes this will give him his lactate threshold, and the starting point for the various zones he will be working through to build endurance over the winter.

Simon and the winter training shed/office.
Getting back a bit early gave me the opportunity to seize some daylight and put down a juicy 1hr at my Intensive Endurance pace on the bike, followed by a 13mile cross country run, and then straight back onto the bike for 1/2hr of interval sets moving between 4minutes at the Extensive Endurance point to 1 minute of Anaerobic repetition.
This is an interesting final part to this set. It is always a shock to the legs to get back on the bike after a run, much like running off the bike used to be during my first forays into triathlon. Maintaining pace is hard, but after the first 1minute of max effort the pacing becomes easier. As time moves on each 1minute interval shows a decrease in power, with my legs fatiguing quicker. The real surprise however is that while the overall power declines, the recovery pace increases slightly. By the end of the set the reward for the suffering is an overall increase in output (for no extra Beats Per Minute) over the 4 minute extensive endurance phase.
Friday was a rest day, needed after a week of a race and several big bricks. Enjoying the day with Sarah shopping and a monster fry up, before heading out into the hills to cheer on Ella at a County cross country event. Watching all the students run made me wish I had my trainers to hand. Still it is always good to stand on the side lines and take your turn to be a supporter, knowing there are plenty of times it is the other way around, and people being bothered to cheer me on.
Friday night was the Louth Tri Club AGM. The club was in fine form, with a cracking spread, the food highlight being an anonymous supplier of cool little LTC runner gingerbread men!

Ace little Louth Tri gingerbread men.
The evening saw a change in the guard, as the old Chairman stepped down to concentrate on competition next season. If ever there was a good reason to take yourself away from the administrative side of a club, then that has to be the best. Simon has begun his winter training in earnest now, and I have every confidence he will achieve what he wants. He has a sensible 2 year plan and is already well on the way to beating his first winter training goals.
Best Newcomer went to Team Conways youngest member - Luke, who is now holding his own admirably among the seniors, and the coaches award went to Oliver Whelpton, for consistent hard work. Oliver is always conspicuous in his absence from training sessions, and the award was well deserved for recognition of the quiet consistent effort he applies. Jackie Hall bagged most improved, and she definitely has, again consistent applied effort has got her the results she deserves. Female of the year went to Kerry Drewery, the club member responsible for me suffering the Hell on The Humber endurance marathon. She was the clear stand out winner having featured at the top of her age category through out the races she undertook last season. Finally the Male Triathlete of the year went to Ross MacGreggor. He was the only option for this award, having taken himself from complete novice 2 years ago to Midlands Sprint Champion 2015, bagging himself a Sprint Age Group spot for Team GB along the way, heading out to Canada to compete for his Country in the autumn and finishing 3rd GB athlete home - securing automatic requalification for next year at Chicago. Oh, and also winning the inaugural home town Louth Triathlon in September.

The Louth Elite Sprint Relay Team.
The one thing that stands out with all of these winners very clearly is the solid consistent effort they put into their training. Everything has a purpose, and there is a clearly defined goal at the end of it. They know it takes time, they work hard through the lows and it gives them the highs come race day. Its a pleasure and a privilege to train with them all.
On a side note, and a big bonus for The Working Class Triathlete Team, is that the outgoing Chairman Simon is now on The Program using our techniques to help him reach his goals. Oliver, winner of the Coaches Award is also well down the road of his personalised program, and Luke, the most improved for 2014 is also now on our client list, and will be starting his goal specific training plan in the next week or so once we have agreed all his targets and fully understand his aims for 2015. All in all a great show of effort that people have put into the plans we have been developing, making it a real honour to work with them and see them getting results through the hard work I know that each of them apply. The biggest win here for me is that seeing them work so hard gives me no option but to always also give my best. I cannot ask anything of others that I would not do myself.
Saturday morning, and after getting in at around 2am (just the right side of sober) I just managed to make it to the club swim set. It was good to see others still motivated enough too, including Oliver who had won an award and had reason to celebrate, and Jo who had been out too, and it was her birthday that morning! And they were still motivated enough to train. The set passed quickly, and I felt good on it. I was glad I went.
Home to a normal family Saturday.
Sunday saw a return to the extended brick designed to help my body learn to delay fatigue. Bike/Run/Bike at endurance and interval paces again, and by focusing on run and cycling economy this really helped me to again see improvements from last month.
Sunday also saw a nice surprise, fellow athlete and Friend Jon Bromfield kindly gave me his Polar Heart Rate Monitor, knowing I had been limping by with a cheap eBay affair. This rekindled my interest in the stats and has barely been taken off since......
The post set cold shower registered 44 beats per minute. Very pleased with the control of that.
This morning was also a return to the 7am swim endurance swim set with Ross. Only this morning he decided to trial his wetsuit in the pool. The usual gaggle of ladies were loving watching him wiggle into his rubber at poolside, but the exercise was a worthwhile one.
We all know you go faster in a wetsuit. We all swim at a given pace in the pool, and we all swim at an increased (wetsuited) pace in the Lake. You get used to that fact. You also get used to the approximate pace of your training partners in each environment. To swim this morning next to a wet-suited athlete while I was in skins cemented in my mind the value of that piece of kit. Ross is always quicker than me in the pool, but today he was seriously quicker. The increase in pace was noticeable. Especially at the start, he put down a 5:13 400m without even trying. The pace decreased over time as he progressed, but he was still faster than normal. Afterwards the only complaint was overheating, and shoulder strain. Both of those were not unexpected, and a worthwhile exercise in appreciating the value of the suit.

The question in my mind now is can you gain more time in a 400m pool based sprint than you would lose taking the suit off in transition if you wore one?
Cold showers after. They are the norm now. A little part of me is dreading having to re adapt to the heat in 11days time.

Post Shower Heart Rate.