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Tales of an endurance athlete
Duathlete at heart, but will do aything running/cycling/swimming/multisport related. Within reason of course:-)

Never been a fan… but I could do with now!

tiggaby tiggaFeb 18th 2016
Following the disappointment of my last iron distance race I decided that I should capitalise on the training I have done and get back on the training horse for two main reasons.

1) Unfinished business with an iron distance ‘race’
2) If I don’t run regularly, when I try to ramp it up I get injured really easily in my old age. If it were not for an IM I probably wouldn't run much, so I would rather continue the running to 'tick the box' of a decent iron distance race.

With my never ending mojo (this being my 28th year of competitive sports and 20th in multisport), I set my next race goal as IM South Africa. Entered and flights booked… so here’s what I’ve done so far in order to be best prepared.

Winter training in the UK for an early spring IM is hard… extremely tough, only because I enjoy getting outdoors to train, this indoor training takes serious motivation. Getting the volume in that is required takes more motivation and then the daylight hours I take forgranted in summer are no longer available to me in winter. 2016 started with a nice big bang… good solid 2hr ride at 8am… I was serious enough about this race that I had a nice quiet new year’s eve night. First ride of the year was on my TT bike and pushing power numbers that surprised me for this time of the year. Typically Dec/January are very much down months for me, no intensity and no training if I ‘simply don’t feel like it’!
Good start to the year I thought… only 8 days later my enthusiasm took a huge knock when I was hit from behind by a car on my commute home. Despite 3 (that’s THREE) red rear lights I had not been seen… every cyclist night mare â€" makes you wonder what I could have done not to be hit by a man who is, by trade, an optometrist of all things?! One minute I’m pedalling along, the next I’m doing backflips over the bonnet of a SAAB and the split second it happened I knew exactly what had happened and fearing the worst… all in those few seconds of chaos I was amazed just how much went through my mind!

The upshot (if there is one when being hit by a car?) was I had no broken bones, the fact was the bike is a write off and I badly bruised bones that still ache 7 weeks later… oh and the right butt cheek that took most of the force on impact still has the evidence of swelling that comes with internal bleeding.
On the plus side… the major impact points were not on my sitting bones but more in my cocsyx and ‘upper’ glute. Two weeks of pain and I decided I had to start training… lightly at first, to see if I was actually going to be able to make the start line at all. It was pretty evident that my right side was still in shock, super inflexible and zero pressure could be put on the badly bruised muscles/bones, couple that with an overloaded left side simply because I was doing all day to things like bending down using my left side only. If I know one thing about injuries… they come because of an imbalance. You can be the most inflexible athlete in the world, but if you’re equally inflexible L to R then chances are you won’t be injured. I knew I was on a collision course with injury if I wasn’t careful and this collision I can see coming so I really have to be careful and sensible.

That accident changed a lot about how I was going to approach this next race. In my head I’d always decided that Tue/Wed/Thur were going to ‘heat’ adaption training days. Simply key sessions indoors… but since the accident I’ve done Mon-Fri exclusively indoors at my gym close to work.

Well, that’s not too bad you say?! I’ve always found a training routine that fits with my (and my better half’s) life, so including a commute as my training on my bike was a logical way of reducing the impact on ‘hours in my day training takes’. It’s something I take pride in when offering my advice to other athletes, ways to find the time without the training taking over your life as well as those closest to you. It still is a lifestyle choice I make… but I’d prefer to ride to work and back otherwise I simply add an hour to my day driving to work and back. Whilst 30mins door to door each way isn’t bad, I still see this as a waste of time and additional fuel cost, which essentially pays for my rather extravagant gym membership.

That said here is what I have found about indoor training that are observations and key to my prep for IM SA:

1) It simply does eat into mine and Jackie’s spare time â€" I am ever conscious and grateful for all she does to enable me to train for a spring IM
2) I sweat bucket loads â€" eg: An easy (IM paced) 60mins treadmill session I drenched head to toe, a hard 60mins is the same only I am soaked 3mins earlier.
3) I love training data. Wattbike = lots of training data â€" by simple conclusion I love the Wattbike. I never thought I would… but I do. The higher the average watts the faster I will go… simple sports science so long as my position when on the wattbike is close to TT position
4) Wattbike is bad for the muscles that hold your head up â€" you don’t have to look up when on a wattbike, only as far the screen displaying the numbers. So it’s key to ride outdoors at least once a week, in particular in TT position and long.
5) Indoors I can control everything about a key session. Running â€" treadmill speed and biking wattbike power. Making my way of training, minimal gains week on week in key sessions, an easy winner!
6) Running intervals in the warmth of indoors puts far less stress on my old body which is prone playing up in cold weather. The warmth is preventing niggles?!
7) Treadmill running is training my ‘current’ limiter â€" cadence/leg turnover. I can count strides easier and look in the mirror ahead at ‘form’
8) When I’m at the gym â€" I’m more likely to get into a habit of 5-10mins here and there on the foam roller or stretching. Something I wouldn’t really bother with when training from home.
9) It’s perfect for IM prep in the heat â€" In a 90mins hard TT riding sessions I’m typically going through 1.5-2litres of fluid/carb mix. The body is going to know how to deal with this is that African heat. Compared with Saturday 4hr30mins (easyish) ride just 1000 cal and 1litre.
10) After workout shower with the training clothes on! Sweaty clothes pulled out after a day in a bag from a morning workout… yeah, not nice! Even worse if you don’t do it til the next day! At least they are somewhat cleaned by jumping in the shower with them on.
11) Indoor training produces more used sports clothing than ever! I’m one for bike/run on one day… Wednesday in particular is one dirty sports clothing accumulator day. Impressive even by my standards…
12) My heart rate goes through the roof with nothing to cool me down. Yes, the gym has aircon â€" but no real wind circulation (I need a fan!!). Over time it has improved though which is why I like numbers and data so much
13) Easy days are harder indoors â€" especially riding. To just pootle along outdoors there are distractions to keep you occupied. Not so much when you’re supposed to be riding or running easy
14) I’m not one for music in my ears when outdoors riding. However, indoors I’ve been listening to a radio station in SA that I used to listen to when I lived there all those years ago! Good old Saffa accents and local banter has made it surprisingly easy. To think I didn’t even know what email was when I left SA in 1999… here I am listening to a radio station from the other side of the world on line on my mobile phone’s app!!
15) I thought it would be hard to find the motivation to train and push myself â€" As always though, enter the race and that is all the mojo I need.

Now with less than 8 weeks to go, and finally just completed one week of IM build I’m actually quite pleased with, I am getting excited by the prospect I competing in SA… birthplace of my competitive sports career, competing against and with some friends and family some of whom were there in my early start up days in the mid 90’s. Couple it with my first return back to SA for 7 years, meeting my nephews, seeing my younger sister and family for the first time in 7 long years… Damn right I’m excited

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