22 days to go and what will I be doing in those 22 days?
Six days ago I started by 4 week run in to the race in Lisbon, a period to finish off the conditioning then taper down. Or in the case of swimming, get my swimming up to the necessary standard.
In terms of training, I feel happy with cycling and running so up until ,y taper week the focus will be on high end fitness, intensity threshold and aerobic power work. The only blip is a 93 mile sportive this coming Sunday.
In week one my two core interval sessions were structured as follows.
Aerobic power: 3 sets of 5 x 30 sec max/30 sec recovery. With 2.5 minutes between sets. This has advanced to 3 sets 0f 8 x 60 sec max/30 sec recovery and 2.5 mins between sets.
Intensity threshold: 5 x 4 mins, 2 mins recovery has been stretched to 6 x 5 min, keeping the 2 mins recovery.
It should be said that max means max. As I’m limiting overall training to less than 8 hours, and usually less than 6, and only three sessions per activity, each session has to count. So they’re done hard enough to need 36 hours or so to recover.
The longer sessions have progressed to 3 hour rides and 80 min runs, again always on the edge of too hard.
It will be a strange feeling to jump on the bike in Lisbon and not have to ride flat out – leaving something for the 21km run. Every time I’ve been on a bike since I started this journey I’ve ridden as hard as possible. Apart from 2 social rides and mountain biking with my kids.
I’ve got the gearing and cadence in mind for the 90km, I know what I can push comfortably and am confident that I can be reasonably fast and still leave some juice for the run.
In running, I have been learning what different pacing feels like, playing with stride rate and length and also feel that I have my race pace dialled and imprinted on my brain.
The big focus now is to be faster on the bike, faster running and to get closer to a good swim stroke.
Two weeks before Lisbon I’ll be doing the Kendal sprint triathlon as a little test and equipment shakedown. Whilst it’s a pool swim it will be good for transition experience and I’m looking forward to putting the three disciplines together.
As far as swimming goes, today I did a mile in one push – not quickly, but not creeping either. I ‘m so pleased to have come from my first 10 x 50m just 9 weeks ago. My dodgy shoulder continues to be the main challenge but now that I feel the distance is no longer frightening I’ll focus on a smooth stroke and a little speed over the next two weeks before tapering down. I’ll be able to get 2 open water swims done before Lisbon, and have spent a lot of down time doing mental rehearsal to ensure I’m calm and focused on the day.
Finally, I’ve hit my weight target by dropping 4kg but I feel that I can drop 1-2 kg more. So, extra focus on nutrition now – I’ll be using Zipvit Sport Optiburn, green tea before endurance sessions, cinnamon capsules before meals and careful, measured use of energy drinks and gels – the minimum effective dose. I may even drink a little less red wine.
Wine of the week: Take any cheap table plonk, put it in a blender, whizz for 20 seconds, then taste. Marked improvement. Call it turbo-aeration. It works.
Bio: Dave Smith, aged 45, is a sports consultant for Zipvit Sport advising their sponsored teams and athletes on nutrition. He’s a former Olympic cycling coach, published author and coaches recreational and professional athletes from cyclists to polo players via his ffflow.com consulting business. He’s not a triathlete – yet.
He can be followed, abused, prodded etc on twitter @ffflow