I put on 3kg in 1 week !!

Greetings, its been a couple of weeks since my last entry and I actually decided to take a week off training just to allow the body to recover. I’m constantly reading advice along the lines of rest and recuperation being just as important to a triathlete as the actual training. It’s funny, just knocking back and doing very little physically sounds pretty easy to do but you’d be surprised how it nags at you. You see you’re so used to training 4 to 5 days a week and your body is ticking over nicely that its a shock mentally and physically when you take more than a couple of days off in a row. The enforced rest goes against your natural inclination to build your own momentum especially if you’re seeing improvements but to just forge on regardless and not rest is foolhardy and a recipe for injury.

Speaking of injuries, I may have alluded to a persistent calf niggle in the aftermath of a calf strain I acquired initially in August, well while I have managed to return to running in anger (on grass) I decided to have some physical therapy on the offending leg. Now I hadn’t been to see anyone for physical therapy in a few years bit again have noted that the pros indulge in various forms of massage therapy, needling, and manipulation to keep them from getting injuries. So I popped along to a place off Grafton street on Saturday. I had decided in consultation with my physical therapist that I would receive a combination of sports massage and deep tissue massage. What followed was 45 minutes of prodding, massaging and not an inconsiderable amount of pain, but it generally felt good. My therapist Debora from Italy was only a sprightly looking young girl but my god she had arm strength that would rival a Bulgarian weightlifter. I think at one point she was kneading my quadricep with her elbow which was particularly sore as it was pressing right against my thigh bone, so there was a lot of breathing through teeth on my part at that point. My calf muscles were confirmed to be quite tight and have yet to run this week as I was told they would be tender for a few days but I will resume running tomorrow or Thursday.

In the meantime I have been plugging away in the pool. My swim fitness is certainly coming on but am still struggling to hone my technique. Had another look at a video of myself swimming and my arms seem to still be too low on recovery and when entering the water. The result is that my elbow is hitting the water first and this dropped elbow is killing my forward momentum. I feel like I’m not rotating enough through the shoulders and hips which would give my arms clearance over the water during the recovery phase. If it sounds very technical thats because it is 🙂 There are so many different things to think of when swimming. The whole learning process reminds me of learning to drive a car when you’re trying to familiarise yourself with the accelerator , clutch, brake, handbrake and indicators all while watching out for oncoming traffic and pedestrians. It can be overwhelming as can trying to time your stroke with your breathing and your kick with your arm turnover all the while trying to stay streamlined and flat in the water !!!

To help me focus on my stroke I have decided to buy a snorkel. finis.jpg

Now this is a slightly different snorkel that you might have seen before as it is orientated towards the front. It will allow me to swim and focus on my stroke without the added complication of having to worry about breathing. If I can focus exclusively on my stroke for portions of my swim sessions it will allow me to acquire the muscle memory such that proper technique becomes second nature. Thats the idea anyway!!

I also bought a new toy, a triathlon watch, but more on that later.

As for the 3kg weight gain, that is true. When I take a week off, I really take a week off, but thankfully when I’m active I tend to burn calories for fun so all that weight which would have included water is already gone, but it goes to show you just how easy it is to acquire the lbs if you aren’t keeping active !!!

The snorkel I bought : http://amzn.to/2ig3YaW

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Say what now ?

cycle 3

What a glorious day for a cycle that was. The above photo was taken on the way back from Howth Head on Sunday just gone. I was hurtling down the road on the way home with bugs in my teeth and a bit jaded after a 90 minute cycle at the end of a long week of triathlon training when I saw this view and I just had to stop to take it in. Dublin is really stunning sometimes. This is the view across Dublin bay from the north to the south, amazing stuff.

Yes it had been a long oul week of training but a good one. After various injuries over the last twelve months I feel like I’m beginning to build some momentum in training with successive sessions. Before I had various aborted attempts at consistency due to leg injuries, but now I feel like I’m getting places. I have been quite strict about my run training in particular as I confine myself to running largely on grass. Grass is much kinder of the joints and muscles than concrete or tarmac and is in fact a slower surface to run on as the softness absorbs some of your energy and momentum. So training on grass has two benefits theoretically, one is fewer injuries and two, it means when you transition to running on harder surfaces which are faster surfaces you will find it easier. Thats the idea anyway. I’m just glad to be able to run injury free in successive sessions, if the speed transfers to tarmac then terrific.

I have also been doing some strength and conditioning work which till now I had ignored, silly I know. The idea behind S and C work is that you are reinforcing the joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles through a serious of exercises either using weights or purely body weight. Essentially the idea is to condition the body with the aim of providing anatomical balance so that the likelihood of injury is reduced and energy during exercise is transferred to the parts that require it in the most efficient way possible. Below is a recent video I did for core strength, which is very important in triathlon. A tight, strong midsection is vital for any single sport but more so in a multisport context. A loose wobbly belly and pure posture is the last thing conducive to injury free training nevermind posting good triathlon race times.

So this week I trained practically everyday, running twice, swimming twice and cycling twice plus doing the S and C work. I have edited together a short video of some of the sessions and posted it below. While the weather at this time of year makes it tougher to get outdoors I try to anyway, especially for run training. I was especially lucky with the weather last week which was unseasonably sunny so took to the Phoenix park for a run session on Saturday and even spotted some deer and then took to the hills in Howth on the bike on Sunday. I also had two sessions in the pool which are very structured now that I have joined a triathlon swim group. For instance my latest swim session involved swimming 50 metres by 16 within 70 seconds (that includes rest), then 4 sets of 400 metres with each 100 metres within 2 min 10 seconds, and a 45 second rest after every 400. It takes a while to get used to the combinations but I definitely prefer having structure rather than hammering out 1000 or 1500 metres at a steady pace with no real aim or attempt to get faster. The saying is if you want to race faster then you have to train faster and that applies as much in the pool as on the bike or in the run. While I was chuffed to swim 2550 metres in my last swim session, which was the furthest I’ve ever swam, it still pales into insignificance compared the top triathletes in the world who are doing between 5 and 6000 metres per session !!!!! Say what now ? Yes!! I know its nuts !!!

Check out my latest video below, if not for the training but for some of the lovely views of Dublin.