Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last few weeks before Ironman Frankfurt

So now less than 3 weeks until I am racing Ironman Frankfurt and a few words on what I do differently than other years.

In training: 
I have definitely seen a increase in training volume the 3-4 weeks a I am now close to 20 hours a week. But its not as last year, where 2-3 very long weekly bike rides would dominate and make me dead tired. Along the "Progressive Adoption" methodology, I am still doing harder sets, with higher quality (more watts, higher heart rate), just a slight increase in hours per set and a few more sets. Now close to 14 sets per week or averaging 2 sets a day. Last week the distribution was 3 swim, 4 bike, 4 run and 2 core sets.

Again, planning the week like this, I get less tired overall and recover faster than after the very long runs (above 1.5 hours) or bikes (above 4 hours). It´s easier to fit this into a daily schedule, I normally do one set early morning before works and then another set in the evening, unless its a brick set.

Have agreed the tapering will only really commence about a week before the race - another positive effect of not tiring one-self with load of volumen and dead long sets.

Rest & eat: 
I am almost afraid of putting this on paper, just out of fear of loosing my current good "sleeping mojo", but I am sleeping like a champion at the moment. Goint to bed no later than 22.30 apparently just has a good effect on my sleeping pattern and I easily hit 8-9 hours, which is needed for better recovery. Weekends I even do a little siesta, which of course is important to show my surrounding how well I integrate to Spanish customs :)

As mentioned, I dropped weight by following a strict diet some 2-5 weeks ago and was at steady 69 kg last week.With the volumes I am putting in now, I can still remain at racing weight (70 kg) while eating more carbohydrates (rice, quinoa & some pasta) and just maintaining the engines going in a healthy way that supports fast recovery. I totally cut out alcohol, which is potentially also has a positive effect on my sleep. It´s dead boring to live like a monk like this, but I can feel that it´s worth the sacrifice - so will stick to this until having a well deserved "Weisse" in Germany after the race.

I have decided to opt out of going to Ironman France to cheer for many friends racing there this weekend. Its a tough call, but getting on a 9 hours exhausting tour bus ride there just seems to risky in terms of staying well in above patterns. 

Not much more going on really. I will race on and in same gear as in Challenge Calella. Will change tires and have a final bike tune-up before it gets sent directly to T1.
Have been discussing potential race plan with Coach Aleksandar. In short I will aim for 215 watts on the bike, which should then get me safely below the 5 hours. And run around 4:35 or 4:40 to finish the marathon (theoretically) below 3h15m.

Cheers and let the count down begin!   Thomas

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Coffee Trick!

Our old friend Ronnie Reagan said: "I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon"

I have very few real dependencies;  one would be that I like a glass of splendid Spanish red wine, but that´s beaten by far, by my addiction for a good, solid coffee in the morning. Not latte, not an espresso shot or any other fancy stuff - just a plain biggish black coffee, like the Americans like it. It´s actually difficult to find a good coffee bar in Barcelona, so I use a french press and have a grinder for the whole Starbucks beans I can get just on the corner. Or just a plain Nescafe can do the trick. 

I am certain that you can find loads of studies on the goods and the bads of Coffee, but for sure coffee has a medical proven positive effect on performance, both mental and physical -  useful in training and racing. That´s why many products that we devour during races, such as gels and energy drinks, holds some amount of caffeine - in short it gives you a good kick to perform better.

However, when you are a coffeholic like me, the effect of the caffeine-based products are somehow lessened, as the body is just too used to getting this little extra kick. 

Now, here is a little trick that will get the coffee and maybe caffeine-pills make you fly on race day:  The week before the race you cut off or dramatically cut down your coffee intake. Now, that is VERY hard in the beginning. I suffered insomnia and headaches, which just again proves that I am highly addicted. You may even feel that your legs are slow and dull the week leading up to a race. But once you get that longed-for coffee on race morning it will fire you up like nothing else! 

Try it before your next race, or even better, try it in training and see if works for you too! 

Happy weekend - wake up and smell the coffee!   Hugs T

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New stuff on recovery

This is re-post that I have updated since I learned quite a lot the last 2 years and thought I´d share. 

First, now training along the "progressive adaption" philosophy, I am not even near as beaten up as previous years. My average run session is maybe 45-60 minutes and bike sets tend be 2-3 hours, where I last year had weekends with 10-12 hours on the bike, which obviously leaves you with a much higher need (both time and quality) for recovery. Good news is that I am proving to be faster and stronger, and I feel that my legs are almost always recovered and ready to fire on a new quality session. Here is now 9 things I do to recover faster:

  1. Stretch - My good Swedish friend Haakon Weibull once said "Warm-Up and Stretching is gay"... very precise with a good Swedish accent. Some say "nay" and some say "yay", but most people still recognize the benefits of stretching. I spend 15-20 minutes after long trainings, working with some pretty straight forward exercises. Girls digs boys who stretches ;)
  2. Shower - may sound pretty obvious, but hit the cold water over the legs for 5-7 minutes, which has some (still unexplained) magic effect. It´s painful and it sucks - but it works.
  3. Drink - I have learned that I can drop dramatic amounts of liquid during longer rides or runs, even when hydrating well during the day. So drink well, isotonics, coca cola or whatever works for you. Until your pee goes transparent again!
  4. Eat - as soon as possible, preferable within 20 minutes after the training 40% proteins (tuna, chicken and what not) and 60% carbs (pasta, rice og smoothies works for me). You´d need around 1.0 - 1.3 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight and around half of that in protein right after a long training.
  5. Supplement?  I used to do this a lot, but this year I am leaving it  out, except for a vitamin pill. If that works for the best Norwegian x-country skiers it works for me too. 
  6.  Compex - this electronic muscle simulator works wonders on sore muscles. It´s fairly expensive (I got mine for 300 euros) and hurts a bit - but gets your legs back in shape in 25 minutes. Takes out the feeling of "heavy legs" which means a lot, especially if you do back-to-back quality (short and fast) trainings!
  7. Trigger Point Ball & Ball Roll
    This one is new to me - I use it mostly on calves and hips, but works anywhere really. Apply pressure and roll over the sore areas and will release any contractures you may come a cross. It´s really simple and takes no more than 3-5 minutes a day.
  8. Massage - actually this year, I am doing all fine with the Compex & Trigger Point, but will go and see David Serra in Cerdanyola for a pre-race tune up before the Ironman in July.
  9. Rest - even though my room mate still laugh at me when I pass out on the couch, this is the best moment of the day. Spanish people got it right with the "Siesta" - it´s next best thing after sliced bread! Hit Mythbusters or whatever on the old telly and sleep until some foolish soul wakes you up.
Hope it´ll work for ya too! Enjoy... Besos - T

Friday, June 1, 2012

The stuff that moves me forward

I have always been an insane gear freak. And triathlon is definitely one of the best (or worst if you want) sports go spending big time, though my affection for snowboards, rock climbing and electric guitars has taken its toll on my bank account too.

Getting into triathlon some years back, I was all over the place, trying practically everything that was advertised to make me faster, stronger, lighter - or alas, just look better!  But this season I have kinda narrowed in - I know my favorites now, no need to experiment. Thought I´d share a few of these with you today:

First - my new Asics Noosa 7 runners
Many may know that I have tried ALL running shoes and at some point I had like 12-15 active shoes (trail, race, training, etc). I got the the Noosas 1 full size smaller than my usual 42, thanks to professional help in Endurance Sport in Copenhagen and suffered no blisters in the last 2 half Ironman races. You may, or may not like the color scheme - the Asics DS Trainer are the same shoes, but in more conservative colors.

The SRM Powermeter. 
It just works (at least now it does after a trip to Germany and back), but at a 4000 euros price tag incl. the Power Control 7 computer, its a big consideration to add it to the arsenal. I can easily say that my improvements on the bike over that last 6 months has largely been due to my ability to train at the right intensities (Thanks Aleksandar) and measure my improvements with power. www.srm.de

The Argon 18 E118:
Not much to add - a picture says more than 1000 words, right? I was speechless the first time I saw it. This is my 4th Argon 18 bike. Really all a bike frame needs to do is:
  1. be light, stiff and produce low drag
  2. hold wheels, pedals, handlebar and a seat in the most aero position you can maintain during 180km.
But this one is a beast (quoting Jeff Hammond from Argon 18) and it looks mad with Shimano Di2 and Reynolds wheels.  Can´t thank Guillermo Lladó enough for hooking me up with these bikes and for always keeping the machines running. And also thanks to Pedro de Arriba for helping on bike fit. Many ask me these questions, so the bike weighs around 8.2 kg in race shape and would have a retail price tag close to 13.000
Check www.erclanteam.com for Argon 18 sales in Spain and www.fit4bike.com for the best and friendliest bike fit, available in Spain or Denmark.

The White Fusion Tri-Suit:
If you have been to a triathlon race in Denmark for the last few years, you would recognize the White Fusion Suits as the Danish national dress. Danes are VERY aware of product quality and also their style, hence its no wonder why Fusion is doing great. No other suits give me that comfort and quality needed on race day, and then its actually black... where it needs to be black.

Further - I run on Clif Bar and  GU fuel. Blueseventy Helix Wetsuit, Giro Selector Helmut and Oakley Radar Sunglasses.

Those were the safe few. Feel very free to ask questions to above or to any other  gear that I am using in racing or training, either here or on Facebook.

But remember what Lance Armstrong says:  "It´s not about the bike".