A Week Ago

Time really does fly. I am finally coming down to earth a week later. I am so grateful to everyone who wished me well. I never expected such a reaction.

I spent the week wondering what is next, how do I up my training next year and do I totally ease off now for a few weeks. All great dilemmas of course, but at the same time my head has been going a little crazy. I have finally come to the conclusion that I will carry on where I left off but take a little more rest than the previous few months. After all I would go crazy without my training. It is as you all know, an addiction!

So what made the difference this year?

Outside of power sessions on the bike, mountain runs, long mountain races and more training I did start to perfect a few minor details that may have given me an edge on other years, or at least given me the confidence to push harder and believe in myself more than other years.

I invested in tri bars (Token aero bars) for my road bike, an aero helmet (Giro Advantage) , and new trail runners. I didn’t break the bank on anything, however, the bars and helmet adjusted my position on the bike and have brought my average speed way up. The runners are amazingly comfortable and light, yet top class on the mountain. These Salomon S LAb runners are a little pricier than your normal trail runners, but worth the extra little bit.

Giro helmet, token tri bars.

Salomon S LAb trail runners. amazing !

The final tweaks in my armoury were physical ones. I have been going to my physio, Patrick Kearney @patrick88ie, now for a year and he has worked wonders. My ankles have become stronger and more flexible with concentrated work on my Soleus muscle in the calf. Here are Patrick’s details for any locals interested.

My next big step, which is possibly the most important of all, is diet. As explained in older posts, my diet has always been reasonable but I have made more of an effort this year to up my game a bit. This has seen a total reduction in high carbohydrate foods and more of a focus on proteins and fats. I find lots of vegetables, fish, halloumi, other cheeses, dairy, eggs and add quinoa, buckwheat and lentils to bulk up the meals. This is a very brief idea, but all in all, cut out as much processed foods as possible. It may just of helped. A massive thanks also has to advice I received from a nutritionalist, Bridget Wing, also from Oranmore, that gave me a few extra tips and helped me understand the workings of my diet on my training. You can find Bridget on her website http://www.mindbodynutrition.ie/

Then there was this little beauty. No I don’t own one, but thanks to the top class gym I am a member of I have had the use of one for the last few months. I would put my great progression on the bike down to the watt bike. I am still learning how to use it to it’s greatest potential. Anyone that has a chance over the winter give it a go. My gym is Club Vitae in Oranmore and I would like to thank everyone there for making it a great place to train. There are some great athletes and personal trainers involved in the gym and always a thing or two to be learnt along the way.

https://www.facebook.com/ClubVitaeOranmore/?fref=ts

A wattbike !

Accessories

On race day I keep things very basic in terms of accessories, having learnt from the people around me in the past. We all start adventure racing with a pack on our backs, a big plastic bag full of food, about 20 bottles of water and 5 coats ! It isn’t long before we are stripped down to the bare essentials. A buff to keep my head warm if needed, a flipbelt with the manditory kit, a few gels, and a bottle of water with electrolyte mixed in. These few things I carry and the helmet is the only thing I change in transition.

 

The trek bar is for immediately after the race along with the nuts and seeds. I also have these nuts and seeds with me at work for snacking during the day. The gels are essential, however it is for each indiidual to test out what works for you.

I will try and do a few blog posts similar to this one, to give some information and ideas to those of you interested in progressing in any sport. I have a huge amount to learn yet but I hope for those coming up the ladder that this will be of some help.

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Sunday Session

The weather has really changed over the last week and we are finally hitting some winter conditions. It is that time of year when I have no idea what to wear, especially when going on a brick session like I was today. In the end I settled for a tri suit, under armour on top and a cycling jersey. Perfect for the bike, although a bit on the warm side while running.

I trained on my usual course, with a 19km cycle from Galway , a 10km run through bog, hills and forest trails and decided to extend the cycle home to 38km. All in a ll a good session, although the wind was really tough in sections. As always the wind helped in other sections as well. This 10km bog run always varies in time from my best of 49 minutes to about 53 minutes. Today was just over the 50 mark so I was happy enough, having saved myself a little for the final bike leg. I fueled throughout on some high five gels and a Clif bar after the run.

This training took me around 3 hours in total, which I need to do at least once a week with Sea to Summit only 3 weeks away. The intensity is just below race pace, leaving a little in the tank if possible. In saying that the rest of my Sunday was very slow!

The three legs of this brick session can be seen in the stats below.

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/calendar

Run for Fun

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/472295724

Another nice run up behind the city this afternoon. I paced myself at around 4.22min/km and kept it reasonably steady throughout. It was great to see the rain clear up just in time to get out. The last few weeks have been going well and this run felt comfortable today. A long cycle will be needed , depending on time, either tomorrow or Friday. My football season is nearly over so it will soon be time to completely focus on adventure racing, Football takes up at least 5 hours of training time a week and it is a very different type of fitness.

I have recently started taking SiS gels on my longer session and find them quite tasty. I also have upgraded to a stronger post session recovery shake called ON 2:1:1 recovery. this is less tasty but contains more carbohydrates than most recovery shakes and around 30 grams of protein depending on my dosage. Does anyone out there have any thoughts on these supplements? My main issue in the past has been losing weight and strength in the summer when doing extra cardio. My thoughts for this year are to take the heavier recovery and a few more gels during training. My balanced and high protein diet will do the rest, I hope!

New course

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I finished work a little early today and decided to use my time to try a course I had in mind for some time. A 20k spin out on bike and then a hill, bog, trail run in some really remote countryside North West of Galway city. The area is called Cloosh and it is an area I had always wished to run. On my journey I encountered soft boggy ground, hard trails, hills, and a occasional sheep along with a rare pair of grouse! A perfect training area with mixed ground.
Unfortunately my garmin wasn’t charged but all in I covered about 8km of this terrain. On reaching my bike I was starving. I had no gels either today. Definitely not one of better preparations, but I had a protein bar and a banana along with some fluids and flew back home on bike. A nice fast paced 48km bike/run. It is good to finally get some combined sessions in after a long winter.

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Time for a snack once home!