My goals for the race
I’m a strong swimmer and regularly exit the water in under 60 minutes in a wetsuit swim. I’d be hoping for something around that for Kona, although anywhere under 65 minutes would be fine. I just need a solid start to the day.
I’m normally somewhere between 5:25-5:45 depending upon the number of hills. Lanzarote and Wales have been 6.5 hour rides. I’d expect to be closer to 6, maybe 5:45 depending upon the severity of the wind at the far end of the course. Aiming for a 6-hour ride would have me back in T2 after 7 hours, and hopefully feeling reasonably fresh. I’ve been working on reducing my dependence on carbs so the plan is to eat a little less than normal. Yes, I may have to slow down to accommodate this but the payback will be when I start the run without feeling sick. I should be able to accomplish this with an average power of sub 200 watts and a great aero position.
OK, so this is traditionally my weakness, both physically and mentally. The goal between now and race day is to be consistent with running and to work on the strength of my right leg – hamstring, adductor, calf, and Achilles. This should help me to avoid Achilles discomfort in training and lead to a consistent run programme. I have no time goals for the run. Getting to the finish in one piece would be good. I’ve still to decide whether to go for a run/walk strategy or try to run it all.
Normally, I would swim 3 times per week with the East Leeds Masters group (Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday). This gives me 10-11k per week. Tuesday is technique and kicking, with some high intensity sprints at the end. Thursday is more of an aerobic conditioning session. Saturday, or “Survival Saturday” as it’s known among the group, is run by Coach Alan Hutchinson. It’s 3k of moderate intensity drills and conditioning followed by a 2.5-3k set of high intensity intervals. I’ll give specific details of a session in another post but suffice it to say it’s a tough set and I always feel it’s taking me closer to my goal. So far this year I have swum 2 x 5k open water races posting a 1h22 at Great North Swim and a 1h19 at the BlueSeventy swim in Nottingham.
A lot of my training is done indoors on the CompuTrainer. I love riding outdoors and I like nothing more in the summer than getting up early and going out for a couple of hours around the hills and then stopping for a coffee before I get home. Having completed the 237k Tour of Flanders event in April and then the 174k La Marmotte event in June (with 5000m of climbing), I’m pretty happy with my endurance for Kona. I don’t think I’ll need another 180k ride to prove my fitness, although I may do one once my race bike arrives. So, I’m focusing my training on shorter more intense work, as if I was preparing for a 70.3 event. A sample week would be 1 x threshold session – such as 4 x 8-16 mins at 90-100% FTP, or a 40 minute push/pull session shuttling between 102% and 90% FTP.
1 x sub threshold session – 2-3 hours long as sustained ride on a CompuTrainer course holding 80-85%FTP but with occasional varying power efforts, OR 4-6 x 20 minute efforts on a 4% grade varying cadence and power.
1 long ride of 3-4 hours sometimes on the CT (3hrs) or around the hills of the Yorkshire Dales. This will be around 70% FTP but often I’ll push a bit harder on the hills.
0-2 optional rides either commuting to swimming (45 mins steady ride each way), or early morning rides around the hills locally and finishing at the coffee shop.
I just need to be consistent. Run 3 times per week and I get faster even without any faster work.
I’m aiming to run 3-3.5hrs per week and just vary the type of running I do. Mostly it’s off road, but as Kona is all tarmac I’ll need to “temper” the legs to accept this type of impact.
Of course, training is only one part of the puzzle. Getting it all right is like balancing a 3 legged stool with the 3 legs being training, nutrition, and recovery. So far, I’m doing well at 2 of these but the 3rd, recovery, is proving much harder. My sleep form has dropped off quite a lot recently and my heart rate variability is reading quite low. I’ll write more on this in a future post, but unless I can unlock a better recovery programme, my training benefits will not seep through.