Thursday, July 30, 2009

Easy Swim

Easy swim, no run, tapering. Oh gosh, it was harder to swim slower than normal. I tried to practise the gliding... not successful. Somehow used more strength to slow down than the usual 'cadence'/ stroke cycle.

20 laps slowly. 28min. Did another 200m with Alber. Supposed to draft easily, but lagged so far back. He said he had to try and stay stationary for me to catch up! Grrr.... But ya, my slowest 2x 100m thus far, and I already felt tired. Oops.

We soaked in the jacuzzi for a while. Lazily, waiting for the runners to return. Ouch, hot water! The jets sprayed relentlessly. Flabby parts were pinpointed, exactly! Cos they felt different from when the jets hit the muscles! Eeeeks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last Track Session

Did an easy warm up loop. Tried my Mizuno race shoes for the warm up. I could not remember the last time I wore the shoes for a race, and they felt uhmmm unfamiliar. Oh dear. In the end, I switched back to my trusty Asics for the workout.

15 sets of 400m - 10x easy, 5x moderate, 30sec rest interval. The only problem was I think I did everything @moderate!

1- 1:58min
2- 1:50
3- 1:48
4- 1:51
5- 1:48
6- 1:50
7- 1:53
8- 1:52
9- 1:54
10- 1:56
11- 1:57 (??? unknowingly did an extra set?)

"Moderate" (no difference in time! but certainly increased effort to maintain)
1- 1:49
2- 1:50
3- 1:49
4- 1:46
5- 1:42

Tonight was the last session we had with Shem. It had been a fun group training that happened quite randomly. Will miss it. Awww.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Telok Blangah Hill Intervals

Late, and therefore did not join MF group at stadium. Wise decision it turned out. Sluggish. Could barely complete the warmup jog to TB hills. Heavy legs. Alber had to wait, several times.

Stretched and rubbed and hammered for so long before starting the first set. Idea was to do the usual loop - start/end at the higher carpark. Think it was about 800m? Should be less than 1km.

6 sets/ 2min rest interval:
1- 3:58min
2- 4:11 (??? died obviously)
3- 4:00
4- 3:45
5- 3:52
6- 4:01

Ok, bad day. Time to go home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Need more Glide

Since this weekend was a major race day for many of us, Coach went 'lenient' on us. After some quick basic drills, it was time for some long-dist swim.

500m - 11:30min
8x 100m (supposedly sprints.....)
1- 2:15
2- 2:15
3- 2:20
4- 2:16
5- 2:18
6- 2:15
7- 2:20
8- 2:21
500m (but did not complete. Coach pulled me aside midway to observe other swimmers, and said to glide more.)
300m - 10:31min

More dills, in pairs.

Very sleepy.....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sea-Run Brick

YF Sea swim today.

1- 1x big, 1x small loop - 12min
2- 2x big, 1x small - 20min
3- 2x big - 18min

I brought my bike to ECP wanting to test the adjustments. But Coastal Rd was closed for the time trials. Anyway, a group of Fish decided to run, so Alber and I joined in. It was a good run, for 1hr. Ran from F2 to NSRCC pavilion (20min), and back (20min), and to the lagoon and back (20min). Counted cadence, realised it was possible to keep at 90ish/min. Decent.

Had lunch with the group after the training. Ran errands for the entire afternoon. How tiring.... *Yawn*

Saturday, July 25, 2009

MR Easy Run

Lazy Saturday morning, lazy MR run. Glad I went late and missed the rain and the crowds. There was an opening ceremony of the new MR facilities by DPM Teo.

There was no sun, but high humidity. Did the usual 10km route with Alber, both deliberately at an easy pace, but my breathing was all off. We were under the canopy, but the thick heavy air still penetrated. I thought about trail running vs road. I was so acquainted with road running recently that my rhythm was in disarray this morning. Trail runs are like sea swims. Beyond our 'base pace', one's pace and cadence were dictated by the rocks and waves, rather than purely within our control.

The new MR facilities were decent and nice, except for the showers. Both the Ladies and Gents had 2 sets of showers - outdoors and indoors. The outdoor shower jets were cool and playful. But the indoor ones were very badly designed. The shower heads were fanciful and totally unfunctional. The water sprayed at everything, but me. I had to tiptoe, and still unable to wash properly. The spray angle was too high and diffused. Why spend money to install fanciful showers, when simple, no-frills but powerful jets work much better??

Friday, July 24, 2009

Swim Drills

Did my own drills today, for sheer boredom of having to do laps non-stop.... (200 + 100) x3 sets, with 30sec rest interval between every 200 & 100.

200- 5:15/ 30sec
100- 2:29/ 30sec
200- 5:18/ "
100- 2:28/ "
200- 5:19/ "
100- 2:29/ "
200- 5:24/ "
100- 2:33/ "
200- 5:29/ "
100- 2:25/ "
Total: 1500m/ ~39+min

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

YF Track Run

Did a light 2+km warm up jog before the YF session.

Cadence Drill
Time was tight, we headed straight for a warm-up on the track. Then cadence drills - as many steps as possible within 30sec across the grass. x 5-6 sets. Well, then we realised that the grass was not long enough, so we reduced the time to 20sec. Aim was to hit a 90-100ish/ min, as Vinnie recommended a 90/min cadence at race. We did a similar drill on Sat at the workshop. So every pair of steps (left-right) = 1 count. Mine averaged 105/min. The trick was to go light and many repeats. A lot of people ended up sprinting, hard, and panting. I did that too initially, then I realised the purpose of the drill was to train leg turnover, not speed or distance.

Main Training
Option of 3, 4, or 5 x 1.6km (based on ability); rest interval 1:30min (how awfully generous today!)
1- easy; 2- moderate; 3- hard
1- easy; 2- moderate; 3- hard; 4- easy
1- easy; 2- moderate; 3- moderate/ hard; 4- hard; 5- easy
This was what Vinnie shared on Saturday as well - alternating the intensity of the workout, deliberately doing the Hard set after one was tired out.

1- easy 8:28min (easy warm-up)/ rest 1min (5:17min pace)
2- moderate 7:51/ rest 1:30 (4:54min pace)
3- moderate 7:50/ 1:30 (4:54min pace)
4- hard 7:19/ 1:30 (4:34min pace)
5- easy 8:00 (5min pace)

Felt good, except for a slightly strained ankle.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Drills Brick

Experimented with doing drills with Alber. Quite fun, took the monotony out of the long swim.

Swim - 8x 200m (30sec rest interval - which was not strictly enforced...)
Ok, ideally, it would be varying intensity. Like moderate, hard, moderate, hard. But since Alber had to slow down for me to catch up, it probably was easy-moderate for him, and moderate-hard for me.

1- 5:09min (I led, Alber drafted)
2- 4:54 (Alber led, I drafted)
3- 5:14 (I led)
4- 4:54 (A led)
5- 5:11 (A led)
6- 5:03 (A led.... happiness in drafting :))
7- 5:21 (I led)
8- 5:00 (A led)

Run 5x MF loops
Legs were quite tired, did not have the blast. But managed to stay consistent.

1- 4:18/ 5:28
2- 4:25/ 5:38
3- 4:22/ 5:31
4- 4:18/ 5:30
5- 4:18/ 5:31

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yellowfish Swim Class

Pull-buoy kicks 50m x4
Pull-buoy vertical 25m, horizontal 25m
Fist swim


200m + 100m x 4 sets
200m- forgot to time
100m- 2:21min
200m- 4:58
100m- 2:21
200m- 4:52
100m- 2:22
200m- 5:14 (the huge difference between drafting and me leading this set!)
100m- 2:26
200m- 5:00

Sprints 6x 100m
1- 2:28 (worse than normal swim.....)
2- 2:14
3- 2:31
4- 2:21
5- 2:28
6- 2:22
(obviously dying throughout... more crawl than sprint)

Did a couple of 'distractions' like heads-up, backstroke. We all knew those were just the prelude to the last sprint. True enough, 50m last burst. 1:00min.

It's been a while since I cleared a sub-1 sprint! :(

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ironguides Brick Session

Brick session, putting into practice what we heard yesterday. We had proper transition logistics and setup. For both bike and run,
1x lap Easy
1x lap Moderate
1x lap Hard (by perceived effort)

Bike - Got dropped mid-way of the first set. Traffic lights, slower speed, and unfamiliar route, missed the u-turn. No way I would be at "Easy" if I followed the pack! So I re-jigged my route to avoid the cars and traffic. Alber and I shortened the route and took turns drafting, while doing the easy-mod-hard circuit. Reverted to the low-cadence-hard-gear method. Worked better for me anyway since could not spin fast enough. Rode about 2:10h, 65km.

Run - 2.5km route x4 (less than 2.5km actually). Got off the bike after the "Hard" loop, and legs felt jelly-ish. But the feeling passed after about 15min. We ran 4x.
1- 15min
2- 12ish min
3- 11min
4- 13min

Super tired and sleepy now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ironguides Workshop

Attended a fabulous workshop organized by Shem and conducted by Vinnie Santana, a master-coach based in Bangkok. Picked up many useful little tips on training and racing for triathlons across all distances - OD, 70.3, IM. The kind of tips that are Ah-Ha! lightbulb moments for an inexperienced amateur like me. Just listening to different race stories was rewarding in itself. Not earth-shattering, but little tricks and observations derived from experience. I was reminded of my perennial marathon tip that I kept sharing with people (after I suffered my first marathon) - trim those toe nails! Commen-sense, right? But nobody told me those trivial stuff when I first ran, and I lost my first couple of nails after that.

We had a whole day of lecture & practicals. Swim lecture, followed by a 20min pool dip to try out. Then a talk on bike & run training, and we headed out to the road for a 20min run drill. Excited with learning new stuff! Eg. cricket arm, a swim-flip to get around the sea buoy, a low cadence for tri-bike, etc.

All too often, triathletes train Swim. + Bike. + Run. In essence, triathlon is all about balancing the 3 disciplines- f(swim, bike, run). If we dissected an elite triathlete, and compared elite-for-elite, he would be a poor swimmer, bad rider, and lousy runner. (Well,.... although the top IMers still run 42km in sub-3h, which is far far better than many runners out there... champion marathoners do abt 2:10ish times.) But putting all 3 together, and the guy would ace it. That was somewhat comforting to me. Forever in a schizo phase of wanting to improve my run times, and wanting to experience triathlons. (Note the word 'complete', not timing.) And not knowing how to spread my time properly.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cop-out Run

The ambitious 3h super long run plan crumbled in the cool sea breeze of the evening. In its place, I did a slow trot - really really slow, took forever to reach the u-turn at G2 toilet - for 1.5hr. And called it quits. Pointless to go on with that slow pace, un-motivated and un-inspired. Must be one of those days when running beyond 40min became a hopeless pain. Junk miles? Shoo, out with them.

Bailed out plan. Semi-ran to hawker centre, flagged a cab back to my car. Showered and made my way to sashimi!

And how brilliant was it to then meet my mum and relatives there as well, after I had tucked into half a slab of salmon belly and grilled saba etc... Thankfully there was no secret rendezvous in operation. Haha. And for the record, over-ordered and yes, it was totally possible to OD on sashimi and fish. I'm now so sodium-intoxicated (from soy sauce wasabi), I'm gulping water by the bottle....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Swim Class

Makeup class for Monday. So many familiar faces in Thursday class! Too busy saying hi(s) in the pool. Haha. Lane 1 tonight, still a decent speed.

8x 100m @ 2:45min per set (incl rest)
1- 2:22min
2- 2:30
3- 2:27
4- 2:25
5- 2:24
6- 2:29
7- 2:24
8- 2:28

7x 100m @ 2:30min
1- 2:20
2- 2:25
3- 2:26
4- 2:29
5- 2:24
6- 2:26
7- 2:20
(Supposed to be 8 sets, but coach gave extra rest time (obviously people were dying... haha), so only had enough time for 7 sets.)

We did this "overtaking" drill/ game which was quite fun. Swam in pairs. The swimmer on the right gets a little headstart, then move left to cut the other swimmer. The swimmer on the left then swims out from behind and tries to overtake (instead of getting blocked). Repeat. It was like a scene from F1, with cars zig-zagging left-right to overtake or avoid being blocked. Almost. If we swam much faster! It was to simulate sea swim where swimmers all had no sense of direction and kept drifting into your path.

Then 4x 50m sprints (hardly sprinting anymore....)
1- 1:05 (call that a sprint???)
2- 1:09
3- 1:05
4- 1:21 (right.... point taken)

And the get-conned last sprint: 1:02.
Bad... none of the sprints were sub-1min!

Nonetheless, felt good and de-clogged after swim. Was feeling so miserable the entire week after PD. Age is catching up, faster than I can sprint....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Long Intervals

Plan: 8x 1.6km @ Race pace, 30sec rest intervals
Execution: Strangely given only about an hour, so impossible to finish 12.6km (at least for me)

Was totally sluggish throughout the training. Right from the very first set, go. Struggled (and failed) to maintain 5min pace, and cleared each set in >8min. :( And exceeded rest intervals. Even then, at that slower pace, the run clearly felt a lot tougher than last week. I was breathing much harder too, when it should be a nice zoned-out kind of run. Sigh....

Managed 7 sets:
1- 8:12min (RI 33sec)
2- 8:07 (RI 35s)
3- 8:14 (RI 40s!)
4- 8:11 (RI 41s)
5- 8:02 (RI 41s) - pacing with 3 other guys
6- 8:08 (RI 45s!!)
7- 8:05....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Struggles of a Recovery Swim & Run

Still totally KO and tired, despite the enforced rest yesterday. Maybe it was accumulation of pre-race hard trainings and race-highs. Or simply, age. Very lethargic and listless.

Swam 20 laps - 26min+

Skipped MF run and did my own Canterbury recovery with Sok Hwa & Alber. After 2km, I lost them.... ahead of me. Didn't feel top of the weather, so was really trudging along. Bloated, tired, both physically and mentally no stamina. The prospect of running for more than 20min was daunting! Thankfully didn't force myself through the interval runs. Would have ended up half-baked, or worse, injured! Jogged a bit, strolled a bit, jogged a bit more, strolled a bit more. The evening weather was cool, and there was still light even after the tennis court. After a while, didn't bother timing the run anymore.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Port Dickson International Triathlon

Getting There

My 2nd Port Dickson OD Tri this weekend. We took a 5hr coach ride to PD, leaving Singapore at 9am, and arriving at PD close to 3pm. We headed straight to the race site to collect our race packs. The resort (Regency) that we were staying at this year was definitely better than last year's haunted apartments (PD Perdana/ Marina). It was a 4-bedroom apartment, and could take 8 people per unit. We skipped the official carbo-loading dinner and went out for a seafood meal instead.

Race Day

There was a slight rain over night, and the area was damp. We got our body-markings, set up the transition area, and headed to the sea. The water was a little cold, and extremely choppy this morning. Not as bad as desaru's infamous washing machine, but almost there. Ride was hilly too. Somehow I did not recall that sort of terrain.

Swim- 46:59min
T1- 4:10min
Bike- 1:29min
T2- 3:00min
Run- 49min
Total - ~3:14h

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fitness Muay Thai

Went for a free trial of 1h fitness class based on real Muay Thai (not the limpish combat class types). It must have been about 7years (wow!) since I last learnt Muay Thai! Today's class was fitness-focused, using MT's punches and kicks, on sandbags, complete with hand tape and gloves, and interspersed with push-ups and sit-ups. As in a typical MT class, the trainer would instruct on the activity, and timed each exercise for a few minutes. The timer would beep, we would get 2min of water break, and then back to a new activity.

Moves were a bit rusty, took a bit of re-programming my coordination. Legs of course red from kicking the sandbag. I was dripping sweat after a while. Ooh the satisfaction of seeing the beads roll off my chin!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Half IM Pace

Super tired, spent from yesterday's trackwork.

Drills & plyometrics

Then ladder VO2max. But I was so stoned from yesterday.... Even misjudged the distance!
200, 400, 600, 400, 200, rest intervals of 30sec!

Sets @ Race Pace: 4 sets of 1.6km. Managed to keep a fairly consistent pace. :)
1- 8:05min
2- 7:58
3- 8:04
4- 7:58

I need my bed..... ouch.....

Running off the Bike - Tips

Following our YF brick training, here are some comprehensive tips from Shem on how to ease into bike-run transition.

1. Ease up on the bike before getting on to the run. While you will not have the luxury of a 10 min warm down riding into the transition area on race day, it really is worth stepping off the gas and spinning yourself in for the last kilometer or so in an easy gear. It loosens up the legs, clears them of excess lactic acid and gets them accustomed to turning over at a running caence.

2. Take it VERY EASY going into the run. Start with small small steps but set your run cadence high. Give it some time, 10 mins or so, to let all your body systems readjust to running. During this time, concentrate on getting into a nice easy breadthing rhythm and stepping lightly. Don't worry about your stride length, your legs will automatically find an efficient stride once they have warmed up. Don't worry about other competitiors flying out of T2, if you're meant to, you'll get them later on : )

3. Don't have a feast of gels and carbo drinks or gels at T2. Wacking in a large amout of electrolytes and carbs at this point could really stuff up the concentrations in your tummy. Instead, try to keep hydrated and well-fed on the bike so that you're not "dying for a drink" or "starving" coming into T2. As you set out on your run, you may want to get a sip of water to rinse out your gel/ gatorade sticky mouth and throat. You should only start on the gels once you have "regularized" from the bike-run transition. (ie.. when you are runing comfortably). Throughout the run, stay alert about how your stomach is feeling. Try to pre-empt when you will start feeling weak and fading/ hit a low energy point. Aim to get a gel in 10- 15 mins before this point. Always try to wash a gel down with bit of plain water as this will keep the electrolytes nicely balanced.

4. Have been cracking my head the last few weeks on how to approximate a half ironman run pace. I keep telling you that the threshold pace we hold at track is NOT your half IM run pace.. but the question of how much to back off threshold pace always remained a bit of a mystery to me. Well.. I did a bit of experimenting yesterday and found that I as running well at 10% lower than LTHR. The pace was comfortable (not comforatably hard) all the way. 3/4s the way into the 1 hour run, my legs started to "dull ache" (not burn- like when the we do speed work). After that, it was a matter of staying strong in my HEAD and HEART to hold that pace for the rest of the run. Cardiovascularly, I was ok, I knew that my legs, although aching, were actually OK (no latic build up) too. I just kept on telling myself that it would be over soon, and that it would be worth it.

5. The big difference from last week was that I was not trying to follow anyone. We are often tempted in our heads to follow someone that we think is "about our standard". If you're not racing to pay the bills, I'd say this is bad race strategy. I just found my own "groove", paid attention to my own little details, (hydration, nutrition, breathing, stomach comfort, cadence, and holding a good form) and had a really well- paced and enjoyable run.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Exhilarating Trackwork

Swam 30 laps, experimenting with the higher elbows and non-slapping entry that Coach pointed out. Not sure if I had gotten the moves correct since I could not see myself. Hmm... Also, practised turning more efficiently at the wall so as not to lose momentum. I think that helped.

1- 12:49min
2- 12:48min
3- 13:04min

Slow jog to Queenstown stadium. Why was everyone going to so fast? It was only a warm-up jog leh... Took about 25min, ~4km.

5x 1.2km (with varying rest intervals, which I think were shortening from 4min by abt 10sec each set)
1- 5:23min
2- 5:22
3- 5:29
4- 5:32
5- 5:19

Totally jelly at the end. Simply set on the steps and tuned out for a while....

Then the slow jog back to Safra.... Ran half and walked the other half. Sleepy....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Swim Corrections

I was in Lane 2 tonight, then moved to Lane 3 for laps (because there were too many people in Lane 2). But could not keep up beyond 200m, and got lapped by 50m. Oops. Scuttled back to Lane 2, where Coach deliberately made me go slow. He said I was slapping the water, and to be conscious of how my palm entered the water etc. Go slow and learn to glide... Okie.

Life in Lane 3:
100m - 2:15min
200m - 4:39min (didn't even get to pant 10x and it was Go again! Think must be one of my fastest 200m)
200m - 5:07min (suppose to be 300m, but got dropped...)
300m - 7:21min (again, suppose to be 400m, but I stopped at 6 laps)

Life back in Lane 2:
200m - didn't time. slow slow swim, suppose to concentrate on my high elbows and palm entry.

5x 100m:
warm-up- 2:33min
1- 2:24
2- 2:21
3- 2:27
4- 2:19
5- 2:20
(not bad, quite consistent)

Last one for the night- 50m sprint (once only, thankfully) - 58sec.

Arms aching...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yellowfish Brick

Got to F2 this morning for YF Brick session. 2.5hr ride, 1hr run, OTOT.

Slightly late, and the bikes were moving out already. Had a hard time chasing (and not succeeding) along Changi Coastal Road. There were so many bikes and groups, I could not tell which were the YF riders. Simply rode by myself. Alber, Henry etc were somewhere ahead... We had to be back at F2 in 2.5hr for run.

I seldom ride at Coastal Road, so took the first round to familiarize myself. Then decided that I could possibly go faster. Happy to maintain abt 30-33kmh for the next 2 sets. Wow, never ridden so fast before! (Mandai downslope didn't count.). Pedalled and tried to draft some guy who came close. First time drafting, wow, quite shiok too! Not much effort to keep at 32-33kmh. (Ok ok, have to take this in relative perspective to my normal speed of 25-28kmh...)

My loop was from the junction that turned back into ECPark (think it is next to the TM Ferry Terminal), to the SAF Ferry Terminal. Did not really track the distance for 1 loop. Deliberately rode hard so as to simulate race fatigue in the legs. Managed 3 loops, far exceeded my expectation. Yes yes, I'm a turtle rider. Haha.

Run time, woohoo! Quads felt a bit sore in the transition to run. Shuffled along, small steps, high cadence, no pounding or the cramps would come. Quite pleased with my run pace after the hard ride. Not sure of run distance either - F2-B2 (playground) and back, with a detour behind the chalets. About 11km?

Great workout, good weather in the morning!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Long Swim

Lazily woke up past noon today. All the toils and fatigue of the week caught up with me, and the sleep was much needed. Bumped around the house before heading to Safra for a swim. Targeted a long swim today. Let's see if I could clear 60 laps again.

1st set- 13:25min
2- 13:00min
3- 13:36min
4- 13:14min
5- 14:12min
6- 13:21min

Total: 1:20h.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tired Day

So tired, could not go through another day of hard training today. Decided to chill and do some recovery work. Skipped the MF routine of 2x Morse Rd loops. No more hills tonight for me.

Swam 30 laps, leisurely. Really so leisurely, it took me 42min... :( But unhurried. :)
Alber was waiting, so we did a slow (like really really slow) recovery jog. Short loop along Depot - Alexandra - Henderson. Flushing lactic for 35min. Had a nice long stretch after that. Managed to remove some of the tightness in the legs. Gosh...

Discipline is in knowing when to push and when to hold back. Felt slightly refreshed after the nice relaxed workout.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Consistent Trackwork

Shem's menu for the night: 15-10-10-5.
Essentially similar to last week's run at LTHR, but over a more prolonged duration. So 15min ON run, 5min active recovery, 10min ON, 5min recover,...

My legs were so drop-dead heavy during the warm up jog. I had to stretch and rub like mad to prep for the track workout. Same target of 5min pace. Anything faster was a bonus.

15min - covered exactly 3km (5min pace)
10min - 2.1km (~4:45min pace)
10min - 2.1km (~4:45min pace)
5min - 1.1km (~4:33min pace) (tried to finish 3 complete rounds, but did not make it)

Glad that I kept the pace sort of consistent, without keeling over. Wonder how long can I sustain a 5min pace for.

Trackwork is the perfect antidote to a bad day, or excess energy, or simply to empty the mind. I am beginning to like it now. :)