Professional Ironman Triathlete

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Metabolic Testing

Last weekend saw my first metabolic testing since January 2007 in Christchurch just before Epic Camp – it was long overdue! I did a bike test with Pete Byworth from – I’d highly recommend him: he knows his stuff when it comes to sports science, is a cyclist, and has done metabolic testing on something like 4000 people – age groupers and elite athletes alike. Critically, he can give you lactate threshold/anaerobic threshold (and associated power on the bike) from which you can work out where you should be training and racing. You can choose to test on a bike or on the treadmill. The results were pretty much in line with what I had expected, but provide a much more precise baseline from which I can retest in the future to see how everything’s going. The test also carried power data, so this means I can use my new powertap a lot more effectively! The other bonus is that unlike a test I had done quite a few years back, blood isn't taken for lactate readings, its all done by gas exchange (COs, O2 balance), so there's no sore fingers or earlobes etc! Hope this has been phased out from most testing!

We did the test at Swim For Tri’s HQ in Liverpool Street (also where I do Endless Pool sessions), but Pete also does testing in Canary Wharf at The Cycle Doctor (Kev’s place – Its becoming a bit of a triathlon mecca down there at Cannon Workshops in Canary Wharf with Kev’s tri/bike shop, another Swim for Tri Endless Pool and even a yoga centre. The Docklands have got it good!

Following the testing on Saturday morning, I went and joined in a local sprint tri run by tricoach and ironman addict Mike Shaw (coach and founder of down in Raynes Park – great fun, and a bit of a change to the normal. Luckily I still managed a quality long run afterwards, and topped the week off with an overdistance bike plus run on the Sunday. This week’s been more of the same, with a little consolidation on the mileage.

Here’s some photos from the testing – apologies for the low quality, but they were taken on Pete’s phone. Luckily the low quality hides the fact that I am DRIPPING with sweat! Managed to form a large lake during the course of the testing – always attractive! ;)

Friday, 11 July 2008

Getting back on the wagon

I thought I’d finally commit to the blog with some good news: I finally got a clean bill of health from the sports docs. :) For the first time since January I am finally 100% free of injury. Long may it last!

Just to summarise - as I knowI miss out some of the key pieces of info (especially if they're not good news) from the blog normally... I had hit a bit of a setback in early January when a virus wiped me out completely for a fortnight – the result of long-hauling it back from Oz to the UK for Xmas and not breaking from volume training – and then had very little recovery prior to going on Epic Camp NZ and beasting myself for 8 days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the best part of the next 4 months were a blur of training ups and downs, cramping and muscle pain, fatigue and moodiness! Finally, a pile of normal blood tests later, it was given a name: post viral fatigue – though luckily not as severe as some cases I’ve since seen or read about. To add insult to injury – or perhaps injury to insult – I had also picked up shin splints in March as I continued to try to drill my body through excessive fatigue and general tightness (and a questionable pair of trainers too). Luckily for me the solution to both problems was pretty similar: rest, rest and more rest. So much of March and the whole of April was pretty much a write-off, and even in May, though my appetite for training was starting to return, the running was still on hold.

So, a load of rest, a few tonnes of ice, hours of massage, aquajogging and core, a handful of physio and podiatry sessions later (and did I mention orthotics?), I started to run with trepidation at the start of June – just a few kms a week to start, and gradually building (despite a small setback when i got totalled by a bus in London!). I even went to IMCdA knowing I wasn’t running the marathon – that was tough mentally! (But great to finally meet some of the team and Tristan, as well as ride the beautiful orange Trek in a race scenario). But this week I’m hitting 70kms running – a milestone for me as it is what I generally consider a weekly floor to run volume in ‘normal’ training.

I am finally back in training properly as of next week. Touch wood I’ve not jinxed the recovery process! But you can’t blame a guy for being positive! It is amazing how great such a simple thing as being able to run properly again, and enjoy training fully can make you feel. Its not to be taken for granted! With just under 7 weeks to IMUK, looks like my season will be starting a little later than anticipated, but better late than never.

Happy training!