Professional Ironman Triathlete

Friday, 29 April 2011

Run Pace Normalising for Hills

So I tore myself away from the Royal Wedding coverage this morning for a 10mile run. This is a specific pace session, with a bit of a warm up then 10mile at 6min/miles. Ordinarily (over the winter at least) I’ve been doing this type of pace run on the treadmill for accuracy. But given the Royal holiday, access to treadmills today was a little limited (and indeed last weekend due to the Bank Holiday weekend too) so I’ve been getting out in the nicer weather and slogging it out on the roads.
The only problem with this is that around where I live is by no means flat. So, I strap on the trusty Global Trainer and head out for the run. With all the data that the GT collects, I did a little web surfing and found this article which suggests how to take into account ascents and descents:
The article’s author suggests that treadmill tests show that a 1% elevation means that per mile for a 5min/miler they should allow 10secs more per mile and that a 7:30 min/miler should allow 15 secs per mile more; and this is for every single % per mile. (52.8 feet per mile is 1%)
So this is what I’ve done:
The Global Trainer tells me that I’ve gained and lost (circular route) 1550 feet in total. So that’s 155 feet per mile, and at an estimated flat pace of 6min/mile, this amounts to a 3% grade or 36secs/mile extra due to the climbing. However, we need to add back in the descending – apparently you get back about 55% of the time of the climbs – so as you would expect, you do go slower over a hilly course compared to a flat course. This means that I’m left with a 16secs/mile handicap because of the hills.
My 6:28mins/mile pace through the rollers therefore works out at a ‘normalised’ 6:12mins/mile pace. Given that I was supposed to be running 6min/miles, I clearly slacked off a bit, but not as much as the actual pace suggested.
Its not a bad guestimate at how hills translate into flat pace – the GT data again proves itself invaluable.
But now I’m going to get back to the Royal Wedding highlights!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

FHM Editorial April 2011

Here's some editorial from FHM this month around the Virgin London Marathon.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Ironman South Africa Race Report

13th MPRO, 9:01

Port Elizabeth has to be among the most friendly Ironman races I've done – another cracking race put on by Triangle (who also run another of my favourites, Ironman Austria). Only there for a weekend, the warmth and generosity of the people there was as reliable as the weather was changeable.

But it wasn't just the locals that made this weekend a fun start to the season. As ever, the individuals participating in the race and some of the characters I met this weekend will make this a memorable event. Great times had – thanks to Dave, Kyle, Dominique, Clifford, Andi and to some older faces - Rachel, Ed and Sarah et al. Great to spend some time with you all in PE.

Race day the weather was a relative blessing compared to what it could have been. Despite a relatively calm swim, I struggled to hold form and pace in the water and exited the water minutes back on where I'd been hoping. That feeling of ticking over continued onto the bike, and then onto the run, where the heat and lack of top end was taking its toll physically and mentally. I'd counted near 40 bikes ahead at the first turnaround, and knew there was a lot of work to do, but had very little to give. I did start picking people off, but by lap two it was more and more difficult to keep tabs on position.

The run was flat and well supported. It annoyed me that I seemed to be wasting such good conditions ona mediocre day. I settled in though, pleased at least to be running, even if it was survival pacing, and focussed on finishing and picking up some Kona Points at the least, and not getting lapped by the Raynard and Andi who were cracking out course records there in PE.

Crossing the finish line I found out that I'd been too hard on myself, finally finding out that I'd placed 13th MPRO (note that one woman beat me, but that woman was Chrissie Wellington!). The British women had been having a stellar day with Chrissie and Rachel going 1,2; and a solid performance from Yvette who toughed out a rough day too.

In hindsight, I'm OK with the result. Yes, I wanted to go faster, but some days are just like that, ticking over the miles from one point to the next. As a benchmark, its the fastest early season race I've ever done (in fact the only early season race that has had a successful finish!), and it shows that the fitness is there, but perhaps the speed needs some work. A lot of new kit got tested out there in front of the roaring crowds of the Eastern Cape, and it all came through for me: the On's were light and fast, and their forgiving construction meant that even when midfoot landing wasn't working out (for most of the run thanks to some really tight legs), survival pace and some heel-toeing still got me to the line unscathed; the new Orbea Ordu performed to expectations, and she's a beauty; the new Sugoi race kit and the Orca 3.8 wettie are super-comfortable and sharp as; combined with the SBR Sports TriSlide the only chaffing I have is on my wrist from the Ironman wrist tag! Also notable was zero gut issues, even with the relative heat – I'm going to thank Neovite colostrum for that!

All in all, a solid early season race. A great starting point for great things later in the year. Now time for some recovery and a bike/swim block before a 100km run in China in 3 weeks. Bring it on!