It has been surprisingly difficult to decide what to write in this blog lately. I don’t like to only list the trainings I’ve done and my feelings about the ongoing training. When there is still a bit more than three months until triathlon race season start, I cannot yet write about races and my preparations to them. In order not to stay quiet for months, I write a short recap of last month’s trainings, improvements and feelings.
Comments about topics to write about are welcome. :)
I used to always think myself as a triathlete who can cycle and run, but who sucks at swimming. I don’t think so anymore – at least that much. I’ve seen quite okay progress in my swimming and especially in my swimming motivation during the last 4-6 weeks. My easy pace has increased around 10s/100m in a year, and especially after new years I’ve felt I can swim more easily longer distances without getting very tired and exhausted or kill my shoulders. And I love jumping to the pool!
In January I swam every week two interval sessions, one being quite hard, other one easier, and one long endurance swim with easy intervals (500-750-1250-1500). Fourth swim was optional, easy and had drill focus. I didn’t swim four times every week, but a few weeks I dropped to pool to do some drills. I was first afraid of both the hard and long sessions, but noticing that I can handle them has helped a lot mentally. Swimming shape and feeling can very of course on different days, which has been good to accept. Some days the body is just tired and needs a longer warm-up, or it doesn’t work at all as wanted.
I think these things have been helpful now: (1) finding a coach who looks at technique problems and films my swimming, (2) swimming more and longer sessions, (3) swimming also in the evening when I have more energy than in the morning. Winter is luckily not yet over and I can spend more time in the pool before spending most of the time cycling outdoors.
I miss cycling outdoors!
I’ve had a bit the feeling that I don’t cycle enough. My weeks just don’t have enough hours to cycle (and train in general) as much as I would like to. Swimming, running and skiing have taken also quite a lot of time… Normal triathlon problem. Thus, I haven’t cycled so many easy rides indoors as last winter. On the other hand, I’ve done much more quality interval sessions than last winter. Last winter I usually cycled in one or two interval spinning classes per week. This winter I’ve been to a spinning class only once, in an easy training week to get some variety. I’ve done now all harder sessions at home with turbo trainer and stared at watts. And I will continue to do so until I can cycle outdoors with road bike.
Lately my key sessions have been repetitions of 90-100% of FTP. Reps have varied from 8 minutes to 20 minutes. The hardest session was 6 x 10 minutes on the last hard training week in January. My legs wanted to quit already after 4 reps, but my head has been quite good nowadays. It says often yes. I’ve done also some max reps trainings (e.g. 2-3x13x40s/20s), but I’ve hated them. ;)
My watts have been increasing slowly but steadily, both in interval sessions and in easy rides. I think there is still work to do to keep 200 w (4 w/kg) in a half distance race next summer, which I set as one target before winter training started. But I am much nearer that now than in November, and – what best – outdoor cycling season and two-week training camp in Mallorca will help a lot with the goal, I am quite sure.
I was 1,5 weeks ago four days in Finland and remembered again that running in snow is horrible. :D It felt like running in one place, not going forward. So, having a snowless winter in Oslo city has been great for running. However, I’ve still run intervals indoors on treadmill. I like to have proper pace for intervals and tempo runs. But I run all easy runs outdoors! If I swim and cycle indoors in winter, I need to get outdoors to do something! Some fresh air every day makes the head happy.
My coach apparently loves 1 km reps. I’ve run 1 km reps now almost every week during the last 2,5 months. The focus has been in anaerobic threshold pace and short pause, only 1 minute. I started in November with 8 reps (and too optimistic pace) and have increased both the number of reps and pace since then. Last Thursday I ran 13 x 1km / 1min break with pace 3:50-3:43/km. I could keep HR in zone 4 with that pace still, which I was very happy about. It feels good to finish a tough training, which in the end didn’t feel very tough, but afterwards looks still good in statistics. I’ve planned a pure half-marathon for April and hope to run it with the pace I’ve been now running my 1 km reps. It would then be a new PR with a more than 2 minutes. Let’s see what happens with it, or am I far too optimistic now.
As I’ve noticed that my running fitness is approaching the best it has ever been, I’ve of course been a little worried that I will soon hurt my feet and legs and get injured. One week in January I ran 81km and afterwards thought it was a little too much. I try to keep running kilometers now between 50-70 per week. It feels almost nothing for a long distance runner, but is already something for an age group triathlete. I like to compare myself to earlier version of me: last year my biggest running weeks were around 75km, normal week being 40-60km.
Skiing and other fun
I skied every day during my Finland trip. It was very fun! I noticed that my arms are much stronger than earlier (swimming effect?). A few years ago I couldn’t have ever skied 40 km with bad grip and only using arms. Now it was (almost) easy. My dad joined me three times and didn’t ask to slow down even once. I haven’t found similar male skiing company yet. ;P
Although arm-skiing is good practice, I like to use also legs in skiing. In hilly Norway that is seldom a problem, which I noticed again last weekend. I loved my Sunday ski in Sørkedalen! It started with first 10km being only climbing to a hill, but conditions were probably the best I’ve ever seen, so I smiled with the normal “skiing shit” on my race (“räkä poskella, hymy perseessä”). Check pictures below.
I’ve finally started Kona travel preparations. It won’t be free and it won’t be cheap. Flying to the other side of the world with a bike seems horribly expensive. As it is good to be there at least 10 days before the race, the trip needs to last at least around two weeks (we stay 4.10.-17.10.). It is not free either to stay two weeks in a rented apartment or hotel. People told me to get some sponsors, when/if I’ll get a Kona slot. Last year, I hadn’t planned to compete in IM Kona in 2017. I had some dreams for 2018. Well, I am going there 2017 and am very excited about it. I should probably start to make some proper budget plans for all races and race trips. That is the con of this expensive hobby / lifestyle.
Finnish triathlete living in Norway