Cagliari ITU World Cup

Myself and Con Doherty flew out to Italy together on Wednesday morning. Con was his usual relaxed self while I was a bit keener on getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare. In this case I should have trusted Con as we were in no panic in the end. First up was the short trip over to London before flying from Heathrow to Cagliari, Sardinia.

                We bumped into TI Technical Official Karl Vekins as we waited for our bags in Italy which was a nice surprise. It was cool to have what felt like home support over the weekend. ITU organised the transfers so we found our way to the Air B+B without any hassle. It was a really neat little third story loft up one of the side streets near the town centre. Good job Con.

The race course looped around the town centre a few times, and as it’s such a busy town they couldn’t close the roads until race day which meant there was no official course recce. We decided to head out and have a look at the course ourselves and one thing I learned quick enough is that Italian drivers are lunatics. Road safety didn’t seem to be much of a priority to them! Few sketchy moments but I suppose nothing out of the ordinary these days.

Race briefing was a nice relaxed affair Thursday evening and the swim recce was simple enough, out for 325m, across for 100, back for 325. There was an unofficial bike recce Saturday morning before the race but it was a bit of a shambles as everyone just went off in little groups and did their own thing which I found to be pretty funny, much to the dismay of the organisers. The run course was the same as the bike with a shorter out and back section so it was all pretty close together.

Our race kicked off at half two so after the bike recce at 9 we just chilled for the morning. I actually got pretty nervous which is pretty unusual for me. We headed down to the athletes lounge at 12 and once I saw all the other lads my nerves settled. I’ve raced a lot of these guys over the years so I knew what to expect. The water temperature was 23 degrees so no chance of using my new Zone 3 Vanquish but swimming in saltwater usually makes you more buoyant anyway so I wasn’t too worried about it.

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Little pre race help from Russell Whites coach Ian O’Brien

I felt pretty solid during my swim warm up and for the first time all day I was actually looking forward to the race. A quick Hi-5 with Con and then we went off into the line-up. I was 2nd last onto the pontoon so just went into the first spot I could find which was bang in the middle. With the first buoy being so far out I didn’t worry too much about it. The announcer called sixty seconds to go, which was then followed by Alex Yee who was beside me shouting “hey look a dolphin”. Less than a minute to go before a World Cup and everyone looking up to see a random dolphin, not a moment I’ll forget. Its weird how relaxed everyone was at the start. At European Cup level you get a lot of guys who might never get the chance to race an ITU event again so things are more edgy. At World Cup level it seemed like everyone who was there knew what they were doing and were experienced triathletes. Everyone had a job to do and just went about it.

I nailed my swim start, the photos show I was one of the first to hit the water and I got clean water for the first 50 meters which has never happened me before. I hopped onto one of the Danish guys hip and had a look around. I could see no one had really broken away and it was all still together. From then on, I just settled into the pack and swam as efficiently as possible. It was the first time I got out of the water with a heart rate of anything less than max which let me pass a few guys on the run into transition. There were a couple of guys ranked together that I usually get out of the water with and they hadn’t reached their bikes as I was running past them so I knew I had put down a good swim. I could have done with being 5 or 6 seconds ahead in the water for comfort but a lot of the guys around me made front pack so for the first time in my career my swim put me in front pack.

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If you can spot my green arse over by number 33 there…

Here’s where I made a mess of things. The bike course is technical for the first 500m, then goes up a 10% climb for 800m. I was too slow getting through the technical bit because I spent a fraction too long getting my feet strapped in before the climb. Every time I move up a level of racing it gets less forgiving with mistakes. I probably lost no more than 2 seconds before the bottom of the hill, but it meant I just missed front pack. I could see them for the next 8k where I was still 5 seconds off. I made a call when I was so close that I would just keep rolling with the group I was in on the flat technical part and hope we bridged up on the hill. It ended up being a bad call as we ended up losing a minute to front pack over the next 3 laps. Hindsight says I should have smashed the flat bit and tried to hang on up the hill. Experience at these races is invaluable and it’s a decision I will make differently next time I’m in that situation. It was a cool experience passing Dimitry Polansky around one of the corners like he was crawling though.

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Into T2, shoes on and out the gap. The run goes straight up the hill for two 2.5k laps. I knew I was struggling from the off because I was simply smashed after the bike. Running up a hill that steep after such a hard bike is something you can’t replicate in Ireland. It was a different kind of suffering to normal. Running through fatigue instead of running through lactic. I ended up running a few meters behind Con the whole way around and just hanging on really. We both ran 16:37, which would put you on the podium in virtually every domestic race at home, whereas it left us with the 37th quickest run splits of the day. A pretty humbling statistic.

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My face when I realize its gonna be a long 5k.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the swim, and I think there’s still room to improve with it. My bike/run let me down a bit but I know with a bit more time as the season goes on they will come back around. For now, I’m on a flight to Amsterdam before heading to Belgium tomorrow where I will base myself for the next month. I head to the Netherlands again on Friday for an ETU Cup before back to Belgium for another World Cup. Hopefully then two more European Cups before flying home for National Champs in the start of July! It’s a packed month but I need to get my ITU ranking up so I’m looking forward to it. I managed to get some Olympic Qualification points over the weekend, and although its only pennies in a world of millions it’s nice to be on the list. Something to build on.

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Inseparable all weekend

Thanks for reading

Daz

 

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So all you do is race yeah?

Contrary to popular belief I do actually do things other than race, like talk about triathlon, train for triathlon, think about triathlon, watch triathlon, dream about triathlon and write about triathlon. Something I’ve completely neglected on this blog is all of these other fascinating and riveting aspects of my life that have no link to racing whatsoever. Hmm, better fix that.

So here’s the craic (Be warned, this part is about racing, sorry). College exams finished, what to do with the summer? Where to go? A sure will I chance my arm and see can I get an entry into a World Cup? Yeah, go on sure! Oh wait, if I get an entry to that I might as well stay in Europe and do the European Cup the week after, ask for that one too. Hey hang on, there’s another three races around Europe in June, how many can I get to? Will I do all 5? No no don’t be doing that now, just do 4. Yeah 4 sounds like a good idea lets do that. Grand job that looks cool. Right lets go ask Tri Ireland can I get entries.

↑↑↑ All these notions happened in the space of 7 minutes. A single positive mood and a bit of confident optimism and now I’m doing 4 international races in June in what will be my biggest block of ITU racing to date. Good banter. So the plan for June goes something like this: 5 weeks, 4 races, 3 countries, 2 wheels and 1 objective, results. Simples.

Thankfully with a bit of luck the trip is starting to come together somewhat. Shoutout to Aaron O’Brien for putting me in contact with one of his Belgian friends who has a girlfriend who works with a girl who has a spare room for me to crash in for the month for cheap. He also happens to coach a group of Belgian athletes who race ITU full time so its the ideal setup for a month as they will all be doing the same races as me. Better go read my book on how to make friends again. Not even going to pretend like I’m going to learn Belgian, its not going to happen, end of story.

So this is the outline for the month!

May 30th – Fly Dublin to London
Fly London to Cagliari

June 2nd – Cagliari ITU Triathlon World Cup (Sprint)

June 3rd – Cagliari to Amsterdam (stay with my Auntie for a night)

June 4th – Train from Amsterdam to Brussels
Train from Brussels to my home-stay

June 8th – Train from Belgium to Weert in Holland

June 10th – Weert ETU Triathlon European Cup (Olympic)

June 11th – Train from Weert back to Home-stay

June 23rd – Wuustwezel ETU Triathlon European Cup (sprint) (Belgium)

June 28th – Train from Brussels to Amsterdam
Train from Amsterdam to Holten

June 30th – Holten ETU Triathlon Premium European Cup (sprint)

July 1st – Train from Holten to Amsterdam

July 3rd – Fly Amsterdam to Dublin and back home to Limerick

As of now I’ve only booked the first flight to get me to Italy and paid for an Air B&B there for 3 days. Not sure how I plan to pay for the rest of the trip yet but I’ve the home-stay sorted and the entries gotten so I know its happening and that’s all I care about. The rest of it is tomorrows problem really. All I know for a fact is I will be racing my first world cup in Italy in 13 days and that’s all I’m focused on. I’ve never been much of a risk taker, not really in my personality description. I have essentially now booked a one way trip to Europe and have yet to figure out how to get anywhere after the first three days, something I feel like is a big risk. And its about time I did something mad. It’ll be great craic and I’m buzzing.

In regards to the first paragraph, since I’ll be travelling so much I promise (pinky and all) that I’ll start doing some blogs that aren’t race related. Whether its training philosophies, my up and coming singing career or top tips on how to avoid face-planting during a handstand (yet to figure that one out actually…) just be ready, the blog is back.

Cheers
Daz

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When summer finally comes around

 

Gran Canaria ETU Cup

            I’m currently on the flight to the second of my European Cup races this month, so I figured I would do a race recap from last weekend’s race. I think writing it out is good for me because it helps me think more clearly about the race and look at it a little bit more objectively than critically so I plan to make them a more regular thing this season so long as I have the time.

            I flew out on my own on Thursday and thankfully Stephen, one of the TI coaches was there already with a car so the transfer to the airport was super easy. I was with most of the Irish squad in an apartment about 500 metres away from the swim start so it was ideal, and the accommodation was really nice.

            The briefing and course recce’s went by without any hassle, just a bit of confusion since we had to ride the bike course backwards in parts. Super choppy swim, hard hilly bike and relatively flat run. Simples.

      Race day was some of the choppiest swim conditions I’ve ever experienced. I hopped in for a swim warm up and got out to the first turn with two other guys and we all stopped and started laughing with each other at how mental the conditions were. The first turn buoy was only about 90 seconds into the race too so we were expecting it to be fairly violent. Definitely weren’t wrong about that anyway…29511468_2023518154329247_4718626585224151040_o          I started on the right-hand side of the pontoon so I would have to try to get up the inside around the first buoy, not an easy plan but my ranking didn’t give me many places to choose from on the start line. Somehow, I pulled it off, I think I went around the first buoy in about fifth line. Now this means I was probably about 25th because there are bodies everywhere but it was definitely the best start I’ve ever had. And sadly, that’s where my luck ended.

        It was about 300 metres straight across the waves to get to the next buoy. I felt like I managed to stay in the pack until I got to the buoy, but I again had to cut it from the inside and this time I had zero luck. Simply put, I got the absolute **** kicked out of me trying to get around it. A couple of solid kicks and punches all over combined with being grabbed and pulled backwards meant I was slower than a turtle trying to get around the damn thing. I didn’t panic this time and just put the head down and tried to get through the rest of the swim as quickly as I could. I really hadn’t a clue where I was going for the second half of the swim. With it being so choppy and with a mini buoy to aim for I was just hoping I was going in the right direction. My prescription is around +7.5 in both eyes (so not the best) and because of the shape of them I can’t get any sort of contact lenses or prescription goggles but this was the first time I felt like my eyesight really was a hindrance, not just a nuisance.29343239_1782300671801499_949085371805728768_o      Out of the water anyway and ran up the beach. I thought my transition was okay relative to the guys around me, but the splits say drastically otherwise. I lost nearly 15 seconds over a 90-second transition to some of the guys, a ridiculous amount of time at this level and something you just can’t afford to do. I’ll try to be more aggressive at it this weekend and see how it goes.

       Onto the bike and I could see James just ahead of me and I had a quick look behind and saw a bunch of uber bikers so I just went hard but not max until they caught me. I hopped on for a couple of k but got dropped on the hill while I was holding about 380 watts. Not low wattage but not high enough since I got dropped. Thankfully I’m confident once summer comes around and I have enough time to train properly without college I will see massive improvements in wattage.

          The rest of the bike was basically about getting around as quick as you can and hope for the best. I was with a few guys and we rode hard but it’s futile when you’re trying to keep the gap with a group of over 30 people.29388904_752417818280587_3313591672868175872_o         I was fried for the run by the time I got to T2. It was a below-par run but given the way the race panned out, I’m not surprised my legs were cooked. I know I’m run fit but my lack of bike fitness is what really cost me I think.

          All in all, I’m still not sure how I feel about the race. Going from such a good swim start to getting hammered for the rest of the race is kind of annoying. I train to get results, and I didn’t get one this time. But it’s only the first race of what I’m expecting to be a very long season. I have my goals for this Saturday’s race and I’ll try to nail them as best I can. Bottom line, I’m absolutely buzzing to be back racing! There’s no better feeling than rocking up to the start line in your green Irish Tri-Suit ready for action. 29340195_1782298798468353_2816313753677594624_o (1)         Saturday’s race is a much higher standard with lots of super swimmers, and it’s my first Olympic Distance ITU race so I’m not sure how it will pan out but I’m excited to give it another go and hopefully show the form I feel I’m in.

          I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me out with these races, Nenagh Triathlon Club for helping me with getting equipment ready for it, the University of Limerick for helping me train to the best standard I could manage, Aaron from Next Level Coaching for the swim sessions and Planet-Tri for getting my bike kitted out and fully functional on race day. I’m struggling as it is to pay for these races and I definitely wouldn’t be here without the support of my sponsors!

Until next week, thanks as always for reading

Daz

 

Time to hit the panic button?

Haven’t posted any updates since November when I was in Leeds, my bad. Been pretty busy since I landed back in UL but I figured I’ll take advantage of the snow days (and lack of motivation to read any of my law books) and get something up 🙂 I’m heading to Spain and Portugal in the next few weeks for two European Cups which I’m buzzed about. So here’s a brief glimpse into how things have gone and whats on the cards in the next few weeks.

So what’s happened since November? Lots. Firstly I went to Spain for 10 days in December with the Tri Ireland squad (+Marc Austin). Spending ten days with Marc and Russell White was great craic and great training. Fun facts from the 10-day camp:

10:25 hours and 33300 metres of swimming.

26:45 hours and 758 kilometres of cycling.

9:15 hours and 119 kilometres of running.

TSS for the middle 7 days: 1160

TP values at end of camp: Fitness 95, Fatigue 148, Form -71

Also did my first 10k swim session the day after I got back home from camp too which was nice! I think 100×100 will become a Christmas tradition now!

I moved back to UL at the start of January. Been a bit of an up and down couple of weeks since I got back. First up was my loss of a nearly full-time athlete lifestyle. Pretty much threw that out the window since I got back, to be honest.

Since I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to get as much training done as I wanted, I decided to go do a few races instead to try and race myself fit. Started with a nice little win at county senior indoor champs over 3k. Backed that up the week after with another win over 1500. I managed to set a championship record at the Munster Senior Indoor champs over 3k, my first Munster senior record which was nice. A sneaky 1500 for the club also popped up and I managed to knock six seconds off my PB to go 4:05. All good signs. Lastly, I scraped fifth place for UL at the varsity indoor champs over 3k again, with another PB of 8:33. It was nice to be back racing on the track, even if it was only for a short period.

Running PB’s for fun transferred into the pool too. I hit some of the best sessions of my life in the pool, but the best part about it was the fact that I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now. A level of consistency I’ve never even come close to before.

All this good form got me to the middle of February as a very happy athlete. Then I managed to strain one of my intercostal muscles at work which meant no training for 10 days, and then ease back into it. A few curse words pretty much sums up my mood for those ten days. But I managed to stay relaxed about it mainly because it was something that was out of my control. It was just bad luck. Nothing I could do, relax and move on.

I’ve been back training for a few days now and my chest seems to be okay. Hit a few nice sessions in the pool and a good hard run today that went well so there is in fact, no need to panic. The first race is in Gran Canaria on the 18th of March, with the second the week after in Portugal.

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So how important are these races? Unquestionably the most important of my career to date. The races themselves may not be a major championship or anything out of the ordinary, but its the external factors that make these races so important to me.

Firstly my scholarship renewal interview will take place in April, and my scholarship is vital to me. It makes my life a lot easier and helps me focus more on training, and the sports science part of it has helped me jump my performance up to the next level. Getting some good international results will give me a strong argument going into the interview which will make things easier for the selectors when deciding which level of scholarship I get for the next academic year.

The qualification process for the Olympics is a bit complicated, but the really simple version is this: the top 55 ranked athletes at the end of the qualification period qualify a spot for their country. The country then decides who to give the spots too. To get your ranking inside the top 55 you need to get ranking points at certain races, with the most points going for WTS races, then world cups and so on. The qualification period for Tokyo opens in May of this year and closes in May of 2020. Its a two-year long challenge of consistency and strategy, staying injury free while picking the races best suited to you to get qualification points.

So these two European Cups aren’t worth anything towards Olympic qualification? Nope, they have nothing to offer towards Tokyo. What they do have to offer, however, is ITU ranking points (separate to Olympic ranking). These points are how you get onto the start list for world cups and WTS races, which is where you get Olympic points. I currently have basically no ITU ranking points, which I need to get into bigger races when the Olympic qualification period opens later in the season. Realistically, the odds of me going to Tokyo are slim to none, but even thinking that there is a slim chance is enough for me to give it a good go. Hence why I’m starting my season so early. Trying to put myself in a better position when May rolls around. And even if Tokyo fails, it will set me up for Paris 2024. I’m in this for the long run either way.

Since it was my decision to enter these races, it’s up to me to sort them out. The full cost of both races is coming out of my back pocket. A quick guestimation of costs for both trips together is in the region of €1400. I’ve worked an average of 29 hours a week at the pool lifeguarding for the past six weeks to try and pay off all the costs. It’s a bit of a “stuck between a rock and a hard place” type situation. I want to race, which I need to train for. But I need to work to pay for races, which inevitably ends up interfering with training. My college degree has gotten quite hard this semester too so that’s been a lot more time consuming than I had planned. Basically, I’ve been on the go from the moment I get up to the moment I manage to get to bed. It’s actually been really enjoyable, I like being busy and having things to focus on. But the reality is it’s not good for training, which is where my priorities lie.

At the end of the day, I know I’ll get where I want to go one way or another. But if anyone is willing to lend a helping hand on my journey to try become an Olympian then I would be forever grateful, no matter what shape that hand is. I’m on the lookout for sponsors for the 2018 season and beyond, both in terms of financial and equipment support so if you have any interest or just want to chat then head to the contact section here!

Starting Monday I’ll post daily updates on my final two weeks of preparation before the first race in Spain, so keep an eye on my social media accounts to keep updated 🙂

Thanks for reading and following my progress 🙂

Daz

 

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(I’m not a big fan of motivational quotes, but I’m a big fan of this one)

Limerick over Leeds. Simple.

I’m writing this as I sit in the airport in Leeds waiting for my flight to Dublin. I’ve officially finished my Erasmus (study abroad) placement in Leeds which I started back in September. My mam asked me recently where do I prefer? I told her I preferred Limerick, I just love being in UL. Her reply; “fair enough, but where is better for training?”. It really got me thinking.

I tried to break it down into four groups to help compare Limerick against Leeds and decide which is better; social environment, training environment, training facilities and education system.

Training Environment: It took a bit of contemplation but for this one, I have to give Leeds the edge. This is hard to explain unless you’ve experienced both environments but I’ll do my best.

I suppose the environment in both places is positive, and both places give me the feeling of support and encouragement when it comes to training. There is simply more people training in Leeds, you could have up to a hundred students out on group cycles on any given day. In Limerick its closer to around ten students making up the majority of the group. In Limerick  I tended to view training as just that, training. It sometimes ended up feeling like an obligation to me rather than a choice. As the group is smaller in Limerick if your not at a session its much more noticeable. In Leeds, whenever I went for a group session, whether it was an easy bike or a max run session it always had the same vibe. It felt like just a bunch of friends heading out to play soccer for a while. It just felt like a social thing that was the norm.

It’s mostly my fault that I felt things getting a bit stale in Limerick. I was a bit too tense about things last year and maybe stopped making it as fun as it should have been. Having had time to change things and see how everything in Leeds worked I’m 100% confident I can bring that fun environment back into my training in Limerick and make Limerick the ideal training environment for me personally.

Training Facilities: This one is pretty easy to answer. Limerick has the better facilities no question about it. First up, the swimming setup. As there is so much aquatics in Leeds pool space is hard to organize. We swam at a different time every day from Monday to Friday ranging from 6:30 am to 3:45 pm so getting a routine going was impossible. We also moved between two of the pools in Leeds, with three swims in the edge and two in Beckett. The edge is one of the nicest and fastest 25 meter pools I’ve ever swam in and I couldn’t fault it. Beckett is a different story altogether. Its somewhere between 20 and 23 meters long depending on who you ask, and is about 32 degrees at one end and 22 at the other! Not to mention the mold floating around as you swim. I’m usually of the mindset that a pool is a pool, once you can swim your grand, but I wont miss swimming in Beckett that’s for sure! It also took me a 15 minute cycle to get to either pool. Having the 50 meter pool less than a 3 minute walk from my bedroom in UL is a luxury I can’t wait to have again!!! UL now has the 25 meter pool alongside the 50 meter, so it’s all you could need in a swim setup.

Cycling in Leeds is pretty damn cool for sure. Being only 20 k away from the Yorkshire dales is the thing I will miss most about Leeds. The scenery, climbs, descents, all of it is an experience that I loved. But there are countless climbs and scenic places to cycle around Limerick so in terms of training, there’s practically no difference. The bike track at the Brownlee center is the only thing Leeds has to offer above Limerick. Leeds being such a big city though is a nightmare (and absolute hazard) to get out of town when heading cycling. Being able to get from campus to the countryside in less than 10 minutes is a big reason why I think Limerick is just as good as Leeds for cycling.

There isn’t much to say in terms of running. Both places have 400m tartan tracks, large green areas of pitches/fields, canals, hills, footpaths, roads, etc. Since both universities are located in or close to cities, you will end up doing a certain amount of your running on the road so again there’s very little between them.

So overall Limerick is better for Swimming, I can’t understate the value of having a better pool available to me at a regular time every morning that doesn’t involve any commuting. Bike and run options are fairly equal. The main reason I find Limerick so much better is in a large part, because of the arena. I’m a part time lifeguard in the arena. Having training, college, accommodation and work within a mile of each other is unheard of in other places. Being able to do turbos or run warm ups on the indoor track and having access to the HP gym and yoga classes in the arena is a massive edge compared to what I had available in Leeds.

Also having access to the lab facilities through the Irish Institute of Sport located beside the arena and testing equipment located in PESS is another set of facilities that isn’t available in Leeds.

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Education System: I was only in Leeds for a couple of weeks so I can’t offer a full opinion on the education system in the UK, but there are a few differences I noticed. Obviously their degrees are for three years, in Ireland it’s four. The most surprising difference I noticed is that in UL, I have to do five modules per semester. In Leeds, I only had 3 modules for the semester. I didn’t notice any difference in the workload of each module, which meant the overall workload only felt like 60% of what I have in UL. Now I was only there for one semester so I wouldn’t take that for granted if your thinking of studying in the UK, but that was nice. UL has external placement, more Erasmus options and what has felt like a more thorough educational experience.

Social environment: I’m not an overly social person outside of sport, so this will be short! Leeds worked really well for me personally as I had virtually no social obligations outside of training, so things were nice and quiet. I had good craic with my roommates which was enough for me. The social scene sounds the same as UL so no worries there for the social butterflies thinking of going over to Leeds 😉

So what was the point in all that rambling? I just wanted to give people a picture of what its like being part of one of Ireland’s first competitively focused training groups compared to the most successful training group in the world.

The training group in Leeds started back in 2004 with a handful of athletes and a vision of success. I see absolutely no reason why Limerick cant have the same success. If Irish athletes can buy into the vision we are creating in UL and join in and help each other it will succeed. So if you want to continue your triathlon career into college and your deciding where to go, I think my opinion is pretty clear. I think I can succeed and reach my goals while basing myself in UL, and I think the same can be said for any motivated athlete.

Being a recipient of a UL sports scholarship has been vital to my sports career so far, and it has helped me build a world class support network  who I owe all my success to. From my long time coach Lynne Algar to all the training group in UL, to my sponsors in Planet-Tri, and everyone who has helped me I would like to say thank you, and I hope I can repay you all with a successful 2018 season.

Thanks for reading,

Daz

Two weeks in my little shoes

So how did the last two weeks training go I hear you ask? I took a bit of a risk posting my training before I had it done, but thankfully it went well! I got two solid weeks done without much interruption which is rare.

I’m only going to go through one week in depth, partly because I lost my ant+ stick halfway through the second week, and I don’t want to bore anyone to death 😛

Monday
Run-Endurance
60 Minutes easy @ 12kph

Swim-Tec set
60 minutes- 3000m, mostly drill and technique orientated

Tuesday
Swim-Vo2 max
75 minutes- 3500m
Main set of 2x (2×50 max off 45, 200 easy, 2×200 Vo2 max off 60s rest, 200 easy)
Low volume and lots of recovery to allow for fast swimming.

Bike- Medium/Long bike
2h25m just spinning around all the local hills, normalized power 216

Run-Recovery
50 min flush @ 11kph, had planned a run session today but had to move my long bike to Tuesday so made this a very easy run after the bike.

Wednesday
Swim-Easy
60 min-3000m
500 choice, 5×100 IM
400 pull and paddles, 8×50 as odds descend, evens 8 strokes max
300 pull, 6×50 drill swim
200 finger paddles, 4×50 build,
200 kick

Run-Hill reps
65 min with 8x1min hard up 6-8% hill with jog back included
Focus of this session is just introducing some strength work through using hills and focusing on good form under some pressure.

Thursday
Swim-Tempo
75 min-3700m
Main set consisting of 50m-300m reps alternating between easy and tempo paces while holding good form.

Bike-Track threshold
1h50m
This session includes technical work, cornering, different styles of group rolling over, etc.
We started this week with a 20-min rolling over interval with a normalized power of 322w. Session finished with an 8-minute rep with a NP of 343w.

Friday
Swim- Tempo + Sprints
60 min-3000m
Short max sprints after warm-up, steady swimming for main set, 25s max kick to finish

Run-Long
1h35m @ 12pkph
Standard long run, one of those “just get it done” type of sessions!

Saturday
Run- Cross country intervals
10 min warm up
10 min tempo, 90 sec easy
3×5 min threshold, 90 sec recovery
10 min easy
These are group sessions which usually turn into a race so they’re a good tough workout.

Swim-Long swim
2h30m – 8000m
800 as 150 free 50 back
600 pull and tec paddles

8×150 off 2:30 as
1-2 breath 3/5/7 per 50
3-4 50 free/fly/free
5-6 50 free/back/free
7-8 50 free/breast/free

8×50 off 60 as
1-2 drill
3-4 stroke count 15/16
5-6 drill
7-8 build

30×100 off 1:40 as
1-10 @40 bbm
11-20 @30 bbm
21-30 @20 bbm

2x
300 pull and finger paddles off 4:30
4×50 pull and finger paddles off 60

3×200 w/fins as 50 kick,drill,schull,swim

4×50 w/fins as 25 hard 25 easy off 60

200 choice

I wrote the Wednesday and Saturday swim sets myself (and did them alone) which is why they are included in full. These long swims are pretty new for me, it’s not something I’ve a history of doing, but they seem to be really helping my times so it’s something I can hopefully keep going for a while.

Sunday
Bike-Long Spin
2h55m, normalized power 233w
Same as Tuesday.

All in all a good week. Here’s how the two week look on training peaks.

Week 1

Week 1

Week 2

Week 2

As always i’m late putting this up so I can say I definitely enjoyed my recovery week last week, and i’m back into another hard two weeks before easing up and then heading to Spain for a short Christmas camp. I’ll post again while in Spain to give some insight into life on camp!

Until then, thanks for reading 🙂

Training talk and whatnot

It’s been a fair while since I’ve written a blog. I’v generally found it easier to just write a brief Facebook post as it’s quicker and easier to access. I like the idea of people sharing their own theories on training and what training they actually do, I think it provides a good environment to learn from each other and helps us learn what works best for us. There is always going to be an element of “cloak and dagger” with some people in terms of what training they do, and I respect that. Its your decision as to whether or not your happy to share what you do or not. For the last couple of years I’ve been working with TI coach extraordinaire Lynne Algar. If anyone asked me in person I would always happily share what training I was up to, but didn’t think it would be fair to Lynne to post a detailed outline of my training online as it would have been her intellectual property and not my own. I’m currently (for the most part anyway) self coached so I think its a good time to throw up some of the stuff I do, and if anyone wants to give me feedback or offer their own perspective on things then feel free to, its all useful information 🙂

Firstly some context: If you like my Facebook page you’ve probably seen me waffle on about how I’m not in Limerick at the minute, instead I’m in Leeds as part of UL’s study abroad program. Its one of the main reasons I chose UL because it gives students a chance to spend time abroad and I liked the thought of seeing how things are done somewhere else. Obviously Leeds isn’t overly adventurous on my part, but it had the best training environment of all of my options, and since i’m about as good as a donkey at learning languages I thought it would be a good fit. And thankfully I was right.

I have a lot more free time here for a number of reasons. Firstly one of the perks of not having a job (although financially its crap) is the extra recovery time I have. Also having less social distractions means I have even more time to sleep, which I am taking full advantage of! Bottom line is I can basically train and recovery for 75% of my day, with the rest of it being tipping away with my psychology degree.

So onto the training. Its October. The season is months away. Keeping that in mind I’ve just been trying to enjoy my training, and doing some things for fun or as personal targets to keep it interesting. I’ve a history of over complicating things and end up hardly training because I get sick of it. I think I’ve finally found a balance where I get some good training done, but have fun doing it.

I’ve been in England for six weeks now, and have finally settled into a loose routine. Over the last few weeks I’ve been building the training up and I probably wont add anything more to the program in terms of volume, if i can consistently do something close to the layout below between now and Christmas I will be chuffed with myself.

Here’s the plan for the next two weeks. I think I’ll do another post after the two weeks to review it myself (and then I’m accountable to actually do the training so I have something to write about 😛 ).

(**DISCLAIMER! This is my program, specifically suited to me and my ability and race demands. Any info you take from it is your choice. Don’t shoot the messenger.)

Monday:
1 hour swim – 3k aprox. Longer reps-easy/moderate intensity.
60 Minute easy run

Tuesday:
1h15m swim – 3.5-4k aprox. Tec set with some focus on power sprinting
1h15m run – Group track session, mostly aerobic w/focus on form with some tempo efforts included

Wednesday:
1 hour swim – 3k aprox. Tempo session
2h30m Long bike
50 min recovery run

Thursday:
1h15m swim – 4k aprox. Mainly aerobic with focus on pull/paddles and kick
2 hour bike – tempo and threshold intervals on a 2k bike specific outdoor track

Friday:
1h swim: Similar to Thursday with some build sets included
1h35m long run

Saturday:
1h20m run: Session done on grass pitches – tempo to threshold intervals, around 30 minutes of work
2h30m swim: Long swim

Sunday:
1h30m bike: Tempo intervals-30 to 40 min at tempo wattage

Weekly total plan
6 swims- 8 hours
3 bikes- 6 hours
5 runs- 6 hours

I’ll go into more detail about specific sessions in the next post and discuss how they went etc, this one is just to get the ball rolling! Like I said, don’t be afraid to use the comments section 🙂

Thanks for reading,
Darren

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(Here’s a pretty photo of my bike, pretty isn’t she 😉 )