Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Kingfisher Aquathlon and Clash of the Tritons Aquathlon are both open for registration. Get in quick before they fill up so that you can compete for the club in the London League. These events will be great practise for your 'A' races (the races you are really aiming to do well in). They'll also be great fun because there will be a fantastic team atmosphere. Go on do it!

How do you know when you've made it as a triathlon club? You appear on the Triathlete Europe website under 'press release' and 'recent stories' along side names like Armstrong, Wellington, Jenkins and Brownlee. Check it out here! Nice work Dan and Chris for spreading the word about our soon to be famous little event.

This Sunday's swim is our aerobic development session so bring a good set of lungs! We'll also be working on some sculling drills to help develop that effective catch and pull phase to propel you forwards through the water. Speaking of lungs have a read of the Swim Smooth blog about breathing into the trough that is created by the bow wave when you have the correct head position. You might just have a 'eureka moment' on Sunday when you try it.

Karl's run is a combination of 5km pace intervals and sprints. You might be interested in reading this article to find out why speed work over the winter months can help you run faster come race day.

I'm keeping it short this week for a change. See you Sunday. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Monday, 21 February 2011


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Time-Crunched Triathlete

I recently read 'The Time-Crunched Triathlete' by Chris Carmichael. Chris Carmichael (CM) is a former professional cyclist and was Lance Armstrong's personal coach during his seven years as Tour de France champion. The aim of the book is to guide self-coached athletes with limited time to 'race winning' fitness in a maximum of 8 hours per week. The book has programs for both sprint and standard distance triathlons at both intermediate and advanced levels. There is also a middle distance program i.e. half ironman, as research by USAT has shown a significant number of triathletes move up to this distance within a few years of entering the sport.

I am not aware of anyone in the club that is the heir or heiress to a family fortune that will allow them give up work to train 30 hour plus a week like a pro. I could be wrong though. Fitting in training for the three disciplines within triathlon in a working week can be tough. The book explains how to use low volume, high intensity training with adequate recovery to get the best out of your limited training time. Brick sessions i.e. combining two disciplines in a single workout, are a big feature of the programs.

The first three chapters (A Fresh Outlook for Triathlon, The Science of the Time-Crunched Triathlete Program and Control and Insight: Monitoring Your Training) are very informative chapters. CM points out why traditional training programs do not work for some people, how high intensity training works and the physiological changes that occur as a result and how to use Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) field tests to determine the training intensities to be used in the programs. The field tests are easy to perform with minimal equipment. I did the bike and run tests over the weekend which was an interesting exercise. It's been a while since I have performed one all out effort let alone three in one day!

The fourth chapter, Integrated Nutrition for Superior Performance, is interesting and provides some very good information but it is plainly obvious the CM is sponsored by GU nutritional products. This blatant plugging of products annoys me! Some of what he has written about hydration e.g. 1.5 litres of fluid per hour on the bike on a hot day, I also feel is excessive. Our thirst mechanism is highly developed. There is a growing body of evidence to support drinking ad libitum or 'at one's pleasure'. As far as I am aware, no one has died during a sporting event from dehydration, there are numerous cases of people dying from hyponatremia (generally the result of drinking excessive amounts of plain water which causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood). Of course he does recommend drinking GU Electrolyte Brew to help maintain the correct electrolyte balance!

The next four chapters (Workouts and Training Programs, Racing to Your Strengths, Stepping Up to 70.3 and Strength Training on Limited Time) are also full of sound advice. There are small things that I disagree with e.g. comments made about stroke rate per minute and stroke length, but generally the information presented is both readable and informative. CM is very open about out the limitations of The Time-Crunched Triathlete approach when it comes to middle distance racing in the Stepping Up to 70.3 chapter. He says right from the outset that the program will get you to the finish in good shape but will not result in a 'race winning' performance.

If you are interested in learning about the theory behind high intensity training to improve triathlon performance and you would like to gain a better understanding of exercise physiology and nutrition I would recommend this book. I don't agree with everything written but I still think it is a good read. In the first chapter he writes 'The triathlon community is one of the most supportive, positive and encouraging environments in all of sport'. I am sure that after the TCR show last week many of you will agree. I'll bring my copy to training on Sunday and you can have a flick through and see what you think.

This Sunday is our technique development session. Bring those fins, pull buoys and paddles if you have them. The run session is a mix of 10km and 5km pace intervals finishing with the faster ones of course!

See you Sunday. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Listen to your body.

In a recent study, looking at the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by triathletes competing in an Ironman triathlon, a massive 59.9% of athletes reported comsuming NSAIDs in the previous three months. 25.5% consumed NSAIDs the day before the race, 17.9% immediately before the race and 47.4% during the race. The reasons for taking these drugs varied from injury treatment, pain prevention at training, pain prevention at a race, pain relief at training and pain relief at a race. Rather more shocking was the fact that few athletes that used NSAIDs were aware of the side effects of taking such medication. Although there are numerous reported side effects of NSAIDs the most common are gatrointestinal complications.

What is my point? There have been a few injuries being reported by our club members recently. It is important to remember that in most cases pain is your body warning you of actual or potential tissue injury. One of the most satisfying aspects of endurance sport is discovering what your body (and mind) is actually capable of. Why would you try to mask one of the most important sensations we have? As a coach I would be disappointed to discover that anyone was using NSAIDs or analgesics e.g. paracetamol, to get through training sessions or races. Listen to your body and don't be afraid to back off if you are getting warning signs that things aren't quite right. Talk to us before a session if you have any doubts as to whether or not you should train.

We need some vets to join us in the London Triathlon League!

We are all set (almost) to put forward a team for selected London Triathlon League events. However, we need more vets i.e. over 40 years of age, to complete the team. Without at least one vet and one female (or a female vet) we cannot get maximum points. So if you are over 40 and want to give duathlon, triathlon and aquathlon a go please sign up for the London Triathlon League events. These events will have a great team atmosphere and will be a fantastic way to get some race specific practice in ready for your priority races. We will also be supporting local clubs just like us.

This week's swim session is our 'splash and dash' threshold swim. The session will be based on time rather than distance. The idea being you will complete as many 100m reps as possible in the time allowed at a given intensity. We will still be looking for quality over quantity sono prizes for the greatest distance covered! This week's run with Karl is all about improving speed. Prepare yourselves for some sprint finishes during each interval!

Why should triathletes include speed work in their training? So you can finish like Bevan Docherty! Take a look here.

See you Sunday. Tim (LFTC Coach)