20km Lausanne

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Last weekend I was in the battefield of the 20km of Lausanne. Second edition for me, and a slightly better result. Well… ok… the same time more or less, but with a different spirit and a different sensation.

Let’s start from the beginning: last year as this year my first goal is the 70.3 Rapperswill (in June), so the best way to train is to get a 20km competition one month before.

Despite the last year that the race was scheduled for the afternoon, this year was in the morning. So…I jumped earlier, quick breakfast and went to the race start. Well, this time the weather was almost better (even if colder, at least it didn’t rain). But the connections to get there.. I arrived at the last minute this time. I didn’t really have any time to warmup, and I did just a couple of movements to warm up the ankles and a bit the muscles, but no running at all, no exercises etc..

What a mistake…

I was with my run-mate that actually did have time to warmup, and we decided that he would have been the pacemaker…

What a mistake (2)…

He started.. with a deadly pace. 4:00min/km he was pushing too hard for me! Even warmed up I would have never been able to keep that pace for long. At the 1st km I specifically said

“man.. just to mention… we still have 19 of these… and climbing”

I got a lot of laughs around me. But the answer was “well you will see that on the climbs we will drop it”.

Yes. He dropped a bit. But I realized that exactly on the climbs my calfs and quads were like stones! I’m sure that was not only fault of the missed warmup, but 90% cause of the charge of the last month. I pushed a lot in the last period, so I was simply experiencing some long-term fatigue stored in my muscle.

And that was clear at the 8th km. My mate simply continued with his pace because he knew that I’m a better running down the climbs than him. But I was not able to catch him. He finished 4min before me.

What a loser I am.

But still, I was able to get a pretty decent time even alone for 12km. Frankly it was the best training ever because I had a lot climbs and “all-alone” mode that I will have in the 70.3IM.

So.. at the end. Not bad.

One last experience was the “oh shit everyone is passing me” sensation. Yes. That was a good training. Remember: I’m good in Swimming and medium in bike, but poor in running, so having the feeling that everyone is passing me is always frustrating. This was a good test for my mental health 😉

If you see a lot of people passing you want to drop the race and retire. But these are exactly the steps that you need to get to the finish line and be better than the last time.

The day after:

The next morning I woke up with a wired feeling. No pain in the calfs, not at all! But my left Achille Tendon “answered me” (a lot) with a bunch of “cracks”. These cracks were absolutely painless but extremely wired because I could hear the sound even with my ears.

I decided to still do some cool-down training, bikes and elastic exercises with a lot of stretching.

Today I’m fine, no more “cracks” but a bit of pain but still… that was wired!!!

 

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Strength and Power, Power and Strength

I was looking on internet about Strength Trainings and Power Trainings and I didn’t understand a single word about the difference.

So I decided to give a personal definition to both of them:

Strength Training: “Increase the time that you can keep the maximum strength”

and:

Power Training: “Increase the maximum power that you can keep for a determined long time”

They seem the same but I would like to give more emphasis to what is function of what.

The strength (again… to me) is something that is the base, the foundation of your body. If you have to an Ironman your body has to be trained in the aerobic to be as fast as you can (to be able to keep the highest mean speed for all the race), but what happen if your body cannot afford this power?

What happen if your – motor – (heart, breath and cardiovascular system) is perfectly ready but during the race ask to your – engine, gears, suspensions and wheels – (muscles, bones and ligaments) “c’mon guys let’s push a bit more to gain 1min!” and the answer of these is simply “what the hell buddy!! we are already crying here! we cannot go over!”

This is an imbalance!

TEST

I’ve pictured myself a simple scheme (over here).

The concept is quite simple (to me), having a Result in an endurance competition (like triathlon or others) comes from the Power performance reached during the training. This characteristic cannot be improved more than a 5-10% without a sustained foundation of strength and aerobic trainings. With an improved strength and aerobic base, the power can be improved much more: I would say up to 20-30% on long term.

Again, this is my personal experience.

I looked back to my logs and I recalled all my injuries and stops.

This what happened: I trained so hard in power and in aerobic that my engine basically couldn’t afford the effort and it had a lot of breaks.

Simple as mechanical engineering: FIAT cars are great, great motor, great engines etc. But really poor electronics and interns and details. So poor that even if the car could drive for thousands and thousands of km,you have to go to the technical guy to resolve your stupid electronics failures! Lights off, radio off etc.

So, what I’ve seen and tested on myself was that I actually had more improvements in the power training and aerobics when I got more focus on my strength.

 

 

And how train strength? JUST ONE WORDS: GYM!

Ok it seems a ’90 stereotype, but Dave Scott didn’t win all those Ironmans because vegan or training better.  It trained the double the others because used to add 1h of gym after every session of bike or run or swim.

Repetitions of 20 at your 70% maximum effort or 50-60% of that maximum for as much as you can for 4-5 repetitions.

That what I did. That what strengthened my calfs, my quads and my arms.

And then you can start doing hills repetitions. Both in running and biking, the strategy is the same. Take a really steep hill and repeat until your legs got comfortable on the same hill and then change hill. Longer or steeper.

 

Then the power training: well this nothing of new. Take a distance or a time frame and then push steady at a power that you are targeting.

 

Maybe it’s not the best explanation. But at least it gives my personal feedback on that 😉

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Kinesio taping & Compressport

I think I already wrote about recovery.

But here three things that I tried so far:

  • Kinesio Taping: this is the solution that I used in 2014 to recovery from a tendinitis over my knee (video). I know that sound a little homemade… but I’ve to tell you. It works. The principle is that the tape lift the skin to bring more oxygen and blood to recover fast from injury. The secret is to understand a bit how the muscles are placed in order to pull or stretch the tape where necessary. In that case it helped even to lift a bit the patella. But in general, for muscles (I used a lot for quads) is perfect. Here what I’m using right now –> vastus medialis —> Vastus lateralis and quads in general.
  • Compressport: I always hated this solution. I tried to run with these comprising things… I never got used to… I hated… But this brand offered me a 20% discount from my health assurance. And I gave it a shot. Now… I simply cannot run whit these things.. I want the freedom on my legs.. And sorry Compressport to me it’s to difficult to focus on running or biking with something that is compressing me like a hell. BUT! I tried for recovery… and… magically… it works! I have the feeling that keeping it just after the training the recovery is really better. I tried even to keep it during the night. And it works. But one thing! DO NOT USE it when you have the kinesio taping on! because they are doing the opposite! So the suggestion is to put the compressing stuff just after the training , I would say 2/3 hours (don’t worry if you have the kinesio on). When you go to bed take off the compressing thing and leave the kinesio tape works for you. It will bring the blood and the oxygen during the night to recovery any strain or inflammations.

It’s a bit tricky and maybe it doesn’t work for everybody (I still have the feeling that is quite “subjective”…) but again… this was my personal experience!

If you have any doubt on Kinesio or Compressport (I just tried this brand), like I was me… I can give you a suggestion. Try it! On ebay you can find cheap kinesio tapes for less than 20$ and for the compressport just try to save a bit of money to try at least the calfs compress solution (the cheapest one, but I would say the most effective one for runners and triathletes )

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March and still bad weather…

Let’s go back to the overview of the month: as shown in the graphs I decided to go out a bit more on bike and sacrifice the swim and the gym. Actually for the swimming I couldn’t do any better because the weekly free-time is constantly running out. No doubt, I pushed a bit the distances per training (like 4×400 or 18×300 rather than 10×100) and more arm paddling and strength, so less cardio in the water. But still, the swim i need to sacrifice a bit.

On the other hand the bike is really on the edge. My knees are in pain actually. So Kinesio taping and compressing and ice bath!

Running? well… not really long distances, still 2km repetitions and 1km rep and 700mt hills repetitions! But now (April) I’m trying to push the distance – 14km than 16… we will see. the 24th I have the 20km of Lausanne.

I think that I’m done this days with hard repetitions and I need to focus on distance right now and hills for the strength.

Indeed my vo2 is getting (slightly) high so it means that I’m getting more fit. But I still need to get used to the big distance and to the hills.

 

One last thing is the transition bike-running… Yes… I need to focus on that… I just need more time and…

A GOOD WEATHER!!!

damn… here in Switzerland it seems still winter!!! I’m freezing!

 

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Tips

Here few interesting tips from online triathlon magazines.

Don’t take these as “THE TRUTH”. But take more the inspiration to cover all the possible aspects of your training.

 

507082117hj00001_challenge_-631x421 In this article there is an interesting discussion about power, weight and bike efficiency. I have to admit that the principle “lighter is better” is not the best. It is not smart for those people who then trust this principle and go into drastic diets (me either)… if you know what I mean… well. Just take the principle that being balanced and not being mister olimpia is the best choice.

tandemstock_84274502-632x421

 

Here the second tip: doing hills repeats!

Not a tremendous news, I agree. But it is important to remember to do it. At least remember to your legs that not all the roads are flat 🙂

 

foot

Last but not least: the foot. I was reading it and I thought “damn… I never really focus on it”. Well, it’s time to work on it. Because, mechanically speaking (since I’m an engineer), the only thing that is in contact with the road it’s your foot!

 

AH WAIT!

recoverscottdraper

Since today is my rest day. I was thinking what to do to recover faster. Well.. reading this I’ve found what NOT TO DO! The ice bath for example.. I thought to be
the best after the effort. well.. it’s better to compress before and then ice! READ THIS!

 

Have a nice weekend!

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February – March 2016

Here it comes the monthly resumé.

Despite the terrible weather, I got the chance to run and bike quite well. Even if extremely disappointing and not funny at all. Snow, fog, wind, rain… a lot of rain… Not forgetting about the COLD!

Well now I’m looking back specially, the kms done on the bike. Actually I’ve done much more this beginning of the year rather than the 2014. Here below you can see the distance done for bike and running. Not bad. Not bad. Maybe not really long trainings in bike but more frequent during the week. Considering a couple of sessions on the spinning bike of 45-60min and one “long” session in the weekend, I would say that I’m on the track. However, the “long” sessions started with a distance of 60-65km at the beginning of January (I tell you… I lost most of the times my foot fingers…),  now I’m pushing up to 70-80km per session in the weekend. But you have to be very lucky with the weather… And indeed.. today I’m writing because I cannot go out. All is wet, it is expected to snow soon (IN MARCH!!) and I’m running out of motivation with the clouds and the cold.

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Anyway… The running sessions either are getting better than the past year, each of them is basically not less than 10km. Some times I’m doing just 7km because tired or because on the track, but either there I can easily reach the 10km without problems. So I can see a lot of overall improving.

The swim.. well… as usual. Not big improvements and just rushing to get the same performances of the other year. But I’m waiting to meet with other athletes to push more

— The picture above is from the ConnectStats that you can find on the appStore —

— A really good companion for stats and calcs for your performances and training —

Here you can see other stats from the Garmin connect. The bpm are just above the 200bpm. A good 196bpm for the track sessions. Even the VO2 is not bad.

 

As conclusion I would say that I’m pretty happy with the training so far. Just a bit disappointed about the weather and the cold that keeps me to focus more.

But in general all good so far!

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Nuovo Anno nuovi propositi

Inizia un nuovo anno e con esso anche i nuovi propositi.

E quali sono per questa stagione di Triathlon?

  1. Rifare il 70.3 di Rapperswill
  2. Migliorare il tempo di ben 15min
  3. Fare il 70.3 a Lanzarote

Per quanto riguarda il primo obiettivo… beh… ho già fatto l’iscrizione quindi ci si può dire già alla metà dell’opera.

Per quanto riguarda il secondo obiettivo: ci sto lavorando. E uno dei punti su cui sto lavorando è soprattutto la bici. A mio modesto parere la corsa alla fine è sicuramente da allenare (e di sicuro non la lascio certo riposare la mia gamba), ma la bicicletta deve avere una maggior base. Tutti i weekend cerco almeno un uscita da 60km (si non è molto ma l’anno scorso non è che ho potuto uscire prima di marzo per dei lunghi). In compenso durante la settimana ho almeno due sedute di spinning da 1h. Soprattutto per aumentare la forza e il cardio.

I grafici danno un po’ il riepilogo dell’andamento da Settembre a oggi. (Non tenendo conto di Febbraio… non ho ancora scaricato i dati delle ultime sessioni sul Garmin Connect). Ma la tendenza è chiara. 20Bpm in meno in media! Perché?

Mi sono accorto (leggendo anche questo articolo) che in effetti ho 20bpm in meno rispetto alla corsa per una sorta di scompenso sulla forza impressa e fatica. In pratica: spingo ma la mia forza non è tale da raggiungere livelli di sforzo tali da entrare in soglia (o in Aerobico).

Ho iniziato qualche sessione come proposta da quell’articolo, vediamo cosa da come risultato… anche se sono molto scettico. Anche perché mi sembra quasi naturale avere un Bpm piu basso in bici..

 

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Attività

Qui sopra le attività aggiornate a inizio febbraio. Come si può intravedere, la bici è diventata predominante. Per quanto riguarda la corsa: si, ho lasciato un po’ andare la corsa per il semplice fatto che piove e nevica in continuazione…

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