Athlete Profile – Matt S

Nickname: Snelly
How long have you been doing tri?: 3 years
How did you get into tri?: I was inspired by a mate who did his knee playing footy and transitioned into Triathlon and then qualified for Kona on his first attempt.
How many bikes do you have?: Five. Giant TCR Roady, Giant MTB, Scott MTB and Merida Warp 5000 TT. Ohhhhh and I have an original Chrome Redline BMX that was mine as kid.
Something we don’t know about you?: One day I plan to build an ‘actual’ lightsaber. I’ve read several books that outline ‘how to’ but am yet to come across a transponder unit or developed the technology to travel to the planet Illym where the crystals can be found.
What do you want to achieve this season?: Have some fun in the shorter races whilst working toward a 4 hour 30 something at Busso in May.

The Brutal Honesty of Ironman

Triathlon is one of those endurance sports that seems to attract those that either love the concept of inflicting pain on themselves, or striving to be the best they can possibly be.  Often both of those things at once.

Whether your love is red-lining in sprint distance, or the geriatric shuffle of an Ironman distance tri – the attraction is that only YOU know whether you have truly given it 100%.

For me – IM is my preferred poison/addiction over the last five years. After having not raced at all for two years, I was as nervous as any first time athlete as the big day got closer.  My confidence was low and I had no recent race results to comfort myself that I was well prepared.

You know, it is funny how no matter how meticulously we humans prepare, we tend to migrate towards the negatives. Those missed training sessions, the sessions where we really just “got through it” rather than focussed on achieving the purpose of the session.   It takes quite a bit of mental mastery to go back through the training diary and remind ourselves of all the sessions we consistently did,  those weeks of ticking off each session and each hour spent preparing.

Strength sessions, tolerance intervals, long slow runs, endurance rides, brick sessions – we seem to forget just how well we did prepare as we only seem to see the sleek, lean and well muscled OTHER athletes that sit drinking coffee in the streets of an IM city at race time.  WE imagine their training has been perfect (it hasn’t) and they are better prepared (they aren’t).

In any case, the idea of Ironman is to test yourself.  Just like that exam at school that is absolutely crucial that you pass well, it demands you prepare well in advance and don’t skip classes and do all the required work.  If you don’t prepare well, you may well finish but it will be a world of pain (ok, it is going to be painful anyway, regardless!).

Ironman doesn’t respect any of your other achievements in life.

You can say anything to your friends over coffee about what sort of time you will post on race-day,  but the honesty of Ironman is that you will very, very  likely get the result you deserve. Like that pebble in your shoe, any mistakes or poor preparation will be magnified on raceday.

Ian Hainsworth is the PHTC secretary and an Ironman veteran. When he isn’t planning his next IM strategy he is mending the pets of Mundaring with the same dedication he brings to his race preparation.

Massive turnout at Mandurah interclub tri

Gallery

It doesn’t get any better than this. The 25th annual Mandurah Tri Club interclub championships were an absolute blast with Perth Hills Tri Club showing how it’s done.

Triathlon is mostly an individual pursuit but once a year we compete club against club. Our little club had 30 participants (that’s more than 40% of eligible members) and a huge support crew out for this fun club event.

The weather was perfect with temps in the high 20s, calm waters and a light breeze. A new transition area and run course provided plenty of entertainment for the spectators (not least of all the competitors trying to navigate the last km of the run leg).

Abdul and James had a great day, backing up from Saturday’s Power Station tri and the novice crew gave a great showing with Alex, Crystal and Trish making it look easy. Trish took a spill on the bike course and got herself some gravel rash to show for it but she powered on for a strong finish. All of our coaches were on course with Coach Yanti still recovering from a 10km open water swim the day before and Coach Peta having a great race in prep for Busso.

Top male finishers: Matt Snell, James Maycock, Mike Burns

Top female finishers: Emma Moon, Peta Woodland, Floora De Wit

 

Sufferfest Rottnest 2017

Gallery

Ten wolves headed over to beautiful Rottnest Island for the aptly named Sufferfest event however it seems all eyes were on the two metre shark which saw the first group of swimmers pulled from the water and all further swim legs cancelled.

Later triathlon events were converted to a duathlon format with the first leg a short sprint to get the heart pumping. It caused a bit of a scrum at T1 and having to carry the bike through sand was an added challenge but in true wolf style they got it done.

Poor Jeff was all set to do his first tri and the shark robbed him of that chance so he will give it another crack at Mandurah, but he did an admirable job in the duathlon.

The undeniable highlight of this race is, of course, the amazing scenery and the 20km bike course which took in most of the island – although one or two long course athletes did find the fourth tour a bit less exciting than the first couple.

The sun shone brightly on Saturday and with a late start, most athletes battled the heat with racers having to bike and run through the midday sun. Many found this a big challenge but I’m sure it made the beers taste all the sweeter at the obligatory post-race session at the Rotto Hotel.

All the athletes were thankful of the support from the crew who came over for the race and give them a big wolf howl for their support during training and racing.

Podium Report
– Big congratulations to Mike who took a silver in the Aquabike with a margin of only one second!
– Shout out to Floora who missed out on bronze in the sprint by 24 seconds.

 

Expert Opinion with Neil Drouet

Overtraining – could we actually call it “under-recovering”?

For those of you training towards Busselton in December, your training will be approaching the hardest stages over the next few weeks. This means LONG rides, brick runs, open water swims, and usually a lot more intensity. For each athlete, the risk of overuse injuries is often higher at this stage of the season, and we commonly blame “overtraining”. But is this a misleading description?

Assuming you are following the plan your coach gave you, then you have been increasing both your intensity and distance consistently and in small increments to allow your body to gradually prepare for the rigours of race day. So either your coach has stuffed up, or you are actually “just-enough-training”… Certainly compared to an elite athlete putting in 30+ hours a week of training, you aren’t.

The unknown variable in the training equation for every athlete is recovery. I can’t stress how important this is, especially for triathlon, with its high training load. You are forcing your body to adapt to three sports at once, remember!

A lot of athletes give me a funny look when I ask them about this stuff, but it can be the thing that makes of breaks your race, and certainly the thing that may mean we see a lot more of each other if it isn’t done well!

What can we do to enhance recovery?

  • SLEEP – the #1. Get enough (you need more than someone who just sits at a desk and goes for a 30min walk each day), and make sure it is quality. Dark, cool bedroom. Stop reading triathlete.com until 11pm and put the bloody iPad away. And if you are training at 5.30am, you just have to go to bed early…..
  • Lots of fruit, veg and protein. And the big one, get enough calories. This may mean eating some junk food as well, especially after hard or long workouts. Just get the quality stuff too. (Additional – 6 weeks out from race day isn’t a good time to start the latest Instagram diet or keto-plan. Keep it simple and wholesome).
  • Self-care. Massage/roller/trigger ball/stretch/hydrotherapy/etc – basically show your body some love. Never to the point of pain – a mild discomfort (3/10 on the pain scale) is the most you want.
  • Take 5-10mins a day to meditate/deep breathe/read a book/lie down. The more we can stimulate the “Rest and Digest” system, the better your body will repair itself.

What prevents recovery?

  • NOT ENOUGH SLEEP. Worth mentioning twice!
  • Stress – work, family and general life stress can have a huge impact on your recovery, by keeping your body in “Flight or Fight” mode, and therefore dampening the rest and digest bit. Try to limit this as much as you can, and if you can’t (eg work), allow for more of the above points.
  • Not going easy enough in easy sessions. Yes, 130bpm heart rate still counts as training. Learn to back off when you need to.
  • Previous injuries/illness – these may mean that the area (eg an arthritic knee) or your immune system as a whole may need more time.
  • Age – sorry, but this is a big one. A 45year old athlete needs more time between key sessions than a 25year old athlete. Your coach will allow for this, but its one reason why comparing training to your teammates can be a bad idea, especially if you are competitive.

So ultimately, the take home message is simple:
Quality Training + Good recovery – Factors Impeding Recovery = Your Performance

Maximise the first two (notice I said quality training, not MORE training) and limit the last one, and you’ll avoid coming to see me, and have a great race day.

About Neil

Neil is a Physiotherapist and Triathlon Coach, as well as a multiple Ironman finisher. He specialises in blending Physio treatment with coaching advice to deliver optimal outcomes for his clients, and through his competitive background he understands the importance of the “big picture” in managing injuries effectively. He consults from Fieldwork Health in Inglewood and the Perth CBD, and is always happy to answer questions via email.

 

Athlete Profile – Damo

Nickname: Damo, Fang or Gromit.

How long have you been doing tri?: 18 months.

How did you get into tri?: I was after a new challenge and a friend pointed me in this direction. I had no clue what to do next, this is where Coach Peta came in and helped with all my questions on how to kick start the sport.

How many bikes do you have?: Just the humble three bikes (ha ha). My Road/Tri bike, an older 29er mountain bike and lastly my old Repco mountain bike I ride to the airport on fly-out day.

What do you want to achieve this season?: Firstly, an injury free season, touch wood. There are five races I have penciled in to race in and fingers crossed I might make a podium in my age group once this season. But not stressed, fun first as always a priority for me.

Athlete Profile – Mark D

Nickname: Doc (because my initials are M.D.)
How long have you been in tri?: 3 years
How did you get into tri?: My cousin was doing them and I decided to have a go at one and have been hooked ever since.
How many bikes do you have?: 4
What do you want to achieve this season?: To complete the half ironman in May next year.

Coach’s Corner with Coach Slim – Brain Training

We all spend many hours training our bodies each week for triathlon, but how often do we train our brain?

I read a great article by Daniel Ricciardo, Perth’s only Formula One driver. He was saying how he was watching the Eagles v Power game last week and when the game went into extra time all the coaches and support staff went out onto the field to coach and advise the team.

Like Formula One drivers, this does not happen for us as triathletes so we need to be able to deal with any situation that may arise at any time.

My first advice on this subject is “If in doubt, don’t!”

What that means is that if you are not sure whether you should or should not do something, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

All sorts of things can happen to us during both training and racing and we have to roll with it and keep a good attitude.

An example that has happened to me a number of times is getting a flat tyre during a race. In this circumstance you have two choices – you can calmly change the tyre and carry on with your day; or you can curse and swear and ruin the rest of your day. But ultimately, it is your choice and you are in control.

This is where ‘brain training’ comes into effect. Brain training is teaching yourself to think before you act and if you can do that when things aren’t going to plan then you can cope with it mentally and not ruin your day.

Brizy’s Season in Review (including Busso 70.3 Race Report)

How it all started…

My season really started in august when like most people I had a rush of blood to the head and a tax return burning a hole in my pocket 😁  I went and bought a brand new TT bike , the reason was I wanted to do Busso 70.3 solo, I had done it as a team cyclist in may 2016 And had got the bug!!  By September I had entered it as well……another rush of blood.

Once I had the bike I then was committed, I joined our club and started a strength training program.  This season for me was to get into club life and finish all the events I entered, all had their challenges but were met and completed.

The training

So to get a bit of a look at what I needed to do this season I was doing a bit of training….what I thought was good enough.  Hahhahahha how wrong I was, I couldn’t swim 750m with out switching to breast stroke, couldn’t run 1k with out my lower back giving up on me, my cycle was my strongest leg but I was pushing too hard and my legs and back were even worse.  All of this was made very clear at the interclub event at Mandurah.  So I spoke to the club and got some training plans and loads of advice and the improvements came in big waves, kept to the strength program and the results were coming, all the work was starting to come in results in the way of being able to complete the distances.

Kicking goals

Because the goal was Busso 70.3 I needed to do more distance races to get used to them, so I did my first Olympic distance in Busso in January and also did Karri Valley (the hardest day in the office…) and the longer distance in the legs was paying off again.  By now I was well into the club 70.3 program with Peta and loving the structure and club life, I could now do the full sessions in the pool and swim all distances and my lower back issues were gone.  Roll on May and Busso 70.3.

Race day (with added shark!)

All was well with the body, I think I was the only one with out man flu that week hahaha.  With everything set up and ready to race I was very calm and soaking it all in , a few bouts of banter before the race with Trav and other competitors was fun, until some one mentioned a shark in the fun and banter (you know who you are…..)  Well needless to say everyone know Mr Shark did come to say hello to the the competitors in the last wave, yes my wave… I got pulled from the water like a fish and dumped onto the deck of the boat, 300m from the beach.  I didn’t think too much of it once I was on the boat however the heart rate says different when told to get out the water!

The bike leg was good for me I did it in a personal best time and also had another first on the bike (I peed for the first time on the bike) LOL.  Into the run, I knew it was going to be a long hard leg.  I had never ran more than 16 km and it was always my worst leg, I cramped at about the 2km mark and then managed it at every single aid station with all they had to offer.  It stayed away but was always in the front of my mind, then when I pushed it would come back.  I settled into my plan and made it to the finish, but not with out the help of Trav.  He helped me through the last lap and a half and made the hardest leg so much fun, the beer and pizza helped as well but having all the club there supporting everyone and myself was amazing. 🙂

To the coaches Trav and especially Peta, thank you for all your help this season and getting me through my first full season.  Onwards and upwards from here for me.

Brian Stearn

#MPFP 😁

How slow do you go?

photo credit: rainydayrunner.com

I’m sure that athletes get as sick of coaches telling them to slow down in their easy sessions as we coaches are of saying it.  Why is there such an issue with what is fundamentally a pretty simple message?  Here’s my take on the situation.

The message

The first part of the problem is directly attributable to the coach and their ability to communicate.  If the athlete doesn’t understand what the coach is asking they can’t be expected to execute the instruction.  It’s one of the reasons why really good coaches are so few and far between, you not only need to have the technical expertise but you need to be a master communicator.

Where an athlete has quantifiable metrics that they can use while training (e.g. pace, power and heart rate) the message should be exact.  “This is an easy run, hold between 5:50 and 6:30/km” might be the instruction and, hopefully, the groundwork has already been done to give the athlete the skills to execute the session correctly.

Other descriptions may relate to physiological feedback such as breathing rate but in my experience using perceived exertion for these easy efforts is futile, athletes ALWAYS get it wrong.  If your coach isn’t already giving you precise instructions you need to take responsibility to ask, any coach worth their salt will appreciate that you care enough about following their plan to ask.

This isn’t work

The second part of the equation is directly down to the athlete’s mindset, easy is just too damn easy.  A well executed easy session shouldn’t feel like work at all, you can almost finish feeling as fresh as you started.  I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been told “I don’t think I can even run that slow” after setting a pace.

Both novice and experienced athletes struggle to come to grips with the fact that something that feels so easy could do any good.  We’ve all had drilled into us the ethos of “no pain, no gain” and “hard work pays off.”  Now I could go into all of the effects these low effort workouts have (and I have many times before) but most of you would remain unconvinced and head out and do the next session too hard again.  Instead I’d like to illustrate with an example of a top level marathoner Yuki Kawauchi.

Yuki has a marathon PB of 2:08 and a half marathon best of 1:02, making his threshold pace somewhere just under 3:00/km.  So what do you think his “easy” pace would be for his long runs?  3:30/km?  4:00/km?  Not even close.  Yuki Kawauchi runs his five weekly long runs (typically 20km) at 5:00/km pace!  This is the equivalent of someone who runs a 50minute 10km race doing their easy sessions at 8:18/km pace.

Now I’m not advocating that our athletes run quite that slow compared to their threshold, I think Yuki is a bit of an extreme example, but the principle still holds.  Your easy sessions need to be ridiculously easy, trust me you will reap the rewards in better aerobic fitness, reduced injury and better recovery.

What about me?

So if you’re not coached how do you know what your “slow” is?  With cycling it’s tough, unless you have a power meter you really only have heart rate as a reliable indicator and even that is quite variable depending on many factors that are not part of your training.  With running though I strongly advocate the use of pace, either by treadmill (boring and often inaccurate), a known course and stopwatch (again boring) or a GPS based device.

To get your right pace for any session I recommend the use of the calculator at this page with a recent race result (parkrun is perfect.)  Simply enter your time, hit the calculate button and find your training paces.  Be disciplined and execute these on training day and I can guarantee you will be setting new PBs throughout next season.

Train smarter, not harder.

Coach Trav