Open Water Swim Training

Now that the weather and more importantly the water, is getting warmer a few of us are going to Hampstead Ponds for some open water swim training after work.

Open Water Swim Training - Sighting

Open Water Swim Training – Sighting

Last week the temperature was 17C, we lasted about 25 minutes but if you wear two swim caps, neoprene socks/boots and go regularly you can build this up.

It’s a great venue…

Hampstead Pond - Mixed

Hampstead Pond – Mixed

Don’t expect to find towels, razors and deodorant in the changing rooms…

Changing Area - It's not your local gym..!

Changing Area – It’s not your local gym..!

Deca: Body Management

I am hoping to go in to the deca relatively injury free, how I come out of it is another matter.

I’ve been very careful in my build up to never push my body too far. Progressive overloading is a valuable coaching practice but knowing when to back off is equally important if you’re going to make it to the start line.

Like most people, I get pains in various places but unlike most, I never train on an injury. I’ve learned over the years that ‘running it off’ doesn’t work and can cost you severely in the long term.

My experience helps me to decide how I should manage an injury e.g. I had an inside left knee issue, which was solved by getting a bike fit (Freespeed), calve pain meant having orthotics made (The Gait Lab), an ITB issue – foam roller and more stretching.

Swimming

I used to suffer with shoulder discomfort but I’ve since out that down to a bad catch. I’ve been doing a lot of technique work throughout the Winter an attempt to improve my catch and use my back muscles more than my shoulder muscles. My shoulders haven’t been as bad as previous years so either my technique is improving or I’m not swimming enough.

Cycling

During the big blocks of training a couple of months ago, I did a lot of back-to-back bike rides of varying distances and intensities. The main issue I discovered was saddle sores. Apart from being amusing, it’s a real concern. In recent rides I’ve tried all kinds of creams, clothing and saddles. The best saddle I’ve used is a Cobb V-Flow Max, which was fantastic at the TriGrandPrix. I’m also going to use two pairs of cycling shorts and Assos Cream, which is great.

As you may know, there are a number of considerations to take in to account when setting up your bike. For short races, like sprint and standard distance triathlons, I want the most power possible and I’ll suffer some discomfort to get it. In Ironman races and for the deca, comfort and the ability to run off the bike are my main concerns. I will have a road bike as backup (in case of mechanicals or a crash) but I will start the event on my TT bike, which I got Retul fitted by Richard at Freespeed. I raced the TriGrandPrix (92km) in the new position and had one of my best rides to date considering the the amount of wind. Running off the bike was also good. And, I was also happy to find that my shoulders, back and neck felt great the next day.

Running

An obvious concern due to the impact, I always get some issues in a year. What has been niggling me recently is my right hip. Current thinking is that it’s down to changing my running shoes between a long distance pair (Saucony Pro Grid Guide) I use for the majority of my training and my preferred racing pair (Newton Distancia S) that I use in events (Paris Marathon and the TriGrandPrix).

To tackle this, I’ve been doing more focused stretching and some yoga aimed specifically at athletes. I also use a foam roller (for my back, ITB, Quads, hamstrings and calves), tennis ball (for my glutes, ITB and back) and a massage stick (for my quads and calves). All of these will be coming with me to the New Forest.

Deca Training – Turbo Sessions

Living in the middle of London means it can be difficult to get out for a quick bike ride.

During periods of my training, I like to do some power sessions. These can be anything from 30 minutes to an hour, including warm-up and cool down and easily fit in to your day.

The problem is I don’t have a park nearby and you have to risk life and limb negotiating the impatiently driven city streets to get to some where appropriate for these sessions.

So, you suck it up and jump on the turbo..!

My trainer is a CyclOps Fluid 2 and tend to use training videos, like Spinvervals orCarmichael Training Systems

For my longer rides, I go out with my local cycling club Dulwich paragon.

Winter training is the hardest and when I couldn’t go out I’d have to do three hour base training rides on the turbo trainer. This is mind numbingly dull and you have to be committed to your training program to get through these sessions. I’ve spoken to triathletes from other countries who really respect British athletes for training through our Winter. When you do ultra events motivation is a huge factor and the weather can provide another excuse not to put in the miles.

Deca Swim Course

This is the lake that will host the Deca Swim Course. It will be a square circuit of just over 300m which means 12 laps or 120 laps over the course of the 10 day event.

It’s a beautiful course but does have its dangers:

A family of Canadian geese nesting in the swim exit..!

A family of Canadian geese nesting in the swim exit..!

I’m not sure this family of Canadian geese is going to appreciate triathletes thrashing around it’s lake.

Canadian geese set off to patrol the swim course

Canadian geese set off to patrol the swim course

Wraysbury Open Water Swim Training

Once upon a time, I’d be asleep at 7am on a Sunday morning the inevitable hangover waiting to pounce. Now, I’m on an early train heading for Wraysbury Dive Centre to coach recreational and triathlete swimmers. Such is the attraction of open water swimming.

I’ll be supporting Serpentine swim coach, Stephanie Ellis working with swimmers to improve their open water confidence, safety, sighting, drafting, swimming in a group, turning, entry and exits.

It’s very intimidating at first but with time and the right support swimming in fresh non-chlorinated waters makes the Sunday morning effort worthwhile. In fact, I find it difficult to get back in the pool during the week.

If you’d like to try open water swimming at a location around London then drop me a line.

Children have a Right To Play

Like the majority of us, I was fortunate to grow up in a relatively safe and loving environment and nothing made me happier than having a good kick about with my friends.

Unfortunately, not every child growing up today is as fortunate as I was, which is why have chosen to support Right To Play.

Children develop through play

Children develop through play

Right To Play work in 20 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America implementing programs designed to develop basic life skills, prevent diseases, teach conflict resolution and instil hope in children affected by war, poverty and disease.

Earlier this week, I met with them to learn more about their work, meet the UK team and thankfully discover it’s not all about football..!!!

I have achieved so much through sport over recent years and believe play is the basic right of every child.