Monday, 15 September 2014

Week 24 of 26

So 3 weeks out from Ironman and this week was meant to be a lighter training load. Or so it seemed....

Monday was a 3.9km swim in the afternoon. Warm up 400m, 10 x 100m swim, 1000m pull buoy/paddles, 10 x 100m pull buoy only, 400m swim, 100m cool down. Pretty tired after the big weekend. The pool was very busy too, as the uni students are all back. Tuesday I did an hour's gym session - alternating arms, legs and core, 30 repetitions each. The gym was even worse, it was like in a shopping mall during year end sale!

Wednesday I swam again. It was my last day for using the Western recreation center facilities and I wasn't going to renew my membership as I wouldn't be here for long. 2 x 2000m - swim 33:16, pull buoy 35:11. In a 25m pool too. Luckily I had the digital pacer clock, otherwise I would be sure to lose count!

Thursday I was planning to ride but the weather didn't look very promising. So I took a rest day and did some errands. Friday I rode, it was still cold and I had the full winter gear - beanie, gloves, long pants and two layers of long sleeves. Rode to Lakeside and back for 90km.

Saturday, the original plan was to ride long for 120km. But it started with rain. So we had breakfast at Angelo's and did some groceries. The rain seemed to have stopped at 10am or so, so I took the risk to ride 90km. Very, very windy and headwind all the way back! There were short periods of shower but luckily, I didn't get too wet. In the afternoon, I ran for 75 minutes. Not exactly a brick run but I had a short 2 hour break in between - lunch and a nap. It was still gloomy and there were some moments of light drizzle.

That night, we had dinner at Peter's with some of our regular training buddies. We had great food and wine - okay, maybe I was the only one who didn't have wine as the rest are done with their racing for the year. It was nice to do something other than swim, bike and run. But we still talked about triathlon a lot. Thanks Peter for hosting and thanks for the thoughtful gift - very Canadian! I'll be missing everyone.
Some sweet memories of Canada!

Sunday, I did my long ride of 120km to Talbotville and back. It was a bit chilly to begin with - about 6 degrees Celcius but it soon warmed up and it was a nice day after all, some mild winds and mostly tailwind on the way back. My Garmin didn't show the decimal points in the distance and it was not until I finished the ride and checked the history that I was short by 400m, didn't know it would round up! I rested for a few hours and then did my 2 hour run in the afternoon. Legs were pretty tired after the 3 days of consecutive cycling but still managed to clock just over 26kms.

My final pit stop at this intersection. There's probably a patch of dead grass here somewhere... hahaha
The official taper begins this coming week and I totally look forward to it. The past couple of weeks have been solid training but I can see signs that my body is craving for the rest. I only have 3 days here before I leave for Malaysia for the Ironman.

Week 24 of 26 statistics:

Swim - 8.0km (2 hours 20 minutes)
Bike - 299.9km (9 hours 52 minutes)
Run - 42.9km (3 hours 15 minutes)
Gym - 55 minutes

Total - 350.8km (16 hours 22 minutes)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Run like a pro with the PRS V2 Running Compression Socks

In one of my earlier posts here, I mentioned that I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be part of the Compressport Malaysia team.

Here is a review on another great product from Compressport - the PRS V2 Running Compression Socks.
Picture taken from
I have a confession to make. I do have a bit of a sock fetish. Especially those that are Left-Right specific. Not to say that I don't run in other socks but I do keep these Left-Right specific ones for special occassions i.e. major races. To date, I have gone through my fair share of racing Left-Right specific socks. I have been looking for a pair for my main race this year - Ironman Malaysia, Langkawi at the end of September and always wanted to try the Compressport ones for their compression features. So, looks like my wishes have been answered!

Left-Right specific
The PRS V2 (Pro Racing Socks Version 2) comes with the usual features with all Compressport products such as shock absorbers to reduce fatigue and aeroknitting which allows for maximum ventilation and quick moisture wicking. But one of the things that are specific to these socks (and the Compressport full compression socks as well) which is not present in the calf sleeves or quad sleeves, is the Dot technology.

They look like tiny mushrooms!
Located at the bottom of the sock in the forefoot and heel area, these dots increases the shock absorbing properties and optimizes inside out heat exchange, which allows for quick elimination of perspiration (for those with sweaty feet!). I was bit a concerned if these extra bumps under my feet will affect the way I run, but more on that later.

Roll them up!
As these are after all, compression socks, they are a bit tighter than your usual socks. Putting them on requires a bit more effort, but will be made easy after a couple of times. I find it easier by rolling them up at my toes and slowly sliding them up my foot. The small lever at the end of the sock makes it easy to hook it over the heel. This small lever also acts as an anti slip mechanism - to prevent the sock from sliding downwards while running. If you do intend to wear these socks in a triathlon and still want to do a speedy transition, I suggest practising a couple of times. I know I will!

Small lever at the end of the heel 
The PRS V2 running socks come in the high cut version and low cut version. And in a variety of colours - decals in pink, green or blue and black or white for the main fabric, that's 6 different colours! Being the fashion conscious triathlete I am (let's face it, this sport is mostly about the looks hahaha), I opted for the low cut ones because I like how to see my ankles while I'm running. And I chose the green and white ones because they match my new racing shoes!

I even have matching coloured Lock Laces!
So how did the socks fare performance-wise? To be honest, I have only ran in them once... for 30 minutes. As I mentioned before, I like to keep these socks for my major races, so I try to keep them as new as possible for race day. HOWEVER that 30 minute run was immediately after a very tough 180+km ride. The energy in my legs were all drained already but my feet felt springy yet well supported. The socks come with arch support, which maintains posture and prevent any degradation of movement. This becomes especially essential in a triathlon, when you are running on tired legs.

As for the dots? I didn't feel any numbness or rubbing coming from them. In fact, I think they gave a a nice massaging feeling, which helped activated the blood flow through the plantar area. My feet felt light and I was able to maintain a high running cadence despite on tired legs. I averaged 4:30 per km average for that 30 minute brick run, something I definitely did not expect after a 180+km ride!

A handy thing to note, is to wash them in a separate mesh bag in the washing machine or handwash them, in order to prolong the compression properties. I'm looking forward to run with these socks for a couple more runs - some longer ones, before the Ironman. Thank you, Compressport Malaysia!

The PRS V2 socks are currently available at Athlete's Circle Malaysia, Jaya One and Running Lab Malaysia, Tropicana City Mall at a recommended retail price of MYR 75.00 per pair.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Week 23 of 26

Wow, what a week!

Monday was Labour Day public holiday. Greg, Clare and Peter were going to do a 100km ride to Lakeside and back. So I started my ride earlier, went down Vanneck all the way to Gideon and back. Managed to get 43kms in before I met up with the others. It was a very foggy and pretty humid. It rained a bit while we were cycling too. It was nice to have some company and we took turns to lead and pushed the pace every now and then. After the rest were finished, I only had another 40km or so to go, so I did the same thing as I did before - Vanneck to Gideon and back. 183kms clocked with an average pace of 31kph, pretty pleased!

Tuesday was 75 minute run in Springbank. Same set as last week - 6 x 7 minutes fast/3 minutes easy. I was only a tad bit slower. Can't complain considering I had the big ride the day before. Wednesday was my only swim for the swim. But it was a long one. 400m warm up, 4 x 50m, 400m, 4 x 100m, 600m, 4 x 200m, 600m pull buoy, 4 x 200m pull buoy/paddles, 100m cool down - added up to 4.3km, my longest swim this year.

Thursday was the usual mid week 90km ride to Lakeside and back. I installed the Garmin Edge 500 and it was pretty cool to see all the data in one screen. I forgotten my HRM strap though. Friday was an hour's run from UWO campus to Springbank via Gibbons Park. It was very humid. My heart felt like it was beating abnormally higher than usual when I started but I shrugged it off. When I finished, I felt a bit faint and almost passed out! I leaned against my car and took some deep breaths and felt much better. Not sure what was that all about, maybe the sudden change in humidity.

Saturday was my last 6+ hour ride. It was pretty gloomy but luckily I didn't get wet. I rode to Lakeside and then towards Vanneck and all the way south to Talbotville and back. Very windy too and it had to be headwind on the way back. Managed just over 182km with an average of 30kph. I brought my HRM strap this time and nice to know that my average heart rate was at 129bpm, about 68% of my max HR.

I ran off the bike for 30 minutes, trying on my new Saucony Fastwitch 6 and Compressport socks. They felt great and I was able to hold a sub 4:30 per km pace. That evening, Li-Ann and I celebrated my last long ride by having dinner at Marienbad, a nice Hungarian restaurant. We split the platter and it was just nice for us. I didn't order a drink for myself but I did have a few sips of Li-Ann's wine.

Sunday was my longest run in the build. My one and only 3 hour run as I bailed partway through on the previous one. I started at about 3.45pm, it was very sunny but cool and dry. I averaged about 4:35 per km for the first 75 minutes or so, then dropped it to 4:45 per km for the next hour, with the remaining about 4:55 per km. I'm surprised at how great my legs felt but the nice weather definitely helped. Did 4 loops around the neighbourhood. Covered just over 38km with an average pace of 4:43 per km.

Feeling really happy with the solid effort this week. The volume decreases in the coming week but not a full on taper yet.

Week 23 of 26 statistics:

Swim - 4.3km (1 hour 13 minutes)
Bike - 455.1km (14 hours 51 minutes)
Run - 75.4km (5 hours 45 minutes)

Total - 534.8km (21 hours 49 minutes)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Week 22 of 26

The week started off really well but let down by a dismal weekend. Read on and you'll know why.

Monday as usual, is a swim in the evening. 3.6km set - 500m warm up, 10 x 50m, 500m, 5 x 100m, 500m pull buoy, 10 x 50m, 500m pull buoy with paddles. Felt pretty strong despite the big weekend before. Tuesday, I initially wanted to run at Springbank but the skies were dark so I drove home first. It soon cleared and I did an 80 minute run around the neighbourhood. Very humid. I started off pretty sluggish but found my pace later and was able to negative split by a big margin.

Wednesday was a 90km ride to Lakeside and back. Very windy. Thursday I ran in Springbank for 75 minutes. I had 6 x 7 minutes fast/3 minutes easy in the program and felt really good. Nice cool weather. Averaged 4:20 per km pace with over 17kms covered.

Then things started to take a turn on Friday. I slept in instead of the morning swim, so would have to make up for it later in the week. Fortunately, it was the long weekend with Labour Day on Monday, so I managed to get off work early. I got 2.5 hours ride in but it was hot and windy and my pace was very ordinary. I was still able to go to the pool before it closed that evening. Felt great for the 3.7km swim set though. Main set was 4 x 800m - swim 12:46, fingertip drag alternate 50m 13:01, swim 12:45, fists alternate 50m 13:11.

Saturday I planned to do an 180km ride before leaving for Markham to visit Li-Ann's cousins. But I did not feel great during the ride. Same conditions as the evening before - hot and windy. At the 86km mark and 3 hours into the ride, I decided to call it quits and asked Li-Ann to pick me up. Maybe it was due to combination of the double workouts the evening before or a combination of a few factors. I still have public holiday Monday to ride 180km, so I wasn't too worried.

We stayed the night in Markham and the next morning, Li-Ann followed her cousins for a camping trip while I drove back to London. Yes, I was invited but being the no-fun-training-for-an-Ironman guy, I had to decline. Plus, by joining them meant I would have to take Tuesday off and I've used up all my vacation days for the Ironman later this month. As they all left early before sunrise, I drove home early too. Traffic was great and I rested at home before the long run in the evening.

It was also Malaysia's 57th independence day so it is nice to have a public holiday here as well to commemorate. I was meant to do a 3 hour run around the neighbourhood. Started off really well, my pace was well below 4:40 per km but I knew I had to slow it down later. About 20kms into the run, I had the sudden urge to rush to the toilet... for Number 2! I was about a couple of kms from home so I ran into the house, did my business (sorry for the oversharing!) and by the time I was done, I didn't feel like running anymore. So I made the call to leave the run at that with just over 22.7kms clocked in 1 hour 46 minutes. I still have my 180km ride to do tomorrow and God forbid I have to cut that short, again!

Disappointed? I'll be lying if I said I wasn't. But the years of Ironman training have taught me not to sweat over couple of sessions that were cut short or missed. It's the overall progress that matters and I reckon I'm progressing pretty well.

Week 22 of 26 statistics:

Swim - 7.3km (2 hours 5 minutes)
Bike - 252.5km (8 hours 26 minutes)
Run - 58.0km (4 hours 21 minutes)

Total - 317.9km (14 hours 52 minutes)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Week 21 of 26

Gosh... it's getting close! This week was the start of the 3 week peak build.

Monday was a 4km swim set in the evening. 400m warm up, 10 x 100m swim, 200m fast swim, 10 x 100m pull buoy, 200m pull buoy, 10 x 100m swim, 200m fast swim. Tuesday was the usual 90km ride to Lakeside and back. Daylight is getting shorter already. Sunset when I had another 30 minutes to go, had to race back before it got too dark. Will bring my lights out for the next weekday evening ride.

Wednesday I was planning to run but it was forecasted to have thunderstorms so I took a rest day instead. It did shower intermittently but no prolonged rain. I went with Li-Ann to her workplace social event and had a pretty late night. Thursday I ran at Springbank for 80 minutes with 10 sets of 7 minutes fast intervals followed by 3 minutes easy after each. Felt really good, weather was cool with lots of cloud cover. One of my faster training runs at 4:22 per km average.

Friday morning I swam a long swim set - 1.2km swim (20:28), 2km pull buoy (35:42), 800m pull buoy with paddles (13:01). In the evening I ran for 75 minutes but chose a different route. I started from UWO campus and went through Gibbons Park to Springbank and back. What a nice undulating route - I'm surprised I didn't know about this earlier! It was pretty hot and I struggled the last 15 minutes or so.

Saturday was my first 180km for the year. It started out a bit foggy and it stayed cloudy throughout. Bit humid though. I rode to Lakeside and then down south to Talbotville and back. Bit of headwind on the way back. But glad I maintained just over 30kph average. No brick run this time but will have in the next two 180km rides. In the evening, Li-Ann and I watched the Ninja Turtles movie at Westmount Mall. It was fun but very Michael Bay-ish. Does anyone else also think that Shredder had an uncanny resemblance to Megatron?

Sunday morning I did an hour's session in the gym - alternating arms, legs and core, 30 repetitions each. In the afternoon I ran for 2.5 hours. It was cool and cloudy. I maintained a decent pace of 4:30-4:35 per km for the first 2 hours or so, and then slowed it down to about 4:45 per km pace. Total distance covered 32.6km. Next two weekends I'll be graduating the long runs to 3 hours.

With the big mileage these couple of weeks, recovery cannot be any more important. Have to make sure that I get adequate sleep and eat well in between sessions.

Week 21 of 26 statistics:

Swim 8.2km (2 hours 24 minutes)
Bike 271.5km (8 hours 51 minutes)
Run 67.6km (5 hours 5 minutes)
Gym (55 minutes)

Total 347.3km (17 hours 15 minutes)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Week 20 of 26

So the big race is coming really close... only 6 weeks away! I was meant to race the Olympic distance at Goderich on the weekend but I decided to clock in another long ride and long run instead. I kinda regretted not racing, as looking at the results, I could have given myself a chance to be on the podium. Anyway, it's always easy to say these things on hindsight.

The week started with a 3.7km swim set on Monday evening - warm up 400m, 5 x 200m, 4 x 300m (1st and 3rd pull buoy, 2nd and 4th pull buoy with paddles), 2 x 400m, 200m fast and 100m cool down. Tuesday was supposed to be a 90km ride to Lakeside and back. But partway through it rained heavily with thunderstorms - it was fine and sunny when I started! Luckily I was able to find shelter and Li-Ann came to pick me up.

Wednesday was Splash N Dash at Lake Whittaker, the final one for the year. I swam two loops for a warm up. The water was very choppy as it was very windy. I quite enjoyed it actually, reminds me of swimming at the beaches back in Australia. The first swimmer was a super fish and I came out of the water about 2.5 minutes. I worked hard on the run but was only able to take a minute off the gap, still my best run so far. Overall time was 45:50, which was 25:26 for the 1.6km swim and 20:24 for the 5km run.

Thursday was 90 minute run at Springbank. Bit windy and cloudy, nice cool weather. Friday was a 4km swim set, 4 x 1000m - 1st swim (16:09), 2nd pull buoy (16:55), 3rd swim (16:23), 4th pull buoy with paddles (15:44). Happy with the quick times but it was in a 25m pool so I shouldn't get too excited.

Saturday I had my long ride but I kept it to 140km. Did my usual course of Thorndale and Talbotville. Slight tailwind on the way back so I had a good average pace of 30.5kph. I caught up with the results of my coached athletes who raced the Desaru 113km half iron triathlon back home in Malaysia, many who achieved massive personal bests and podium finishes. I'm so happy for them - one of the joys of coaching!

Sunday I had a broken up brick with a 2.5 hour ride in the morning to Lakeside and back. In the evening, I ran for 2 hours. There were lots of cloud cover and the weather was cool. That made a huge difference and my legs felt great - managed to keep under 4:30 per km overall pace.

Expecting to hit some big mileage in the next couple of weeks, especially during the weekends. The temperature is starting to drop and daylight is starting to get shorter, which can be a challenge for midweek rides, and for heat training to prepare for the extreme heat at Ironman Malaysia. But I'll do my best.

Week 20 of 26 statistics:

Swim - 11.0km (3 hours 6 minutes)
Bike - 270.9km (8 hours 47 minutes)
Run - 52.1km (3 hours 50 minutes)

Total - 334.0km (15 hours 43 minutes)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Week 19 of 26

Monday was the Civic Holiday and the final day of the Niagara Camp. We started with an hour's swim in the Welland canal. Ben Sayles - Zoot rep for Ontario (and one freakishly fast triathlete!) had some Zoot wetsuits for us to try. I thought might as well, saves me from having washing my own later hahaha. It felt great. But I'm not looking to replace my wetsuit for the moment. After the swim, we did long run on the footpath along the canal. The rest were already tapering for Ironman Mt Tremblant in a couple of weeks, while I had 2.5 hours in my program. The footpath seemed to go on forever, I started with an 16km out and back, had a few minutes stop at the feed station, then a 10km, another stop, and the last 6km I sorta struggled. But glad to have clocked an overall 4:39 per km average for the entire 32km.

Drove back to London right after and glad that Tuesday was a day of rest. Wednesday was Splash N Dash in Lake Whittaker. We had something different this week - balloons! I had mine tied to my waist as I figured that was the best place to put it, without obstructing my stroke. Did a two loop warm up swim and it wasn't too much of a distraction. It made drafting and sighting easier too. I got dropped off the front pack but I had two others with me for company. Started the run with those in front way too far to catch. Still, I worked pretty hard and finished with overall time of 46:49 - 26:12 for the 1.6km swim and 20:37 for the 5km run.

Thursday was the usual 90km ride to Lakeside and back. Slight tailwind on the way back which was a nice change. Friday morning was a long swim set - 2 x 2km - 1st swim (34:00), 2nd pull buoy (35:46). Saturday was 5.5 hour long ride starting to Thorndale and back, and down to Talbotville and back. My legs felt good and despite the headwind for the last 15km or so, I managed to keep the ride to just over 30kph average. The 30 minute brick run after too felt pretty good and I managed a 6.7km in.

Sunday morning I caught up with home through Skype. My dad at 59 years young, did his first ever sprint triathlon in the classic Port Dickson triathlon in Malaysia. He's hooked and aiming to do the Olympic distance next year. My sister and a few of my coached athletes did the Olympic distance - everyone did well. I went to the gym for an hour for some weight training - alternating arms, legs and core, 30 repetitions each.

In the afternoon I did my 2 hour long run, started at about 4.30pm. It was still pretty sunny and the sun was directly above me. Legs felt pretty good and I kept it to well under 4:30 per km pace until the last 15 minutes or so where I had to slow down about 5 seconds per km. Managed to clock 26.7km.

A somewhat easier week next week with lower mileage during the weekend but weekdays keeping pretty much the same.

Week 19 of 26 statistics:

Swim 10.3 km (3 hours 2 minutes)
Bike 265.0km (8 hours 25 minutes)
Run 70.4km (5 hours 20 minutes)
Gym (55 minutes)

Total 336.8km (17 hours 42 minutes)