Monday, December 31, 2012

IMSG training Week 1

Well here we go again! It was around six weeks ago that I crossed the finish line at IMAZ and having had some serious downtime it’s now time to start ramping things up. In fairness this should have actually have been Week 2 but I got busy and decided to push things back a week, it’s not too big a deal as the first 3 (was 4) weeks were simply prep, get a sweat on, figure out my plan and the like, they were not dedicated training.

So the goals of the first three weeks were to:

  1. Figure out the plan
  2. Start the strength and flexibility training,
  3. Swim, Bike and Run for 1/2/2 hours respectively

Pretty simple really so let’s talk about them;

I am still researching plans, I seriously would like to get a coach but other financial goals (buying a P5 (or like) and a house…not in that order) preclude that right now so I find myself being an experiment of one. Fortunately while I am new to Triathlon, this will be only my second year, I am not new to endurance sports. I ran my first marathon and ultra-marathon in 2007 and since then I have added a few notches on my belt. Right now I am looking at the Joe Friel book Your Best Triathlon, the other contender for a plan is one by Matt Fitzgerald, both of these guys are steeped in history of Triathlon and training so it’s not like I am leaving myself out in the open, but both present different approaches; I will, no doubt have more to say on that when I have decided.

For the strength and Flexibility training I have worked out a plan that has 3 weight sessions broken down into different body parts each day and 2 yoga session a week

  • Monday; Biceps and Back
  • Tuesday; Core and Yoga
  • Wednesday; Shoulders and Legs
  • Thursday; Core and Yoga
  • Friday; Chest and Triceps

This probably looks overwhelming but the weight sessions last around 25 minutes, the core 18 minutes (P90X Ab Ripper) and the Yoga around 20, although the yoga will increase in time.

The other big event this week was the Tour of Sufferlandria, it’s still going on so I will give you a more detailed write up when it’s finished, but it pretty much took up Saturday and Sunday and obviously boosted my bike mileage into the stratosphere! This gives you idea of the end result, and this was only halfway through the first day…


So back to this week, which actually started on Christmas Eve! It shook out like this;


I missed one weights session on Friday but other than that I hit all my goals, less 3 minutes on the Run, as with IMAZ I will post a graph but for one week only it looks a bit silly!

Onto Week 2…and 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Active Advantage…is it really an advantage?

Earlier this year, well about 6 weeks ago I signed up for the much advertised Active Advantage. There were two driving factors, an additional 25% discount on and the waiving of the “processing fee” that you are charged when registering for races on

In the last 12 months my race sign ups have obviously shifted from ultras to triathlons and with that the shift to using race registration instead of more localized sites such as and Added to which that a triathlon registration is expensive; a “small” Sprint race can cost $100, an IM branded 70.3 is around $275 and a full IM is around $675 so any opportunity to save $10 or $20 here or there soon adds up especially when you are signing up for 5-6 races in a year, it almost become a case of buy 5 get one free.

The initial cost was $1.99 for the first month and another $59.95 for the rest of the year after 30 days “trial”. My trail ended and my Visa was charged. Since paying my $59.95 and signing up to was retired and is now powered by Left Lane Sports under the banner of Left Lane is an online broker of discounted gear. Both outlets had been around for a while and I have actually purchased several things through schwaggle in the last year whereas I have never purchased anything from Left Lane, I even have their app on my iPhone and receive a daily email from them but their selection is too broad for me they cover a lot of outdoor sports including; climbing, skating and surfing and these things are not any interest to me.

The really only left one compelling reason for the membership which was the waived processing fees. With that in mind I signed up for IMSG and had $10 waived. This week I went to sign up for the Desert Tri in March, it’s a work up race for IMSG. It was my first triathlon ever earlier this year…if you remember I had a disastrous swim. I had toyed with doing both the Sprint and International (Olympic) distances, the former as some form of redemption and the latter as training, but given the combined cost of nearly $200 plus travel and accommodation and the fact that 2013 is not a cheap race year already I decided that redemption can wait.

So to I went in search of the race and registration, it was easy to find and it was advertised as “Save on this event”, great I thought another $10 saved. If you click on this link it takes you to the Active Advantage sign up page!


I went through the sign process but the waived processing fee would not show when I went to check out, I tried it several times and I couldn’t get it to work?!!?


The open window is what pops up when you click on the “?” by Processing Fee

I opened a help ticket with them and got an email back asking me to call them, which I did. After some discussion I was advised that the race did not participate in the processing fee waiver and I had to pay it. I questioned that they were advertising it as such? The Customer Service Rep told me that nearly all events are advertised with it but not every event participates! It wasn’t her fault but I was upset as this is really a case of double dipping, I pay for the “Advantage” but I don’t get it.

It was at that point that I cancelled my membership and today I was refunded my $59.99…the whole experience has been rather tasteless and in the end I saved $8.00 which I probably spent in time writing to them and being on the phone!

Don’t get me wrong, I get it that these companies are in business to make money…what I disagree with is their methods; falsely representing the discount is just plain wrong.

I’ll save any more rants and raves on this issue and leave you with own wordsIn 2011, 205 million people attended 1.8 million meetings at a total cost of $263 billion in direct spending in the United States alone” all I can say is that’s a lot of $10 processing fees!

As for the Desert Tri, my processing fee was the price of a quick look at the race website and a stamp!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Twenty thirteen…

This is tentative (unless noted "Registered") for 2013.

A focus on shorter races for 2013 after 2012's goal of Ironman Arizona, This is very much a year of two halves. The first 6 months are focused on a good really good St George which is new but is based on the old Ironman course that notoriously hard. I am "hopeful" for a roll down slot to 70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas in September. The second half is focused on a Boston Qualifier time, which for my age group is a 3:25!

As for my sherpaing and head cheerleading duties I am sherpaing for my Partner in Tri' TribeccaTO who is adding another notch to her Ironman belt!

Along the way I am sure there will be a few 5kms, 10kms and some other fun and madness!

03/03 Desert Tri Olympic

04/15 Boston Marathon - Sherpa!

05/04 St George 70.3 - Registered 

07/27 Barbs Race 70.3 - Sherpa!

08/19 Challenge Pentiction - Sherpa!

11/03 Santa Clarita Marathon

11/10 Malibu Marathon*

12/01 California International Marathon+

* Depends on Santa Clarita result

+ Depends on Santa Clarita and Malibu

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vegan; no, yes, no, yes…

Back in the summer, when I came back from a most awesome vacation in Canada I made a major switch in my diet, put simply I went vegan. This is fairly easy to define;

  • No meat
  • No fish
  • No eggs
  • No diary
  • And if possible Gluten free

The only two concessions to this were a splash of half-n-half in my coffee and milk in my tea; I am British…this is how the Empire was made!

I trained for Ironman Arizona as a vegan. I wasn’t worried about the “not enough protein” argument, as my meat consumption was pretty low anyway. I added some new things to my diet, primarily tofu and tempeh, both soy based products that contain protein. I refueled using a Vega post workout shake and that worked fine! The biggest loss was cheese but I found some alternatives that worked ok in cooking but let’s be honest it’s hard to beat a good cheddar or soft brie.

Overall my weight went down I bottomed out at around 164lbs down from around 180lbs, this is probably too light for me. I was around 168lb at race day for IMAZ. Of course this is not just due to diet; 12-15 hour training weeks played a big part too. That’s clearly evident as I have floated back up and this week hit 175lb one month post-race, I expect that to start dropping as I get back into training in the coming weeks.

In addition the weight loss my metabolism felt cleaner, I stopped getting the 3pm post lunch coma, I slept better, I wasn’t constantly snacking, I didn’t spike and crash… the list goes on. Now these are all physical effects, the biggest one was mental; boundaries! I had a set of rules; I could eat this and I couldn’t eat that…it was actually very simple. Black and white if you like. This works well for me as despite having the ability to drag myself out of bed at 4am five days in a row to train I have trouble resisting something that I shouldn’t. And at this time of year Christmas, is of course, the force multiplier of this.

Post IMAZ I made the conscious decision to reverse the vegan choice, that’s not to say that I went out and ordered a 20oz steak but things crept back into my diet that previously were eliminated. It was also an economic decision to try and get through some of the stuff that stared at me every time I opened the freezer door. Making more of an appearance was beer which while not eliminated during training was certainly reduced. Now I am not confessing to being a closet alcoholic but they are empty calories, albeit very nice ones!

Overall it’s been an interesting experiment both in the physical and mental aspects of it. Living within a clear set of rules makes things like I say very black and white and very easy to follow.

So starting in the New Year, the rules are back in play.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gold no more!

It was a little over three years ago that I posted about joining Gold’s Gym. To be honest in those three years the first two were not that productive, an occasional spin class and time on the treadmill were mostly it, ironically in the beginning I used the pool a bit as I was recovering from a torn vastus medialis that’s the inner (closer to the other leg) muscle that is part of the quadriceps sustained at 100 in the Hood the September prior. That all changed once I was ok’d to run and then I stayed away from the pool and that’s pretty much what I did from then to November of last year. Then I started on the crazy triathlon plan!

From that point I went to the pool a lot; 3-4 times a week every week…yes EVERY WEEK, one week I swam 16,000 yards! But all Gold err good things must come to an end and so this is my last month at Gold’s. To be honest that’s the good news, the better news is the $40 a month I will be spending 40 times over elsewhere, well actually mostly adding to the P5 fund!. The really great news is that I can swim here at my local Parks and Recs pool for $2 a pop!

Open air, salt water and full shall we say full of swimmers rather than splashies!


And yes you can swim out side in December in the dark and in the rain!

Oh and if you’re thinking hang on didn’t he just say he was starting to do weights at the gym, the complex I live in has a free residents gym!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seeing the Year out with a bang!

Yeah you might want to rephrase that to a whimper…

Concocted in the warped twisted mind of err well me! This is what I have planned for the last weekend of the year!

Why you ask…why the eff not I reply!

fest ride

tour map

Of course I reserve the right to change my response…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

28 days later…

It’s been a little over 4 weeks since Ironman Arizona. I have done a bit of this and a bit of that, to be honest I did a bit too soon so I backed off; the mental break took a bit more time to adjust to but now it’s time to get back in the saddle…literally and metaphorically!

I have spent the last week or so planning the next adventure which is St George 70.3 in Utah in May. This time I am trying something different. I usually don’t go for long training cycles, the mental aspect of it I find overwhelming. I get bored around the 16-17 week mark, beyond that I switch off and then the last month become a glorified balls-up of a taper which doesn’t do me any good at all. Yeah but you say! Yeah but I have done this several times so trust me I really know this happens! That being said the training for St George will be 20 weeks.

Huh…yeah huh!

I have spent some time looking through several books and the 20 weeks will be the Meso Cycle; that is the entire life-cycle of the plan. The actual plan will be comprise of several cycles and the actually Triathlon plan will only last 16 weeks with you typical build, recover and specificity training. Because I am sticking to shorter distances I am expecting there to be more emphasis on speed work too…which I actually really like! The first 4 weeks will be spent in the gym, not the pool but actually lifting weights combined with some Yoga/Stretching. I am horribly inflexible...and seeing as how I am not going to wake up suddenly one morning and be able to touch my toes…trust me I have tried, doing some Yoga will help. So that’s all I have to say on that.

As for the weights, in addition to strengthening my core (which I will not bother to tell you that we should all be doing) I do feel that I have some serious gains to be made by adding some outright muscle mass. I really think this will help with my swimming. I have the typically body form of a runner; all legs and arms that look a little bit more than bits of string with knots in. This will be something that I will continue through the entire 20 weeks with a review and a change of exercises every 6 weeks the Micro Cycles with the last two weeks tapering off towards race day. In addition to this each week for the first 4 will have roughly 5 hours of Swim Bike Run on a rough 1/2/2 split spread across the week to basically get the heart rate up and the waistband down.

This is what happens when you go from 15+ hours a week of training to nada…


This is the first 6 weeks of workouts…’cos I know you were dying to see it and marvel at my mad excel skills…although there has to be a quicker way then printing out, cutting up and gluing on the sideways words!!


That’s it for now! One week to the end of the year and six more posts needed to hit 120…it’s on!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IMAZ; Time and Money!

One of the benefits of keeping all your training plan in Excel is this…


Total Training; S/B/R/Time


Weekly mileage


Sport Specific Analysis


Percentage of time across each discipline


The bottom line…and yes totally worth it!