cycle

Changes…

Well folks, it’s time for a little bit of an update. It’s been a busy last month for me…some good things, some unfortunate ones and tons of distractions! Training is trending upwards for sure, albeit slowly. With a bit of luck, I might surprise myself when I open up my duathlon season in May. As well…fantasy baseball draft season started. So that’ll be a time suck for the next month or so! But now onto the heavy stuff…

Something that has been official for about a month that I have not had a chance to officially announce is my partnership with 3SIXTY5 Cycling for the 2015 season. I have always been impressed with the level of support they have offered their athletes. Chris and co. are great guys, and they have nothing but enthusiasm and commitment to any athlete they come into contact with. AND they offer a custom product at prices that can’t be beaten. This year, I will be continuing my quest for marginal gains on the bike by (likely) riding the FAT 88 front wheel, complete with a Novotec hub and Sapim CX-Ray bladed aero spokes. It is a little deeper than I have ever ridden before (38mm to be exact), but going with the 88 is all about picking up that extra bit of speed…crosswinds be damned! At the very least, I can give it a shot during my early races and assess from there heading into September and Nationals…

And now for something a little more sobering…something that has come up in the past month or so that means big changes. Folks, I have a bit of a bomb to drop on you. At the end of February, I will be moving back in with my parents in Edmonton for a little while.

It’s a little snowy in Alberta’s Capital (ALS Global)

It is with my deepest regrets that I leave the Ontario duathlon scene behind, at least temporarily. This was a very difficult decision for me to make, but things have gotten to the point where I need to head home for a little bit, spend some time with family that I haven’t seen very much in the past several years and reset. There were a lot of factors that played into the decision, but that has not made it any easier. I am very proud of everything I have accomplished in Ontario these past years of racing duathlons. The duathlon community is gathering steam, and elites and enthusiasts alike and meshing together to make one strong community that is a ton of fun to be a part of. Y’all are going to be fine without me for a little while. With Nationals going back to Quebec this year, and being at a perfect time of year for a focus race, I’m confident that it’s going to be another competitive year for duathletes in Ontario. And hopefully Triathlon Ontario’s new National Qualifying Series will be a draw for duathletes across Canada.

I will continue to work with Tommy and Ignition Fitness. We have a good thing going over there, and I am excited to bring the “heat” to the western provinces. I will also be bringing along my awesome sponsors Skechers Performance Canada and 3SIXTY5 Cycling. Both have been awesome in the early stages of this transition, and I look forward to representing them in my new base. Regarding my work with Ontario Duathlon Central…I hope to keep that going, hopefully in a more collaborative fashion. I know more than a few will step up in my absence. Just seeing the excitement of new people who find our Facebook group has been incredibly rewarding. I’ll keep the site as functional as I can without being present on the scene for a little while…maybe even with a little bit of a western flavour…

Hopefully my Skechers gear and GORun Ultra's will keep me warm and upright out west...

Hopefully my Skechers gear and GORun Ultra’s will keep me warm and upright out west…

My race schedule is officially TBD, but there are a few gems out there I have been able to find that would be can’t miss experiences. I will likely start off my duathlon season in Penticton, at the Bare Bones Duathlon that Graham Hood, Malindi Elmore and some dude named Jeff Symonds have been known to frequent, supplemented by some road races and the Footstock Duathlon on June 14. I fully plan on making an extended trip back east in August/September to race Wasaga Beach as a key tune-up for Nationals in Montreal on September 13. In between, I will likely sprinkle in some single sport running and cycling races to stay sharp in those disciplines, while experiencing some of the destinations that the West has to offer. Obviously, it is with great sadness that I will not be racing on the MultiSport Canada circuit (ie. the “best darn race series in North America”) in 2015, but I will most definitely be preaching the good word to anyone who will listen to me out West.

Making an important stop at Sweet Pete’s before I leave.

So what’s next? I’m tying up some loose ends on the Ontario end of things and getting everything ready to head west. My last weekend will be pretty busy, as I am tentatively heading to Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop on the 24th to get RETUL fits on my two bikes. On the 21st, I’ll head to the Dundas Bike Swap to unload some spare parts, and then Sunday is the next Ignition Fitness Big Training Day, which will be my “last hurrah” in Ontario for a little while before heading west…

If you have any questions for me, please reach out. I’m ALWAYS available to chat and would absolutely oblige if you want to pick my brain. And please let me know if you are in the West at all this race season…I’ll be the one living like a monk and training like a maniac in my parents’ basement! My contact info is listed on the left of the page.

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Advertisements

Getting Progressively Stronger…in the Long Run

As I wrap up a very solid two week block of training, I got to thinking that with everyone I’ve talked to in this great sport, there is always that one workout that just gives you a certain satisfaction..a certain excitement when you see it inked into the calendar. Indeed, I have spent many an hour engaged in conversations with fellow athletes about our “favourite workouts”. They range from favourite interval workouts to long, steady runs, and have reasons varying almost as widely as the type of people I talk to. There is no right answer…what works for me may not be what works for you, and you may not get the same enjoyment out of it. But it helps to share, because this spirit of collaboration is what makes endurance athletics so great. So let’s dive right in!

For reasons only known to someone out there who is not me, my progressive long run that is one of the reasons that I look forward to my weekend training as much as I do. A progressive long run is just that…a long run (usually 60 to 120 minutes in length for me) that gets progressively faster over the course of it, with some variations. It is a departure from the previous widely-held belief of a weekly long, steady endurance run, as it adds a note of intensity and variety to what was previously a metronomic, grinding pace.

The best part of these progressive long runs is that they can be as formal or as informal as you would like. During my build up to the Grimsby and Chilly half marathons, each minute of my long runs was scripted to simulate a race effort as much as possible. It involved me doing bursts at or near race pace on legs that had already been put through a steadily increasing pace for an hour or more. But they don’t have to be that scientific. Sometimes it can be quite liberating to just go out and run, and just letting the pace naturally drop as your legs work themselves into it. This flexibility is what has made progressive long runs a staple in my training. Interestingly, I happened upon them for two reasons. One is simply through the evolution of commonly held beliefs…the other was borne out of necessity, and provides and interesting contrast between my training as a single-sport and a multisport athlete.

Let’s talk about the latter first here. When I was a single sport athlete, I had time to get everything in. A typical week involved alternating hard interval days with “easy” recovery days. Even with three hard days in a week (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday) and a long run on Sundays, I still had 3 days available to me for recovery (though whether or not I used them properly is another post altogether!). However, when I added in the need to cycle, it became much more difficult to get all the required training in and still have enough time allotted to recovery. The answer was to combine workouts together. These progressive long runs are a perfect example, as there is a significant endurance-building effect to them, even as you depart Zone 2 (aerobic endurance) and enter Zone 3 (“The Sweet Spot”). The early portion is steady and aerobic, and the later, faster portion of the run serves to increase stamina and build strength for those tough final miles of a race (or for that run at the end of a multisport race). It also serves to recruit those fast-twitch muscle fibres that don’t see much action during the long, slow distance run, helping to build their endurance as well. The combined effect of quality and quantity only burns one day of training…perfect for the time crunched multisport athlete.

Many contemporary marathon runners have shifted their training towards this type of work, with some doing 30-40km of marathon pace work once or twice a month. The effects of running harder for longer are very real. But be forewarned…they are very difficult on the body. Doing these on a weekly basis may not be for everyone. Renowned marathon coach Renato Canova is often considered the innovator of this new way of looking at the long run, and even his athletes often are only doing these runs once or twice a month. Ensure you have allotted the proper recovery time for these workouts, as they can certainly take a toll on the body. But I will gladly trade taking a recovery day or two for the pure exhilaration of starting off slow and ratcheting the pace up slowly throughout the run until I’m sustaining a pace that has people stopping my to ask, “What, are you training for Around the Bay or something?” Nope…just your friendly neighbourhood sprint duathlon.

As for me, I just wrapped up two pretty easy weeks to give my body a rest after 4 months of hard half marathon training. Highlights of the last few weeks have been a 5W FTP improvement during my latest test, a solid 90 minute run at the Ignition Fitness Big Training Day, an excellent 5 workout in 3 day block during the middle of last week, and yes…a long progression run on Sunday to wrap it all up! Next on the docket is Harry’s Spring Run-Off (out of the elite corral) on April 5 to see where my run legs are over a shorter distance, then Paris to Ancaster for my first real bike race experience! Pretty excited for that, and of course I will be accompanied by my girlfriend Emma, who will likely be volunteering at the finish line of these races!

I am also excitedly awaiting the arrival of my new TT bike, a Felt B16 through the Ignition Fitness/Felt Bicycles sponsorship. We are also looking around for Emma’s first road bike as the weather warms up, so that she too can enjoy the thrills of running and riding! My first multisport test of the season will be at the Iron Hawk/Ontario Sprint Duathlon Championships, then a full slate of Multisport Canada races as part of the Recharge with Milk Ambassador team. Thanks to John and the guys for setting that up, and to Tommy, Roger and the Ignition Fitness crew for getting me into really good shape, both physically and mentally! So until next time, keep Du’ing it!