I’ve always been someone who has taken the mickey out of “tri geeks”. When I first got into tri and joined TFN tri club in Nottingham I thought they’d be a bunch of lean mean machines obsessed with heart rates and training zones and calories. In fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re a bunch of party loving, pie loving, beer drinking, fun loving socialites whose idea of a good training session is one which ends in the pub. And that’s how I started to love tri so much.
A few years down the line and I’m the one who’s morphed into a ‘bit’ of a tri geek. Though, when it comes to training I’m pretty unscientific. I train according to feel, not heart rate or power. I eat well but don’t follow a silly fad diet. I’ve never had any physiological testing done. And I’ve always teased anyone who trains obsessively with a power meter on the bike.
However, two things have happened recently that have made me realise that geek habits may help you train smarter.
Firstly, I am now in possession of a Quark powermeter with SRM cranks courtesy of my fantastic sponsor Chain Reaction Cycles (name drop I know but it’s an amazing bit of kit!) Will this revolutionise my bike training? Too early to say but I can see how it will become addictive…. At the moment I’m riding blind and collecting data, but for someone who struggles to work hard without direct competition, knowing much power I’m producing will be an invaluable tool to help me push myself racing and training. Plus, there will always be a slight compulsion to push myself to chase power PBs in training sessions. Boys, I can now join in the Watt chat.
Secondly, I spent a morning at the GSSI in Loughborough this week undergoing a barrage of physiological tests. The VO2 max test was hard but by far the hardest part was getting there fasted and caffeine free! James Carter and Ian Rollo who run the lab there couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful, and I’ve come away with a wealth of data which I can use to help target my training a bit more specifically. Another step up the tri geek ladder, but one well worth climbing I reckon. Thanks!
To balance things out I took a step off the ‘pro’ triathlete ladder last weekend by heading up to Nottingham for my annual pilgrimage to the Outlaw, one of my favourite tri weekends of the year. Helen Gorman and I have been in a relay team together each year since the Outlaw started (we’re taking applications for 2014’s runner now…..) and it’s a race I love. I love seeing so many friends and newbies complete and ironman. I love being part of such an iconic race without the stress of ‘racing’ it properly. And I love the fact the bike course goes right past my parent’s house.
There’s something somewhat surreal about racing around the local lanes I used to ride on as a child. This year I simply rode the bike at perceived ironman effort; with the Gormanator doing the swim and coming out very near the front of the field, it’s always a bit of an eye-opener for me as it’s the only time I ever learn what it would be like to be a good swimmer. Lonely on the bike at the front of the race! 5 hrs pedalling and 2 guys overtook me, I passed 2 guys and rode with 1 guy for 20 mins who then dropped back. Other than that I saw no-one – other than mum and dad tooting their horn on the Harley….. Anyhow, good mental training for me to ride reasonably hard on my own as I normally thrive on chasing people down to push me. An excellent kick start to ironman training, followed by a very fun afternoon eating ice-cream in the sun watching those brave enough to race the whole thing push themselves through a marathon. It was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise to win the whole event as the Cancer Research UK relay team so thanks to everyone who donated money to such a worthy charity on our behalf. Pretty perfect Sunday really….Congrats to everyone who finished. It was a hot day to be running a marathon!