Ironman tapering

Las Vegas is history. After more than 3 weeks in the city I was very much ready to leave today, as I started the car and drove 500 km south to Tempe/Phoenix for the Ironman next Sunday.

The last week has been quite different from the usual week 14 days out of an ironman. After the race my legs were incredibly smashed. My quads were sore, my feets were hurting and I was tired! So the first 2 days after the race I didn’t do anything but a short swim set, and on the third day I started out with an easy bike ride and a work out on the cross trainer.

Together with some massage I worked the soreness out of my body, and the last couple of days I have actually been able to do some good workouts! This close to the race it isn’t about building fitness, but more a matter of keeping the body alert and making sure it is ready and recovered for raceday. The World Championships race was a big training day before the ironman race, much harder than what I would usually do for my last hard session before a big race, and we needed to consider that when we are planning the last days before the race.

But I think we have come up with a good plan, and hopefully I’ll be ready for another long day come Sunday!

In the meantime I would like to tell you a bit about my Fusion kit I wore in Las Vegas and that I will wear in Phoenix.

Las Vegas was an ITU World Championships, hence we had to wear the national suit. The national suit is a custom suit by Fusion and comes in a World Cup and Long Distance edition. The Long Distance edition features a zipper on the bag (due to ITU rules), mesh pockets on the legs for nutrition and 1 or 2 layers of COMP3 padding for comfort during the bikeride (it is individually decided whether it should be 1 or 2 layers. The World Cup suit comes with either none or 1 layer of padding). The fabric for the suit has been chosen after lots of testing to find the best suitable fabric for swimming (low weight is a key issue for a non-wetsuit swim), but also trying to maintain the compression that supports the legs during bike and run.
Furthermore the suit is treated with a proofing that sheds water and makes sure that the suits dries instantly after the swim.

Since the weather in Las Vegas was so cold we were allowed to wear an extra layer of clothes on the bike (this was before we knew the swim would be cancelled). This was perfect for me, as I had my custom made aero-top with me. Under normal conditions we would not be allowed to wear this in an ITU race, but due to the cold weather they made an exception in the rules that allowed us to wear extra clothes.
The aero-top is made out of one piece of fabric and has a minimum of stitching, all on the inside of the top. It has 3/4 arm length, which helps to keep you warm in the cooler races, but can also help to keep you cool in the warmer racs (both due to the white color and the possibility of cooling the suit with water). You can see the top on the picture above!

For the ironman next I will wear a 2 piece suit. It will be the pocket-power tights in white and, most likely, the ice-pocket top. Furthermore I will were the aero-top underneath my wetsuit for the swim and keep it on during the bikeride. It has a complete zipper that makes it very easy to get out of, and I will quickly take it off during T2. Since we are expecting quite cool temperatures on race morning, this will serve both to keep me warm and aero during the bikeride!

If you have questions about the Fusion kit I am using you are more than welcome to ask me by writing a comment below! If I can not answer the questions I will direct them to someone that can 🙂

Thanks to Kevin Koresky for the pictures. Kevin runs a great triathlon site called finishline-multisport! Check it out and follow him on twitter if you want to stay updated 🙂

Happy training!


ITU LD (Triathlon) World Championships #4th place

Yesterday was a very crazy day!

During the 2 weeks I had been in Las Vegas preparing for the world champs, I had experienced a general temperature drop. When I arrived here temperatures were in the low 30’s during the day and would get down to 15-17 degrees during night! But as the race approached temperatures dropped, and the last few days before the race it was more like 5 degrees at night and 14-18 degrees during the day.

Since the race started 6 minutes before sunrise we were all prepared for a very cold race as we drove down to T1 on race morning, but as soon as we got to transition we realized that the swim had been cancelled due to cold water and air temperature. The race would instead be a 120 km time trial and a 30 km run. Athletes would start 5 sec apart based on their start number (I had number 20, so I should start 95 sec back if everyone shoved up for the race).

Huge disadvantage for me. We already knew, that the course didn’t work to my benefit with all the hills on the bike and run course (considering that I am one of the biggest guys in the race), and now they also took away my strongest discipline in the race…

Coach and I discussed tactics before the race start. Either I should race really hard on the bike and see where that would get me, or I should just do it as a training ride being part of my  preparation for Ironman Arizona in 2 weeks. We went for the “Go Hard” option…

As number 20 I was starting in between the favourites. Jordan Rapp and reigning world champion Sylvain Sudrie was starting as number 11 and 12 respectively, and Michael Raelert and Joe Gambles was number 36 and 37. My tactic was clear, just trying to catch Sudrie and Rapp at the front as fast as possible and then see how things would develope.

I caught Jordan within the first 10 km and then we caught the front with Sudrie and Massimo Cigana (former pro cyclist) about another 10 km into the bikeride. I placed my self at the back of the group and tried to stay with them. At the first turn around, app. 31 km into the ride, we could see that we had a few minutes down to the group with Michael Raelert and Joe Gambles.

Around 50 km we started the 2nd leg of the bike course with a big and fast descent. By then, I had noticed I had the biggest gear on the downhills (55-11), so I surged to the front and pushed 120+ rpm on the downhill… That was enough to establish a 50 m lead when I hit the uphill on the other side. Then I pushed 450+ watts on the opposite uphill trying to maintain my momentum. From then on, I kept them at a distance of about 20-40 seconds until we reached the turnaround at 67 km. Coming back from the last turn around was a very long slight downhill… Now it wasn’t as much about power/weight ratio but more about power and aero dynamics! I tucked my head down between the shoulders and surged away from the others!

At 90 km the lead was 2 min (+ the time I started after the other guys), and eventhough I could see my power numbers decrease significantly on the last 30 km, I managed to put another 3 minutes to the next guys…

I started the run with a actual gap of 5 minutes to Rapp and Sudrie but the actual lead was almost 6 minutes. Coming off the bike my feets were cold, but I was actually feeling good. I had done lots of laps on the run course, so I knew what was waiting.
Coach and I had talked about starting the run @ 4 min/km uphill and 3.20/km going downhill, and after the first lap I had 3.43/km avg so I was pretty spot on…

That’s when I thought it was my day!

I had even gained just a little bit more time on the others on the first lap, and I couldn’t imagine I would loose about 6 minutes on 22 km… That was until I started running uphill for the 2nd time! My legs were gone, and where I was doing 3.55-4.00 uphill on first lap I was now doing 4.20 going up! Going back down, I could barely run sub 4 min/km, and my lead was shrinking drastically fast! I took my last caffeine tablet, hoping for it to give me the power I needed to start pushing hard on the run, but nothing happened.

Quads were heavy and each step was an inferno of pain… Going up the last 2 laps, the pace was more like 4.30-4.40/km and downhill just over 4 min/km.

I lost 1st place just after 20 km into the run, when both Rapp and Sudrie ran by me, and on the last uphill, about 27,5 km, Joe Gambles also came by me (but he also started about a minute after me). I was completely gone – out of the medals, but in lots of pain!

Getting 4th place in a world championships is not a bad performance for me. Without a swim in the race, I am at a huge disadvantage, and still I managed to go out and have a big impact on the race! I’m extremely disappointed, because I was in a position where I could win the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS and I didn’t manage to take advantage of that situation. This year, despite all my injuries, I was way better prepared than I was back in ’08 when I also had a 6 minutes lead coming of the bike.

Chances to win world championships doesn’t come every season, so when there is a chance you have to take it! I propably went to hard on the bike yesterday, but that was MY chance. I took it – but in the end three guys were faster/smarter than me! That’s racing – and I’ll be back racing in 2 weeks in Arizona…

Check out the gallery on the ITU homepage for lots of great photos from the race!  I’ll also try and upload some pictures to the gallery when I get them downloaded during the next couple of days…

ITU LD World Championships Las Vegas – Henderson, Nevada

All the training is done by now, and the bike is ready to being checked in at 3 PM today. From now on, it is just a matter of recovering, recharging and mental preparation before the race tomorrow.

The last 2 weeks of training went well, which means I’m free of any injuries and full of self-confidence before the big dance tomorrow.
It has been a long time since I have been in serious competition, so I hope I remember all the routines for tomorrow. But, history shows, that everytime I have had a long block of training I also tend to do  very well in races.

The race itself will be very hard. It’s a tough course with lots of hills on both the bike and run portion. Furthermore it seems like it will be a very cold morning, with temperatures around 5 degrees when we dive in to Lake Las Vegas (7 minutes BEFORE sunrise). Put all those things together with the toughest field in many years, and I think we are in for a hard day tomorrow!

My tactic is pretty clear: Since it is a very tough course, drafting will be very limited and the best thing will pretty much be to do my own race. So I’ll try and find my own rhytm on the bike, and hopefully that will take me to T2 as one of the first guys. Then it’s just a matter of running the fastest possible 30 km!

It seems as there will be updates from the race here.

I’m not quite sure how it will work – maybe it only works for Americans or people with a twitter account! If it doesn’t work, I’ll be back with updates from the race as soon as I get back to the hotel.

The race starts at 7.00 AM (15.00 in Denmark) and I expect about 5.45 – 6 hrs before the winner crosses the finishline!

You can also check out the diary on the Danish Federation page where Michael Krüger (National coach) blogs from the days leading up to the race.

US Training Camp: Vol. 3

My last few days of training in Tucson was great even though I also started to feel the many hours of training in my body.

Thursday I did a solid 3hr bikeride with 8×5 minutes of “Kraft Ausdauer” (low cadence, about 55, usually uphill on the big chain ring) building 1-4 from 340 – 370 watts. That went pretty smooth, and I followed it up with a great brick run building the first 5 km: 3.29 – 3.25 – 3.20 – 3.17 – 3.12…

Friday was the day of my attempt to reach the top of Mt. Lemmon, and eventhough it was just supposed to be an easy 5 hr ride, the 40km climb was done with 277 watts avg. but a comfortable avg. HR of 130. The last training session I did in Tucson was my late friday evening swim, a hard 4 km swim set. It was my best set in the pool while I have been in the states, so that was a great way to finish of before I moved on to Las Vegas.

Saturday was pretty much spent in the car

that took me the 600+ km drive from Tucson up to Las Vegas. I left early morning, so I didn’t have to drive during the hottest part of the day. Upon my arrival I went shopping for groceries and found the pool to just move my body a bit after the long journey.

Today was my first training day, and I certainly didn’t waste my time here. Since we pretty much live on the run course, I started the morning with an easy 17 km run including 2 loops on the course for the World Championships…  The run course is a 4 loop course consisting of a 3,75 km out-and-back course. One way is uphill all the way and the opposite way is downhill all the way! I predict sore legs after the race!!

After breakfast I prepared my bike for a long test of the bikecourse. Or at least some of the course, as the last 20-25 km is pretty hard to find (but I’ll do another test tomorrow).
I started out pretty easy riding app. 20 km to T1, where I started the bike course. I did the first 2 hrs solid at 311 watts before I eased  off for the rest of the ride. There has been a lot of talking about the difficulty of this course, and even though the last 30 km are the steepest, the first part of the course isn’t easy either. My 311 watts gave me an avg. speed of 38.6 kmph which off course will be faster with the aero-benefits of race day – but still I doubt that anyone will break 40 kmph avg speed for this race 🙂

Now there is only 6 days until the rest of the team – and Mette – arrives here in Vegas, and I’m starting to look forward to some company!

Happy training!

US Training Camp: Vol. 2

I have done another block of training here in Tucson, and wanted to post this on my recovery day yesterday… But somehow time flew by, and I’m now posting in the beginning of my 3rd 3-day block of training here.

Last block went really well, I did some nice and long bike rides together with some very solid brick runs. It has really heated up here in Tucson, so when I come back from riding temperature is often around 35 degrees… It is also a very dry heat, so if you don’t bring liquid along for the training you are only going to be able to train 10 minutes before your throat is completely dry.
Thursday I did my longest ride here in Tucson so far, app. 170 km with several intensity blocks during the ride. I went out in the middle of the dessert and rode along cactuses, dust and huge rocks. It was extremely hot, so I ended up consuming 7 ltrs of liquid during that ride – thank god they had gas stations in the desert 😉

Today I did my longest run this year, 23 km @ 4 minute pace… The run was an easy build up, so I finished the run significantly under 4 min/km in the end. I ran quite early in the morning, about 7.15, yet I still met hundreds of runners out on the trails.
I ran along the Rillito river, which is a long and currently very dry river that runs through the northern part of the city. You have the option of running both on trails or on the very nice bike lane that goes along the river.

Running in the morning, the temperatures were perfect around 23 degrees and the beautiful landscape just made it a very inspiring run…

After my run I had a nice breakfast before I went to the pool for the last time this week! Tomorrow is a long day, eventhough I only have one session on the programme: 6hrs solid bikeride… Note to self: Bring lots of liquid!

Cheers!

US training camp: Vol. 1

Last week I made the move from Denmark to the US where I’m going to spend the rest of my season. My first training base is in Tucson, Arizona where I’m preparing for the upcoming ITU LD Worlds and Ironman Arizona.

Tucson has been known as a training Mecca due to the year round great climate and nice terrain for riding the bike, so I decided to go and check it out. I’m going to be here for about 2 1/2 weeks before I head up to Las Vegas where the world championships are being held on November 5th.

I came in to Tucson late Thursday evening and was ready for training friday morning. The first day was easy with only a short bike ride and a run, but since then I have had two pretty solid training days. Today is a recovery day, and I’m going to see if I can find an open pool (apparently it is Columbus day, so many things are closed for the day).

In Tucson I live less than 20 km away from Mt Lemmon, which according to Wikipedia is a 2791 m high summit. It is the 2nd longest paved climb in the US with 40 km from the bottom to the top, and it takes about 2 hours to climb to the top of the mountain. It is used by many cyclists in the area for training, so you are never alone when climbing Mt Lemmon.
I haven’t been to the top yet, but climbed halfway the other day – I’m pretty sure I’m going to climb all the way up in the coming week though!

This picture shows my Blue Triad SL enjoying the view halfway up Mt Lemmon.

The weather since I came here has actually been a little disappointing, as it has only been between 20 and 25 degrees, but in a few days it should be back up at 30-35 degrees… Luckily I have brought lots of sunscreen as it will be needed for the many long bikerides I will be doing.

Cheers

Martin

Training is going well – what to blog about?

It is time to get this blog going again. So please, leave a comment if you have any requests as to what I should write a blog about? To give you an update on the training situation, everything is going as planned. We are slowly building the run back up to form, where as cycling and swimming are looking pretty good.

It gets harder to do long quality sessions on the bike as the weather in Denmark gets worse from now on, but in less than 4 weeks time I’ll be leaving to the States to do a big block of training before the last two races in the season: ITU LD Worlds and IM Arizona. We are a big group of athletes going to Las Vegas for ITU Worlds, so that should be a lot of fun… Wonder if there will be any prize money left when we go home?

Happy training!

First victory in 2011

Since my decision not to start in Challenge Copenhagen I have had some very easy weeks. I’m going to participate in Ironman Arizona on November 20th, so it was a good time for a little break in the middle of a very long season.

By the end of my 4 week break I was supposed to give a speech at Silkeborg Triathlon, during their Pasta Party the night before the race. At the same time, I had been running without any pain for the last 3 weeks, so I also decided to give their 1/4 Ironman a go – with a very clear decision about not running fast at all!

So – if I should have a chance of winning this race, I had to make the difference during the swim and bike portion of the race. But with the very little training I had been doing in the previous 4 weeks I wasn’t too confident that I would be able to do just that.

Well – long story short: my biggest competition to the victory, a young Danish talent named Thomas Strange, unfortunately crashed within the first 2 km of the bikecourse (and was unable to finish the race), and from then on it was just a cruise for the win. Had about 7 minutes lead of the bike and jogged the victory home on the 10,5 km finishing run.

Silkeborg Triathlon is a beautiful event, and I can definitely recommend everybody who likes a good challenge to enter the event in 2012! Their slogan is: “The prettiest triathlon in Denmark!”

Now I’m slowly back in training, and will do a 5 week block in Denmark before I head over to the states to prepare for World Champs in Vegas on November 5th and Ironman Arizona on November 20th…

Happy training

Afbud til Challenge Copenhagen

See below for English.

Det er med enorm ærgrelse at jeg er nødt til at melde afbud til Challenge Copenhagen d. 14. August på grund af en skade i min lægmuskel.
Skaden er opstået i den sidste træningsperiode op mod Challenge Copenhagen, og betyder desværre at jeg ikke er i stand til at løbe i øjeblikket, og slet ikke et maraton på 42,2 km.

Afbuddet er en kæmpe skuffelse for mig, da Challenge Copenhagen var udset til at være sæsonens store mål ovenpå sidste års DNF i Challenge Copenhagen, og træningen frem mod stævnet har virkelig været lovende i forhold til et godt resultat.

Forhåbentligt er jeg i stand til at påbegynde løbetræning igen inden for de kommende uger, hvorfor resten af sæsonen ikke bør blive videre påvirket af denne skade.

Med sportslig hilsen,
Martin

Withdraw from Challenge Copenhagen

It is with extreme sadness that I am forced to pull out of Challenge Copenhagen on August 14th due to an injury in my calf muscle.
The injury has happened in the last training towards Challenge Copenhagen and means that I unfortunately am unable to run at the moment – and nowhere near able to run a marathon of 42.2 km.

The cancellation is a big disappointment to me, as Challenge Copenhagen was supposed to be the biggest race of 2011 after last years DNF in Challenge Copenhagen, and training leading up to the race was very promising in regards to delivering a top result.

Hopefully I will be back in training within the next few weeks, and the rest of the season should not be at risk because of this injury.

Best regards,
Martin

I’ve been out riding my bike…

Challenge Aarhus is 2 weeks behind us, and Challenge Copenhagen is approaching on the horisont. These two biggest Danish triathlon races will be the topic in this blog entry. First things first…

Challenge Aarhus didn’t quite go as I hopes for, as I simply didn’t have a very good day. My swim was decent with the front pack, and the bike was not the best or the worst half ironman bikeride I have done this year, and neither was my run. Put 3 average performances together and you don’t get victories… After the swim, Rasmus Henning was already out of the competition with crampings like he had in Abu Dhabi, and I got on to the bike in 5th position. During the first 20 km of the bike course I lost a few places before my legs started to fire on all cylinders and I moved up into 2nd position after a fast riding Björn Andersson. I reached T2 in 2nd place together with Emil Dalgaard, about 2 minutes after Björn and 1,5-2 minutes ahead of 4th place, Rasmus Petræus.

I got caught from behind around 10 or 12 km by Petræus, and we ran together until 14 km, where weo caught and overtook Björn for the lead of the race. Suddenly, at 16-17 km my legs just didn’t function anymore, and I had to let Petræus run away for the win, but still managed to secure 2nd place pretty comfortably.

That wasn’t the result I was hoping for, but considering how injured I was in February and March, I can’t really complain after finishing on the podium in 4 half-challenge or 70.3 races during the spring. A lot of consistency, but I would just like to get that win…

Right after Challenge Aarhus I went into Ironman mode, and as the headline indicates, that involves a lot of biking to get the totalt training volume up. The first week after Challenge Aarhus was solid with 561 km and this week has been one of my longest ever with 734 km. Both weeks has been record-breaking, as I did my longest bikeride ever with 235 km last week and broke that record yesterday with 257 km over 7hrs 50 minutes on the bike…

Garmin Connect file…

Those over-distance rides are really good for working with the mental part of triathlon, as a 257 km ride makes a 180 km ride seem kind of short (LOL). Secondly it takes a lot of mental effort to do intervals way above ironman pace when you have done 200 km warm-up…

Next week will be even longer in total distance on the bike, eventhough I propably won’t try to brake my one-day record! I’ll save that 300+ km ride until next year 🙂