triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “run speed

Racing Instead of Training

12 days and counting.


Swim – 2:30:00 (p) – 2:10:00 (a) – 5950m
Bike – 5:45:00 (p) – 4:24:23 (a) – 120.08km
Run – 3:00:00 (p) – 2:45:01 (a) – 33.11km
Race – 1:10:00 (p) – 1:13:34 (a) – 25.75km

Total – 11:15 (p) – 10:32:58 (a)

This week was my highest training volume, probably not the best week to schedule a sprint distance triathlon, but hey, who doesn’t like to race?

I really suck at changing my training schedule to fit in a unscheduled event. I get stuck on “things have to go where they have to go” so this week threw a wrench into my plans. No worries though, I was able to get in the bulk of my training sessions, the prescribed intervals, and still have a great race.

Again, don’t fret, the race report is on the way.

Taking down a 1:15 Negative Split and both 1:20 and 1:30 with Fartlek Intervals (5x3min) after my Friday morning swims has given me a lot of confidence. This is one place in my training that I lack, confidence on the run. Am I ready for a Ironman 70.3? Sure. Am I ready to push hard at an Ironman 70.3? Not even close.

I can hang with the power bikers; you know the guys, all quads and calves. Put my next to a runner and I don’t stand a chance. Well I think some of that is changing as I came away with the second fastest run on the day yesterday.

Ah progress.

Top Posts
Wind, Flats, and Hills
Ironman Tattoo
Finally, the Weekend is Upon Us

With less than 2 weeks now until Escape From Alcatraz, my first race is under my belt, I am feeling pretty relaxed.

The only concern I have is water temperature. I like to get in the water, warm up (literally and figuratively), the get prepared to do battle. In Alcatraz, no such thing as a warm up. It is just off the boat and swim like you stole something.

So this week I am going to grab my wetsuit, head down to the river, and go for a swim. The water temperature may be colder than the bay but I reckon it can’t hurt.

Think of it as a swimming treadmill.

Question: Have you tried swimming in a river? Any thoughts.


Recap – Week 41

Theme of the week? Recovery.


Swim – 2:00:00 – 5050m
Bike – 0:45:00 – 25.26km
Run – 0:33:13 – 6.87km

Total – 3:18:33

Not the good kind of recovery, like after a great training block or a race where you gave it your all, but the phlegm producing, I’m almost better kind of recovery. I haven’t been this sick for a long time. Typically I can kick a cold or flu to the curb in about 3 days and be none worse for the wear, but this one stuck around for a while.

I was able to get on the trainer Friday night for the first time this fall. Exciting right? Well, actually it wasn’t all that bad. One thing I found in addition to the five points for pro trainer in my post, To Ride or Not to Ride, is that the trainer will show you very quickly any problems with your mechanics. You can hear instantly when you have a choppy pedal turnover and make adjustments on the fly to correct the problem. I also like the power readings; I don’t ride with a power meter for a couple reasons, cost being the first and foremost.

I also got out Sunday night for a run at about 2030; I forgot how great it is to run under the stars. It was a great run and I returned home a little quicker than anticipated. I thought about heading out for a another loop, but having a whopping total of 0km the previous week, I figured a good 30 minutes a great start to getting back into things.

Top Posts
Ironman Tattoo
Am I Becoming a Roadie?
About Me


Ironman World Championship went this weekend, and from what I saw and read, it was a great race. I know a couple of age groupers who qualified at Ironman Wisconsin about a month back, and I am secretly a little jealous. It would be an experience and a half to line up at Kona with arguably the best triathletes on arguably the toughest course in the world.

Case in point: Mirinda Carfrae dominates the run and finishes with a course record. Not only that, I only count two faster run splits all day from the entire field. Being around this excellence has to rub off doesn’t it?

I could use a little of that run speed.

Question: Did you tune in race day? What are your thoughts?

How Far I Have Come

My name is Steve, and I suck at running.


Less than 3 years ago, I finished a 5k run. I spent the next 6 weeks in rehab. I had decided a week prior that I wanted to compete in a triathlon later that year. Not sure what really got me on the triathlon kick (pun intended) but I needed to figure out a couple of things.

Can I swim? Check.

Can I bike? Did it as a kid, check.

Can I run? Nope.

Like always, I went head first. I ended up with a muscle imbalance in my quad. It was pulling on my knee cap, causing crazy pain every time I bent my leg. Frustrating to no end. My physio, who is a life saver by the way, recommended that I take a look at my foot strike, and implement a run-walk training plan for up to 8 weeks. More on my progression from a heel striker to a mid-foot striker in a future post.

I took his advice, mixing in swimming, biking, and yoga. It took a while to get to a point where I could run a full 5k without stopping for a walk interval; at some points I felt like progression was moving backwards. I trusted him, and was able to start a high intensity training plan 8 weeks ahead of my first sprint distance. Finished 2nd in my age group.

Fast forward to last year, 2012. I am now hooked on this triathlon thing and laying down some pretty decent performances. I finished top 10 in my age group at my last race last year and completed my first Ironman 70.3. Not bad for breaking my collar bone in a bike crash May 26.

I spent the winter season working on my base fitness with the specific goal of increasing my run speed. Check out this post, or this one, for a detailed description of what I was doing. It was hard work at times, especially in mid winter running on Saturday evenings outside. The dark combined with the cold made for some miserable runs. I continued on in spite of the conditions and now I am running faster than I had planned.

Here is how some of the results stack up.

Sprint Distance (5k Run)
Lake Chaparral – 8/2011 – 27:36 (5:32/km)
Airdrie – 5/2013 – 21:52 (4:23/km)

Olympic Distance (10k Run)
Lake Chaparral – 8/2012 – 48:59 (4:54/km)
Chinook Triathlon Festival – 6/2013 – 45:10 (4:31/km)

Now that is what I am talking about.

I am really happy with my progress. I am dangerously close to achieving my goal for this year of breaking 2:15:00 at the Lake Chaparral Olympic Distance; based on last years results, this puts me on the podium for my age group. If I can sneak a couple of extra minutes, I would be on the podium for the overall results. Before you say “that was last year dude”, I know that everyone ahead of me was training over the winter with the same goal I had, getting faster. I just have to believe that my training is far superior.

We will find out in a couple of months.

Question: How have you progressed from season to season? What have you done to get there?

Run Intervals

HIIT, my favorite buzzword of the week.


Call it what you want, ‘Intervals’, ‘Fartlek’, or good old ‘Pain’, high intensity training is a great way to increase speed and aerobic capacity. I have explored this idea in a past post, High Intensity Training.

I like intervals. Really. You may think I am crazy for saying it, but I like intervals. Notice I didn’t say love……

My least favorite, and the ones I have been hammering all spring, are run intervals. I am not the best runner, but I am getting better. In my last race, I finished the 5k run in 21:52 (4:23/km). This is my fastest run split to date. At least all the effort is paying off; combining the base fitness I worked on over the winter and speed work in the spring, I am feeling as fast as I ever had on the run.

If you have read my past posts, I am a huge fan of ‘Time Crunched Triathlete’. Not only does that fact you can train for and race a triathlon, up to a Half Ironman, in around 8 hours per week speak to me, the shorter, higher intensity workouts are great. My body reacts well to this type of training.

Using the intensity levels defined by Chris Carmichael, my run intervals look like this.

Workout Name Primary Goal Percentage of CTS Field Test Pace Your CTS Running Pace Ranges Percentage of CTS Field Test Heart Rate Your CTS Running Heart Rate Ranges
EnduranceRun Basic aerobic development 97 0 4:31 0 97 0 168
SteadyStateRun Improved aerobic development 98 92 4:22 4:40 92 98 159 170
TempoRun Increased pace at lactae threshold 102 98 4:12 4:22 98 102 170 176
Fartlek Intervals Increased speed at V02 Max 108 102 3:58 4:12 102 108 176 187

Of course, to be able to complete this chart, you need to perform a “CTS Field Test’. I won’t bore you in this post, as I explored it here. It sucks, just in case you were wondering.

Here is what my ‘Steady State (SS)’ intervals looked like back in April. My workout called for a 45 Min SSR (4×4 Minutes (4RBI)). Broken down, it reads like this; 45 minute run, with 4 minutes in the SSR range (4:22-4:40/km), 4 minutes rest in between, repeat a total of 4 times. I did take a longer rest between the 3rd and 4th intervals, but it wasn’t by design. It can tough to keep perfect time and pace when running outside, especially when your mind wanders like mine does. One of the only benefits of running on a treadmill.


A fringe benefit of intervals? They make any workout go by faster.

Question: Do you include intervals in your training on a regular basis? What type of results have you seen?

Try This Triathlon Airdrie – Race Report

This was my first race in Airdrie. Actually, it was everyone’s first race in Airdrie.


I have a special place for this race as it was my first triathlon back in 2011, and the one that eventually got he hooked. After the Olympic event was cancelled due to lack of registration (11 including me), traffic pattern concerns, and issues with the facility, I was ready to hammer the sprint distance instead. Earlier in the week the forecast called for 25-35mm of rain on race day. Awesome, better check my tires. Race morning was wet, and 5 minutes after arriving in transition, the rain stopped.

The swim was in a pool, 6 lanes, 4 people per lane. I had to wait for about 2 hours for the slower swim heats to finish before I hopped in the pool. I had a decent swim, even though the lap counter figured I swam an extra 50m. By my count, I was bang on. No problems, I was on my way to transition before I gave it another thought.

On the bike. After weaving through the park with no passing (which was killing me by the way), I settled in for a good bike. It was windy, with a crosswind gusting to 50-60km/hr. Some of the racers looked like the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ trying to stay upright, I handled the wind pretty easy. Hey, I am born and train in Calgary, I am no stranger to a bit of wind. Once we turned south is when the fun started, freshly paved road with wind at our backs. The speed limit said 80km/hr and I am sure that some of us could have picked up a speeding ticket.

On to the run. My winter training was dedicated to increasing my run speed, and it didn’t disappoint. I was passed by one racer, and once he passed me, I was intent on keeping pace with him for the rest of the race. Ended up with the 5th fastest run of the day, 4:23/km.

Result: 1:14:27 4/20 Age Group 5/99 Overall

Highlights: Everything worked as planned. Transitions were fast and organized, and I pushed a good pace on the run.

Lessons: Need to add some more pacing drills in the pool; 1:43/100m is slower than I anticipated and how I felt in the water. Need to spend more time on the bike. With the wind it was tough to judge how I did, but I know I am capable of more.

All in all, it was a good race. The course was a little weird, but with what they had to work with, I reckon they did a good job.

I am ready to go for my first ‘A’ race in June.

Crossfit and Triathlon

Lift heavy s@!t.


As I discussed in my most recent post, strength training, I added Crossfit exercises into my training schedule over the winter season with great success. I took a lot of time researching, talking with other athletes, and experimenting which exercises in order to find the best combination for a triathlete.

It wasn’t easy to find, so I decided to share what I have been doing over the past five months. Not that I am an expert. I think that after reading my blog, that is obvious.

Aerobic Session – 4 rounds (3 minutes rest)
10 x Pull-Ups
20 x Box Jumps
20 x Push-Ups
20 x Inverted Row
20 x (10 left x 10 right) Walking Lunges

Strength Session
3 x (5 left x 5 right) – Turkish Get Up
3 x (5 left x 5 right) – Chop & Lift
3 x (6 left x 6 right) – Single Leg DeadLift
3 x 10 Squat

Seems simple right? It really isn’t.

In attempt to keep this post short, I haven’t included deceptions of the individual moves, saving time for both you and me (awesome) but also giving me inspiration for a variety of additional posts with pictures, descriptions, and links to instructional videos. So stay tuned in the coming weeks.

One last thought and opinion: Schedule your strength sessions, especially the heavy lift, as your second workout of the day. I scheduled a run after a heavy session; you can guess how it went.

Question: Have you integrated Crossfit and Triathlon? What is your experience?

Strength Training

Can it make you faster?


Over the past 2 years my main goal in training has been to increase my run speed. Looking at my race results, my swim and bike were always around the top of my age group. My run unfortunately was not. Being strong on the bike allowed me to get far enough ahead of the racers behind me that they couldn’t catch me on the run. My slow run speed meant, however, that I wasn’t able to catch the racer ahead of me either.

Fast forward to this winter season, I had a very in-depth discussion with the tri-club swim coach about adding strength training as a compliment to my swim training. As he put it, the average swimmer (that’s me) pulls against 4kg of resistance in the water. Over the course of a season, this means that you will lose muscle mass if you do not lift weights in addition to logging lengths. Then why do my arms hurt so much after a good swim session?

So I took his advice and scheduled 2 strength sessions into my already busy training schedule. I always hesitated to lift weights before. I want to lean out, not bulk up right? Wind resistance people.

One of the great things about life is that sometimes, only sometimes, does the right answer fall into your lap. Having adopted a Paleo lifestyle over the past year, I have always come across Crossfit. Never heard of it? Really? I did some research trying to find the best routine for a triathlete. Finding nothing to go on, I decided to build my own routine using the basic movements for all three sports.

Here is the thing, it worked. It really worked.

I noticed a huge change just after Christmas. I headed out on a run one Saturday evening, taking a route I am all too familiar with; dark, cold, and icy, but best to stay where I know. More on that in a future post. I honestly felt like I had rocket ships under my feet. Over a 7.6km run, I averaged 4:36/km with 245m of elevation change. I averaged just over 5:00/km in the last 3 runs over the same route. Not a bad improvement. So I kept lifting, changing up my routine every couple of weeks as my strength and stamina increased. I will dedicate my next post to the specific workouts and routine I used.

I am not going to pretend it was easy. More than once I walked down my stairs at home backwards, groaned everytime I sat at the kitchen table like an old man, and had a hard time working with a keyboard at the office.

Now, I swim 400m repeats at sub 1:30/100m; that used to be my 100m sprint split time.

I believe that there is no replacement for intervals, escpecailly on the bike and run; if you want to run sub 4:30/km, then you have to train at sub 4:30/km. But I am convinced that strength training can (and will) make you faster.

Oh, and my wife is diggin’ the biceps….

Question: Did you lift over the winter? What was your experience?