In just four weeks, I will be heading over to Mexico and Ironman Los Cabos for the last race of the year and I must say that I am looking forward to it as 2017 has been a long season. When I signed up for the race and started to train I took two things into special consideration; that I have a pretty solid volume year but that I didn’t really feel great and strong at either of the two Ironman distance races that I have done so far in 2017. I decided to do some significant changes in the last 3 months of training leading up to the final race of 2017. This blog is about those changes.
In my training leading up to Ironman Lanzarote in May, I had problems with my left hip and was not able to do enough running to run even a half decent marathon – it was a walking disaster.
At Challenge Roth, things were a bit better and I had been able to get the running back a little but felt generally “flat” and could not really push myself, my heartrate would not go up and it became more of a training day than the balance on the edge of my own capacity that I like to have in races.
Even if many of my supportive friends are pointing out that my performance and results in those races are almost back to where it was 20 years ago, I am not satisfied.
It’s not about place in age group /podium/results as I have no desire to get into the “general competition” – where so many people have completely lost their minds and are taking performance enhancing drugs, using anesthesia and painkillers – basically anything to get faster than the other guy at any cost. Not sure how winning your age-group can be so important that you are willing to risk your health (as well as cheat).
For me it’s about finding my way back to the FEELING and FLOW that I remember having in some races in the nineties, to once again get the feeling that I am fast and strong and having to hold back in the race rather than trying to force myself. When I find my way back to that I know that I will really enjoy racing and beating my old times will happen by itself.
I have adjusted my training and created a blend of “old school” and new “high intensity low volume”. Basically, a very repetitive weekly program with smaller increments in volume and intensity during the base phase and adding quality once the body is used to larger volume. I have also tried to be more diligent about polarization in my training and put emphasis on really going easy on the recovery days, stay under aerobics threshold during endurance training to ensure that I really can get to the higher loads and sustain when I work VO2 Max and anaerobic capacity.
Like most people, I have been doing a pretty standard strength and core program 2-3 times per week. But after Lanzarote I decided to start going to a new physiotherapist that works with a lot of professional track & field athletes in Sweden. Johan Lind at Friskvårdskollen treated the hip injury and got me through the first part of the race season but after Challenge Roth he said, “it’s time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, see why you get the injuries and aches and address the cause rather than treat the effect”.
We spent a session in their gym and discovered that even if I am quite in good shape for an old man and train +15hr/week – my core muscles and stabilizers are not even at the level of an average jogger. I got instructions and exercises of which I could initially barely do 6-8 repetitions of. Now, after 4-6 weeks with them I have started to add weights and I am able to do 2 sets with 30 repetitions.
At Friskvårdskollen – getting excercisens that address my weak areas!
I feel much better running and can maintain a good run form even after a hard ride. Can’t wait to see the impact this training have had come race day. I’m not sure I will run faster from strengthening the hip area and core – but running now is less taxing, much more efficient and I recover much faster and hurt less the day after.
Time to get on the bike again. I wish you all a great autumn and enjoy your break from hard training if you have one – if not – perhaps you should if you want your body to last a long time!