Thursday, 23 June 2011

Thoughts on coaching!...

Having written that little update about Madrid, I thought I’d just get down some thoughts on the subject of coaching... two blogs in such close succession!!!

Whilst I’m not officially coached at the moment, (which has mainly been a circumstantial decision in that due to work demands, I’ve not really been able to structure my training and plan ahead scientifically, I’ve had to be fairly reactive) I’m lucky enough to be regularly seeing and often training with David Tilbury-Davis who is my previous coach ( and who is always invaluable for support and passing on sound advice! (hence the comment about taking a good few days for recovery after racing in Denmark – which as David knows, taking time off is often hard for me!) Having said that and importantly because my training has had to be reactive, I have become better at listening to my body and knowing whats right for me and when to do what and so far so good.

But, to move forward from here, I still hugely value the approach that David and his business partner Dr Phil Skiba have and the method by which their coaching philosophy is put into practice (physfarm training systems, established and developed in partnership) and therefore hope to be in a postition to continue working closely with David and getting the best from their approach.

For now, back to my thoughts on coaching in general... I believe the coach / athlete relationship is so hugely important but in so many cases, and with the way coaching is generally carried out – online with a monthly schedule planned in advance, communication between the athlete and coach in between time, is no where near good enough, particularly for higher end performance gains. As I have learnt myself, the only person who knows exactly what is going on in my life, how busy work/family life is, how good my nutrition, recovery and sleep is and how I feel whilst training etc. all the factors that impact on me as an athlete moving forward, is ME! So unless communication with my coach is 100% and continual, I could be at risk of not getting the best out of myself and potentially asking too much of myself at times. My reasoning for working with David though stems from the philosophy of physfarm training systems and the ability to predict performance based on cumulative training and the response to training. The added bonus for me is the regular face to face contact and friend relationship, for David to be able to ‘eyeball’ me to see first hand, whilst having an objective opinion, as to how I’m adapting to my training load. Another example of a coaching scenario where the coach can ‘eyeball’ the athletes is with the topend athletes in team TBB, working with Brett Sutton. I always wondered what the magic tool is that works for team TBB athletes, and maybe its hugely down to this and the coach/athlete relationship...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Podium in Madrid! :-)

So now is time to update after racing a half IM distance race in Madrid a couple of days ago. Again another race backed up just 2 weeks after my last half but again I am happy with the way it all went, another ‘solid’ performance overal and, with a faster run again, giving me the fastest female run split and 8th overal with the men too I think!! :-) And... finally I can say I was on the podium!!! :-) To be up there, I did leave all of the work for the run as usual though and unfortunately a little too much to make 2nd place, another feeling of ‘what if the run had just been that bit longer!’ Or maybe more importantly ‘what can I do to help improve my swim and bike to be that much stronger so the gap is not so big!’ But thats surely what most athletes are asking themselves continuously – how can I improve...? but on the other hand I am confident with where I am at for now considering my last few months and really the last few years that has all had an impact in my current ability and importantly that I am settled at the moment to be not holding myself back! Also on reflection, my swim and bike, though they are not proving to be too special right now, atleast I must be efficient enough to be able to run well!

On reflection on the race itself, a great race to do and awesome experience racing on the ITU course, which by the 8th lap on the bike and 4th on the run - I knew pretty well!

So, some well needed recovery initially, some key sessions for the rest of this week and early next (with a focus on recovery too!) and then I’m off to race in Denmark – Challenge Aarhus half distance. Following that I think I’d best plan (or atleast listen to some very sound and trusted advice) to take a good few days to recover properly and let all of the racing fitness sink in before I focus on my first full IM for this year, Challenge Vichy...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Challenge Kraichgau half...

Well, in my last blog I said I hoped it wasn’t a bad idea to decide to do two half IM distance races on consecutive weekends and all in all I’m happy I did! On the Saturday though I did have serious doubts as I was feeling like I was fighting something off and the last thing I wanted to do was to race and make myself really ill, that has happened before and I was out for a good month afterwards! I decided to be sensible on the day though and if I felt crap from the start I’d just have to call it a day. Thankfully though my body felt good and I was able to put together an all round solid race, finishing off with a stronger run compared to Barcelona last weekend so I’m happy that all the signs are pointing in the right direction for me! As I said in my last blog, I’m not expecting any surprises at this stage, I’m realistic about where I’m at, with work, general life and training factors all being considered but with some more settled times ahead (I hope) I’m happy I have this base to work from.

As far as the race itself... definately one I’d love to go back and do! A very well organised event, the type of swim, bike and run course I really enjoy and with great support for the best part of all of it and a lovely setting to be in pre and post race! Thank you Challenge Kraichgau team and a special thank you to my homestay family – you made my stay all the more enjoyable!

Next on the calender is a race in Madrid and then hopefully Challenge Aarhus (finances permitting!!!...)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

and just a couple of photos from Marbella half in April...

A nice pre race shot!...

And a happy smiley run shot!...

Challenge Barcelona-Maresme half IM

Officially into my season now (since Marbella half IM in April was a last minute thing!) and I’m happy with a pretty solid performance in Barcelona just last weekend. I finished 9th overal but felt more competitive with the rest of the Elite field, especially compared to my last season or two of racing. I feel stronger on the bike in particular and am able to run well off it (I guess these monutains here in the South of Spain will only make you stronger or otherwise would send you into a hole! I’m being careful not to start heading into a hole!!!) I actually kind of wished that the run had been just 1 or 2km longer as I was making good progress on 7th and 8th place! Maybe I’ll just have to hold that thought for my first full IM of the year. Also it was an extra kick up the backside for having gone off course in the swim – reasonable amount of lost time there I think! I wasn’t helped by the fact that the pack was just 12 of us to begin with and as I found myself back from the first few girls and on my own quite early on added to it being a sea swim with currents, even the smallest of waves and the early morning sun, it was difficult to site the right buoys! As I said though I was pretty happy that my bike felt strong and solid throughout and I followed it up with a solid run, not too special but solid, so I feel a good place to start for the year ahead. Especially so as the last few months have been crazily busy work wise and though I have gained some solid mileage particularly on the bike, I really haven’t put together too much structured training. The next few months however, I should be able to focus my training much more (fingers crossed!) and hopefully it will show...

For now though and since I got home from Barcelona on Monday, this week has all been about recovery, as I will be racing again this weekend coming at Challenge Kraichgau half IM. Though I have previously raced a fair amount within a season I don’t think I’ve raced two half IM’s on consecutive weekends before. So we’ll see, hopefully it wasn’t a bad decision!!! And thats where I sign off for now as I have to go and pack my bike... (fingers crossed for no more delayed flights – last WE I finally arrived at my hotel at 4am on the Saturday due to a 6hr flight delay! Probably didn’t help for the best race ever on the Sunday!!!)
Adios para ahora...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Fast forward to April!...

Some trusted guidance and determination with sound conditioning work, some regular solid winter rides pushing me out of my comfort zone (a lot!) with my teammates at Performance Cycles, some more recent challenging long miles in the saddle back in the Spanish mountains again often being pushed out of my comfort zone by team riders of the ‘Annapolis Bike Racing Team’ and some athletes from Halifax, Canada (two of the groups that have stayed and trained at Idlebreaks and I managed to kick off my season with a great start in a race I found out about just a week before!

That was this weekend just gone, 3rd April at the ICAN Marbella Half Ironman, a great race which was one of a series of three, the next two, a half and full distance race taking place in Mallorca in mid September. I had what felt to be a strong, solid race for me, holding together pacing really well and finishing off with the fastest female run split of the day (especially happy with that as I really haven’t had the opportunity to run off the bike in training since last year! Not the prep I would have planned for!) That was a great confidence boost though and a good test of my nutrition strategy in particular. I’d trained well with my Infinit customised formulas but in the end last year I didn’t really have a good opportunity to test them in races due to my physical state. So, with no stomach issues and with my ‘strong’ feeling and finish with a great run, I’m pretty happy with my nutrition plan! Also I finally feel confident with my kit, thanks to support from Blue Seventy for my new Helix wetsuit along with my own purchases including my Felt AR4.

Overall I finished a respectable 4th place, just 12mins behind the winner and 6mins behind 2nd and 3rd. A great race to show up and do as well as I did, especially so with the fact that I’d entered with the view to ‘turning up and seeing what I could do/where I’m at for this time of year’ added to the last five very busy weeks of work with little time to myself for recovery.

The next few weeks may well be much the same with training being dictated by the training camps out here, a little more than structured by my choice, but so far I have seemed to manage well and I couldn’t be happier for being paid to ride my bike in the beautiful southern Spanish countryside! So races wise for now I’ll likely do some local ones as and when before I hit the main season of races I’d like to focus on (which I’m planning right now and will update about as soon as they are confirmed!)

If I get any photos from the race and or the last few weeks in Spain, I’ll add them too...

So that’s where I’m up to for now!
Adios por ahora! :-)

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

INFINIT Nutrition news...

INFINIT Announces Nutrition Deal with Slipstream Sports
Custom Fuel Technology Meets Road Cycling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2010 – Cincinnati, Ohio – INFINIT Nutrition today announced that it will partner with Slipstream Sports and the 2011 Garmin-Cervelo team to create a line of custom-blended nutrition drinks made exclusively to team specifications and to match the nutritional demands of professional racing and the team’s upcoming 2011 grand tour schedule. Slipstream Sports is committed to ethical innovation and along those lines, its sport science group has already begun working directly with the boutique manufacturer – widely known and respected in the triathlon industry – to develop premium customized nutrition designed specifically for real-world training and race conditions.

“It has already been an exciting collaboration for us,” said INFINIT Nutrition President and Founder, Michael Folan, “our core sport, triathlon, has long been a hot-bed for the type of innovation and invention that inevitably works its way into road cycling. We had always anticipated that custom nutrition, designed and produced specifically for the sport or individual athlete, would make the same leap. Since we've had the chance to work with Slipstream on an informal basis over the last couple of years and the riders already love the product, we are very excited that the relationship has evolved.” Folan continued: “The advantage, of course, is that with our custom Osmo-Fit technology the athlete can fuel for hours and hours on liquid nutrition.”

The partnership – through which INFINIT will become the Official Drink Manufacturer of 2011 Team Garmin-Cervelo – will include a combined effort to design, formulate, and manufacture products as well as ensure strict compliance with the team’s clean racing ethic.

“We are constantly seeking like-minded partners that share our commitment to innovation and ethics,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports, Inc. “When we looked at the quality of the product, the flexibility to adjust nutritional qualities, and the history of success INFINIT has seen in triathlon, endurance running, and mountain biking, we knew this would be a great fit. We have some of the best athletes in the world and we need to provide them with customized nutrition drink options. Our sport science group will work directly with INFINIT to develop the best possible product for our riders and to us, that is the beauty of this partnership.”

Background: INFINIT Nutrition Holdings, LLC – Founded in 2004, INFINIT Nutrition produces premium private-label and custom-blended sports nutrition and has active production facilities in Australia, Canada, Great Britian, Germany, and the United States. INFINIT's website ( and patent-pending Osmo-Fit Osmolality technology allow athletes to fully adjust calories per serving, electrolytes, flavor, and 5 other distinct nutritional properties to match nutritional and race-day environment requirements.

For further information and press inquiries about INFINIT, please visit or contact:

Laurie Walter
Press & Media Relations
+1 513 791-3500