Friday, 6 April 2018

The last 24 hours.

Sorry for the non-event post last night, it just got to the point where it was one last thing that I didn't quite have time for. Now I do have time though and what a fun filled 24 hours it has been. There has been coaching, there has been riding, there has been swimming, laughing, sweating, perhaps a bit of swearing, a bit of everything.

On a coaching front last night I had the pleasure of watching 28 athletes from the Stadium Triathlon Club go through a Mona Fartlek for the first time. What is a Mona Fartlek you ask? Well I am glad you did, let me explain.

The Mona Fartlek is a session that was designed by Marathon running legend Steve Monaghetti and his coach way back when. The main part of the session is 20 minutes long and the story goes that it was designed to prepare Steve for pace change attacks during a marathon. The session was based around doing a lap of Lake Wendouree in Ballarat which is where Steve grew up. It became a Tuesday night staple for him.

As you can probably guess given that it is called a Fartlek, the focus of the session is on pace changes. Basically during the 'on' parts you run a bit above threshold and on the 'off' parts you come down to around Tempo. Given that the 'off' is done around Tempo pace you are never truly 'off' so you end up running 20 minutes at a pretty high intensity. It is a classic Threshold session that we use at Front Runner Sports fairly regularly. It is also a session that is quite deceptive, because it is 20 minutes long people think it will be kind of easy, but when done at full gas it is a very solid run.

One nice thing about the Mona though is that, while we do it as a threshold session, it is actually quite adaptable. If you are new to running, or returning, or a bit out of form then you can reduce the intensity of the recovery phase to change the nature of the session. If you make the recovery a jog, or even a walk, then you still have a good threshold workout, but the over all intensity of the session drops significantly. The session can then be adapted as you get fitter and more experienced and as the season progresses. Handy.

So, 'tell us what this miracle session is already' I hear you ask. Okay, got a pen? You will need to write this down.

2 x
90 seconds on
90 seconds off

4 x
60 seconds on
60 seconds off

4 x
30 seconds on
30 seconds off

4 x
15 seconds on
15 seconds off

It is actually pretty simple, but every time I have told it to somebody they look at me like I am speaking a foreign language. To be fair, it is one of those sessions that does benefit from being programmed as a workout into your Garmin. Once you have it programmed you don't have to worry about constantly looking down to check your watch, particularly during the 15 second intervals. It does make it quite a bit easier to manage.

That is it. Combined with a good warm up and a cool down the session can be knocked over in under an hour. It does make for a very good quality 20 minute threshold session though.

Running the Stadium Tri Club folks through the Mona yesterday was quite a bit of fun. I got the usual strange looks when I explained it, but in the end most people got the hang of it I think. Based on comments at the end most seemed to enjoy the actual work bit of the session even though it was pretty tough. It always gives a great sense of achievement to get through a good quality session and I think that is what most of the squad felt last night. At least I hope they did. Fun times.

Besides coaching the track session last night I have also had a couple of really good sessions myself in the last 24 hours.

First up was a very short but sharp ride yesterday. On Wednesday I mentioned my intention of riding in King's Park, which is just what I did. I started the ride feeling pretty frustrated because I had been late to get going and I thought I wouldn't have time to get in a decent session. In the end I did only ride for about 50 minutes, but I spent nearly all of that time riding up and down hills in King's Park. Given the short duration of the session I decided to really focus on making the riding good quality, which I think I managed to do. While the ride was short it was very satisfying, I managed to hold a good power, a good average speed and also feel good for most of it. In fact I think it is the best I have felt on a bike for quite some time. It was a good reminder that a session doesn't have to be long to be good or effective.

Speaking of good, my last session for the last 24 hours was a threshold swim down with Swim Smooth this morning. Like most of my swims over the last month, this was another swim that went better than expected. For this morning I decided to challenge myself a little and swim with my old partners in crime in the fast lane. I wasn't able to swim near the pointy end of the lane, but I found that I was able to hold on to the back of the lane okay. Successfully getting through 3000m of work in the quick lane gave me a nice sense of achievement. My session was hardly setting the world on fire, but I was very happy with what I was able to hold, swimming mostly in the 1:20 to 1:25/100m range, with a few 100s below 1:20. I will claim that, given that I have swum 3 times in the last 4 weeks. The more I swim the more I find I am enjoying it again. Definitely something I think I will look to work into my weekly routine.

And there we go. Phew, a busy day. With the day mostly out of the way it is now time to look towards the weekend which isn't looking too much quieter. Tomorrow I will be back on the bike to coach a brick session for Front Runner Sports. These sessions are always loads of fun to coach because you get to spend time with some great folks, the efforts are great to watch and also because you aren't the one doing all the hard work. My time for hard work will come Sunday though with another race on the paddleboard. This is pretty much the last race until around August, so hopefully I can have an enjoyable morning out. In between all that we will of course continue re-arranging our house, which is a long way from being finished.

Should be a fun couple of days.

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