„Patrick, I need something that will scare the hell out of me. I haven’t trained for over a year.“ This message reached me a few days ago from Jose based in Dubai. And our conversation ended the same day with coordinating flight and travel dates. Jose will join me to race The Race in Ireland next March. Don’t worry, Jose will not hurt himself. He is much more experienced that I am as he fished already some of the hardest ultras. But he needs the kind of motivation to step out of his comfort zone.
Rockman is a swimrun. It’s a very popular sport in scandinavia. We call it here a nordic duathlon. Compared to a normal duathlon, cycling is replaced by swimming and there are much more transitions, up to 20 or even more. The running is normally on trails (or just out in nowhere) and the sum of the swimming sections reaches up to 20% of the total running. And – this is very important – all is done in a team of two. If one fails, the team is out. The gap between the team members normally shouldn’t get bigger than 10m in the water and 20m on the trails. Most of the teams are using a flexible leash to control this distance but also to egalise the difference in speed between the team mates in the water and uphill on the trails.
My daughter is still my source of motivation. We are both in search of progress and fighting our mind and body back to routine and to where we want to be in a few weeks. After the early morning core training today at Training & Diagnostics she asked me to drive her up to school 🙂 She was empty and the coach happy. Both were smiling. She’s a machine. Let’s hope she can walk soon again and adding some more exercises to her training routine.
The first of two HIT weeks lies behind me. Some of the intervals were really hard, up to 95% of max hp. Last Tuesday I thought I couldn’t make it to the swim training (interval run on my way to the swim place), but it was the best swim for a long time again. It’s fascinating to see that 1 week of structured training can turn the situation dramatically. The situation in the water has turned totally and my “feeling good” ist back. Once the technic is back, it’s all about power in the upcoming weeks. I’ve started the STRENGTH week already yesterday. Strong and fast swimming at a moderate heartbeat and 17 minutes per km. In swim run mode: neoprene, shoes on, pull buoy and paddles.
By the way, did you know that the new Suunto Smart Sensor Belt (compatible with Ambit 3) can record your heart beat and then synchronize it with your watch?
This week I will do more or less the same as last week but now focussed on strength and power at a controlled moderate heartbeat. This means (link to emergency plan):
- Swimming with paddles (technic, strength)
- Hiking fast up the hills
- Cycling at lowest gear and cadence up the hills
- and the special for today: walking up more than just the 4’444 steps we have to do in July
Let’s see how many steps I can do. 4 more weeks to go. Push your ass, it’s worth the hurt. Just found this picture from the Lysefiorden Ultramarathon.
The last few months were like driving these wooden rollercoasters. Up and down to the point when the initial energy was used up. This point was about 2 weeks ago when I was swimming in the lake with paddles and it felt like tapping with my hands in the water. After a solid start I had to accept responsibility for this tragedy. Celtman and The Race are now postponed to 2016. But one painful fact remains: Jacob and me are still going to race Rockman and the Xterra Swimrun World Championships to the end of the earth. Both not easy to race. The good thing is that these two races are motivating me to take over control again.
I never thought that my daughter will be the example I am following one day. But actually she’s motivating me and giving me the power to push my ass foward. After a brilliant start into this very important season she broke her ankle mid of may. But I know she’s going to win the nationals end of august. To succeed both of us only have a few weeks to go back where we have been. While she started her strength and rehabilitation training at Training & Diagnostics last week, I took the opportunity to work out a simple but smart survival plan with them. The way to survive.
The plan below is covering the next 5 weeks before race day july 12. So whenever you’re in the same situation this concept might help you too. But keep in mind it’s something like a last but serious attempt. All exercises are simulating parts or situations of the race itself. The key points for Rockman are:
- adapting to cold water and warm temperature outside (11 transitions)
- swimming with shoes, pull buoy and paddles (30m to 1700m)
- 4’444 steps from sealevel up to 740m
- rocky trail running and steep hills
The weeks are structured as follows:
- Week 1: HIT Week 1 with five days at 90% of maximum heartbeat
- Week 2: Power week with power oriented training at 75-80% of max hb
- Week 3: HIT Week 1 with five days at 90% of maximum heartbeat
- Week 4: Endurance week with 3, 4 and 5 hours on following days at 70% of max hb
- Week 5: Tapering
Here is a link to the plan: Patrick Trainingsplan before Rockman
Today I have started with hard 60 minutes of weight training (resistance method) early in the morning and in the early evening some intervals over a total of more than 2’000 steps, simulating half of the 4’444 stairs we will face during Rockman. There will be more steps in the following days. After these 25%+ of incline, my legs are hard and tired, but I am happy. Day 1 completed successfully. 24 training days ahead. More to come 😉
“It’s the best reaction in the world: just to go”, Ellie Simmonds
“I am a person like any other. Just with one leg less.”
A great read that is bringing you all the details why to run slow and what it does to your body. Must read for all endurance athletes.