May Reviewed


Keeping a detailed training diary is something I've done since I started the sport. It's a habit, and a good one at that.  I have comprehensive data of every training session I've done since 2008.  What that allows for is comparison between years, months or weeks.  Against the better judgement of my mother who believes I'm giving too much information to my competitors, here's an insight into my training for May:
Swim: 50,650m
Bike: 2002 TSS (training stress score)
Run: 178.99 miles
Drills: 1h30m
Stretching: 5h50m
Total: 78h57m
The first thing you'll notice is the difference in measuring swim/run training compared to cycling.  The reason that I don't track cycling by distance is: 1) I've cycled exclusively indoors on the turbo trainer; 2) Distance doesn't reflect effort/intensity.  In that regard, tracking TSS is a true reflection of the workload. Whilst a monthly TSS of 2000 on the bike may not seem like a lot, I accrued it in very few hours, meaning that the intensity of almost all sessions was very high.  
So, let's have a look at the numbers.  At the end of April I set a goal to swim 50k in May, which was a good goal for me.  I achieved the goal, and in doing so logged the most swimming I've ever done in a month.  Swim training was exclusively in the sea, as the swimming pool is still out of action.  Fortunately the sea on the north side of the island is very calm at this time of year.  For many people 50k isn't a lot of swimming, but in my case, it is.  To illustrate this, in the 5 months between November 2010 and March 2011, I swam a grand total of 58,675m, which included the months of my Ironman South Africa build up.  With an IM swim PB of 1 hour, I've never been a strong swimmer, but with the low volume I've done in the past, I never gave myself the chance.  
Bike training has been largely similar to that of last year, focussing primarily on intensity.  I've never been a fan of logging slow miles, especially when indoors.  I'd rather work hard for an hour than spend 2 hours dillydallying.  Having said that, I have done one recovery session each week, but these sessions are designed to be for just that - recovery.  They're so easy it's not even true.  The other four bike sessions all constitute some form of intervals, whether it be at threshold, or just above of below, big gear intervals at low cadence, or small gear intervals at high cadence.  
Now the run is where my training has changed drastically.  Last month, I had 2 (and a half) sessions/week at the running track.  The first session was 400m repeats on 200m recovery, increasing the number of repeats each week.  The second session was a 20m tempo run done at a solid pace. Whilst this could have been done on the road rather than the track, I enjoyed getting detailed lap splits and sticking to my target pace throughout the run.  The extra half session was doing mile repeats at open half-marathon pace within my long run.  For this, I based my run near the track, and in the middle of the session I did the mile repeats on 200m recovery.  In the final week of May I'd built up to 7x 1 mile repeats within the long run.  This was probably my favourite session of the week.  I did two other steady runs of around 5-6 miles each, and one very easy 30m jog each week, for a total of 6 run sessions/week at just over 40 miles/week.  My aim for running is to get fast over shorter distances.  I've got 4 years of base running me, so I figure I should be able to handle some intensity by now!
For drills and stretching (yes, I do include this in my training log - I don't do it for fun), I stretched a little everyday and focussed on specific drills once a week to help improve my running form.  
May was the first month of my structured build for Kona, and it was a good month. But results don't come from one month of training, it's consistency that brings improvements.  Last month was the most hours of training I've ever done, again, a stat that may surprise many.  I've not personally been a proponent of high volume training in the past, but I'm stepping things up a little, not just in terms of volume, but in intensity, too.