The Road to Roth – Project 2017

Oh no, what have I done!  I started this blog in 2015 for my run up to Köln226.  It’s all there for you to read, it wasn’t a lot of fun and I said that I didn’t plan to do another long distance any time soon.

Roth 2017 = Project 2017

So here we are in 2017 and I am signed up for my 2nd long distance Triathlon in Roth.  I can defend myself a little bit though. I am a better athlete than I was 2 years ago, so hopefully I won’t be as out of my depth as I was then.  I’ve also come up with a plan to avoid burning out like I did last time.  Finally Roth is a special triathlon, it sells out in seconds and should be a very different proposition to Köln226.

It is 16 weeks until Roth now. I have been training but nothing crazy.  My swimming is coming along nicely, I need to ride more, but I have been on the trainer semi-regularly and my running is ok, more than good enough for Roth. The 16 week build up is important to me, last time I basically went from January until September and blew up. I felt at my best in about June or July. This time I will do a shorter build, but try to really get some good quality and volume into that 16 weeks.

Be Iron Fit Plan

I have picked the competitor plan from Be Iron Fit, with some amendments.  I will swim with TCEC on Mondays and Thursdays as I do now. The plan calls for 3x1h of swimming, I will do 1h15 on Monday, 1h30 on Thursday and a little bit when I can on another day.

I plan to do the runs pretty much exactly as described in the plan as with the rides.  The one unknown for me is how to treat the rides to the pool and back. That takes 1h, but is an easy ride with lots of stops for traffic and traffic lights. Do I include them? On Thursdays the plan calls for 1h bike with some quality and a swim, that would be my normal Thursday minus the quality.

Fitting in the races

I also have some races to work around. Liege Bastogne Liege is no problem, a 10-11h bike ride fits in the plan nicely!  Mainz HM and the Polderlauf 15km are also fine to work around, but Zell Sprint Triathlon and Worms Sprint triathlon are harder.  They are on a Sunday, so a big Saturday is out, a big Sunday would be difficult, so where do I fit in the 5-6h bike ride and 2-3h long run?!  I have taken 2 tactical days holiday in those weeks to work around them, I hope it works out!

One last thing, I will be run/walking in Roth.  I tried my first run/walk last week and it was very good!  I did 25km in 2h, running 9m15 and walking 45 seconds.  The plan is to walk the aid stations, which are about every 2km.

To get me a sub-10, I imagine swimming 1:10, cycling 5:15 and running 3:30. Cycling would be the place where I could make up time, if training goes well.

Here is week one of my plan:

13:30 total seems very reasonable. I will try to hit everything pretty exactly. Wednesday and Sunday are Bricks, I haven’t done them for a while^^

See you next week!

Hoka One One – Clifton 3 – Shoe Review

I always thought that Hoka One Ones look a bit stupid. Actually I mean really stupid! Last year in Berlin at the Messe, I told the rep that and they didn’t really disagree with me.  I have read lots of rave reviews about them. People say that they are like running on clouds and that you can run 1500 miles in one pair. That sounds pretty positive to me.

As a present

So over recent years I have had the idea to ask for gifts of things I possibly wouldn’t buy myself, but I would like anyway. The Hokas fell into this category perfectly, so when my dad asked me what I want at Christmas, I said Hokas! Well that isn’t exactly what happened, I said Hokas! or a Scotsche Rhythm +, and I got the heart rate monitor.

So for my birthday Katja knew what I would like, and she got me a pair of Clifton 3s. The sizing is always a bit dangerous in a new brand and a new pair of shoes, but she nailed it with the 43 1/3.  They have a nice wide toe box and feel like well made shoes, even though they don’t weigh too much.

the Hoka One Ones even normal from here

Light and cushioned

Since using Skechers Go Run Ultras, I am used maximum cushioned shoes, but the road versions were pretty heavy at 310g per shoe. The Hokas at 250g could be used as a race shoe, interesting!

the weigh in - 250g

After getting over how they look, I ventured out on my first Hoka run. I was excited, would they be fast? slow? comfy? Well strangely enough, they were fairly normal. They are clearly well cushioned shoes, but I don’t notice that they are more cushioned than the NB1080v6 or the Skechers I mentioned.  They didn’t rub and were quite comfy, but I most shocked by how normal they are.

Fairly normal!

After a recent injury, I haven’t run as much as normal. I did the half marathon in Mörfelden a few days after my birthday, but I couldn’t trust new shoes for a HM. For the 10k in Groß Gerau I considered the Hokas, but went with the Brooks T7 Racers as they are my lightest shoes.  It was only this weekend that I finally got to use them for a longer run, at 25km.

the ugly sole of the Clifton 3!

They held up very well, I notice a little toe rub, but nothing that would blister. I basically forgot that I was wearing them, they could have been my NB1080s.

So the long awaited Hoka One One Clifton 3s. Well once you get past how they look, they are fairly normal well cushioned shoes.  I have to see how long they last, but if I get 1500km out of them as some claim, I would happily get more.  The big selling point for me is that they weigh 250g, would make them my go to marathon shoe. I think I will use them in Roth too. For shorter distances I think I would stick with the Zantes. My plan is to use a mix of the Hokas and the NB1080s for long runs, and to use the Hokas for HM or longer faster runs.

So that is that, I will try to update after 500km or so, so that I can really comment on the durability of the shoes. See you then!

Frühjahrslauf 2017 – What a nightmare – Pain!

Frühjahrslauf 2017

I had been looking forward to the Frühjahrslauf, last year I ran my 10k PB there. It is a fast course, and I fancied that I could go sub37 again, maybe even close to my PB.  My legs were still in pain after last week’s half marathon until about Wednesday, but I was feeling better if not 100% fit and healthy.

Jochen was racing again, so we went together to Groß-Gerau. He was hoping to break 38 minutes for the first time, I wanted to break 37.  I found out that there actually were far more facilities on site that I noticed last year.  Under the mosque there are toilets and a place to get drinks, more than just the 1 portaloo that I found last time!

The race started at 3pm. There were plenty of fast people there, my chances of winning were exactly zero, but I’d decided to wear my lightest shoes, the Brooks T7 racers for the first time in a race anyway.  Might was as well go for a fast time! Off we went, I wasn’t really feeling ‘it’ before the race, but I started and felt ok. I passed the first km sign after 3:35, decent pace but still behind Jochen!

High Heart Rate

I settled in and after 3km saw that my pace had fallen, but my heart rate was 179. I was in trouble, I can’t run a 10k with my heart rate so high. It seems that the whole little group I was with were also struggling, it was pretty much the same group as last week, socks included!

I let the group go, but they didn’t really go anywhere. A few people passed me from behind too, something that rarely happens to me.  After 5k I had 18:42 on the watch, 32 seconds slower than last year and I was in trouble.

The last 5km felt like a death march. I passed Jochen after about 6km, but he re-passed me after about 8km. Everyone ran away from me and even breaking 38 was starting to look unlikely.  needing a 3:45 last 1km to do it, I didn’t manage it. My calves were hurting from about 4km onwards, and my HR was too high and I just literally wasn’t at the races.

Not showing, but feeling the pain

Pain and disappointment

Jochen managed his sub 38, which I was happy to see, but I ran a 38:02.  It was pretty much the worst race I can remember running for a few years now. Soon after the race I started to consider if the half marathon from 6 days prior was to blame. It seems likely that I wasn’t fully recovered, so maybe that’s why I was so off form.

Jochen in picture, my in the background

My calves were agony after the race, I stupidly ran last night too, and my right calf is now officially injured, not just achy.  I will take a few days off running and get on the bike and in the pool.

Up Next

Next up looks like being a half marathon or 10k in Bad Kreuznach on the 19th of March. The TCEC powers that be want us to run there, so I will do, I mean why not?  Until then iron and rest are on the cards until I am fully fit.  I can’t have lost fitness in 1 week, so I should be good after a little recovery time, I hope!

 

Mörfelden Half Marathon 2017 – 7th Place

Mörfelden – again!

I didn’t race Rodgau, it was too much of a pain to get to, so I have just been training. Oh and being sick! Last week after getting home from swimming I started feeling ill, then vommed my guts out and basically felt like crap until Wednesday.  Mörfelden Half Marathon was in my plan though, I somehow thought it was on Saturday, which was a bit early, but the actual day, of Sunday, was much better.

So I was up at silly o’clock (5:50am) to eat before Jochen picked me up at 8am.  It didn’t take to long to get there, so we were pretty early.  It was -3 degrees when I left the house, it would be another chilly race!

I couldn’t find my heart rate monitor, and I amazingly haven’t run a half marathon since Mainz last May, so I was in a bit of unknown territory with regards to pacing. I wore my Zantes and felt like 1:21:xx would be doable, so about 3:50/km.  Jochen was aiming for a PB, which would be sub 4:00/km and Stephan who was also running, was aiming for a sub 1:30 time.

Run with the group
the start of the half marathon
me on the left, 2nd place is in the red vest. 1st place is no where to be seen!

Continue reading “Mörfelden Half Marathon 2017 – 7th Place”

Mörfelden Staffelmarathon

Staffelmarathon

A few weeks ago I saw an email from Stephan, from TCEC, asking if anyone fancied running in the Mörfelden Staffelmarathon (relay). I am trying to race myself fit at the moment, so jumped at the chance. I ate too much cake on Saturday, so work up weighing 81kg, but I know that my true weight is 79kg at the moment.

Lex Laufexperten

Lex Laufexperten, a running shop chain, had quite a few teams signed up for the Staffelmarathon.  They were kind enough to cover the entry fees for us too, which was good of them.  I seemed to have been put onto the ‘fast’ team and was given the last leg, which had the bonus of meaning that I didn’t have to be there at 9am, when the race starts, as I wouldn’t run until at least 11am.

I had to get the tram, then 2 trains, then walk to the start in Morfelden. It was no biggie, except that it was absolutely freezing! It was about -10degrees at 9am when I was waiting for 20 minute for the next train at Frankfurt stadium.  I arrived in Morfelden desperate to find a toilet, but couldn’t find one, so I waddled the 15minutes to the start.

Cooold Continue reading “Mörfelden Staffelmarathon”

Gear Review – Wahoo Kickr Snap

Wahoo Kickr Snap

Before Christmas I decided that I wanted a smart trainer. The Tacx Flux looked pretty good, so I ordered it on Black Friday. The company (biker-Boarder) lied about when it would come, so 4 weeks later I cancelled that order and took the Wahoo Kickr Snap instead.Wahoo Kickr Snap from their website

The Wahoo Kickr Snap is a quite high spec trainer. It can simulate 12% climbs and offers a maximum of 1500w resistance, good enough for me!  I moved house between ordering the trainer and using it, so was excited to be able to use it in the spare bedroom in the new year.  I had heard that the Wahoo Kickr Snap is very quiet. That has not been my experience!  On a laminate floor without a mat it was very loud.  Katja told me that it was too loud for her in the living room and the whole apartment shook.

The new neighbours

I put the back part of the Snap (the bit with the flywheel) onto a yoga mat, and it was much quieter, not quiet enough for my neighbours though who complained after 5 minutes.  I decided to put the front legs on a mat too. That way everything was off the floor and it wouldn’t vibrate too much.  The neighbours complained again.  I finally put a big carpet mat under the entire thing, as well as having the yoga mat. It was much quieter, Katja said she couldn’t hear much in the living room. The neighbours complained again.

Firmware Problems

So the Kickr Snap is in the cellar now!  So that was problem 1 kind of solved.  I started using Trainer Road instead of Bkool as the internet connection in the cellar isn’t so good.  I rode my first full training session, but it was much much harder than I expected. My 4iii powermeter usually shows that I have a FTP of somewhere north of 300w. At the start of my training on the Kickr Snap pushing 220w was hard, and 300w was impossible for more than a few seconds.

I reduced the intensity down and down, but soon I had to turn off Ergo mode and go to the normal mode.  It had basically made it impossible to ride, even at 120w.

In normal mode it was ok. I could decide my speed and not hit the intervals, but I could give it what I had!  That was fine for a while, until the resistance just stopped.  I was pushing my top gears and hardly putting out any power!  The speed was so high, but without any resistance it was too easy.  I decided to switch to manual mode. But at 0% it had no resistance, and at 2% no resistance, then at 4% it was unrideable!

Updates (but only with an iPhone!)

The calibration spin down seemed to help short term, but wasn’t a full fix.  I finished the session disappointed and tired!

Online I read that lots of people had had this problem, many had even sent the Kickr Snaps back because of it, until someone mentioned that a new firmware – 2.1.6- was a saviour.  I took Katja’s iPhone and went to update the firmware.  Using the Wahoo Utility you can’t do it. So I downloaded the Wahoo Fitness App, it said my firmware was the most recent -2.1.5.

After more google-ing I found out that you have to click 5 times on the firmware version, then you can update it.  There are loads available, but I just took the 2.1.6.

It’s the Wheel Circumference stupid!

So yesterday I went back to the cellar and started on Trainer Road again. The wattage was way off again. The first interval at 270w was very very tough.  I decided to monitor it with my power meter. At about 70% intensity the trainer was about right. I mean if Trainer Road wanted 3 mins at 300w, I would do 3 mins at 210w on the Kickr Snap and my power meter would show it as 3 mins at 300w.  There were no wierd braking issues, so the firmware seems to have fixed that, all that is left is the massive difference between my power meter and the Kickr Snap.

I used Trainer Road in the past with a dumb trainer. I had heard that you should change the wheel circumference from 2112mm or so to another value so that the virtual power is more accurate.  It was set to 1500mm.  This setting was still in my Trainer Road.  1500/2112 is 71%. I haven’t tested it yet, but I think it seems fair to assume that that has been my problem!  I hope now that the wattages will be pretty close to each other and I can start to set up my sessions properly.

A bright future

I am looking forward to getting some good training done on the Kickr Snap now.  There is a bit of a clicking sound when I ride that I still have to look into, but otherwise everything looks good.  When the Ergo mode is working, it is really nice that you just ride and know you are hitting your intervals.

I will write a post in the future after I have more experience of the Kickr Snap, but right now after all the start up problems I have had, I am looking forward to getting some good sessions in before it warms up and I can do some longer rides outside. Liege Bastogne Liege is only 93 days away!

UPDATE 26.01.2017

It wasn’t the wheel circumference. Wahoo told me to update the firmware to 2.2.51, which I did using Katja’s iPhone (it wouldn’t work with my android).  I pumped up the tyres to 110psi, then adjusted the back wheel until the spindowns were taking between 10 and 15 seconds to complete.

Then I did the advanced spindown on an iPhone to lock in the new settings and it seems like it works!  I did a ride last night where I could ride at just under 300w, which wasn’t easy, but was doable.  I need to check it with my Garmin, but it could actually be reading lower than my power meter now, as I would expect a higher HR at 300w after 10 minutes than 150bpm.

Looking better

It was being a bit weird reacting to intervals, it would slowly change the power, so I would click out of Erg mode and back in so it would quickly adjust the power. It isn’t a huge problem though.

Low Speeds = Quieter

My other big discovery is that if I ride in a low gear at low speed, the Kickr Snap is much quieter, but the power stays the same.  I could watch Top Gear and hear it too (without head phones), it is also good that Netflix works in the cellar!

I might do one further update when I have compared the power meter with the trainer over different session, but I am happy now, I can ride, it isn’t too boring and the power is about right 😀

Lindenseelauf 10k 2017 – End of the series

Lindenseelauf – part 3

The last leg of the Lindenseelauf series was at the weekend and it was another chance to test my form.  I haven’t been training so much recently. There was Christmas, the weather has been cold and snowy, and I have moved house.  I am ticking over, but compared to last year, I am way behind.

One positive is my weight. I got down from 81.5kg to 79.3kg in 2 weeks!  I wasn’t even trying too hard, so that was great news.  A 38 minute run felt possible for me in the Lindenseelauf, which I expected should wrap up 3rd place in the series.

I got the train there and arrived 20 minutes before the start. Robert Ploen and Sebi Dahl were both there, so TCEC had a good team again. I did a little bit of a warm up, but it was about 0 degrees, so I wasn’t exactly warm!  Soon enough I was at the start line at 14:30 and ready to go.

The Race

The race started and the usual suspects went up the road, with Sebi just ahead of me and Robert behind me.  I started a little fast,  think 3:35 for the first km. The guy who was 4th in the series was running with me, so I knew I just had to stay with him and I would be good for 3rd.  There was a bit of snow and ice on the course, but it was okay to run.

I noticed after about 3km that Sebi wasn’t pulling away from me, and on the hill at 3.5km I caught him and pulled in to offer some wind protection. He ran behind me until about 6km, going past the 5km sign after 18:28, then he faded quite a bit.

There was no one ahead of me for about 200m, and no one behind me who was catching me, so I could just keep a solid pace going and get to the end in one piece.  I realised after 8km that a sub 37m looked unlikely, but I did try anyway.  Coming out of the woods I could see that I wasn’t going to gain or lose any more places.  Sebi was quite a way back, but I doubted he would lose 2 minutes in 4km, so I wouldn’t pass him in the overall ranking.

And over the line

Coming to the houses at the end, I saw 36:30 on the watch and sprinted in the vein hope of a 37min run, but at the final turn the clock ticked over, so I could only manage a 37:13.  I am still very happy with that time though given my recent training.

Sebi came in about 1 minute down, and Robert managed a 39:10, a PB for him, so he was happy too.

After a shorter than normal wait came the prize giving. I didn’t win in the tombola, but I was 2nd in my age group on the day, 6th overall. I was also 3rd in the series overall and 1st in my age group.  They seemed to kind of ignore the 3rd place in the series, and gave me a 1st in the age group prize instead.  I didn’t like that too much.  Anyway I came home with 12 beers and a towel, good value nonetheless!

Coming up

I am going to run a staffel-marathon, i.e. a 4 person team marathon next weekend in Morfelden.  I will be looking to do a sub 39 if the course is decent.  Then I plan on doing the half marathon in Morfelden a few weeks later.  I want to do a Rodgau race again sometime, but that would be easier if Jochen drives!

I’ll write again next week after the race. I am calling this part of the season – Renn mich fit!

Sporting Review of 2016 – Some success and some failure

I made a list of goals at the start of 2016, I try to make them hard to reach, but not impossible either.  Lets have a quick looks at how I got on:

Goals for 2016

Get down to 75kg – Failed by about 2kg
17:20 minute 5km – Success (kind of)
36 minute 10km – Failed
1:20 half marathon – Success!
Comfortable sub3 Marathon(s) – Success!
Run 3500km in 2016 – Success!
Sub 6h Maratona dles Dolomites – Failed!
WIN A RACE! – Failed

Weight

That is a 4/8 success rate, which isn’t bad I reckon.  I haven’t really been close to 75kg, even when training lots and in form, I still struggle with my weight.

Running

The running time goals were tough. I ran a 17:07 at the Mainz Firmenlauf, but it was possibly a tick short (my GPS showed 4.93km). It is close enough to count though.  The 36min 10k didn’t quite happen, but I will keep that as a goal for 2017.

My best sporting achievement of the year was my 1:18:55 half marathon in Frankfurt. That is better than a 36 mins 10km or a 17:15 5k and predicts a 2:45 marathon. It was just a great run for me and one I hope to repeat someday.

The marathon goals was a little bit weak, I wanted to break 3, and didn’t know how far under I could go. Really I wanted to run sub2:50 in 2016, but 2 runs of 2:55 aren’t bad either. I haven’t got the hang of the marathon yet, I always feel sluggish, even when running slower than I should be able to.

I thought 3500km in 2016 would be tough, but I cruised it!  The first 4 months of the year were crazy running months for me and I was running so well too.  I kept up my mileage after that though, so almost got to 4000km by the end of the year. My cycling was cut way back to allow for the extra running, so I reckon I will run less in 2017 to allow for more cycling.

Cycling

I picked a 6h Maratona finish time out pretty randomly. Given the amount of training I did and the traffic for the first 4 climbs I was very happy with my sub6:30. I think I could do sub6, but I also don’t think I will as there are lots of other sportives to do before going back to one I have already done!

Winning!

Win a race, well that didn’t happen either. It will be a lucky day for me if and when I win a race. This year there wasn’t ever a race I ran where I had a chance, though there were others that I could have run and probably would have won.  I will target one or two next year where I have a chance, I am specifically thinking about the Polderlauf 15km, Lampertheim super-sprint tri and maybe even the Wörrstadt TT.

Ebersheim Adventslauf 2016

I haven’t been running that much recently. I mean I am still running 50-70km per week, but I didn’t expect to be on top form for the Ebersheim Adventslauf. Ebersheim is really close to where I live. I have raced there 3 times. In 2014 I was very happy with 4th place. In 2015 I was 2nd but a little disappointed.  This year I just wanted a form check really.

Jochen wanted to race the Adventslauf too, so he picked me up and we got to the race nice and early. I signed in and was going short/long, so short shorts, but a long sleeve top.  We ran a little 2.5km loop as warm up and my hand were cold, so I put on gloves too.

Ebersheim Adventslauf

I had seen that 2 faster guys were there (Felix and AN other both from Team Gasser). They are not that much faster than me but usually a bit faster.  A few others would be there or there abouts, but I was thinking that I should be good for the top 3.  We set off and after a few hundred metres were running slightly uphill against a strong wind.

I tucked into the lead group of 6, Jochen was there too and the faster guys.  The pace felt comfortable, but I didn’t want to be in the wind, so I bided my time.  Continue reading “Ebersheim Adventslauf 2016”

Shoe Review – New Balance 1080v6

After trying out the Zantes and liking them for shorter and faster runs, I thought it made sense to go for the bigger brother model for longer and slower runs.  The New Balance 1080v8 has the same Fresh Foam sole as the Zantes, but is a far more considerable shoe.

Heavyweight shoes
Just over 300g – heavy!

At more than 300g I expect a good bit of cushioning, which in comparison to the Zantes or Brooks T7 racers, they do offer, but in comparison to my Skechers Go Run Ultras, they don’t have.  There is a little spring still in the step though, maybe due to a little less cushioning. Continue reading “Shoe Review – New Balance 1080v6”