The week of a long course triathlete: Weekend

Weekends are about long workouts mostly because of convenience; there is just more free time to fit in long ride or run. Ideally I’d space out my long ride and run by a few days, for instance by going long on Wednesday. That’s something that I might need to experiment with in the future.

30k long run–9:00am

The original plan was to wake up nice and early and be out on the street by 7:00am. Mother nature thought differently. When I woke up and checked the weather report the forecast showed some major showers within 30 minutes. I don’t mind running in the rain, but starting a 30k run in a big downpour is a different story. Time for plan b: grab breakfast, wait a bit and hit the street around 9am.

When I got started I settled in a nice and easy pace at 4:50 km/min. Earlier in the year I had done long runs at a faster pace, but this really prolongs your recovery time. Not a good idea when you have another big workout planned tomorrow. Nice and easy it is!

The weather didn’t improve much, with light showers from time to time. The advantage is that I was able to run without bringing anything to drink. I grabbed a bar before getting out of the house and that’s it. The run was pretty uneventful although the legs still felt a little tired.

My running routes are designed in such a way that’s easy to take short-cuts when needed. The downside is that this also gives you an easy escape when the weather isn’t too good or feel a little tired. When I get to a shortcut I often play with the idea of cutting the workout short, but I seldom do.

When I got home the first thing on my mind is grabbing some water, prepare a recovery shake and put the legs up. “Recovering” is probably triathlon’s fourth discipline.

I go through quite a few pair of shoes. I’m partial to the Saucony Kinvara.

30 minute easy spin — 7:15pm

My second workout on Saturday often depends my mental and physical state. Because I completed my morning workout later than expected I opted for an easy, 30 minute recovery spin. Given that the weather was still crap, that meant another indoor trainer ride.

These easy spins are really easy: typically around 50% of FTP. The only reason for doing these is to get the legs moving and hope to shed some of the existing fatigue. Not everyone responds well to these and are better off taking complete rest. I’m just not one of them.

Prepare nutrition–8:00pm

On-the-bike nutrition is prepared the night before. I mix maltodextrin and dextrose powder (2:1) and use this as my only fuel during a ride. Some table salt is added to keep my electrolytes up. The advantages of mixing your own liquid nutrition are legion; easy-of-use, price and flexibility.

On longer rides it’s hard to bring both solid food and hydration as the amount of stuff you can carry is limited. Mixing your own nutrition allows you to adjust and experiment and it’s way cheaper than bars. For reference, 100 calories from a Clif Bar will set you back €0.70. My own mix costs about €0.10 per 100 calories, plus about five minutes to prepare before I go out and ride.

5 hour bike ride — 8:00am

Sundays are about the bike, especially during the summer months. While I love spending some time in the saddle, a long ride will take a good chunk out of your weekend. I try to leave home relatively early to still get something out of my Sunday afternoon. When the weather gets cooler I start leaving a little later and cut back on the length of my ride.

Last week I started exploring a new area for riding. When planning a route I favor low-traffic and smooth roads, preferably with some variation in scenery to kill the time. This week’s route was a variation on last week’s, hoping to dodge some of the sketchy roads I encountered then.

Longer rides are about staying comfortable and keeping the legs turning. This becomes far easier when you know your route and have some decent weather. The latter wasn’t the case, this being Holland. Three hours in I got soaked by yet another downpour. Not a deal breaker, but not the most comfortable way of riding.

I’ve been experimenting with my nutrition on the bike and I’m up to a point where I can take about 350 calories of nutrition and still feel good. For references, the calorie expenditure of such a ride is about 3000 calories. These experiments are all about triggering changes in metabolism like I explained on Tuesday. So far I’ve felt good during the ride itself, but felt really tired after the ride due to low glucose levels.

The new route didn’t prove to be much better than last weeks, including long stretched of brick paved roads, which aren’t too comfortable. There were also quite a few villages I had pass through, breaking your momentum. After getting home the first thing is to clean the bike, before hitting the shower and grabbing a well-deserved lunch.

30 minute easy run — 6:00pm

You might have guessed it; another easy run! I felt completely trashed after my bike ride, but that was mostly due to low blood sugar. Not a good enough of an excuse to skip an easy run. Nothing to report here. Just nice and easy, making sure not to overdo anything.

Prep spreads — 8:00pm

My spreads only keep fresh for a week at most, so I tend to make a new batch over the weekend. This will last me (and some of family) for a few days. Tonigh’s spread was some simple humus, which is surprisingly easy to make. I had already soaked the chicken peas over-night and boiled them after lunch. After roasting and turning some sesame seeds into paste (tahini) all that is left to do is add some garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.

Sandwich spreads are easy to make, cheap and have good nutritional value. Nom!

Wrap up

That’s it for the weekend and “the week of a long course triathlete”! Overall this turned out a pretty good training week, although I would have put in some more miles on the bike if they weather had been more pleasant. Keep an eye out for a more comprehensive wrap up post that will include some interesting totals and some training questions.

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