I attended a training day hosted by Loaring Personal Coaching for the first time on Sunday. A number of my tri friends are coached by LPC and I've heard that these training days are alot of fun. For less than $30 we were promised swim, run, and bike instruction with certified coaches and a session on the importance of stretching with a registered physiotherapist. Coach Mary gave me the thumbs up when I asked her about it and built it into my week of training.
I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about attending because I knew that there would be alot of really good athletes there. Fortunately Sydney and Paul were signed up and our close friends Dave, Kathy, and Dawn were also scheduled to go. At least I was guaranteed some friendly faces even if I was always at the back of the pack.
The swim started at 8 a.m. and was scheduled for one and a half hours. The point of the swim was not to get distance in, because we're all already doing that, but to go over some drills that will help us get stronger as triathlete swimmers. We started with some dynamic stretches before getting into the pool (I rarely stretch before any workout - a bad habit I guess) and then seeded ourselves into four lanes. We started things off in the water with a 200 metre warmup where I was happy to see that I wasn't holding anyone up from lack of speed. Once that was over we donned some fins and went through a series of drills like one arms and hip led side rolls. We would do 25 metres of these drills then front crawl on the way back. I lucked out by being in the slow lane by the wall (silver lining of my slowness) because it turned out that the swim coach spent alot of time watching our lane (likely because we were in the most need of instruction) and giving us tips on technique. I found out that I enter the water with my hand crossed too far over the front of my head. They should be entering with the left hand at 11 o'clock and the right one at 1 o'clock. I'm entering at 11 and 1 but with the opposite hand. I was really happy to have some feedback on my stroke because I'm really working hard to improve the swim part of my racing.
After a quick showering off everyone headed to the physiotherapy clinic for the run, stretching, and bike portion of the day. I ate a Clif Bar and banana on the way because I wanted to make sure that I had enough gas to get through the rest of the workouts.
Once we set up our bikes we bundled up and headed outside for the run. We started out by doing some run specific drills like A's and B's and Grapevines. Coach Mary has us do these from time to time so I was familiar with them at least. It was cold though! There was a 5k loop mapped out that we could either run once or twice. Sydney and I had decided to do one 5k loop and set off with the group. Not surprisingly we were dropped pretty quickly as there were some really fast people there. The best time for the 5k yesterday was 15:52! I didn't even have 3k done by that point!. I've been really struggling with my running lately and keeping my heartrate under control. True to form Sydney was in zone 2 while I was in zone 4 for almost the entire thing. The course was pretty good though as it wound through neighbourhoods and kept things interesting. I was happy to see the end of that 5k and completed it in 33:15.
After a quick change we set up our mats and Charlotte, the RPT talked to us about the importance of a stable core and led us through some exercises that would help us stay strong, maintain good balance and posture, and hopefully train and race injury free. I found this part really interesting and only wish I could remember exactly everything she said! Lunch was spent sprawled out around the clinic and we had a chance to chat with the other athletes and fuel up for the ride.
The trainer ride was the best part of the day. They structured that ride so that you could ride from 90 to 120 minutes depending on your fitness level and how much riding you'd been doing. James and Charlotte were really good at keeping things moving and providing really intersting facts (like what a "spinner" is as opposed to a "masher) and motivation. We did intervals that simulated climbs, sprints, and tempo pace. My trainer was set up next to Dave and he pprovided some extra motivation for me. I have a Tacx magnetic trainer that has a cable where you can adjust the tension from. I tend to leave the tension at 1 and use my gears to control tension as I need to learn how to use my gears. We would be doing the climbs and I'd be at one of my biggest gears and Dave would reach over and move the tension to 6 or 8 depending on how much of a bugger he wanted to be. He would then tell me to think of the hills in Italy and encourage me to do it. I couldn't give him the satisfaction of not making it through the set when he threw down the gauntlet so thanks to Dave for making me work even harder than I was. We rode a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes which is my longest trainer ride so far.
Overall it was a really good day and I enjoyed chatting with the coaches and soaking up all of the tips. I'm signed up for the next (and final) one on February 20 where they're going to take the lane markers out of the pool, set up buoys, and give us tips on swimming around the buoys, in water starts, and getting through the first few minutes of a triathlon start. These are all things I really need help with given my past performances so I'm looking forward to it. I think I might actually take a notepad with me (nerd alert!) and write down some of what Charlotte says during the exercises portion and I'll also remember not to set my bike up next to Dave!