You might have read my post about the plans for 2020 already (if not, please read my post here) and I must say it’s something quite new and challenging again 😉 Just to give you a brief hint: Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay in the Philippines!
A couple of days after the race in Vichy, I had a meeting with my coach Ruud of Duur Triathlon Begeleiding to discuss the last race of course and how season 2019 went. A good chat about my race performances, feelings, result numbers, timings, improvements and we spoke about ideas for season 2020. Ruud knows what he’s talking about since he’s a triathlete himself and has raced Ironman Kona in Hawaii. Well, Kona is not on my schedule (yet) but it’s good to talk to somebody that has the experience and has gone through the similar feelings himself. Read more about the season 2019 results in this post.
The first few weeks after Vichy I was still at home waiting for my next work project and my training was on a reduced program. Instead of doing between 15-20 hours per week, I was only training less than 10 hours per week. Early September 2019 my work project started again and I was going to be on a vessel for the next few weeks. Working quite intensively for over 12 hours per day, having limited training facilities onboard (although pretty good for a vessel I must say) I was only doing about 5-7 hours per week.
The gym on this vessel wasn’t actually too bad, I’ve seen a lot worse gyms on vessels in my life, but unfortunately, my time to train was quite limited. My coach made an intensive training program considering my situation onboard. Maximum of 1 hour per day, my training consisted out of low heartrate running or cycling, interval and progressive training, brick training (bike/run), and weight training. Sometimes difficult to do since I had to share the gym with all my other work colleagues but most of the time it was going pretty ok. Taking a break of an hour per day feels really good to clear all the problems of the day.
Middle of October I came home again and I could train all the sports again. Certainly, my longer endurance and swimming were suffering a bit but I was determined to get back in shape quickly. Together with trail running in the nearby dunes and forest and competing in a few trail races quite close to my home town, the autumn period was still pretty fun.
Cycling in the rain is still not my favorite training and when the weather was too poor, I also had Zwift to conduct bike training in Watopia, London or New York… The plan was to stay at home only for a few weeks but this changed to 2 months, meaning my next project was starting in the middle of December.
This project wasn’t on a rocking vessel on the North Sea in the winter period but in tropical Africa. The Gulf of Guinea was my working territory for the next 7 weeks. The advantage of working in this part of Africa is that the weather is normally pretty good. Pretty flat sea conditions, constant low wind speeds and not to worry about a rocking vessel the whole time. There are some disadvantages to working in Africa as well but I won’t discuss them on my blog. My working hours were still very long every day but luckily I could hide for an hour in the gym almost every day. At least this was helping me to stay in a reasonable condition, especially since my coach had made an intensive training program again.
These intensive programs kept me very motivated as well! Since my time to train was limited, doing double brick training (bike, run, bike, run), progressive and interval training on the treadmill or indoor bike, or combining a short weight training with a bike or run training was a way to build my strength and endurance.
The tropical climate of Africa also meant that the condition to train was very different: although we had an air-conditioning unit, the temperature in the gym was still well above 25 degrees Celsius (A/C didn’t cool the gym quickly enough) and the humidity was still quite high. The combination of higher temperature and humidity will certainly be something to think about for my upcoming Ironman 70.3 race in Subic Bay Philippines! More about that in another post.
I came home in the morning on 1 February 2020 after completing the project and in the afternoon I was in the swimming pool already! After not being able to swim for 7 weeks, it was time to slow start with the right technique and building up some endurance again. Not only for swimming but also for running and cycling of course! Unfortunately the first 1.5 weeks, I was feeling quite weak and even ended up sick in bed for a few days, so this didn’t help my continuation of the training program and building up endurance… A week after coming home was supposed to be the annual half marathon race Groet uit Schoorl. I had registered myself a couple of months ago, but due to the heavy storm, the race was canceled. Although I didn’t feel completely 100%, I still wanted to do a run of 21.1 km as a substitute for the canceled race. It didn’t go too bad, but I wasn’t breaking any records as well (probably due to my condition and the strong winds).
In the following few weeks, I’ve been able to train well and longer again. In the 3rd and 4th week of February, I was back in training around 15 hours per week again.
Thinking about having a better setup for my triathlon aspirations, it was time to improve my gear. No, I’m not changing my running shoes for the Nike Vaporfly next%. First of all, I’m not a forefoot runner (getting there to learn to run midsole) and these kinds of carbon plate shoes are especially for the professional runners. I’ve even read stories that recreational runners were getting injuries due to these shoes. Not something I’m looking for!
So, what I’m improving in my tri gear: my Cervelo P3 bike. The aerodynamic position is of the major importance, of course, but there are some other changes to be made. My Cervelo P3 triathlon bike is fitted with Edco carbon fiber wheels (Edco Wheels UK) but I was looking around for quite some time and finally decided to buy a carbon fiber disc rear wheel of Fast Forward Wheels. This should be able to help me riding a few kilometers per hour faster!
Fast Forward has some great history and results with their carbon fiber wheels and I’m looking forward to riding them and experiencing the advantage!
On the same topic of aerodynamic improvements, during the last few months, I had contact with Time Trial Weapons that manufactures aerodynamic storage boxes for Cervelo P3 TT bikes. The great design is that it combines the aerodynamic Elite Crono CX drinking bottle with the storage box and filling up the triangle gap of the bottom bracket. All great advantages: reducing drag, creating a storage box and having an aerodynamic drinking bottle!
The storage box isn’t oversized luckily but can hold a spare tire, co2 cartridge, and tire-relievers. The Elite Crono CX bottle has a capacity of 500ml so this should be sufficient to keep my NutrID Kerosine during the race, that I will mix with plain water in my main water bottle that is fitted in between my aero bars.
My main water bottle is a Profile Design HC bottle that can hold 700ml. This is mounted nicely in between the aero bars and should be pretty aerodynamic and is easy to drink from. The idea for a race is to start with a mixed NutrID and water main water bottle and have a full Elite Crono CX bottle with NutrID Kerosine. During the race, I’ll refill the main water bottle with NutrID Kerosine and plan water from the aid stations along the route.
The next project is due to come up early March for a couple of weeks on a vessel in the North Sea again. After that, it’s time to focus on the triathlon race in the Philippines: Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay! But that’s for a next post 🙂