Wednesday, March 13, 2013

LPC Triathlon Camp - Day 4: An Awesome Training Day

Today was the most awesome day of training yet at the LPC triathlon camp...and not just because I managed not to fall over on my bike!

We went to Lake Louisa State Park - which is apparently a triathlon training paradise (I think Coach James actually says that on the camp website...he is absolutely right).

The roads were well paved, wide and curvy with some nicely rolling hills. Best of all, there were not very many cars, which meant I got to go fast (for me, that is). I even had enough calm to try my aerobars a few times over the straight parts.

After a warm-up  (one loop of the park, followed by a 1k run), we did some transition practice. There were a few demonstrations (one for the juniors going into draft-legal events and one for the rest of us), and then had us practice switching from swim (sans wetsuit) to bike, and then bike to run. I found that really helpful.

After that we did a couple of higher tempo intervals - consisting of one bike loop of the park and a 1 mile run.

I loved it. I enjoyed flying (well, flying for wasn't fast by any stretch of my imagination) down the open road on my bike. Well, not so much flying up the hills, but certainly sailing down the easy sloping downhills.

I had lots of room to practice changing my gears, and like I said above, on the third loop I actually managed to ride in the aero position for a couple of good, mostly straight stretches.

Switching to the run felt pretty good overall. I kind of felt slow, but my Garmin showed me going at a pretty decent rate (8:05) for the mile. Considering my thigh is still really painful, I was thrilled with that.

After the intervals, we got set for an open water swim practice. I'd been looking forward to this all week because I got to use my wetsuit for the first time (besides trying it on). 

The water was oddly red due to mineral deposits in the water. It was also quite choppy - but it wasn't very deep, so no one had to worry about not being able to touch the bottom. It was a great place to practice. Many of the campers thought it was cold, but since I'd tried swimming in open water last summer in Lake Ontario (which is freezing), I thought the temperature was really nice.

The coaches set up some buoys and we practiced a swim start, and then swam back and forth between the buoys a bunch of times. I found the sighting lesson and practice we had on Sunday was priceless here. I think I managed to do a really good job of keeping on course using the tips I'd be shown.

And Coach Mark actually complimented me on my stroke. He said I had a really good stroke for open water. One of the campers said he even told her to look at me when he was telling her how to adjust her form. I felt great after hearing that. Not that I don't have a ton to learn and plenty of ways to improve.

After the swim, the campers in our house went out for breakfast at IHOP. We really do get along quite well and had a good time relaxing. I am sure we did a good job impressing the waitress with how much we ate and how fast we ate it!

Tonight, we watched the swim analysis video that was taped at the National Training Centre back on Monday. I found this session fascinating. I enjoyed seeing Coach Jeff point out a lot of typical problems - and then discuss some individual analysis.

In terms of my video, the big thing was that I have a ridiculously fast kick that I need to work on slowing down - and that I kick a lot from the knee, instead of the hip. Interestingly, he said that a wetsuit actually corrects that (the knee bend) because it forces you to have good form.

There was also some discussion about stroke count (I have quite a high one - 70-75 according to Coach Mark), but at the same time I have quite a long reach, which is apparently good for pool swimming. So if I tighten up my reach a little (I really have no idea if that is the right terminology), I will be in good shape.

Overall, it was neat to see the video of my swimming, because it makes the issues blatantly obvious. A  fantastic and very informative evening - and it leaves me with some good stuff to work on.

So, that was my day. I had a fantastic experience on the bike for the first time. It was ridiculously fun and exciting (as opposed to un-nerving and awkward like some of the rides this week). I also had some good run intervals, a great open water swim, and then a positive and helpful swim analysis.

Couldn't ask for a better training day!

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