First training swim and technique assessment.

Fran took me to the pool today and ripped my swimming technique apart. He discovered I was very weak through the pull phase of the swimming stroke, I did not have enough body roll and my hands were crossing in the midline. My legs were too low in the water and my kick was too weak. When I went to breathe I was lifting my head right up out of the water and creating drag which was slowing me down.

We did two drill using a buoy and a kick board. He made me focus on more body rolling and pulling my arm past my thigh. I had to relax my shoulder as it came out of the water and get more body roll. This allowed my head to rest against my arm and create less drag. My kick had to come from my hips and it helped raise them out of the water.

I found the kicking tiring and if I have to swim like this for 3.8km I would not make it at this stage of my training. The swim session highlighted the importance of technique and in the swimming this is what will create the speed. Fran reinforced to me… “Rhys slow your self down and focus on technique”.

I think I will get into the pool and prctice what Fran has said and also get some DVD’s or books on swim technique so I can see it myself under the water. I would like to get something from a leading swim coach or swimmer in the world.

I bought a pair of goggles  today. They were on tight and uncomfortable around the eye sockets. I may consider buying the mask to swim in as the goggles can get kicked off at the start of the race.

Unfortunately Fran has had to pull out of the taking me to the bike shop this Thursday. It will wait for another 2 weeks. I had a fellow Triathlete recommend for buying triathlon gear and he gave me the triathlon 2020 back page and showed me an advertisement for a bike box at £150.

I can see I must be super organised to get through this. Work and social life and anything else I do must be balanced and on a tight time schedule. I want to train well so on race day I can enjoy it and along the way learn the best possible technique that I can.

Planning other races.

Today I spoke to a fellow ironman athlete who is wanting to do the Austria half ironman 2010. Fran has advised me that the only other race I need to do before the ironman is a half ironman and the Austria race would be good as it has hills in it. I want to do an overseas race so I get accustomed to travelling with my kit and racing after travel.

I checked the website and the half ironman course is different to the full ironman course n Austria. I want to find out where the venue is in relationship to an airport, will I need to rent a car and drive there, will there be hills on the course for me to ride?  I have emailed the staff for further advice.

I am not interested if it requires I drive and rent a car. It is not worth the hassle. Fran keeps mentioning the Barcelona half ironman. I will be checking this out next.

I got confirmation from Dr Justin Roberts that he can see me at the end of August. He also used to be a physiologist for the England Institute of sport. I can kill two birds with one stone. I am excited to learn how he can help me.

I checked out equipment on the internet and mainly came across American websites. There is more range of equipment in America and it costs much less. I will compare prices and see which is the best way to purchase my equipment. Looking to buy winter biking kit, wet suit, Bike travel case, swimming resistence kit, tri suit and running gear. I did find out about body lubricant that reduces friction when taking off the wetsuit. Also found balaclavas and socks that go over the cycle shoes. These socks will be a must as I remember cycling in winter and my feet freezing.

First meeting with Ironman coach Fran.

Met with Fran yesterday for the first coaching meeting. He has outlined the equipment I must pruchase for the training. I have a Felt racing bike but if it is uncomfortable on the long runs I am to change it. 180km of pain on the bike does not sound enjoyable. He has a shop in Barnes for me to visit. We will be going next weekend. He wants me to look for winter training gear for the bike, Racing triathlon clothes, Swimming floats and paddles, goggles and wet suit. I have shoes and orthotics coming from New Zealand.

He emphasised the importance in this phase of training is strength and to prepare my body so as to avoid injuries. I get biateral ITB syndrome on both knees when I run on the road therefore  I am working on hip mobility, strengthening my posterior gluteus medius, Massaging the ITB’s over a foam roller and doing  pilates to improve my motor control training and proprioception when I run.

Today I did two sessions in the gym. A running session with stretching of ITB’s and thoracic spine over the foam roller and Figure 4 stretches for the hip joints. My gluteal muscles were more active post session and I felt freer through the hips. I also did a weight session for my chest.

Fran discussed the importance of nutriton and I have arranged to see Dr Justin Roberts a nutritional expert for endurance events and an ironman himself. I am waiting for feedback on a physiologist to see.

I have timetabled my week for training and work. I have 2 hours each day from Monday to Friday and 4 hours on Saturday to train. The goal at the moment is to get back into all disciplines slowly. I went for a run on the treadmill for 15 minutes today and will start swimming this week as well.

The plan is to meet Fran at LA fitness Gym South Kensington next Tuesday and he will look at my swimming technique and get me on a strength- sport specific training program. I will be focussing on technique first in the training program.

I know I will need plenty of rest to recover. I am planning a holiday to South America in December for 2 weeks. This will be added into the program.

I do not usually  research equipment I buy. This time I will start researching so when I go to the shop I know which is the quality equipment I want.

Entering the Switzerland Ironman 2010, August 1.

Physical Edge specialises in the treatment of triathletes of all levels. It has entered Rhys Chong into the Switzerland Ironman 2010 on August 1. The following Blogs will describe the process Rhys goes through as he takes on this event in one years time. The purpose of the event is to help Physical Edge better treat its clients by understanding the training and competing demands on an Ironman athlete.

Rhys…..It has been exciting to enter the event at last. When the money was been paid and the email confirmation came through I realised it was actually going to happen. I immediately told 6 of my friends. I needed the help of my friend Fran to fully commit and enter the event. Fran is a personal traininer, ex military and a consistent ironman competitor over the past three years. He helped describe the training that was involved and that it was possible for me to do it with a year of preparation. He has accepted the responsibility of coaching me. Fran called to check I entered the event and he made sure I did not miss entering as these events are full within 1 -2 weeks. I wanted to enter the Frankfurt or Austria Ironman events as they are flatter courses but they were fulll within days. The Switzerland Ironman has some hills in the bike leg but the run is a flat course.

Running is my weakness and an easy course for the marathon would help me in the race. For those that do not know the event is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run (marathon).

I have found the support from my friends really encouraging. Many have said they will come to the event to support me. This would really help me on the day and also calm my nerves.

My first step has been to get a plan. I want to find a mentor. Someone who has been successful at the highest level in Ironman events. I want to see a nutritionist at the england institute of sport and also get tested for a trianing plan by a physiologist.

My bike was fitted at Cylce fit but it is not 100% comfortable. I rode the London to Brighton bike ride (90km) on it 5 weeks ago and it was ok. I will see how I go on the longer rides and if it is uncomfortable I will invest in a fitted bike probably at cycle fit. I currently have a Felt racing bike.

My brother, Justin, is a podiatrist and he has assessed my feet and will be shipping me orthotics and running shoes from New Zealand. I have also started pilates as I get bilateral ITB Friction syndrome on both knees when I run long distances. I am rolling the ITBs on a foam roller in the gym.

I think having a clear precise plan for the training will help me get focussed. I have booked two training camps in Lanzarote where they have purpose built training facilities for triathletes. These will happen in May and June of 2010.

I plan to use the community on the website to gather further training tips and I will be joining the Ful-on triathlon club to help with my training through the winter months.

The support I have around me will help me get over the long hours of training alone.

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