A busy week with a day in Glencoe and 2 days of racing over the weekend.
In 2015 Fiona and I had tried to get up North skiing during the week when we could to avoid the weekend crowds. We decided to do the same again this year and with the winter finally calming down Thursday gave us our first opportunity for this.
We got to the Glencoe ski station around 9:20am and after Fiona got her skis headed for the slopes. Snow conditions were very good and there was a ski race training event for juniors going on. Sadly due to avalanche risk the ‘flypaper’ run wasn’t open.
We also got less sun than we had hoped for but overall very little wind and it gave Fiona a good opportunity to practice her skiing a bit more again. She only started 3 years ago and hasn’t had many opportunities to practice. We have early plans to go to the biathlon world championships in Austria next year and do some skiing at the same time, although the more obvious one would be to go cross country skiing.
As mentioned in my first ‘weekly roundup’ 2 weeks ago, I was going to start some video analysis work at Dalry pool. Last Tuesday saw the first of these with 3 swimmers. The plan is to have these every last Tuesday of the month. 3 swimmers seemed roughly the right amount allowing for enough time to video and analyse.
I’d video the swimmers for 4 lengths one after another. After the filming was done the swimmers decided that they were happy to have their video reviewed with the other 2 swimmers present. This gave them other feedback points too.
I use a GoPro Hero+ which I got at Christmas and do the analysis on coaches’ eye for which I have the software both on the laptop and the tablet. I prefer the tablet version though as the analysis tools are better so need to find a way of getting the video files onto the tablet quickly for onsite analysis. Unfortunately my tablet doesn’t have an SD card slot.
Overall this was a very successful evening and I am looking forward to the next one on March 29.
Double Race Weekend
This was my 4th double race weekend since mid December and they seem to be going surprisingly well although I did question how well things were going at the nationals when it seemed that everyone was passing me throughout the race. It really only settled during the 3rd lap (of 3). It was the increased quality of the field that made the difference and not my performance. Once I’d crossed the finish line in 52 minutes for the 12.8km which equated to an average speed of 4:05 min/km – on par with my best performances – I felt a whole lot better. The Falkirk course doesn’t look that challenging but with only a few flat stretches it is a tough one.
Less than 24 hours later I was on the start line of the Bowhill Duathlon – the long course this time after I did the Medium in January. My concern after the Nationals was the run leg as my calves were tight, probably from racing in spikes which I wasn’t used to.
One thing I took away from the previous race was to get a good grid position – you start on the bike – as I got boxed in last time. I got this right and knew from the off that the bike would be a whole lot better. The course was a surprise as it was much more technical than expected and frozen mud brings up its own challenges. Overall I dealt with it well though as I only lost a small number of places throughout the bike.
Once I hit the run, the calves made themselves known but even with them being sore I started picking off one competitor after another. The scenario was very similar to the medium event as I made my way up the field to my seemingly rightful position. In the long course the run is an out and back so you started getting an idea where you were placed. Interestingly, once I hit the turnaround I only overtook 2 more runners. The course was fun with a fantastic forest section weaving through trees although I was less convinced by the added tunnel. I finished 27th overall this time after having finished 44th 4 weeks ago. Doesn’t seem as if the nationals caused me any major problems there.
Team News – Illness, Injuries and success
Winter takes its toll as I have a number of athletes either ill or injury due to slipping on ice or – not actually winter related – overdoing strength exercises. Luckily in all cases we have been able to manage the situation with added strength work or focusing on different aspects of the sport. Also we were able to react quick enough to get the athletes back on the track of recovery
Fiona though stayed both injury and illness free to join me and a few Harmeny team mates at the XC Nationals. She finished a strong XC season in 12th place in her category. We couldn’t have asked for a better result in her first Nationals.
Nick Smith is the Strength and Conditioning Coach a few of my athletes work with and I had time last week to catch up with Nick and discuss the key areas we were working on with those athletes. I brought Nick on board a few months ago after he had already been working with 2 of my athletes at the time. It helps me to have someone of Nick’s quality to work on the strength side of things. Nick enjoys the challenge of working with athletes in endurance sport as it poses a very different focus than Rugby players he has worked with up until recently. We discussed sport specific techniques and how best he can apply weight work to these. Nick works out of Energy Gym Edinburgh.
I was also contacted by Patricia a local photographer who is interested in a collaboration between the 2 of us. We had a good chat and are off on an early project this week. More details on this to follow.