Daily Log 5 May 2011



I’ve been reading up on bike workouts and found a really useful and easy reference by POLAR written by  Dr Matt Brick called Precision Multisport. Dr Matt Brick is a sports orthopedic surgeon who also happens to be a very successful professional duathlete and triathlete so he must know what’s he’s talking about.  In the reference booklets he advocates doing lots of intervals on the bike and the session he designed doesn’t really look all that complicated (simple but not easy, if you know what I mean).

So one of the intervals sessions found in the booklet goes as follows:

15 min warm up (small gear, easy spin, 60% effort).
Stop and stretch now.
5 min hard (80-90%), repeat 3 times.
2 min easy (60-70%).
15 min cool down

(ref Page 52 Precision Multisports)

NOTE: I need to start reminding people that all the tips I write about comes from books and articles that I read. I am hardly the expert on the stuff and am still learning the stuff. If you haven’t been working out or running for a lont time, make sure you check with your doctors before you start working out. Better to be safe.


So I programmed my POLAR RS 800 as above and started my workout.

I thought it was going to be easy.

It wasn’t.

I found it very difficult to get my heart rate to about 80% MHR my legs was spinning so quickly that I thought I was going to take off. I went up to a cadence of 100+ and barely touched 80%. I think next time I’m going to increase the resistance on my bike trainer so that it would take more effort to get my cadence up.

One good thing though is that I am now making sure I pedal at a cadence oh 90 or above (unless it’s s power workout in which case the cadence would go way low). Even if it’s a warm up session I can go on the smaller gears (or is it bigger gears?) and still maintain a high cadence without my heart rate shooting up.

Anyway, learnt a lot from this one session. Next time will be better.


OK. This is the one I’ve been dreading. My first triathlon swimming workout session with Coach Saiful at the National Aquatic Center. I’ve been mulling this over for weeks now.

Shall I go?

Shall I not go?

Shall I go?

ShallI not go?

So today I decided to go. The National Aquatic Center is quite a drive away from where I live so all the way there I was thinking what it would be like. WhenI got there, I saw a group of about 12 guys and gals getting ready. There was still time to escape until Saiful saw me and escorted me to the swimming pool. I put on a brave face and just started stretching when he came up to me and said,

‘let me help you stretch’ and within 10 secs my arms were a mess of contorted limbs and joints and he was pulling them all over the place. I was actually quite surprised that my joints can bend so much.

After the normal introductions (geeze. I can’t remember everyone’s names) we were told to go for a 400m warm up swim.

400m warm up? It’s a far cry from my usual 100m warm ups. So feeling a little shy and sheepish I started to swim my warm up laps.

The big difference between this pool and the pool I’m used to is that this one has a deep end. After the 25 m point the bottom would get further.

I panicked just a little bit and started to lose my form. I think I was thinking that I have to make sure I swim better so that I won’t drown. There’s no logic to that at all if you really think about it. I should just swim the way I normally swim.

I was still suffering from this ‘madness’ when I finished my warm up. Coach Saiful said this was an easy recovery day so the sets were not that intense. We started with 20 laps of freestyle. Everyone was using paddles and pull buoys for this session except me who forgot to buy a set of paddles.

Actually I did buy some paddles a long time ago but there were size L which I now know is way to big for me. The bigger the paddle the more intense the workout on the shoulder muscles. I thought it had something to with my size but obviously not.

So the workout was simple. Swim 1 lap. Rest 20 secs and repeat 20 times.

I was managing a lap time between 1:09 and 1:20 which is fantastic for me. I usually do 1:30 and the fortunately I was doing the laps at about 65%-75% MHR so I was not fatigued at all and I’m quite confident I can sustain this pace for awhile. By this time I had gotten over the ‘bottom  of the pool phobia’ and had begun to relax a little and I was able to get into my rhythm.

The next workout involved swimming fins and we had to do 6 sets of 50×1 side kick, 50×1 bilateral breathing, 50×1 one armed drills.

The bilateral breathing was a big issue for me. I can swim and breath quite efficiently (well efficient for me) on my right side but when I breath on my left side I found myself panicking a lot and I breath in water instead of air many times during that particular drill. I think this is the one thing I need to pay attention to in the next few weeks. If I’m able to do the bilateral breathing efficiently I’ll be a happy camper.

I managed to do 5 sets before the last drill was a speed drill. Swim as fast as I can for 1 lap and do a slow return lap.

My time- 55 secs. I must say, not bad. Not good but not bad either.

We finished with a 200m cool down session which ended with Coach Saiful helping me become a contortionist. I am really surprised I can bend that far.

Another valuable thing I learnt today was that a faster stroke cadence does not necessarily mean a faster time for me. When I try to swim faster by a faster stroke I fund myself going slower. The trick is to still relax and stretch and pull more in the water.

So all in all a great day for swimming and I really enjoyed myself. Saiful said that there are 3 sessions a week. Mondays, wednesdays and thursdays. Mondays are moderate days, wednesdays are hard and thursdays are easy recovery.

WillI go again? You bet. I can imagine my swimming will be very different in a few weeks time if I go 3 times a week. I have to rearrange my whole schedule as mondays are currently my rest days. Maybe I’ll make friday my rest days eh?

My goal of becoming a triathlete is gaining momentum and I can see some light at the end of the tunnel now.

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