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St Moritz & 70.3 Luxembourg (23.06.17)

This is my 3rd week in St Moritz. It feels like I have been here longer, but at the same time, with a trip to Luxembourg last weekend it's been no time at all. Time to get into the routine of camp: sleep, train, eat, repeat but in terms of the routine of training, patterns from week to week I've not been there yet. 

For me, regulating and moderating the first five days at camp are pretty crucial. Time after time I've 'found' myself picking up a cough or a niggle by the end of the first 7-10days. Throw in some 1800m of altitude and I'm pretty high risk for coming undone. Some athletes are less affected on arrival at altitude, but I'm tired, drained, constantly thirsty and despite being tired, I'm generally not sleeping well for about the first week. My training volume is slashed and there was zero, and I mean zero intensity for most of wk 1. In the first 5 days I had 3x 2km swim sessions. That's 2k in total - not 2k main set... How could I possibly be tired from that? But I was. This is not the same for everyone, but I've been up to St Moritz several times now and believe it or not, we live, learn and adapt the training accordingly.

So, 10days after arriving at altitude, I left again and headed to Luxembourg for the 70.3. We did debate the pro's and con's of interrupting the training and altitude adaptation for some travel and another training race, but decided that the more race time I can get, the better.  Slight curve ball at the pro-briefing was that it would be a non-wetsuit swim and while normally I would prefer to be swimming in neoprene, I was quite happy to sailfish-swim-skin-it-up and was basically thinking ahead to Kona. As it turns out, it looks like IM Austria (next race alert) is also going to be non-wetsuit so the more practice I can get, the better.  I finished the 70.3 Lux in 4th, Vlog on my fb-page, but essentially felt like I should have been closer (or preferably at,) the pointy end of the race. None the less, I have no regrets about going, it was good training, good to be racing, and Alex (Drummond Clinic) had also made the trip over from the UK to sort me out with some invaluable physio and maintenance work over the four days, and took the 'opportunity' do the race himself while he was there.

As a side note, it was good to catch up briefly with team-mates Marino, Stefan and his girlfriend (who are on the Elite PEWAG team) and also, milling around the transition area on race morning, I randomly bumped into Patrick and his wife Eefje who were my first ever homestay hosts at 70.3 Antwerp back in 2011. We've always stayed loosely in touch, but it has been a while and was great to see them both. Moreover, I was chuffed to hear that Patrick finished well under the 5hr goal that he has been striving and working hard for, for some time - congratulations Patrick! 

On arriving back in St Moritz, I'm back to the training. Always adjusting for altitude, the recent race and at the same time, striving to 'build' the training in order to feel like I'm making some kind of progress. The build element is there, but it is elusive. With altitude, no regular pattern of training, constantly rolling in and out of races, the method of monitoring or seeing any progression week on week isn't applicable. So I'm focussed on doing the work, trying not to grasp at the time / speed / power metrics and trust that the fitness will develop. I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm training and I'm racing. Fast will come!

I have another week here and then I'm heading to Austria for my second Ironman of the year. I'm also on the start list for IM Frankfurt the following week, but that is there as a back up incase there is something that prevents me from finishing in Austria. I'm still working towards Kona qualification and following Austria, we will have a count up of the points and see what the plan is for the rest of July and August. Onwards! 

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