Dee Allen won Age Group Gold at ETU Long Distance Duathlon European Championships in Copenhagen last weekend, the latest in a string of excellent results so far this year. We chatted to her about the influence of her new coach on how she trains and approaches races.
Hi Dee. You made the tough choice to leave Team Freespeed this year to benefit from one on one coaching closer to home up North. You’ve started the year well with wins at in the Duathlons at Oulton park and Stockton and now with the age group win in Copenhagen, it seems the change is having the desired effect?
Yes, it’s been great! It was obviously a tough decision but having my coach at every training session is really paying dividends. I had a plan before, but my previous coach was based in France and so I find myself straying from that plan a lot, which is only natural I guess. I now have more structure, more focus. There’s now a group of 5 of us who train together, which has been fantastic. We have a laugh and a joke around training, which is really good psychologically.
What does your typical training week look like?
On Monday I start the day in the gym, I usually do yoga for an hour, then I’m in the pool from 7am until 8am doing pacing work, and the coach will maybe throw in the odd cheeky time trial to keep us on our toes. On Tuesday I ride a 17.5 mile commute to work at reasonable pace, focusing mostly on my pedal stroke. Then I’ll do a trail run in the evening, around 10 miles.
On Wednesday I’m up early again for a swim session and then I have a 9 mile ride to work from the pool. I have Wednesday evening off, so that’s usually date night! On Thursday I swim again, then I get in some circuit training with my Dad, he’s a gym instructor and he pushes me pretty hard. He’s got an army background and so I’ve always done that and I think it’s a big part of why I’ve stayed injury-free.
On Friday I ride to work and back as my bike session and then on Saturday I’ll do a longer run, replacing that with a bike stint if I’m working that day. Sunday is all about pace work and I try to do around 4.5 hours.
Image from Dee Allen Twitter ©
You went on a warm weather camp recently. What do you do anything differently when you’re away?
I actually booked the camp late last year as I was feeling quite down about my training. Steve Lumley runs the camp in Mallorca, it’s a really intense week, although I always try to get an hour or so a day on the sun beds! We swim in the morning, have a long bike session in the afternoon and then run in the evening. The best thing about these camps is that your food is taken care of and you can just focus on your training without any of the usual stresses back at home. It’s a great time to see where your body’s at.
How do you stay hydrated during a race?
I use Precision Hydration 250s on a daily basis as my training schedule is fairly demanding. On race days I usually preload with the 1000s the night before then take a 500 in the morning before the race. Then, depending on the length of race and how hot it is, I’ll have the 250 or 500 strength in my bottles when I’m out there. I sometimes mix the 250 with a bit of orange juice for the extra calories.
(Note: Typically we recommend our 1500mg electrolyte for preloading, but as Dee loses a relatively low amount of sodium in her sweat, we tailored her recommendation to match how she sweats)
What do you eat the day before, the morning of, and during your races?
The night before I’ll tend to eat a rice-based dish, often with salmon, as that sits well with my stomach. In the morning I have granola with yoghurt, banana and some honey.
I must admit I’ve not focused as much on my nutrition as I’d like to have done, but I’ll be getting more serious about my strategy this year as I step up to Ironman. I feel like I have my hydration strategy nailed down, so with nutrition sorted I should be in a good place.
We know your ultimate goal is Kona. What are the next steps you’re focusing on to get you towards that goal?
I really want to respect the distance and want to give it my best shot over the 70.3 first, with the aim of making the podium at both Staffordshire 70.3 and the Euro Champs in Germany. I have 3 half Ironman events this year. I think it’ll be two years until I do full Ironman. As well as Staffordshire, I have the Equaliser (where the women set off before the men), Wisenberg in August and Hellvellen in September.