Smash the Ball Buster!
Intro and workshop
Being located in SW London/ Surrey, I have often been asked about the Ball-Buster, a seriously challenging duathlon which can test the mettle of even the most robust athletes. This is an event I frequently recommend to clients to demonstrate their end of summer fitness, on terrain many people commonly train, using ‘The Box’ or ‘Little Switzerland’ as locals have endearingly tagged it.
Here, I will briefly elaborate on elements of the event that influence a strong personal best time (if you have never raced before) or be successful with a significant decrease in race time, for previous entrants. Also, how those elements can be translated in to effective training.
The course outline is shown below along with the associated profile and gradients. I have broken the course down into notable sections which can be exploited in terms of pacing and performance. Then I have described my appraisal of how that performance objective may be translated into physiological conditioning and specific Ball-Buster training. This should allow you to match event demands to target physical limitations/weaknesses needed for better performance and hence a wider ability for optimal pacing. The caveat being, that adequate nutritional approaches, rest, quality of recovery and sleep are necessary to improve the probability of a personal best on event day.
I believe these guidelines will increase those chances for motivated athletes already training with structure, to benefit from the info. I have also included the link (below) to a Training Peak platform, power and RPE/ HR based plan which covers effective training for the Ball-Buster specific performance aspects in a well designed schedule suitable to moderately/ well experienced athletes. The well designed programme considers all of the performance aspects as mentioned, to bring them together over a 19-week schedule of short duration sessions, mid-week and target breakthrough sessions for both running/ cycling and bricks at the weekend which varies between 8-12hrs/ week. Sessions are described in training zones and RPE where possible and rely on lactate threshold determination either performed at a reliable human performance lab or done conveniently with the BSX Insight. I have included as much relevant info and annotated sessions where possible, yet keep it simple enough to follow quite easily.
Smash the Ball Buster Training Peak programme can be found here.
I hope to conduct a brief workshop at Destination Bike, on the BB course, a week before the event to go through some of the information on this post, and understand what constitutes an optimal pacing strategy, over coffee. In the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding training or race strategy for coming Ball-Buster or register your interest in attending the workshop.
Translation to Training