Monday, 26 January 2009

2 weeks in a row

This week was another good training week, not scheduling any training in the evening seems to be working pretty well at the moment, I'm still hitting the hours that I want to but am not having to miss sessions due to work. I'd ideally like to get an extra run session in but am not too fussed as the moment.

I think that my swimming is continuing to slowly improve, I feel like I am back at the pace that I was at before I changed my stroke and am now comfortable breathing to both sides, in fact so much so that breathing every two strokes feels really odd now, I can see why I was unbalanced before.

I commuted on the bike 4 days this week and ran in on the other day, Monday was a bit of a nightmare as it was pouring with rain and the traffic was nose to tail the whole way in so it took me over an hour to get in to work (usually takes about 40 mins).

The weekends training was good, legs are pretty sore (although Erika's massage has helped that out a fair bit) but after the victorious 4km run on Saturday morning I came home and got on the bike for 5.5 hours, it was dry but pretty cold, 3 degrees at first rising to a tropical 6 degrees by the time I got back. I've now got the power meter that Erika got me for my birthday installed so was interesting to see some different data whilst riding. I rode round to Dorking on the A25, lots of undulations, and then went over Box Hill before heading back.

Today's run was scheduled for 2 hours 40 mins, ans it was raining steadily as I headed out, didn't bother me too much though and I was fairly happy with the run, legs were pretty tired on the way back home so I struggled to get my heart rate up but I cracked the 30km distance for the first time. I don't ever plan to run for more than 3 hours as beyond that you don't really get much return for your training other than injuries so I'll be holding the long run at around this length of time for a while and just trying to continue to get stronger. I have a similar week of training planned for this week, then next week will be a recovery week, Erika and I are doing a 10km race on Sunday 8th.

This weeks training totals were as follows:

Swim - 7.5km (4.7 miles) - 2 hour 44 mins
Bike - 305.1km (190.7 miles) - 12 hours 23 mins
Run - 51.6km (32.3 miles) - 4 hours 25 mins

Total training time - 19 hours 32 mins

My first ever 'race' win

Ok, so not strictly a race but I did post the fastest time at the 4km time trial that I did on Saturday morning. I think I was helped by the fact that they started using two waves with anyone who hadn't done it before starting 30 seconds after those that had. That meant that as I was allowed to go I had plenty of people to chase down.

There were 44 people in the event and I set of at the front of the second group. By the 1km mark I had caught and passed all but about 5 of the other runners that started in front of me then I set about trying to catch the others. Not having done any sort of speed work for a few months it was pretty tough going and felt a bit strange to have my heart rate so high after all the long slow running and biking. I got up to 3rd and could see the two guys in front but wasn't making much of an impression. I had an extra 30 seconds and knew that I would be at least second but it would be close for first. Went as hard as I could and crossed the line in 16.09, would have liked to have been a bit quicker but overall was happy.

Checked the times with the timekeeper and luckily for me, without anyone challenging him the guy at the front came in on 16.10.

Here's the proof:

Not a real win as looking at the other guys previous times I'm sure he would have gone quicker if I was on his shoulder but is a nice ego boost all the same!

Plus I bet he didn't then go out and do a 5.5 hour ride afterwards! I had another good week of training hitting all of my sessions, I'll post some details of my week once I've updated my training log.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Erika thinks I'm a loser...

I'm clearly a bit OCD about my training and like to keep a record of exactly what I have been doing. I spent a couple of hour the other day sorting out the spreadsheet that I use to record it all and it now draws nice graphs for me, here's one showing the total hours of training per week for 2008:

I did the Geelong Half Ironman in Feb and then lost my bike whilst it was on the boat on the way back to England so whilst travelling I only did some running. The last couple of weeks of the year were low due to illness, total for the whole year was 471 hours 45 mins.

Solid training week

Last week was a really good week training wise, back to work so getting some 'free' training by commuting in on the bike most days and running in 1 day. I'm now not scheduling any training in the evenings (apart from a recovery swim on a Monday) due to work starting to get busy so it is nice to be able to hit all of my sessions even if the total number is lower than it has been.

After a few weekends of poor weather, and poor health, I decided to bring the ride time for my long rides on a Saturday back down a bit to make sure that I am not overdoing it, plenty of time for mega rides when the weather improves.

I woke up nice and early on Saturday wanting to get going on the bike but could hear rain hammering down on the windows. The BBC reliably told me that it was going to be fine once the rain cleared so I waited for 30 minutes and headed out. Was no longer raining but wet roads needed some care. I was planning on 4 hours 45 mins of riding and set out with the intention of taking on some hills. Things were going well, enjoyed a couple of decent climbs although had to come back down the other side very carefully due to slippery roads which is no fun and the skies were nice and blue. As I was on my way down towards Tonbridge on a road that I hadn't ridden before I was greeted by a rogue cloud that decided I would like a hail storm for a bout 20 minutes not only soaking me right through but also quite painful as you are being pelted in the face by lumps of ice, was pleased when that passed although my feet never regained feeling from that point home! Erika gave me a slightly strange look when I got home, my face was covered in muck off the roads, that would explain the odd looks I was getting from people in their cars!

Sunday's long run was good, same time as last week (2.5 hours) but this time I tried to move my heart rate up a little within the zone that I was aiming for, in the end my average HR was only 1 or 2 beats higher than last week but I managed to cover an extra km so the run was 28.5km in total (17.8 miles). I was on for an even split but the last couple of km before home are uphill so I lost about 90 seconds there, was pretty tired when I got home though.

Training totals for the week were:

Swim - 7.6km (4.75 miles) - 2 hours 44 mins
Bike - 254km (158.8 miles) - 10 hours 10 mins
Run - 44.4km (27.8 miles) - 3 hours 51 mins
Strength work - 20 mins
Total training time - 17 hours 6 minutes

I'd like to get another run in during the week as I only did 2 runs but was generally happy with the structure and fitting it in around work (although the alarm clock is not currently my friend)

Erika is getting back into running again with coach Rob writing the program so we're off to do a 4km time trial this Saturday. I haven't tried to run 'fast' for ages so it will be interesting to see what I can do, we used to run that sort of distance as a time trial regularly in Melbourne (although there was a big hill in the middle of the course) but back then I was doing a lot more work on running quicker rather than purely focusing on developing the endurance. Being ultra competitive I will still give it everything, will be going for a 5 hour+ ride afterward though so that could be interesting.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Coldest ride ever!!!

Looking back over the past couple of months of blog entries it's clear that I'm a bit obsessed by the weather, however this weekend was the craziest yet. I'd had a good week of training and was looking forward to the weekend, with a 6 hour ride planned for Saturday and a 2.5 hour run on Sunday.

I knew it wasn't going to be warm on Saturday so got up and put on every item of clothing that I could find! A few weeks back I really struggled with getting through too much liquid and running short so decided to take my camelback as well as some water bottles on the bike to make sure that I had enough liquid.

Erika was off to do her massage course for the weekend and she left about 20 minutes before me, just as I was about to leave she called me to tell me that the car was reading -7! It didn't look too bad at home though, there wasn't really too much frost around and I was all ready to go so decided to head out anyway and see how it was.

Well, it was cold!! I thought I'd give it half an hour of riding to see if I warmed up and to be honest after half an hour I didn't feel too bad, face was a bit cold but body seemed to be working ok. It was at that point that I tried to have some water from the camelback, that was completely frozen. So I thought I'd get some from a waterbottle instead, again completely frozen within 30 minutes of being outside. By this point I was down into Kent and could now understand where the -7 had come from, everything was completely white with frost, I should have stopped to take a picture but I don't think I would have started again!!

I decided that 6 hours out in that with no liquid was probably not a very good idea so changed my route so that I would only cover about 70km before being back home. Going uphill was fine as the wind chill eased a bit but as one point I was doing 55km/h going downhill and I thought my fingers were going to fall off they were so cold!! The last 45 minutes were not too much fun, was starting to get thirsty by then as well!!

When I was on the bike I thought I'd get home and do an hours run instead but I got in and got changed into my running stuff but still felt frozen. With a long run planned for Sunday and the memory of being ill for a week last time I pushed a bit too hard I thought it would be more sensible to give the urn a miss.

I spent a couple of hours on Saturday putting on the Polar power meter for my bike that Erika got me for my birthday.

Sunday's run was good, dead slow but I went out with the plan to run an even pace for the whole 2.5 hours, I ran out for 75 minutes and got back in 75 minutes and 9 seconds so I think that is pretty good!

I'm now back to work so have had to juggle my training plan around a bit. I'll be pretty busy for the next few months so I am not going to schedule any sessions in the evenings as I know that I'll end up missing them and just get frustrated so I am going to try and get up most mornings to do something before work and if I get the chance to do anything in the evening then that is a bonus.

First bonus was yesterday when I managed to get to the pool by about 7, forgot that it is the start of January so there were about 28 million people in the gym, wasn't too bad in the pool though.

This morning I went out for an hours ride before coming home, swapping bikes and then riding in to work. It was a tropical 8 degrees which made a nice change, batteries were running down on my front light though which made some of the unlit sections of road a bit dodgy!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

6 Months to go

Today marks exactly 6 months to go until Austria, still quite some time but given that it is 6 months since I entered I suspect that it will go pretty quickly.

Training over the last couple of weeks has been a bit indifferent, the illness lasted a good couple of weeks so Christmas week meant almost no training at all, slightly different to my experience last year where I rode 1,000km during Christmas week including 200km on Christmas morning!

This week was scheduled for a recovery week and I managed to get out and do most of those session, no swimming but a good amount of running and riding and am now feeling much better so back into a full week this week.

The weather has been cold so I decided against going out for my long ride on Saturday, everything was still frosty at 9am and maximum temperature was scheduled to be 1 degree so thought it safer to do my session on the indoor trainer. Loaded up the DVD player and lined up the Gatorade and powerbars on the kitchen side and got on with spending4 hours on the bike. I've not done more than 90 minutes on the windtrainer before and 4 hours was certainly a mental challenge (i.e. very boring!!). It gives a good opportunity to focus on the effort and I tried to keep my heart rate nice and even for the whole time, but my legs were certainly feeling it towards the end, sadly no downhill sections or traffic light stops to give your legs a rest so it was probably a fair bit tougher than a 4 hour ride outside.

I am also an amazing sweat machine when I am on a windtrainer so after 4 hours I was very pleased to get off and get changed for a quick 20 min run.

Did a slow 2 hour run on Sunday morning in the freezing cold, -2 when I left but was a good run, not huge distance covered but felt pretty easy. Had a rest day today to make sure that I recovered properly form the weekend, although this was the scene that greeted me this morning so probably good that I didn't have too much planned!I'm off work this week so hopefully it should be pretty easy to fit the training in. Work will get extra busy over the next couple of months so fitting the training in is going to be a real challenge, my plan is to do my sessions in the morning and not schedule anything for the evenings so that I can get my work done, hopefully by the time the weather warms up work will start to get under control again as I do my last few months of training.

December training totals are down on previous months due to my complete rest week at the start of the month and the missed sessions due to my illness last week:

  • Swim 13.0km (8.1miles) - 4 hours 44 min
  • Bike 485.4km (303.4miles) - 18 hours 50 minutes
  • Run 127.5km (79.7 miles) - 11 hours 23 minutes
  • Gym time = 1 hour 47 min

Total Training time = 36 hours 44 minutes

Since entering Ironman Austria totals are as follows (to 31 December 2008):

  • Swim 95.9km (59.9miles) - 36 hours 27 mins
  • Bike 4,340.2km (2,712.6miles) - 163hours 47 mins
  • Run 1,053.9 km (658.7 miles) - 91 hours 7 mins

Total training time 291 hours 22 mins