Monday, 27 April 2009

Well rested but starting to get nervous

Arrived back from my holiday yesterday and had a great time, we spent just over 2 weeks in South Africa and managed to get to Durban, Johannesburg, a game reserve, the Garden Route and Cape Town. Throw in a wedding (which was the main reason for the trip) and you have a fairly busy two weeks. I won't add all the photos that I took (digital camera's only result in me taking hundreds of of pictures of sunsets) but here are a selected few:
A friendly lion cub:

are you sure they only eat grass??

Sunset at Camps Bay, table Mountain in the background

Managed to take in an IPL game in Cape Town, another spectacular sunset after a stormy day

Finally, I'm not sure that his elephant was too pleased with us watching him and his family!!

Training was pretty much nil while I was away, I managed a few short runs but nothing else, my legs at least feel well rested now!!

Got home yesterday to the realisation that Barcelona is now only 4 weeks away so with Austria only 6 weeks after that the two weeks of no training has made me a bit nervous, but also determined to get back into it. I also ate well whilst on holiday, so have a few kg's that I would prefer not to be carrying around races with me so need to try and deal with that over the coming 2 months as well.

Didn't train yesterday after a long flight but went out for an easy 2 hour run this morning that was ok, am going to do a couple of hours on the bike this evening as well as it is light beyond 8pm now which is good. I'm back to work from Monday but will be putting of plenty of hours into the training.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

A nasty cold and a busy week at work

Training this week has been rubbish! My legs recovered well from the Half Ironman on the weekend, felt much better than they have done after recent races so that was promising, however the rest of me felt terrible, the cold that was creeping up over the weekend turned quite nasty and I have felt generally terrible for the last few days.

I could have done with a day in bed but work was really busy and fairly stressful so just had to try and get through it.

Tuesday evening it was all getting on top of me so I decided that I would go to my swim squad anyway as it would be good to stop thinking about work and feeling crap for an hour. The lane they put me in last week was pretty easy so I thought I would stay in that lane and just take it nice and steady.....

Started the warm up and they asked me to move up a lane (to a faster one) in order to even the numbers out a bit, so my plans went a bit out of the window. I ended up having a great swim session though, I really enjoyed the session which had us doing 600m with paddles at 1500m pace. The coach then used that time (10.30ish for 600m) to come up with a planned pace of 3.25 for 3x200m (with 30 seconds rest). A few months ago I would not have had a chance of swimming at that pace but I ended up leading the lane off and making the splits pretty comfortably, pacing well to come in at about 3.20 each time. So all in all I'm happy with my swimming at the moment.

Apart from that and riding into work and back one day I have not done any training, just haven't felt up to it so thought rest was the best policy.

We're off to South Africa this evening for just over two weeks which should be great, my training will be hit and miss, I'll do whatever I can when I can but I'm not going to set myself a formal plan, will just try and run a bit and swim whenever I get the opportunity.

Once I get back I will only have 10 weeks left to Austria so my training will really start to pick up. I'm going to try and add another medium length ride one morning during the week to help my legs get stronger, together with running into work once per week to help keep the run volume up. Will just need to get myself up out of bed earlier in order to fit in the ride before work!

Anyway, I need to go and finish off my packing, off to the airport in a couple of hours.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Welling Half Ironman

This weekend was a big one with a half Ironman simulation planned for Sunday to test out my Ironman pacing and nutrition.

Saturday was an easier day. I'd lined up a couple of guys from work to go out for a ride so we did about 86km in about 3 hours. It was good to have some company on a ride, the average pace was similar to my solo rides but it was a bit more up and down with some higher intensity riding at times which made for a nice change.

Sunday morning arrived and the cold that seems to have been creeping up on me was still there, it was all just in my nose and throat though so I decided to go ahead with the day.

Erika dropped me at the pool and I was hoping that it would be nice and quiet, no such luck there though. Jumped in an immediately realised it wasn't going to be a whole heap of fun, they only rope off one lane in the pool and put up a sign saying 'fast lane' but clearly the people swimming in it just ignore that or have a very different view of what 'fast' is. Every single person was doing breastroke and going very slowly, so much so that I was probably swimming 5 lengths to every 2 that they would do so I got caught up most lengths. I don't have a problem with people swimming slowly but I'm not sure why they feel the need to be in the one roped off lane, they would even get to the end of a length with me behind them turn around and push off without letting me go which was a bit rude, I would then have to try and swim past them, normally getting a few good kicks for my troubles. I tired to not let it annoy me and apart from that the swim was fine, the pool was quite warm but I completed the 1.9km in just under 37.30.

I got changed and then had to run the 3km home, I had decided that I would take this off of the final run so that I still ran half marathon distance, just split into two sections. Got home and changed, put on the kit that I will be wearing for the actual race, grabbed my food and drink and got out the door.

The ride was ok, I had set myself hear rate targets and just tried to stay within those, obviously had a few junctions traffic lights etc to contend with and there was a nasty head wind for the first half of my ride. I was a bit worried that I was not going as quickly as I would have wanted to but I got back in 3.05 which is ok. The nutrition went ok, actually felt quite full probably could have done with a bit more pain water to help digest all of the calories that I was regularly throwing down my neck! The course I did was 89km and the amount of climbing was similar to the Austria course so a useful session.

I then chucked on my ipod and a fuel belt with some drinks in and headed out for the run. Whilst not the most exciting, I had planned 3 laps of just over 6km so that if I completely blew up I wouldn't have too far to walk home. This went ok, I was starting to slow down a little on the second and third lap but nothing too dramatic. I had a combination of the sports drink that they will be handing out in Austria as well as some flat (ish) coke to try and get me through the run. People are often surprised by the fact that they hand out coke but it is pretty useful stuff when used in the right circumstances. It gives you a good boost of carbohydrate and they are pretty much 100% from sugar so is almost an instant pick up. I've used it before when out on the bike but was pleased that I seemed to cope with it ok when running, again could have done with a bit more plain water to wash it all down but I will have that available in Austria. The 2nd run was 18.75km and it took me 1.41, so overall I completed the half Ironman distance in just a bit over 5.35 (not including transitions).

Considering when I the Half in Geelong in Feb 08 my time was 5.25 I am pretty pleased with this given that I was attempting to go at what I expect my Ironman pace to be.

Obviously after 5.5 hours of training I was pretty tired yesterday afternoon and my cold has definitely got worse, feeling pretty crappy today so having a recovery day form training, rode into work but only because I didn't want to sit on a train feeling ill! I usually swim on a Monday but I will give that a miss for today.

So apart from feeling ill it was a good weekend, I have another 2 of these days planned in my build up, will treak a few things from a nutritional perspective and hope that the training over the next 12 weeks helps to make me faster at similar intensity levels.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Another month gone...

So March is now out of the way and with only just over 3 months to go, the focus now is on consistent training. The two races over the last two weekends were a good challenge but from here on in every weekend is fairly key to building up towards my goal race.

We're off to South Africa for 2 weeks next Thursday so the training is naturally going to reduce over that time but I intend to run as often as I am able to and also do some core strength work and hopefully get the odd swim in as well.

My training totals for March were as follows:

Swim - 15.8km (9.9miles) - 6 hours
Bike - 1,036km (648 miles) - 40 hours 13 mins
Run - 191.7km (119.8 miles) - 17 hours 29 mins

I need to start trying to get in 3 swims per week as I have currently only been doing 2, however I started with a new squad last night so will be swimming every week with them which should help, I much prefer it when someone else is telling you what to do in the pool.

I have been doing better at running more regularly, although I have had to give my legs a bit of a rest after each race I have done recently as the higher intensity efforts leave me a bit sore afterwards.

The fundraising is still ticking along nicely, I'm up to £1,305 now and haven't yet asked anyone at work to donate which should hopefully add a bit, I'd still like to make my £3,000 target that I set for myself.

This weekend is a big one, I'm riding with a couple of friends on Saturday which will make a nice change from all the solo work, we'll probably do about 2.5-3 hours, then on Sunday I am going to attempt my first half Ironman simulation, although I have had to amend that a little. The idea with this is to cover the half ironman distance but at my planned Ironman pace. This gives me a really good training day and also means that I can try out my nutrition plan etc for race day.

The only problems that I have is that Erika is on her course so I have no car, either way the lake where I do my open water swimming is still a bit too cold for me (9 degrees at the moment apparently but rising!) so I will have to do the swim in the pool and then run home in order to jump on my bike. I've decided that I will just take the distance of the run from the pool home off the final run so that I still cover the distance although for me it will be a swim-run-bike-run!

Will be interesting to see how that goes, I also need to plan a bike route that will not involve too much traffic or junctions etc.