Sunday 29 November 2015

Week 34

Week began with a session on the turbo-trainer. I thought I'd try spinning along in the large chain ring for a change. This didn't happen though because the front mech on Ryley my retro bike just wouldn't shift the chain onto that larger ring. No real problem - had a easier spin in the smaller ring for 65 mins.
Tuesday's Run 11.9k
Run commute into work on Tuesday. I tried to increase my distance just a little (with a view to run for  a longer time). I ran just short of 12k with the additional minutes I added (usual 10k run into work takes about 55 mins - this run took 69 mins).

Swam at the Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre on Wednesday. Managed 1,650m in just under an hour and ten minutes. This was an early morning swim just prior to my 'Urgent Care' meetings at work. Chlorine does wonders to your hair - my ex-boss commented that I looked like a homeless person. Nice.

Thursday was a bad day. First I suffered with the squits. Then I suffered with blockage. Oh, the wonders of imodium. No training took place today.
Warwick Castle
Friday was a better day. I took a 'Black Friday' bike ride to Warwick Castle and back. A lovely 60k ride. Being 'Black Friday' and all, I figured a purchase was in store.. I took Lunar to the bike shop in Redditch and we put a deposit down on a 'blue bike'. On the way to the bike shop, Lunar spotted some bicycles 'with clothes on'...
Bike and benches 'with clothes on'
Lunar said the bike, benches and tree's were wearing clothes to keep them warm. Cute. I took my little kitten home and then decided to go on a devilish evening run.
This run should have taken place straight after my cycle earlier, but, err, it didn't. How could I go out running in daylight dressed like I was?! Am going to have to come up with better excuses not to run these 'bricks'. As for the run, it was a nice jog just short of 8k. Great day all round really.

Finally, at last, I managed to complete a brick session on Saturday. Cycled for about an hour on this cold, chilly day and covered about 24k. Slow transition followed as I parked bike at my parents and then got changed into running gear at my own abode. My run was interesting. I ran about 5k running a broken version of the Studley triangle. The interesting thing was, I passed Nigel, twice. I didn't recognise him on the first passing but on the second there was no doubt it was him. Have to say, Nigel looks real happy when running, a massive smile across his chops. Maybe he's not running hard enough?! Ha!

Finished the week with a swim and spin session at tri-club. I swam in the improvers class but didn't really feel that I was improving. The spin was the usual sweaty affair and very well attended.

All in all, I had a good week. Slightly annoyed that I didn't push myself to swim more and should start doing more 'brick' work really too. I didn't complete my 'prescribed 10 Jonny Mitchum Training Hours' either - but I was close at 9.5! 

Sunday 22 November 2015

Week 35 (Great start, naff end)

Monday: Swam 10  x 150 metres. Very displeased to see that other tri-club members had swam twice that distance in half the time. I must have forgot to take my boots off.
Tuesday: Due to the weather (heavy rain), my tandem cycle ride with Roger was cancelled. Still wanting to you out, I took my single-speed road bike on a jolly to Long Marston airfield and back. Route there was a bad choice - tow path and the Stratford Greenway which were both bumpy, wet and muddy. Would have been great on a cyclo-cross bike. Once at the airfield, I did a kinda memory lap of the marathon I ran last week. If I'd have gone out with Roger, we would have visited a cafe for sure, so I thought of him as I munched on a sausage bap here at the airfield. Return route was much better as I stuck to the roads. Cycled just over 60k in all.
62.9k jolly
In the evening, I ran a short route in very windy weather. Pleased the rain had stopped. This run was only about 4k and my legs felt quite stiff.

Wednesday: Early morning swim. Continuous. 1,500m in about 50 minutes.

After the swim, my wife took me to a super spa day. I had never had such a day before. Sauna, steam, jacuzzi, more pool, food, and a mega awesome massage. Felt great having my aches and pains rubbed away. Fantastic day - cheers SJ x.
Took a spin on the turbo trainer in the evening. Blood (not quite), sweat and gears! Cycled 55 mins in the small ring.

Thursday: This was the last day I trained this week. A familiar work and back cycle commute. I had planned to run for 30 mins once I reached home but 'paralysis of will' got the better of me. Hmm, am going to have to work on these brick sessions.

Friday: As stated no training took place. Had wanted to run but blah...  However, I met up with Rocket Ron and John Mitchum. Ron has been a long time motivator and John likes his numbers and training plans. A few beers, a curry, much talking and a new plan was plotted. Basically was good to listen to John and Ron and amazingly John has agreed to send me training plans via a kinda email correspondence course. I'm not as 'extra' as John, so am not likely to invest in power meters and aero helmets but would very much like to train a bit smarter. So, hopefully, John will help me to train smart and Ron will continue to make sure I cycle for the enjoyment of the sport. I will 'mess about' with my own training schedule for a few weeks and then start with John's guidance from December 21st. At that point I will spend about 10 hours a week training for 6 weeks as part of the 'preparation' phase of my training. Let's see how it goes. 

Weekend: Mostly scratched my chin and head. How I wished for a longer stay in bed. Angry with myself for not training harder.

Sunday 15 November 2015

Week 36 (The Autumn Shakespeare Marathon)

Funky race shorts
Good start to the week with a bash at all 3 triathlon disciplines. Started with a 1,500m swim. I pretty much swam continuously but had to stop every now and then due to the elderly traffic population in the pool. Not a good enough excuse to blame for my slowness - it took me about 53 mins to swim this distance. Next up was a 10k run, interval style. I followed the formula 15 mins warm up; 6 x 400m run (with 400m recovery); could down to finish.
Only I hadn't really finished. Once run was complete, I hopped onto my trainer bike and cycled 35 mins in the small ring. Easy cycling but I was quite whacked at this point.
Whacked or not, it didn't stop me test riding a Cannonade Synapse. This was a lovely bike that I blasted up and down the buss route from the new cycle shop in Redditch. Am very tempted to add this bike (but the disc version with better spec'd groups etc) to my collection. I would also choose a funkier colour, like azure blue. 

Cycle commute to work and back on Tuesday. The return leg was a trifle difficult because I stopped for a drink with my old work chums. Sure gets dark early now.

Wednesday was a nothing rest day.

Thursday was another great tri day. I started with a swim and covered 2,100m - I didn't mean to swim this far but I got my maths wrong. Out the pool and I ran to the lake and back (just over 5k). To finish my session, I spent 55 mins on the turbo trainer just gently spinning in the small ring.

Friday was a rest day. Deliberately rested my legs for the planned marathon the following day.

Saturday was awesome. It saw me complete my 2nd ever marathon - the Autumn Shakespeare 2015 marathon. Fantastic!
The weather was pants! It was cold and raining hard at times. So many people had entered this event though - 100's in fact. Some were running 5k, some 10k, some a half-marathon and 116 the marathon.  The course was very flat being on an old dis-used air field and quite boring too. I had to run around this course 8 and a bit times. It was nice to see a few old planes and the volunteers and supporters were great.
Round and round and round and round I went. On and on. The above photo's would have cost something like 18 pounds if I wanted to buy. Pah - no way! Once I was running the final lap, voices in my head told me to finish with a 'sub 4 hour' time.
My chip time was 3:59:53! Woo hoo - the voices in my head were happy. However, my finish time was 4:00:36. Not sure why the two times were different?! I was pleased with my time and I now had a new PB! Racewise  I came 55th out of 108 (8 did not finish). After all this hard work today (not to mention training) I was awarded with the World's most pants medal!
What an awful medal
The medal didn't even have 'marathon' scribed on it. Mind you, my first marathon only awarded a certificate. Good job (?) I've signed up for the Milton Keynes 2016 marathon with the Grumptoids ...

Sunday 8 November 2015

Week 37 ''Are you swimming with your shoes on?''

Began this week being 1/2 way through my 'orientation' phase of my IM training plan.What does that mean? - I have no idea! What I do know, is that last week was pretty fun training but I remain a little anxious about where I am going to find time. On the positive side, last week started well and this week did too. Indeed, my week started with a work and back cycle commute. Easy 52.7k bagged! After work (I managed to leave early), I went for a swim. I followed a stolen Trifuel training session and completed 1,800 metres in all (mostly swimming with a few 'kick' lengths. This should have taken me 30 mins, but it took me 1.5 hours! My wife commented 'why are you so slow? Did you have your shoes on?' Cramp was a major issue too. Oh, when will my swimming improve? On a brighter note, I did quite enjoy the swim.
Tuesday's run, 11.2k
On Tuesday I ran into work. An extended route for a change. I covered 11.2k in all.
Wednesday was a multi-sport day. I started with swimming and covered a total distance of 1,650m in about an hour (well, just under). I swam in sets, almost like a couple of pyramids - i.e. I swam the following sets of lengths: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 6, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. Between each set I gulped some electrolyte juice in the hope I wouldn't cramp up. It kinda worked, until I got out of the pool and then my legs spasmed. Ouch. I have decided to not follow the trifuel plan for my swimming workouts because they are way too intense for me - I can't keep up with it, and swim far too slow. I have stolen an easier plan from 'Kazez' (and of course modified it) where I plan to swim 3 times a week (5 would be better) and hope to be able to swim IM distance in about 6 months (my distance will increase by 500m each month). This way, I won't get too bummed out (I hope) and will still have many weeks before my actual IM takes place once I reach my desired distance. Following the swim, I cycled turbo trainer style. I span for about 40 minutes and had a go at doing that 'isolated leg training' (ILT). I really wasn't very good but had a lovely spin. All my spinning was relatively easy and I stayed in the small chain ring throughout.
Where's the 5th interval?!
Thursday turned out to be an interval style run that turned into a long run. I planned to run following the formula 10 mins warm up; 5 x 1k run (with 400m rest); cool down to finish. However, I got into a spot of bother after the 4th interval.
Funky pants. Don't run commando is printed on the behind.
Basically, I needed an emergency poo. I had to squeeze my cheeks and divert my run away from the tow-path. Luckily, just off route I found a hospital and was able to sort out the situation I was in. My planned 6 mile run became a 8.5 mile run due to my diversion. Oh, I ran this route sporting my new 'Runderwear' pants. And pants they were not!
Thursday's 13.7k run
Friday was a day on the turbo trainer. This was un-planned and I only managed to squeeze it in because I had a planned appointment with my GP. (I thought I had swimmers ear, but I did not). 50 mins on the trainer and my relative cycling distance was less then 10k! Pah! Really not sure why I travelled such a short distance when my legs were spinning round so fast for so long?!
This cycle session was in the small chain ring throughout. I played around with an easy gear pyramid and intervals where I took my heart rate to 75% max and then dropped down to 60% max. Not really sure how all the mechanics of this work but an average cadence of 90 rpm is ok (or so I am led to believe).

Early morning swim on Sunday. I managed to swim a total of 1,500m (10 x 150m with a drink between each set). This took me about an hour. Hmmm. Swimming with my shoes on ...

Sunday 1 November 2015

Week 38 'There is no off season'

After much faffing about with training plans and major head-space mash up, I decided to create my own for purposes of my Ironman event. Kinda. Not sure if what I did was a good idea or not but I plan to stick with it for a few weeks and see how I get on. My basic idea was to view as many training plans as I could, mix them up, take the bits I like and plot my plan week by week. If better plans, advice etc come my way, then I will be able to modify as the weeks go on. Blah! My training for IronMan has begun! And I have a plan! Kinda...
My training plan. Kinda sorta.
On Monday, my plan kicked into action. I started off with a swim - my least favourite discipline. I stole a training schedule from an on-line training plan (trifuel). There was so much information to remember that I stuck it to my water bottle and carried that into the pool with me. Good thinking, eh?!
This was considered a 'short' swim but my calculations suggested I swam 1,600 metres. Such training should have taken 30 minutes. I was in the pool for 1 hour and 13 minutes! Just goes to show how poor my swimming is. Let's hope it can only get better!  This session featured a debut appearance of my float which Lin had gotten me - cheers Lin!

Immediately after my swim, I went for a run. A long run too! I covered just over half-marathon distance.
Long run, 22k
I stopped at about the half-way point to buy water, take ibuprofen and snack! Man, mulberry tasted so nice. The second half of my run was quite hilly. Felt good to do so much training on day 1 of the week and better yet - I was able to meet my wife for lunch as soon as I had finished.
Why did I include such hills?
Cycle commute took place on Tuesday. Not quite a perfect ride because it was raining on the return leg. All the same was nice to pedal about 60k.

Went swimming Wednesday afternoon and managed to cover 1,350 metres. Was a tad disappointed really as I wanted to swim a further 1,100 metres. Problem was it took me 45 minutes to swim the distance I did and I simply ran out of time and energy to continue. Used my float again for a few lengths. A few lengths were back stroke and a few breast stroke but regular swimming for the most part.

On Wednesday evening, I hooked up with my buddy Ron and we took a moonlit cycle ride. This was a lovely evening, despite being a little chilly. We cycled our familiar 'deer route'. As chance would have it, we were both cycling the same bikes we used for our PBP challenge (my bike is now converted into a single-speed). This day gave me chance to test my new Garmin heart rate monitor too. I have yet to test the cadence thing. The heart rate monitor and cadence sensor will probably have a bigger part to play in my future training plans.

My average heart rate was 100 bpm during this jolly and rose to a maximum of 159 bpm. That didn't really mean an awful lot to me. In the passage of time, it just might. I cycled 28.9k - that made sense!

Thursday was a run day. 10k. Interval style. Followed the formula 10 mins warm up; 6 x 800m run (with 1 min 30 seconds rest); cool down to finish. A nice, hard work run along the tow-path.
Friday was an awesome day. My dear wife SJ allowed me to set up my new Cycleops Fluid 2 Turbo Trainer in the spare bedroom. Bonus! Don't plan to give a detailed review myself but all the on-line reviews say it's awesome and I have to agree. It came with a sweat guard, riser blocks and a mat too which was super. Couldn't wait to set it up and take my test run. In my haste, I didn't read the instructions properly and did not secure my bike. After about 10 mins or so, the bike came out and I raced across the bedroom floor! I felt like I was starring in a spoof movie or something! SJ thought I had fallen off. Ha! For my debut cycle I essentially cycled a total of 50 minutes. First 20 mins easy cycling, next 20 mins harder (much sweating) then 10 mins to cool down (all easy really, stayed in the small ring). Used my heart rate monitor and really should connect my cadence sensor soon. I really liked all the extra data I was able to look at (but didn't record). I used my 'best' bike which really is in need of a new bottom bracket. Maybe I'll get bike fixed and try an alternate bike on the trainer just for fun.

Went for another run on Saturday, just before work. Ran just over 10k along the Birmingham - Wolverhampton canal plus a couple of laps around Edgbaston reservoir. Lovely!
10.8k Run
Missed tri-club on Sunday so that I could spend more time with my family. Still managed to get out and exercise though which was a bonus. I went for a relatively early morning swim and swam for about 50 minutes. The pool was quite busy and I didn't really follow any plan as such. I just swam length after length, occasionally using my float and pull buoy which Lin got me (just because I had them). Continue to find swimming hard but pleased I managed to swim on 3 different occasions this week. I think my muscles are weak and hope in the passage of time that I toughen up a little and my swimming improves. Time will tell!
Sunday afternoon was great. I snook another bike into the spare room and set it up on the turbo. trainer. Better yet, I fitted a cadence sensor. Greater still, I cycled indoor style for 40 minutes.
This was so cool - my new cadence gadget worked out how far I cycled too. I cycled 16.5k without moving an inch! Think I will keep my retro bike permanently set up on the trainer and retire my best bike until the summer. Am still to use a bike on my new trainer in it's large chain ring. So much sweat from relatively easy cycling in the small ring.
Finished my training week in style by marching my family over the fields of Studley. Had a great week training. Had a great time with my family.

Happy New Year 2022

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