Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Some hill work - split times

Nice easy run from the office to just past Brighton Marina this morning. Then decided to run hard from the bottom to the top of the cliffs, walking/jogging back down for recovery. I repeated five times and aimed for an increasing pace for each set.

My splits were as follows:

First hill rep - 1:08
2nd - 1:02
3rd - 0:59
4th - 0:54
5th - 0:49

I was hitting zone 5-6 for each rep so a pretty brutal exercise set.

Easy run back. Just over the hour in total. Job done!

Hill Rep time!


Nice morning for a change

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Champions of Cyclosport event and challenges ahead

After a hectic day at work on Thursday I managed to find a couple of hours prior to the charity cycle event at the Hurlingham Club and decided to take an easy run from Putney to Kingston via Richmond Park. I started in the light but it was dark by the time I was half way through Richmond Park. Managed to see a few deer but then I was simply pleased not to lose the No.4 cycle route, which I was following to Kingston. Approx. 10 miles covered in about 1:30 - relatively easy pace, enjoying a different route and catching up with my podcasts. On reaching Kingston I found Sigma Sport, which was my chosen destination, and spent 10-15 mins looking round the large specialist road cycling / triathlon shop over 2 floors, before turning back to Putney, this time on the train.

A quick shower at the hotel, on with the dinner suit and black tie, before meeting up with my work colleagues for the Champions of Cyclesport charity event at the Hurlingham Club. Great to see some of the big names in the sport and also catch up with friends, fellow cyclists and sport celebrities - Geoff Thomas and Sonia O'Sullivan.

I cycled with Geoff in the London 2 Paris 2011 charity bike ride and am fortunate enough to be asked to be part of the team for 2013. Geoff is truly inspirational and it was great to hear of his goal for 2015, completing the Tour de France route, 10 years after his first attempt, continuing to raise both the profile and important funds for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma charity. We even discussed a 2014 challenge cycling around the 40 Brewin Dolphin offices as a fundraising effort for our new Company charity, a seriously long way! So lots to think about for future years, combining some great cycling challenges with very worthwhile causes.

After the 10 mile run on Thursday I took Friday as a rest day. Saturday back in the pool for the Club swim, Sunday another run but only 45 mins. Monday more rest (try not to make that too much of a habit). Good strength session tonight, about an hour, including some high cadence cycling on the turbo, weights, lunges, squats, step-ups and ab exercises (various sit-ups demonstrated via an iPad app). Tomorrow I have another run planned in the morning and the longer Club swim in the evening.

Now getting a clearer idea of my races and dates for next season - more on the later.

Happy training!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Putting on a bit of excess weight - mustn't go off the rails

Last week wasn't too bad as far as volume goes - 8.5 hours was the total. Decided against the bike commute on Friday but was in the pool Saturday morning and joined Chris for a relatively easy Sunday bike ride, albeit there were some decent hills and speed work thrown in for good measure.

Chris unfortunately had some mechanical issues at the start of the ride so after only 10 mins in we turned back home to swap bikes. Chris ended up on his wife's road bike, a nice machine but a little heavier than he is used to. The set-up and sizing was also not ideal. Good for me though, I managed to keep up with Chris for much more of the ride than normal, although he still seemed to have no problem with the steep climb from Amberley to the top of Whiteways roundabout.

After a slightly higher volume week I jumped on the scales last night to see if I was at least maintaining my target weight of below 12 stone (normally lower in the height of the season and when on the start line of 'A' races). Unfortunately I had some slippage and was a couple of lbs over my target weight. Not a huge disaster in the off season but something I need to keep my eyes on. I don't think that is the lack of exercise but more to do with a few bad habits creeping in, especially in relation to more sugary foods, that have ceased becoming treats and ended up being more of a regular occurrence.

This week has been OK so far - Monday was 40mins in the 'Cave of Pain' - weights and turbo circuit. Tuesday was an hour run along the seafront in slightly miserable weather conditions. Wednesday I just focused on the 1:30 Club swim, which was OK, lots of pace and streamlining work.

Today is going to be interesting - a busy day at work with a number of meetings in London. However, after work I plan to run from Putney to Kingston via Richmond Park to take a quick look at the large triathlon / cycling store (Sigma Sport). On the map it looks like a 10-12 mile return journey. I am staying up in London as have been fortunate enough to be invited to the 'Champions of Cyclosport' dinner tonight with lots of cycling celebrities attending - more on that event later.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Update on weekly progress

As I report most weeks I am coming up a bit short on the plan, yet again (not that there is really much structure to the plan at the moment). Last week I was on course for a 10 hour week but I fell at the last hurdle and didn't get my long run / ride in so ended the week with a total of 8.

This week I have completed approx 5 hours so far.

The good news is that I finally got in the pool for the longer 1:30 club session. Coach MT jumped in our lane to show us how to complete the perfect warm up 3x (100m front-crawl and 2x 50m backstroke). Although the Coach kept the warm up easy and consistent, it was still a bit of a push for me and I ended a little out of puff. Next came the drills - mostly catch-up - all bilateral breathing. Then my favourite - a set using all the toys (pull-buoy, paddles, fins) in different combinations. For the last 30 mins we focussed on 50m sets at different speeds with decreasing swim and rest times. When I got home I treated myself to a chocolate protein shake to reward myself for a job well done.

In addition to the swim I have completed a 2-hour bike commute and 2x 45 min run sessions - one strength orientated - 5-6km run + 6x (10 push-ups, 10 dips, 10 lunges, 10 squats, 10 step ups). The second run, today's effort was more of a recovery run, relatively easy although I did complete a faster section (about 2km at a higher pace - approx. 4:30 to 5:00 mins per km).

Not sure if I should get on the bike again tomorrow and cycle into work again (another 2 hours in the bank) or take a rest day, as my legs felt a little heavy today during the run.

For the weekend there is the usual 1:00 Club swim and the possibility of that elusive long run / ride on Sunday.

So the week tally could be anything from 6 to 10 hours, depending on the decisions I make. I do feel there is a bit of momentum building but I am more likely to fully commit once I have some more definite goals and an improved plan in place - that's my homework before December hits.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

'Brompton Bomber' strikes again

Anyone that followed my inaugural blog 'Journey to Ironman Austria' may remember a post that I wrote back in February that mentioned the 'Brompton Bomber' - link to story:

http://journeytoironmanaustria.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/beaten-by-brompton.html

Since that fateful day I have seen the 'Brompton Bomber' a couple of times, mostly as he speeds past me. On those occasions I have been on my singlespeed bike and have found it difficult to maintain his speed, unless I push the cadence up to 120rpm.

I cycled to work yesterday and after an easy 30 min, slightly hilly, warm up decided to up the speed as I hit Shoreham. I was cruising nicely at about 32km per hour, when... you guessed it... I was overtaken by my old adversary the 'Brompton Bomber' - this time however I was on my road bike and had a full 20 gears to play with.

I was straight on his tail and he sensed the pursuit. The average speed increased from 32 to 34km/ph then 36 to finally around 39km/ph - I could not believe he was hitting those average speeds on the flat with wheels at least half the size of mine. I still had something left in the tank and decided to crank it up and push the speed to above 40km/ph and make my move. Just as I hit the gas he indicated to turn and he disappeared off down a side street, once more the victor.

Next time... I will be ready for you Mr 'Brompton Bomber' ...bring it on!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A day of intervals

My training has gone a little off track again this week although at least I have been able to pick the volume up.

The 2 hour bike training / commute I had planned for today has been re-scheduled for tomorrow. Today was interval time...

I started this morning with an easy run to Preston Park, in total about a 15 minute warm up. Thereafter it was 14x 30 sec sprints (good technique) + 30 sec rest. Then a cool down and return to the office to complete the 40 min session.

It was back to Preston Park at lunchtime this time with Ewen and Charlie on the bikes. We headed to the old outdoor velodrome, which was surprisingly in very good condition - nice smooth surface and a fresh lick of paint around the circuit. Neither me or the boys had ever ridden the track so were looking forward to trying out the high bends, albeit they were hardly that high.

After a couple of warm up laps we decided on 5x sets of one lap all out and one lap recovery, 10 in total. On the first fast lap we were surprised just how much energy we had expended. My first lap was 54 secs and a top speed of 47km/h. The heart rate went straight into zone 5. We quickly recovered (one lap) and then repeated. None of us were getting much quicker during the set. It was useful however to experiment with trying the fast lap in a low gear and pushing hard versus a higher gear, higher cadence approach. The last fast lap was interesting as we agreed to go off together and race each other.

I took an early lead into the high bank and retained it until the final straight but the boys were drafting closely behind me and waiting for the most opportune time to make their move. With 50 yards to the line they both moved out to the outside of my bike and just pipped me at the line... Youth winning over experience...

I am not going to hear the last of that in the office!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Stepping it up!

Last week started well with some strength work / high cadence session on turbo, a 2-hour ride on Tuesday and a 5km timed run test on Wednesday (no PB, still recording around 21mins 30secs). I even got a run in during a business trip to Leeds - an easy run along the Aire Valley towpath. Unfortunately I did not follow through as much as I would have liked over the weekend. I enjoyed the Saturday morning club swim, the chance to use all the toys - paddles, fins and pull-buoy, but turned down the opportunity to ride with the boys later in the day (when the weather was nice) as I had a few jobs to do at home. The plan was to get at least 2 hours in on Sunday morning but for a number of reasons - weather, ferrying the kids around etc. I only managed a feable 30 mins - 3x loops of village at varying pace.

Sunday evening I logged onto Training Peaks and was playing around with the 'Annual Training Plan' tool, entering my key races for 2013 and committing to 500-600 hours of training for the year ahead. As a result I need to step the training up from the current 5-8 hours per week to 8-12 over the coming weeks. This will involve some double daily sessions (more time in the 'Cave of Pain') and also an increase in the longer rides / runs. There is a slight bias to running up to March (Brighton marathon - 'A' race in April) and cycling thereafter (Vachery 70.3 event - next 'A' race in July 2013).

This week is looking as follows:

Mon: Strength-Run set around Preston Park (0:45) / Turbo - high cadence set + free weights (0:45)
Tue: Run - 50% in Z2 (1:00)
Wed: Run - intervals 14x 30sec fast + 30sec recovery (0:45) / Club swim (1:30)
Thu: Bike - Brighton Commute (interval set in morning / easy return) (2:00)
Fri: Run - HR in Z1-3 (0:45) / strength work and free weights (0:30)
Sat: Club swim (1:00)
Sun: Bike - long easy ride or MTB (2:30)

Totals: Strength (1:00), Run (3:15), Bike (4:45) and Swim (2:30) - 11:30. A big increase from recent weeks - I know I can do it but will the 'scores on the door' at the end of the week confirm it, or not?

New running shoes and new SwimRun kit on its way

I decided to upgrade my trusty ASICS GT-2000 Series 7 to the new Series 8. I had run about 600km in my old shoes but had started to get some...