Tuesday, 30 April 2013

High Intensity Training (HIT) and race report

Last week was mixed on the training front. The main focus was on high intensity training (HIT), not that was totally by design.

On Tuesday I got in the standard commute with a decent bit of tempo and hill work. Wednesday morning was a short strides set - 10x reps at high intensity. The Club swim that evening also involved quite a lot of speed work using more of the anaerobic engine but decent rest periods in between (a good number of 50m sets all out). Unfortunately I was unable to get the second weekly ride into work so opted for a HIT session on the rollers. After a warm up I completed 10x reps of 30 secs on (all out) / 30 secs off. A 10 min cool down completed the short session.

The Saturday swim despite having 3x 500m sets included in the session also had some speed work to contend with.

One thing not mentioned in my previous blog was the 'Dads vs. Lads' end of the season football game that I foolishly got dragged into. I do have to be careful with these additional exercise sessions as I have a history of over doing it and feeling the consequences the next few days afterwards - I suppose I am so use to going in a straight line any exercise which involves side to side movement and different muscles groups is a little hard for the body to cope with. The game on Saturday wasn't too bad, my first touch of the ball was awful, missed kick for goal, spun run and ended on a heap on the floor - at least it amused the boys. My second attempt was better and after a good run down the wing I managed to find the back of the net with my shot on goal. That evening I did feel the start of some fatigue in my legs and peculiarly an ache in my right foot but not too much damaged caused. My wife and I went round our friends' house for a dinner party and didn't get to bed unto 1am. I limited the alcohol intake to 1-2 glasses but nonetheless not the best preparation for an early race the following morning.

Anyway, Sunday came and it was a very pleasant morning so no excuses not to compete in the Club's long duathalon event (10km run + 40km bike + 5km run). At 7:30am I was at Southwater Country Park ready for the race briefing and scheduled 8am start. There were a good number of Club members, including a few new faces that I had been told were very fast, especially on the run (2 of which could run sub 30min 10Ks).

My pace on the first 10km was good, I felt I could have gone faster however I kept an average pace of around 4:30 min per km, saving something for the bike leg. My 10km split was 44:32, which I was happy with. My lack of preparation cost me time in transition as I had not swapped over my normal laces for the elastic ones and fumbled with my shoes for longer than was necessary. Then I forgot to put my bike helmet on, so had to stop and correct. Once on the bike I built up the pace and settled in to the aero position, I was not monitoring my speed as I wore my Garmin on my wrist rather than connected to the bike so it was more difficult to view. I rode by feel and thought that I was going just about hard enough, although was slightly disappointed with my time of 1:10:35, especially given it is closer to a 38km route rather than 40km. Another slow transition and on to the last 5km run leg - I certainly had some fatigue and it took my legs about 5-10mins to properly get into run mode. However, I was pleased that I had kept going and finished with a reasonable time of 24:16. With the slow transitions (both over a minute) my overall race time was 2:21:37 and I came 10th out of a field of 23, albeit some of these 'DNF'.

Looking back at my previous race results my PB for the long Club duathlon (exact same route) was 2:20:40 back in 2011. At that time my 10km was slower - 46:10, bike a little faster - 1:09:09 and 5km about the same - 24:06. My transitions were much quicker at around 35 secs. So if I exclude the transitions the two times are almost identical. Part of me is disappointed that I am not getting any faster, however taking into consideration my poor race preparation and lack of bike training so far this season, I cannot expect miracles.

I was pretty active for the rest of Sunday and unable to get some needed recovery, so am paying the price now as my legs are still fatigued. Took a recovery day yesterday (Monday). Needed the car today at work so unable to have a gentle ride to work. Decided on an easy run but got 2 mins down the road and had to turn back, legs are not ready yet. I might try a gentle spin tonight. I expect this to be a relatively light training week but certainly need greater focus, especially on the bike and prior my London 2 Paris charity ride.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Back in the training zone

Following my rugby tour weekend based at Minehead Butlins I am now keen to get back into the training zone and healthy eating.

It is really an effort to eat well when you are surrounded by Burger King, Pizza Hut, and a host of other fast-food outlets. However, I never expected Butlins to be a health spa and the main focus was spending some quality time with my son, the rugby squad and having an enjoyable time.

That said, I did get in one short run and a couple of swims (although spent more time on the slides than in the pool). I was happy to restrict the running as I am still experiencing some mild fatigue to the backs of my calves, post Brighton marathon.

So, a more normal week ahead - I took the time to prepare a plan:

Mon - 0:45 Run - easy pace + 2x tempo sets [DONE]
Tue - 2:00 Bike - commuting time, hill work + easy return
Wed - 0:45 Run - 10x 30 secs fast strides / 30 secs rest + warm up / cool down; 1:30 Swim - long club session
Thu - 2:00 Bike - commuting time, interval work + easy return
Fri - 0:45 Run - strength work around Preston Park incl. tempo
Sat - 1:00 Swim - club session
Sun - 2:30 Long Club Duathlon (10km run + 40km bike + 5km run)

So 9-10 hours this week if all goes to plan.

Fortunately, I did not experience any considerable pain (only very mild) in my run this morning so hopefully no damage done and the muscles are recovering, albeit slower than in the past. I am still persevering with my Newton running shoes and convinced they make me a little faster. Just need to try them on longer runs over the coming months.

I would like to get a PB for the long Club Duathlon this Sunday, previously recording a time of 2:20:40, broken down as follows: 10km run (46:10), T1 (0:37), 40km bike (1:09:09), T2 (0:38), 5km run (24:06).

A bit of a challenge given my fitness level and recent activities.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Looking forward to getting back to it

Following the Brighton marathon I struggled with walking on Mon / Tue, especially stairs - pathetic!

By Wed the lactic acid was clearing the system and I managed the 1:30 Club swim, lots of leg work with fins (just what I needed) and use of all the toys. I was pleased with my performance and enjoyed the session.

Thursday was full on at work so no time for training. Today (Friday) I am off on a rugby tour with my son (Pulborough RFC U11). A long coach trip to Butlins in Minehead will take up the majority of the day but hope to get in a swim and/or run later.

A few of the other Dads have brought their running gear so hope to join in with a larger group.

After this weekend I am looking forward to getting back into the training - planning the weeks ahead. Will focus on the bike and more brick training.

Meanwhile time to enjoy some father son time and try to escape the rugby tour drinking games, well at least some.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Race report - Great start but the 'wheels came off' at 17

Well I did it - despite all the worries about my residual flu symptoms - cough and tight chest, it simply was not a major problem.

I wouldn't say my pre-race preparation was ideal but I definitely got in a decent taper period - almost a fortnight of minimal training, maybe 4-5 hours in total.

So not surprising I started so well - even with an early toilet stop I was averaging 8 min miles (sub 5 min per km) for the first half of the race. At around 15 miles I started to feel some tightness in my calf muscles and by 17 miles my pace had dropped to around 8:40 min miles.

Before I started I mentioned to a number of friends that I was kind of looking forward to the race as I didn't feel any pressure for a PB, I just wanted to enjoy it. Well I was on for a definite PB at the half-way mark but as soon as the pace started dropping I was looking for excuses to give up, the downside of convincing myself there was no pressure to complete the race. For probably 3-4 miles my mind was focused on the pain in my calf muscles and calling it a day and walking back to the car.

However, the marathon is one of those races where it as much mental as physical and I was battling with myself whether to keep on going or give up. I am pleased I chose the former and dug in for the last 10km, despite my pace dropping to a miserable 9:50 min per mile - more of a shuffle than run.

At the end of the day it got me across the line. I had run the entire route and my time was only 2 mins outside my PB - a time of 3:47.

Overall I came 1593 out 9067.

Not sure the real reason why the 'wheels came off' so drastically for last 10km. It could have been the Newton shoes that encourage running on the front to mid foot rather than the heel (relatively new addition - only done 50miles in them and no long runs). It could have been my pacing was all off and I started to quickly. It also could have been my nutrition (I do struggle with too many sweet gels) or lack of longer runs prior to the event. Who knows - may be a combination of a number of factors.

Anyway, I am not going to beat myself up. A few days ago I was so ill I simply wanted to get to the start line!

So onwards and upwards - will probably swim on Wednesday - always helps with removing lactic acid from legs. Thereafter will focus more on the bike prior to London 2 Paris, RideLondon100 and Vachery 70.3 triathlon. As for the running well probably include at least 1-3 sessions a week but more of focus on interval, hills, strength and tempo work.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Registration Day

Well, some improvement, albeit slow!

Yesterday I decided to cycle in to work, taking it very easy. For most of the journey I was in zone 1 - just a nice spin for 30km. There was no return leg as I received a lift back with my family who were in town.

This morning I completed a 30min run - An easy 10min warm up and then 10x sprints of 30secs on and 30 secs recovery. Cool down and job done!

My legs are feeling pretty fresh, as you would expect after a fortnight of very little to minimal training. The problem is my chest remains tight and after any exercise I cough and splutter for a while - still the latter stages of this flu that has been doing the rounds.

Today is registration day for Brighton marathon and I have decided to at least give it a try. I could transfer my place to next year but at this late stage will lose my entrance fee. If I continue to improve then I have a fighting chance of completing the race although a PB is now much less likely (no longer my goal), it would be nice just to enjoy the race and try to get my pacing right. My plan is to aim for a target of 1:45-1:50 for the half-distance and then see how I feel. If the second half takes me nearer 2 hours then so be it. Ideally, and if I was 100% fit I would aim for a negative split but given the last fortnight, that is now more of a pipe dream than a realistic goal.

If I manage to complete the distance on Sunday it is likely that my chesty cough is going to be hanging around for longer however it is a risk I am currently happy to take.

Hopefully, my next blog will be the race report.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I will try anything

I thought there was some improvement in my flu symptoms on Monday so I got in a 30 min run around Preston Park.

There doesn't seem too much wrong with my legs but I was coughing and spluttering for most of the short session.

I simply cannot shift this chesty cough - so annoying.

In hope of shaking the cough before Sunday I held off any further training yesterday and today (will not be swimming tonight).

I may not have the car tomorrow morning so had planned to jump on the bike for an easy one-way commute - let's see how I feel.

Someone mentioned that I should massage Vicks vapour rub into my feet. Guess what I will be doing tonight - I will try anything!

Friday is registration for the Brighton marathon and a chance to look around the Expo.

Still hoping that I can make it to the start line - ever the optimist.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

A change of focus

Sitting in the sunshine at the West Sussex Rugby Festival in Crawley watching my son who is playing for Pulborough U11's - my boy is doing well.

It was a week ago when I completed my last training session and I was determined not to go more than a week without another, however short.

The problem is that I still have flu and am still struggling with any kind of exercise. The normal 'rule of thumb' is you can train through a cold but best to simply rest when you have flu.

Probably against my better judgment I went for an easy 2km run around the town this morning. I was coughing and spluttering for most of the time (only 10 mins) but was pleased my legs at least still worked.

I am no longer focussing on a PB at next week's marathon my new challenge is simply to get to the start line with no flu in order to give myself a fighting chance to complete the distance.

It is amazing how your focus can change but I am a great believer that revising your goals is a healthy pursuit. It is not the end of the world if I cannot get a PB but I will be slightly disappointed with a DNS (Did not start) or DNF (Did not finish).

I will continue to let you know my progress. This was officially my taper week so I was not expecting high volume anyway.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Nothing to report on the training front

I am sorry to say that I still have this serious 'man-flu' bug/virus and spent the last couple of days since my last post in bed.

As a result my training has been non-existent. I find it very difficult looking out the window to blue skies, albeit chilly temperatures, and really want to be out there in my running shoes or on my bike.

I have lost a good 2-3 lbs in the process but I expect most of that will shoot back on when my body is able to take on any nutrition.

Going to try a green smoothie today as a start.

Not the best final Brighton marathon preparation that I was hoping for. I had planned a number of short tempo runs and stride sessions in the lead up but now I will be lucky to get 1-2 in the bank. Hopefully it will not effect my PB chances but we will wait and see. Probably going to run in my new Newton running shoes, which I have been getting on with very well but not tried to do any long runs in them yet - could be a big risk!

If I can shake this flu I hope to be back on my feet tomorrow. May be I can then get back into training at the weekend.

Hope no one else is suffering from flu out there? Enjoy your training.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Not in the plan

It is 9:40am on Easter Monday and I had expected to be on the bike section of the Club short Duathlon at this exact time.

Unfortunately I am sitting on my backside in my lounge feeling sorry for myself.

I was all geared up for the first race of the season but last night I started getting some flu symptoms so decided to get an early night. I had an awful night and by 7am had a very nasty headache and high temperature, very unlike me.

Finally I took the decision not to race and went back to bed for a further hour with some drugs to try and ease the painful headache.

Looking back at last week I managed to get around 6:30 hours on the bike and a couple of short runs. I had to leave the longer Club swim on Wednesday but got in the Saturday morning session.

Once I feel a little better I hope to get in a bit more training but expect to keep it relatively light as I taper down to the Brighton marathon on the 14th.

I will keep you informed of my progress.

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...