Thursday, 30 January 2014

Birthday week and back on track

Despite the nasty weather my training has been better so far this week.

Monday started with a run and strength set around Preston Park and then found me in the pool in the evening.

I managed to find a small window in the weather and cycled to work on Tuesday morning without getting too wet. That evening it was a rainy nightmare but fortunately my daughter was in town so I folded my Brompton commuting bike into her car and got a lift back home.

I had planned to run on Wednesday morning but again the heavy rain and wind made me think otherwise - whimp!

In the evening I enjoyed a long endurance set in the pool where I hit 4km for the first time.  Getting in that extra swim on Monday really helped - I do finally feel that my technique is improving and I am becoming faster / stronger. I have planned a 1-2-1 swim session with Coach Mike P  in a week's time. Meanwhile, I will make every effort to target 3 swims a week, which in the past has made such a difference.

So onto today - I have made it to the right old age of 46 - what better than to celebrate with a 25 minute tempo run at my 10km pace in wet and windy conditions. Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought and I was able to get the run in a decent enough time, averaging 4:11 mins per km - a good effort.

Not such bad weather early this evening so I used the opportunity and got my Brompton out of the boot of the car for the commute home.

Well on target for my 10+ hours this week.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Off track - more focus needed

Off track this week and well away from my target training hours.

I knew it was going to be a tricky week as I had some family and work comitments so a tight schedule, which had little flexibility. I was going OK until Wednesday but missed the longer Club swim, then was light on my long run. I also missed a planned session on Friday. By Sunday I was shattered and decided to write off the rest of the week and re-group for next.

So onwards and upwards...  

Next week will be slightly more bike focussed and I will aim to get in a long ride. I will post my schedule soon.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Good track session - a bit of zone 5

This evening I managed to get to another Club track set led by the Dynamic Duo (Coach Louis and Andy).

After a couple of warm up laps and some dynamic stretching we got down to business and were each given target times to complete 5x 1km sets at race pace. The target times were based on our previous 3km time trial effort, which I had completed in 12:11.

My 1km target time was a nice round 4:00 with 400m splits of around 1:36.

Like the coaches probably expected most went off a little quicker than we should. A quick glance at my watch showed 1:26 for the first 400m lap. I did eventually find a rhythm and my 1km splits were as follows:

1. 3:50
2: 3:51
3: 3:53
4: 3:57
5: 3:52

Pretty good but no doubt the Coaches will adjust my time for my next attempt.

I wore my HR belt and a quick look at the data confirmed I was in zone 5 (above 153 beats per minute) for most of the main set. Strava gave me a 'Suffer Score' of 114, which is classified as a tough session.

The homework for next week is to add 5 mins to the tempo run, increasing the time to 25mins at around 10km race pace. I will aim for a target pace of under 4:30mins per km. Last week's effort (only 20mins) was clocked at 4:25mins per km.

Monday, 20 January 2014

The week ahead - starting to get heavier

So last week's training was generally easy, albeit there was a couple of higher intensity sessions (tempo run + turbo sets) included. The total was just over 9 hours, which was an hour more than my target of 8 (for an easy week) but it did include an extra swim.

Over the next fortnight the training starts to get heavier with a target of 10:45 this week (run focus) and 11:15 next (bike focus). Thereafter an easy week of 8 hours then 12:00 and 12:30. By the end of March (also the end of my base period - where did that go) I intend to be up to 14 hours per week.

I felt pretty fresh today so decided on a number of laps of Preston Park outdoor cycle track on my new Brompton S6L - I managed an average speed of around 26km per hour, whilst speaking to my work colleague who cycled alongside - not bad for a small-wheeled bike! I will download to Garmin / Strava later to see the stats. All good training for the Brompton World Championship in July.

The rest of the week looks as follows:

Mon: 0:45 bike (track) [DONE]
Tue: 0:30 run + 0:15 strength + 0:45 run (Club session at track)
Wed: 1:00 bike + 1:30 Club swim
Thu: 2:15 long run (normally would do at weekend but other commitments)
Fri: 1:00 bike
Sat: 1:00 Club swim + 0:30 turbo
Sun: 1:00 brick set + 0:15 strength

A bit of an easier weekend as it is my daughter's 18th birthday party - may be a bit of a heavy one on Saturday evening - not sure if you can log dancing on Strava.

For one of the bike sessions I may try to get up Ditchling Beacon on my Brompton - now that will be a challenge. My carbon road bike is keeping warm in the garage, set up on the turbo,all ready for action.

Anyway, that's the plan - I will check in again with a progress report.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A new addition to the Tri Hard Training bike family

Last week's focus was the bike and I managed 6 hours of cycling within my 10 hours total.

I did get in a higher intensity run session earlier in the week when I attended the Club track session at Broadbridge Heath. After a warm up and some dynamic stretching we were asked to complete a 3km time trial by superfast Coach Louis - I started with a pace that I thought I could maintain but probably could have gone a little harder. Not a bad result, crossing the line in 12mins 11 secs. My goal will be to try to run a sub 12mins. Louis gave us some homework - to complete a 20min tempo run before the next track session at our best half-marathon pace. I think my PB is 1:37 so a pace of around 4:31mins per km.

On Wednesday I received the good news that my new Brompton S6L folding bike had been delivered to the local Evans Cycles dealer in Brighton. I ordered the bike via my work's Ride2Work scheme in November but you can normally expect around a 6 week build period as all Bromptons are hand-made in the UK (London based). If you follow this blog you may remember my recent adventures on a hired Brompton (http://www.trihardtraining.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/a-slightly-strange-yet-leisurely-and.html).

I was looking for a new commuting bike to replace my old singlespeed bike but had the versatility to travel with me in the car, train and when going overseas. The Brompton ticked all the boxes, was great fun and I found the built quality exceptional - a bike to see me into my old age. In addition I started following an interesting group of cyclists that were passionate about Bromptons and seemed to have lots of great adventures - The London Brompton Club: http://www.londonbromptonclub.com.

I have become so interested in these great little bikes that I have even created a new blog specifically for the Brompton and my future adventures: www.beebrompton.co.uk

So Thursday I tested our the new Brompton (nicknamed 'Sting') at Preston Park outdoor cycle track. I followed that with a longer ride on Saturday, as the weather was so good - a 30km countryside loop to test out the gearing. Today (now Tuesday) was a 56km return commute and again the little bike performed admirably - a great addition to the Tri Hard Training bike family. Even though I have only owned a Brompton for less than a week I entered the Brompton World Championships to be hosted at Goodwood race circuit in July of this year. Find out more about this race and my further Brompton adventures by following my Bee Brompton blog.

Back to last week and I finished on a high by going out with the boys on a very muddy and fast MTB ride along the Downs Link and up onto the Downs. Out in force were all the top riders in the Club and to be honest I found it difficult to keep them in my sights sometimes, especially as we left the Downs link and started climbing up the hills. They had planned to cycle to Amberley and catch the train back. I wanted to get in a 3 hour ride so left them at the top of Steyning to cycle back with Matt via a purpose built MTB trail that I never knew existed - over hand-made bridges, drops and round tight banked corners. It was a little beyond my capability but a great find and a trail I would like to try again, preferably in the dry.

I have already banked over 3 hours this week, despite being an easier training week. I might try to get in 3 swims - Mon, Wed and Sat. I also expect to complete the tempo run (as highlighted above) and a longer easier run. Possibly a turbo set - let's see what the weather does?


Monday, 6 January 2014

Should have taken a boat - rain, wind and hail - fields now lakes!

The weather has been awful but I was determined to get out on the bike during the week. Chris, my close neighbour and training buddy was 'game on' and suggested we take the mountain bikes out but keep mostly to the roads and main paths. Even though it wasn't raining as we left the house we were soaked within minutes just from the surface water on the roads.

The draw of the South Downs was too much and after a steep ascent we decided to take the South Downs Way down into Amberley. Once at the top we had about a 2-3km nice downhill stretch, which normally we power down at a reasonable speed - Not this time...

We hit a hail storm, which was so heavy it felt like we were going backwards! downhill!

We could hardly see more than a foot infront of us, the frozen ice was stinging our faces and it was very hard to keep upright in the strong winds. It was so extreme we simply had to laugh - we were mad being out in this weather!

When we hit Amberley the fields had turned into lakes, with waves! Amberley Castle now had a moat - it was an amazing sight.

We finally got home soaked to the skins but somehow pleased we had made the effort. After washing down the bike (more water) and a quick lube of the chain I was ready for a much needed shower. I was so mucky my wife insisted I strip out of my wet muddy clothes by the washing machine before going upstairs to the bathroom.

Chris pictured in a field at Amberley

That was Friday. Saturday was a Club swim - 'Brownlee style' - a long warm up with drills, 4x 50m build set, and then a main set of 5x 100m (repeated twice) at increasing pace.
Sunday, I wanted to get in another long run, as that was my focus for the week. It was a better morning (see below), albeit very icy underfoot. The plan was to keep the pace nice and easy so I would not need more than a single recovery day. I managed 21km in just under 2 hours, which brought the total training time to around 9 hours.

A beautiful morning - well at least for a couple of hours

So back in the office this morning (now Monday 6th) and desperate for a green smoothie after all the rich food of the last fortnight!

Back to the green smoothie - banana, spinach, carrot, pineapple and natural yoghurt


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...