Thursday, 20 February 2014

Back on my favourite coastal path

I have a long way to come to run my favourite coastal path but I couldn't help packing my running shoes on our short trip out to Spain to see my wife's parents.

With children all off on school holidays we packed light and went with hand luggage only. I was tempted to bring my Brompton fold up bike but for a 2-3 day trip that was supposed to be devoted to some quality time with my wifey and her family that might have been a bit cheeky.

Anyway I still got in 2 runs, the second of which was via my favourite coastal path from La Zenia beach to Cabo Roig. Next time I come back to visit I expect they would have successfully extended the path by at least another few kilometres. Meanwhile, it was great to get a couple of runs in, especially as I didn't need my long Lycra tights, gloves, hats etc (all the winter gear). Unfortunately we are back home later today and I will certainly miss the 20 degrees plus temperatures.

The good news is that I hope to get a bike session in tomorrow before building up for a bit more volume over the weekend. Next week I am tempted to try running to work and using my new headlamp - I will let you know if I can get it together.

My favourite run

Good morning Spain

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Training Weekend

I knew it was going to be tough to get some quality workouts in at the start of the week because of a number of work commitments and early morning journeys to the airport so by Wednesday I was not totally surprised that the Strava bank was empty.

With only one easy hour run (wet and windy) logged by the weekend I was hoping that the scheduled Club Training Weekend could push me into the black although I knew my goal of 12 hours was going to be a struggle.

Saturday morning started with some land-based stretching and then into the pool for the normal coached swim. After a coffee and some toast with honey I was off for an hour run with the guys. The group was mixed and on this occasion I was one of the more seasoned runners. After a 2-mile warm up and some stretching the main set was 10x 45secs sprints uphill with a recovery jog back down each time. It was quite a tough workout and I was pleased for the easy jog back to Christs Hospital leisure centre.

After some lunch I was back for more, this time with my turbo and road bike for an indoor cycling session. Once set up I was looking forward to the 1:30 Sufferfest workout that was playing via a computer and projected onto a large screen for the 15-20 triathletes in the room to see. 2-3 big fans was keeping the temperature cool enough to be comfortable. 

Unfortunately only 15mins into the session the power in the leisure centre was cut and the projector and fans died. Coach Nick F jumped in to take the remainder of the set 'old-school', shouting out commands and keeping us motivated in the small room, which was rapidly turning into a sauna despite our best efforts to let some cold air in through the windows. The leisure centre staff could have closed us down immediately when the power went off so we were lucky to finish the entire set - most of us were sweating buckets so Nick had done us proud - I called the workout the 'Nickkerfest' on Strava.

We didn't get away with the next scheduled session, which was Pilates as with no power it was probably going to be in the dark - health and safety!

After a good night sleep I was back for more punishment. At 8am we set off on road bikes for 8.5km loops, which included a fast rolling section and a nasty hill climb with recovery periods in between. Most of the Club's top cyclists were out so the pace was fast. We managed 6 circuits and got 50km in the bank.

I had a few jobs to take care of at home so I missed the post-ride run but was back for the swim later in the afternoon. I had the option of doing a big endurance set or going 'back to basics' with a long technique set. As my legs were a little fatigued and my swim technique always needs a bit of work I decided against the tougher endurance set and went for 'back to basics'.

The swim was welcomed and I always find it helps to stop the legs getting too stiff after a tough run / ride.

I was unable to make the last session of the day, which was some core strengthening but overall felt I had experienced some quality training, kindly organised by the Club, and finished the week with a respectable total, albeit some way off my target hours.

This week is also supposed to be a big training week. Again I have started slowly but as I am holiday I hope to get in some decent workouts mixed in with some quality family time. Part of the holiday involves a short trip over to Spain, my running shoes are packed.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Long time no see

Well my recent 11 hour plus training week was followed by an easier period of just under 8 hours. This coming week and next it ramps up yet again.

Last week included some tempo work both on the bike (all turbo trainer) and track but nothing too long. I was pleased to get in another 3.5 hours of swimming (3 sets), which is certainly helping me to improve in my weakest discipline. One of the swim sets was some 1-2-1 coaching with Mike (one of the Tri Club's swim coaches). He was generally impressed with my progress, especially in relation to my bilateral breathing and better body position (improved roll) but gave me some homework to help with hand entry and my catch / pull technique.

This week will be interesting as I have a number of work engagements and early morning commitments (taking children to airports at crazy hours!). Normally it would have been very difficult to get in 12 hours plus of training, however I am fortunate that the Club has a training weekend planned, which should drastically increase the volume (total of 11 hours scheduled for the weekend alone, if I did every session). I aim to get in an easy bike tomorrow, swim on Wednesday and long run on Thursday morning (another early start) beforehand. If all goes to plan I should easily hit my goal training volume, setting me up nicely for another big week thereafter, at which time I have some time away from the office to complete all the training. This week is slightly more run focus and then it is all about the bike.

I am keen to use my Birthday present, a smart Silva Trail Runner II headlamp, which is marketed as a powerful, lightweight running lamp that is ideal for early morning off-road runs. One of these days I will drive into work, cycle home on my Brompton and then return the next morning on foot (a 18-20 mile trail run along the South Downs Way, Downs Link and along the seafront). Fortunately my car is then conveniently at the office in order to save my legs getting back home once again.

I did quite a bit of research before selecting the Silva Trail Runner II and am so far very pleased with my choice.

New Toy: Silva Trail Runner II headlamp

I have some thoughts for some future blog posts:

- Trying out the new Fitbit Force, courtesy of my cousin (Mr. Harddrive)
- Details of the training weekend and whether I met my increased goal target
- New Brownlee book, a good read so far

Meanwhile, thanks for checking in once again and sorry for leaving it so long between posts.

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...