Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Plan for the last week in the build phase

'Scores on the doors' last week - a lower volume of training with some intensity work on the bike.

This week is officially my last within the 'build phase' with the focus on a greater level of intensity and lower volume - quality above quantity.

My plans over the last fortnight have been slightly disrupted as my Achilles tendon problem (left ankle) has flared up again. Fortunately any pain, albeit minor, has eased over the last couple of runs and I am hoping to be fully recovered by next week when the 'peak phase' starts in earnest. During this phase, arguably the most important, I would expect to strike a good balance of quality and quantity, with the focus on race specificity throughout. If all goes to plan the volume should increase from the current 8-12 to 10-16 hours but steadily built up over a few weeks.

This is what I have planned for this week - some intensity including a supersprint race event but a long ride on Sunday as I transition to 'peak phase':

Mon - 1:00 Bike Turbo (power set)
Tue - 1:00 Run (easy-steady) / 1:00 Bike Turbo (another power set) / stretching exercises
Wed - 0:30 Run interval set (not too intense) / 1:30 Club swim
Thu - 1:00 Run (easy-steady)
Fri - 0:45 Club Handicap race - supersprint event 
Sat - 1:00 Club Swim / prepare bike for long Sunday sportive
Sun - 6:00 'King of the Downs' sportive - 115 miles and 9,000ft of climbing - a monster!

Some 14 hours of training if completed in full. A good mix of intensity work and a fun Club race trying to put it all together. Followed by a long sportive - over ironman distance - a great 'time in the saddle' test. Given this is a bit of a jump from previous weeks and the plan is to build steadily, my effort on Sunday is going to be easy-steady.

Details of the long sportive can be found via the link:


My next blog will include race reports on the first Club Handicap of the season and the King of the Downs sportive. I also have the opportunity to try out a new top-end wetsuit, a Z3ROD Vanguard Stealth wetsuit, thanks to Alan from The Physio Fitness & Wellbeing Company www.physiofitnesswellbeing.co.uk

To the next time...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Slow recovery

Well this tendon niggle is here to stay despite all the daily exercises and ice treatment!

It is certainly not as bad as last time and only confined to one side (left ankle), however it is a bit of a bore and stopping some of my planned higher intensity run sessions.

I am gently re-introducing the running but progress is slower than I would ideally like and of course I hope the light exercise and stretches is helping to make it stronger. The discussion out there appears to be split between those advocating complete rest and those recommending slowly strengthening the tendon area.

Hopefully my next post will confirm a complete recovery and back to 'training as usual'. Only another week of the build phase and I am into the lumpy peak period when I expect to push the weekly training hours from 8-12 to 12-20 hours.

I will keep you informed!

N.B. Getting more interested in doing an ultra distance race next year - probably a 50 miler first.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

From 'feeling stong' to 'falling apart'

Last week's entry was titled 'Feeling Stong' and was posted after my long run into the office. Since then I feel I am falling apart a little, although as I now recognise the issues, hopefully I can take appropriate action before it gets more serious.

On the day after my long run I felt a niggle in my left tendon. Giving my experience when I last had tendonitis problems, which took almost a month to rectify fully, I immediately backed off the training. I also began my various stetching exercises and ice therapy, at least once a day.  All of which worked before (after time). A week later I have just done my first run since the niggle arose, keeping the pace and volume nice and easy.

For some reason I have also been suffering by some neck pain. At first I thought it was simply as a result of an awkward night of sleep but not sure if it is related to my swim stroke. Over the last month as the focus in the pool has moved to higher intensity I have been reverting back to breathing on one side as opposed to the bilateral breathing, that I was trying to practise more often.

Fortunately the stiff neck pains do not last for long and are not stopping my training in anyway. On top of the neck issues when I swam last night I also experienced some of the worst cramp I have had for some time - I'm falling apart!!

What I am getting better at is listening to my body and taking action sooner. As you get older it certainly takes longer to recover so it is not worthwhile taking the risk of long-term injury.

I hope to build back up the intensity over the last couple of weeks of my build phase before I enter my peak training when I try and put it all together: intensity, volume and more race specific training. It will be so important to keep injury free during this peak phase of training and before my big race at the end of August.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Feeling strong

Last week I recorded a higher volume training load, just coming in under 12 hours.

I am still in the build phase so the focus remains on some higher intensity workouts and lower overall volume (8-10 hours per week), however I do not wish to lose the feeling of getting in a longer session so still keen to include at least one a week.

Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to be invited to cycle around the Isle of Wight with the boys from the Club - a stag event would you believe it? From my last experience the IOW is quite hilly and I knew there were going to be plenty of tough sections during the 100km ride.

All of the Club riders were strong and the pace was brisk for most of the ride. I was most pleased, not that I could simply keep with the pack, but I felt so strong at the end. I remember feeling, is that it, I could do that again! Of course, the friendly banter, fantastic conditions and beautiful scenery all helped to make it a great day. Not sure I will feel the same after I finish the 115 miles 'King of the Downs' sportive that is less than a month away.

Since then I have completed a nice 11km negative split run and another open water dip in Southwater lake.

This morning was another long session, this time a 28km easy run into work. My pace was consistent around 5:40mins per km so took around 2:40 in total. Apart from having a bit of a thirst I feel pretty strong and no ill - effects whatsoever (so far).

Need to update you on a bit of new kit - some new race wheels and shoes. Would also love to update my wetsuit but a bit out of my budget at the moment. Will report back on the new kit in my next post.

Meanwhile,  work the uphills,  cruise the downhills and keep the rubber side down.

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...