Monday, 29 February 2016

Reporting back - Malta marathon race report

It has been a while since my last blog post.

I have managed to get in some semi-decent training volume over the last 2-3 weeks including a bit more strength work in the gym. I have also had some better results in the pool, namely my 200m + 400m time trial times have both improved:

200m - 3:18
400m - 7:10

The latest 200m time trial effort is close to my personal best (PB) of 3:17 but the 400m is still some 20 secs short.

At least there has been some progress mostly due to the new-found focus on better rotation and extra reach, which sets me up for a more efficient pull through the water. I has also made some improvements to my kick, which was almost non-existent beforehand.

I would have liked to have got in a couple more longer runs before the Malta marathon but for whatever reasons it didn't work out.

Anyway, I am writing this blog in the plane on the way back to the UK after a relatively decent marathon result. I was hoping for a PB but came up a little short on the day with a time of 3:46:00.

We started 200m up in Medina and finished at sea level so from the look of it a downhill race. However, there were some elevated sections, albeit nothing that caused me too many issues. On the day there was a strong wind that didn't help and I believe slowed me in parts. By the time we finished (around 11:20am) the sun was pretty strong. I actually prefer the warmer conditions although did get a bit of sunburn on my arms and neck, despite applying some suntan lotion beforehand.  I ran with a lightweight race hat, which kept the sun off my face and was useful for keeping me cool when squeezing some water from the wet sponges given out at aid stations over my head. I did suffer from a bit of chaffing between the thighs and also a small blister on my right foot, which was caused when I stopped suddenly and twisted around to grab my hat after it flew off in the wind.

The first 20-25km went well, possibly too well (or too fast). I was averaging just under 5 mins per kilometres, which if I could maintain put me on a 3:30 target.

I knew I would slow but it came a little earlier than I thought so the last 10km was much tougher than I would have liked. The support from my wife and friends was welcomed during 32-36km and helped me to keep going to the end, however I didn't have anything left to push the last few kilometres and get my PB.

My legs are not feeling too bad today (day after) and I expect with some easy swimming and cycling I will be back to normal training in no time.

Stopping to say hi to my support team

Malta Marathon




















So, what's next....

Well I have a classic cycle event to think about - Paris Roubaix in April, when I will be tackling 163km of which 52km are on cobbles. I am still considering bike options as not too sure my race bike in its current set-up can cope with it.

Thereafter there may be a DIY training camp in Spain at the end of April with some friends and fellow triathletes.

I also need to try and get a few more long and easy runs logged in preparation for my main 'A' race and 100 mile ultra run event in June. The plan will be to do a few long runs in the dark on the Downs, probably as part of my commute but really upping the mileage - potentially some very early starts and finishes.

As always, I will continue to let you know how I get on.

Monday, 8 February 2016

The week just gone and looking ahead

So after my tough 28 mile trail marathon (ultra distance event) on Sunday 31st January last week was mostly down as recovery.

As previously highlighted in my recent post I was most pleased that I had no ill-effects from the long run and was delighted to be back in the gym on Monday and even on the track (coaching plus a bit of running) on Tuesday. I also managed 2 club swims during the week - following our new swim instructor's advice I lengthened my stroke and focused on the pull through, which definitely appeared to make a bit of a difference to my swim times - result! There was an easy bike commute on Thursday but little activity over the weekend. It would have been a good opportunity to get in a little more volume, albeit relatively easy.

So to the week ahead...

It is not taper time yet (Malta marathon - Feb 28th) so I do really need to get another decent run in plus some higher intensity work. Today (very stormy weather - strong winds) I opted for the gym and managed 35 mins on the treadmill - interval set - 1Ks @ 4:40 pace + 2 min recovery @ 5:45 pace, although my Garmin (indoor run setting) listed a much slower speed.

Here is the plan:

Mon: 0:35 interval run + 0:15 weights; [Optional 1:00 Club Swim]
Tue: 2:00 bike commute
Wed: COACHING - recovery day
Thu: 0:45 swim + 0:15 weights
Fri: 2:30 long easy run into work + 1:00 bike commute
Sat: 1:00 swim + 1:30 run on tired legs
Sun: 1:00 bike turbo (Valentines Day - need to give Mrs P some attention!)

Report back soon.

'Work the uphills, cruise the downhills, and keep the rubber-side down'


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Better news and another ultra event in the bag

So finally, better news...

After a long period (possibly months) of sub-par volume training weeks I posted a half-decent effort recently, mostly driven by entry and completion of the Darkstar River Marathon. I say a marathon, however it clocked in at around 28 miles, so officially an ultra event. It was also a proper tough event as nearly two-thirds of the route was along boggy river banks - a mudfest! Not only did that make the going hard and slow but also a little dangerous in places. One of mates, Paul Carruthers (a Horsham Amphibians Triathlon Club Member), who also participated in the Darkstar event, came off worst for wear with a very nasty bruised and sprained ankle as a result. Paul, is an experienced and decent-level runner and sometimes a follower of this blog, so I wish him a very speedy recovery. He still managed a decent time of 4:36:43

My time for the Darkstar event, as you may expect, was nothing to write home about (5:03:24), however I was pleased for a number of reasons:

  • No injuries
  • Able to walk and even workout the next day - very unusual!
  • Lost some pounds - back nearer to my fighting weight
  • It is only February - good to get an early run in the bank
  • Great training for my next challenge - Malta marathon
So, what is next...

Well - now I have lost some weight and recorded some better volume I intend to keep the momentum going, however this week will be a little more recovery biased (less intensity). I hope to get in 1-2 more decent runs plus some faster speed-work in preparation for the Malta marathon at the end of February. If the conditions are right I may possibly have a chance of a 'personal best' (PB) and a time south of 3:45.

Onwards and upwards!

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...