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!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Piling on the pounds

It's all a little too much negative news at the moment and a bit of a downward spiral - less training, more weight gain, more guilt....

I somehow have not only lost those Christmas pounds but added to the problem by putting on further weight.

I had a gym test today (only blood pressure, height, weight, waist measurements plus a very easy step test). Fortunately all looked good although I weighed in (with my clothes on) at just under 79kg, my heaviest weight for years, and a good 4-6kg heavier than my fighting (Ironman) weight - oh dear, oh dear!!

While talking about tests I recorded a 200m and 400m time trial swim yesterday and my times were 3:24 and 7:12 respectively. The 200m time is within a few seconds of my PB so not too shabby,  however the 400m, which was the swim we did first was a good 20 secs longer than my PB. I think I went out a little slow to start and never really picked it up (too much Pegler pace). Plus of course I am nowhere as fit as when I was training for Ironman and swimming 3 times a week.

Anyway, I am all geared up for an easy run into work tomorrow plus a bimble back on my Brompton. Hopefully that should add a few hours to the Strava tally and help towards this week's goal of 10 hours plus.

Got to also switch to healthier snacks to shake this extra weight. Lots to do!

Monday, 11 January 2016

This week - what's the plan

A low volume of training logged again last week but at least I ended on a high with a 33km easy loop via Southwater Country Park and the muddy Downs Link path.

No ill-effects from that long run so going to try and incorporate another work commute run this week - possibly Friday.

Also looking forward to including some additional swimming and strength work at  my new gym (Virgin Active - Falmer) on Wednesday and Thursday.

I will see what the weather is like for the weekend and will then make a decision about bike or run.

Today (Monday) giving my legs a break after yesterday's effort. Will try to get the next one in on Tuesday.

Hoping for at least 10 hours plus. Will report back with my progress.

Friday, 8 January 2016

A random list of stuff going on

First off... that 50 miles week of running never actually happened - close, but no cigar!

Watch this space, one of these days I will crack it and log a decent volume week and hopefully over 50 run miles - to be honest it has simply got to happen, and ideally soon, if I am going to properly train for my 100 mile ultra event in June.

So a quick list of random thoughts:

  • Liking my new Garmin Forerunner 235 with integrated HR monitor (reading taken from wrist, not HR belt) - need to post a review
  • Considering getting my name down for Level 2 BTF Coaching qualification - later in the year
  • Down for the Malta Marathon, on Feb 29th, a nice destination for a run
  • Considering further marathons - Arun River and Three Forts Challenge
  • Just joined local Virgin Active Gym at Falmer, which has an outdoor pool and some decent Watt bikes. Keen to improve core strength prior to Tri season kicking off - hoping to make good use of facilities
  • Thinking about buying a new bike, based on 'n+1' principle - looking at a Cyclocross / Adventure bike - may enter Paris Roubaix classic sportive
  • Still need to commit to a half-distance (70.3) event for later in the year - few ideas but possibly Stowe Middle Distance race on 3rd July
  • Unable to secure a place in the multiple swim/run challenge (8 runs + 7 swims) in the Lake District - moral of the story 'if you fancy a race, get your name down, sooner rather than later'
That's it for now - back soon - promise

E-Bike adventure

I know, you must be thinking 'E-Bike adventure'.... that's it, he has finally given in to old age, no more 'Tri Hard Dave...