Monday, 24 February 2020

The week ahead

This weather..... awful!

Anyway, no excuses. So the plan for the week ahead:

Mon - 30mins strength exercises
Tue - 60mins run - nice and easy, checking out Achilles
Wed - 90 mins cycle
Thu + Fri - Run/Swim (subject to how Tue goes)
Sat - strength exercises / Pilates
Sun - cycle

Not sure of total exercise time, ideally 6 hours+ but need to focus on more calorie expenditure than calories in and a reduction of at less 0.5kg in weight

Let's face the facts - I need to lose some weight!

Over the last year (or so) my weight has found a new level. OK, so I am not training for an Ironman and averaging 10-12 hours per week - at the moment I rarely hit 6 hours. However, the lack of higher intensity workouts and time with the weights, combined with a lot more wine, nibbles and sugary snacks has not helped.

So for years I ranged from 72-76kg (keeping below 12 stone). This meant I was probably a bit too thin and this was more my preferred race weight. Then for a good few years I was quite happy between 76-80kg (still in the 12-stone zone) and my 'sweet spot'. Now.... yes, you guessed it 80-84kg (into 13+ stone territory)!

Let's face the facts - I need to lose some weight!

The goal is to get back in the high 70s and stay there. So what is the plan?

Well, I am no monk but I cetainly need to reverse the trend and I think I need to commit to the following Dos / Don'ts

To Do:

  • 2-3 (shorter) intensity sets a week
  • 1-2 weight sessions a week, gain more muscle
  • Eat more protein and healthy fats
  • Drink more water
  • At the end of the day, consume slightly less calories than needed (taking into consideration exercise)

The Don'ts:
  • Keep the alcohol to the weekend and limit general consumption
  • Reduce processed food
  • Less carbs (I love bread),especially on non-workout days
  • Less nibbles (salted peanuts, crisps and cheese)
  • Less sugary foods (why do I need cake or chocolate with coffee?)

To be honest I have a relatively healthy diet and eat a good variety of food. I am not big into fast food. I eat more fish and chicken than red meat. I like salads and healthy fats such as avacado, nuts, olive oil etc. I also like fruit and most vegetables.

So it shouldn't be too hard, should it!!! I am aiming for a healthy 0.5kg reduction a week, so 6-10 weeks of weight loss would allow me to attain my goal.

I will keep you informed of my progress. 

Friday, 21 February 2020

CityWire video interview + update on training

I am just back from a video interview with CityWire - they are normally interested in my outlook on the stockmarkets (well, sometimes!) but on this occasion they were doing a piece on training for endurance events and asked me a few questions about my past challenges, training tips and what I had going on in 2020.

Once it is published I will add a link to my blog. It did make me think that I have actually come a long way over the last 10-15 years and I am far from finished yet!

It is amazing how swim/run/cycle training has become such a big part of my life - I simply need it. It gives me the juice to get through the day. It really is a drug, and very much the right kind.

Anyway, I managed to get in that extra swim yesterday - going in with a plan made it so much easier to complete, albeit in a public pool - quite differing abilities in the (fast) lane I swam in and a long way away from swimming with my Lane 4 Tri Club buddies. However, I got the job done, focusing on pull + paddles, which is key to my training for my Loch Lomond SwimRun challenge at the end of August.

This morning cycle commute was reasonably uneventful. I have the return commute later - lots of hill work (to get over the South Downs).

Tomorrow, if all goes to plan, it is back in the pool. No major progress with my Achilles injury, although my strength exercises have been lacking - note to self.... DO THEM!

To anyone that follows this blog....Have a great weekend

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Swim set for tomorrow - paddles + pull buoy (revised)

So this is the plan for tomorrow (I hope the pool allows me to use such toys in the public swim!):

Warm up + Technique (600m)

  • 200m warm up
  • 200m pull, bilateral breathing
  • 2x 50m single arm up, FC back
  • 2x 50m kick, FC back

Build (400m)
  • 4x 75m building the pace
  • 4x 25m 9/10 hard FC

Main (1,000m)
  • 400m paddles + pull 6/10 FC
  • 100m recovery
  • 400m paddles + pull 7/10 FC
  • 100m recovery

Cool Down (200m)
  • Mixed strokes

N.B. This has been revised from my original post - my swim buddy (Graeme) and partner in the Loch Lomond SwimRun event (also a Level 2 Triathlon coach) has recommended that I dial down the main set and use some 100m sets as recovery swims - the paddles adding enough load and making the set tough enough, at least for this time of the season and given my current swim fitness (not great) - don't want any more injuries!

SwimRun research + revised training schedule

An easy cycle commute this morning - I am very fortunate to live close to the South Downs so have a very scenic, albeit hilly, commute over the top of Devils Dyke. Back later this afternoon, hoping to dodge the rain.

I have had a re-think on my training schedule for the week - I didn't manage to get a swim in yesterday but hope to sort something tomorrow, trying out one of the local pools (probably go for King Alfred on the Brighton seafront) - I am not great swimming on my own but need to train with my pool buoy and paddles (I do like my toys) for my 'A' Race in September so will go in with a plan, which I hope will make sure I get in a decent swim. In 45-60mins I should aim for at least 2K.

It is pretty mad keep running with my Achilles niggles as I really need to rest it, whilst completing my daily strength exercises and stretches. Another week off of running is not going to scupper my training but long-term Achilles issues might!

Yesterday, I did have a Pilates session (thanks to my gorgeous partner who is training to be a Pilates instructor - useful to practice on me). My flexibility is pretty awful as is my strength for anything outside swimming, running and cyling - work needed there!

I am continuing my research of all things SwimRun - training videos, equipment, reviewing classic events etc. I have found a nice wetsuit (SwimRun specific) that looks like 'Batman' - not invested yet, but if I do will provide more details and that all important future equipment review.

So quick change to the training plan for this week:

Mon: 30mins tempo run [Done - probably shouldn't have run with Achilles niggles]
Tue: 60mins Pilates session
Wed: 90mins cycle commute [half-completed]
Thu: 60mins swim (paddles/pull-buoy)
Fri: 90mins cycle commute
Sat: 60mins Club swim
Sun: 90-120mins (optional) cycle

Note to self: not doing very well with the healthy eating + weight loss. My training will suffer if I don't lose 5-6kg over the coming months. Trying to target 0.5kg weight loss a week but keep it off. I am not making it easy for myself (watch out for excess: wine, salted nuts, sugary snacks, processed foods!)

Monday, 17 February 2020

Achilles niggles, SwimRun podcasts and the week ahead

I tried to give the ankles a rest last week and skipped my normal run set(s). This morning I tried a relatively easy out and back (turn on 15 mins) at sub 5mins per km pace. It was a bit of a miserable morning and for 5 mins I was caught in a sleet/rain downpour. Unfortunately, although I managed the run within the target zone, my Achilles were no better than last time I ran.

I have had this before and I generally know what to do - lots of strength exercises and stretching needed - a good 15 mins per day minimum with possible ice treatment. What do they say RICE (Rest - Ice - Compression - Elevation). In addition I might invest in a new pair of trainers (this has helped before) and upgrade my Asics GT-2000 from Series 7 to the new 8's. I normally like to change my trainers every 500-750km. My current Asics are coming up to the lower limit, although I thought I would have had a few more months in them yet. Fortunately I get a half-price pair through my Vitality life insurance scheme (points means prizes!), which means an investment of £60, rather than £120 (ouch!).

Once I sort the Achilles problem I look forward to getting back into some faster interval/tempo sets (to help with my 2020 goal of breaking 5km in under 20 mins) and then some hills/endurance sets to start building my running strength for my SwimRun event in Septemeber - the 'A' race.

I haven't bought any new kit for my SwimRun challenge yet, although hope to start making some investment in April/May (wetsuit, strap-on pull buoy, specialist footwear etc.) at which time I may also start consider some outdoor swimming (sea + lake). For now, I am starting to do some research about the events. I found a couple of interesting podcasts hosted by Dr Chatterjee, who I have a lot of respect for - I have read one of his books and looking forward to reading his other 2. Dr Chatterjee found SwimRun in 2019 and speaks very highly about the sport - not just about the discipline but the connection between the teams and with Mother Nature herself.

If you are into podcasts and want to know more about SwimRun I recommend you check out episode 73 and 96:

So in terms of training what have I got for the week ahead? A word of warning, I always seem to list more than I actually complete!

Mon: 30mins tempo run
Tue: 60mins swim (checking out local pool - solo swimming)
Wed: 90mins cycle
Thu: 30mins interval run
Fri: 90mins cycle
Sat: 60mins Club swim
Sun: 60mins easy run

So, if goes to plan (big 'if') then approx. 7 hours, which I would be more than happy with.

Not sure about the solo swimming, which I have struggled with before - generally little motivation to complete a session. I think my only chance is to go in with a specific set in mind. I do need to build my swimming up to at least 3x per week. The good news is I am likely to use paddles and pull buoy for my 'A' race so will train a lot more with these toys.

I will check back in soon to let you know how I did.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Here we go again! Let's talk about 2020 goals

I really am poor at publishing new posts - it has been 6 months since my last confession!

So quick round up (for anyone still listening) - probably just me. If so, this is my personal diary entry for 11th February 2020.

Let's start with the good news - I have had 2 blood tests since my prostate removal at the end of July and the PSA levels have come back with a reading of <0.01 suggesting the operation was successful and I am cancer free. All good!

So there has been a move back to normality, which of course involves swimming, running and cycling into the mix.

My training week tends to total 3-6 hours rather than the 8-14 hours back in my Ironman days but that is OK - I still love the sport and am finally thinking about some goals for 2020.

So here they are.....

- Improve my speed work and try to complete a 5K parkrun under the magic 20 mins
- Improve my strength (so important for an ageing 50+ year-old triathlete)
- 'A' race: SwimRun in Loch Lomond (end of August)
- 'B' races: considering endurance swim(s), long-distance run(s), 1-2 cycle sportives
- A few triathlon Club events
- Maybe a half-Ironman (let's see)

Like always, I have probably listed too much, and will come up short, however my 'A' race has been paid for and the date is firmly in the diary.

So, if I can get motivated again to continue with my blog I expect I will be coming back with a training plan to get me in shape for my SwimRun in August. It would also be nice to lose 3-4 kgs in the process, which would be good timing for my wedding photos. I get married to Lucy in September 2020.

Could be a very exciting year!

Link to the SwimRun event:

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