Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Another cancelled event - such a shame

I was just getting into the SwimRun training - feeling stronger in the water, faster in the pool (with paddles) and generally looking forward to my A-Race and SwimRun event at Loch Lomond, scheduled for this Sunday (29th August).

Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be and the event got cancelled less than a week from the big day and ironically an hour after my last formal SwimRun training with my buddy, Graeme - what a nightmare.

I think they had logistical problems - health and safety, number of boats on the swim course etc. This time around we get a full refund but I had already booked flights, hire car, hotels, restaurants etc, some of which was paid in full with no option of refund.

Oh well, my wife and I are still going up to Loch Lomond for a long weekend of swimming, kayaking and walking plus a bit of chill time.

There is a more local SwimRun event at Bewl Water in mid-September but unfortunately I cannot make the date. Even on that event the organiser highlight on their website that there is a possibility it will not go ahead. Looks like I will have to defer to 2022.

Meanwhile, my training continues, still keen to make the most of sea swimming, even during the colder winter months. I will probably look for a run race, which is probably less likely to be cancelled.

Never say never to a Pegler. Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Continued SwimRun training

Nothing massively interesting to report, although pleased that I am managing to commit to weekly SwimRun sessions, which are going well.

Graeme and I generally meet each Wednesday for a 2-hour training session, typically 3 swims + 4 runs, totalling around 2-3km of swimming and 10km of running - approx. a third of of Loch Lomond event, which is approaching quite quickly. Let's hope we can both get to the start line healthy, fit and without any COVID symptoms (a lot going around at the moment).

Meanwhile, the training continues - I really need to get in a long (20km+) easy trail run with hills - possibly a run into work over Downs. Plus a long easy swim, at least 2km.

We are still pushing to see course map, leg distances but no word yet. We have been told we now have to carry a swimbuoy, to add to the many essential items.

I am resting today after yesterday's session (arms a little tired as the sea was so choppy - hard work with paddles). Tomorrow I plan a run from home. Saturday, a Club swim.

Onwards and upwards

Thursday, 22 July 2021

More training with swim lead/rope

For the last 2x training sessions my SwimRun Buddy and I have been trying out a swim lead/rope connected between us. There appear to be more positives than negatives so we will most likely be using it on race day. More training needed but we certainly feel it is the way to go..

- Places me neatly behind the feet/fins of my SwimRun Buddy (stronger swimmer) so benefit from his draft
- Less stress of losing pace and being dropped (and worse disqualified for being more than 10m apart)
- My swimming was generally no slower and fortunately my partner didn't notice any slowing/pulling him back

- The rope does move quite a bit in the water (especially in the sea) so you can easily hit it with padddles (at back) or feet (at front) - it is elasticated but it can sometimes be a nuisance. The best position is a very slight pull, which keeps it tight and straighter in the water. As the rear swimmer (so the rope is in front of me) I find it easiest to rotate my arms either side of the rope.
- You obviously have to carry the rope, which I generally wrap around my waist, for the entire race. There is also that extra step in transition - clipping ourselves in/out and re-wrapping/un-wrappring the rope.

By the way I saw a large jellyfish in Brighton yesterday, which swam by me within inches of my hands - it looked reasonably big, I would say 40-50cm in length!

Monday, 12 July 2021

Need to fully comit to SwimRun training

Me again - time for a brief update.

The SDW100 relay never happened (more COVID related issues) - the team has deferred to next year - may be I will have a crack then.

Meanwhile, my focus is on my one and only A-Race, which does look like it is going ahead - I have 48 days!

I have committed to a weekly SwimRun with my partner in crime (Graeme) but also need to have an additional 2 sessions (pool/sea/lake) to assist with my training and especially arm strength using the paddles for longer periods - the event includes a total 8km of swimming, which is considerably more than my longest swim (3.8km Ironman swim), albeit that was done as one. We are going to try to use an elasticated cord between us for our next swim so we keep with 10m of each other (event rules).

I should also be including some strength work (TRX, Zenn 8 swim trainer + other) although that is a bit 'hit and miss'. My running is OK (I regulary punch out sub 5 mins (per km) paced runs, even on 10km+) - I probably need to complete a couple of longer/slower trail runs before the event - possibly a run into work across the Downs. The cycling is just cross-training for now whilst my focus is on SwimRun.

That is the plan!

Monday, 26 April 2021

Still here!

My goodness - I am not very good at this blogging business. It has been some time (again) since my last confession.

Anyway I am still here - let's give it yet another go.

So since my last post the weather has improved somewhat and gradually the lockdown is easing. I am not back in the pool yet and recently turned down some training with the Club at Arundel/Guildford Lido (just too far to travel, especially when I have the sea on my doorstep). So swimming still a bit hit and miss - if I do go in the Sea with my lovely wife (she is braver than me) it tends to be a 15 min session, although they seem to be getting a bit longer. I look forward to when I can do some proper SwimRun training in Brighton.

Otherwise I am back to working in the office from Mon-Wed, which gives me an opportunty for some commuting time (back on the road bike) and seafront runs. Thu-Fri is working from home, which is a great base to go off-road and onto the Downs.

I have my name down for the SDW100 team relay in which a team of six runners (Club event) take 3 legs each (total of 18 legs, approx 5-7 miles each). I have done this race before and it is certainly a long day - you tend to go harder than you would normally, mainly because of the individual (shorter) distances and generally want to do your very best for the team. However, it is over the South Downs so it is not easy - expect a lot of hills!

So what with the SDW100 relay and the Loch Lomond SwimRun (my A race) I need to pick up the training and work towards a plan over the coming months. Nothing new but the focus will be on 3x runs a week (intervals + tempo + long-run), ideally with 1-2 off-road. Swimming will need to increase to 2-3x a week, which will be easier in warmer weather or when pools re-open. Then cycling 1-2x as a multi-sport extra and give my legs a rest from the running. As usual (and my general weakness) I need to include some strength training and stretching (weights and/or TRX) to the mix.

I recently purchased some more home training kit - the Zen 8 swim trainer - more on that in a separate blog.

Over and out for now

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Running and catching up with a podcast

Just back from a nice easy 12.75km loop (Z1-2). Sometimes it feels good to drop the pace and focus on something else rather than the running, whether the view, a problem you want to chew over or in my case today, an inspirational podcast.

My Garmin Fenix 6 smartwatch continues to impress me. A simple selection of the podcast I was interested in listening to within Spotify and a 2 min download to my watch via Bluetooth and I am up and running, literally! No phone needed. Just me, my trainers (plus winter wear) and my tunes (or podcast in this case).

My podcast on this occassion was an interview with Rich Roll and Dr Chatterjee - all good stuff:

Another recommendation from my TV (or YouTube) veiwing last night is:

The next challenge.....(probably not)


Sunday, 17 January 2021

The week ahead - time for a plan

Just back from a local 21.9km run at 5:13 mins per km (decent enough pace). First long run for some time (at least 9-10 months!) It is nice to know I can still manage that distance as most of my runs over recent months are in the 6-12km range. I certainly do not feel any post-run aches and pains, which is a positive. Nice to chill with a  coffee and some toast and a good opportunity to bash out a blog post.

At the moment I am hardly cycling at all, partly because of the weather (wet + icy), partly because I am working from home and then my cycling buddies (incl. wife) are injured or the lockdown restrictions make it hard to organise a ride. To be honest, in the past I would have cycled right through the winter with cycling buddies, or not. Then there is the old turbo. So no excuse really!

So thinking about the week ahead (with my New Year fitness goals in mind)...

Just running 2-3x a week and a bit of the occasional TRX strength work is only adding up to around 2-3 hours of fitness a week. I don't expect to get my training up to the old Ironman days of 10-14 hours but a target of circa. 6 hours should still be achievable. If I can add on 1-2 hours of cycling a week, whether on the roads or turbo, then I will be getting closer.

I still don't know a date yet for my SwimRun challenge - not entirely sure if will go ahead this year either. I need to investigate. Meanwhile my weight is not going down much - the sub 3-hour training regime and some back habbits (alcohol + sweet treats) during the lockdown is not helping.

Anyway, lets think big and scope out 6 hours of training for the week ahead (you never know):

Mon: TRX strength set + introductory turbo set [1 hour]
Tue: Recovery run [45 mins]
Wed: Turbo [1 hour]
Thu: Interval run [30 mins]
Fri: Cycle - getting out on the roads [1 hour 15 mins]
Sat: Rest day
Sun: Long run [1 hour 30 mins]

I will report back with my progress.

Have a great week 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Best time to exercise

I mentioned in a previous post that I prefer getting up and doing my exercise first thing in the morning, simply because there is less chance for talking yourself out of it and it generally sets me up for the day. I tend to run in a fasted state, which also allows be to enjoy my breakfast more, after I have completed the morning session.

That is the theory.... and still my preference.

However, the last couple of mornings have been grim (rain, sleet - generally miserable) so I have wimped out. The danger of that decision for me is that I get into the day and all its actions, distractions etc. and the fitness goal(s) get pushed down the priority list. So much so, sometimes it simply drops completely off the list and doesn't happen. 

Yesterday I was determined this was not going to happen. As the weather started to improve and the sun appeared, albeit for a short period, I had my running gear on and was out the door before I could talk myself out of my decision.

It was early afternoon so I had some food reserves in my belly (breakfast of coffee and toast + light salad lunch). I was suprised how good I felt - of course it could have been other factors (rest, general fitness, etc,), however I have often found it easier to run around this time. A few studies I have read confirm this is also the optimal time. I expect it might not be so good for fat / weight loss but in relation to your energy reserves it seems to work quite well.

To be honest I just like the feeling of daily exercise, whatever the time.... Just do it! 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

TRX - new Christmas present

Looking out the window at the grim weather doesn't feel me with much motivation to get out and run or cycle. May be tomorrow (not really fighting talk, I know!). I really find I am better getting it done in the early morning and before I start my working day.

However, as luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to get some TRX straps for Christmas, courtesy of my lovely wife.

I had been researching the TRX for a while before and was interested how versatile it was - it doesn't take up much room and the range of exercises is staggering. Just a quick search on 'You Tube' and you can find endless workouts and exercises from the basic moves to crazy stuff, like TRX Handstands.

After a week or so of use (mostly, every other day) I am generally impressed and pleased that it provides a nice indoor alternative, albeit the more rugged military style TRX straps I chose are ideal to use outside too. I don't think it can totally replace weights but it is certainly an ideal bit of fitness equipment to improve your core strength, which is on my list of 2021 goals.

Anyway, I am off to the 'Cave of Pain' (Studio) soon to give it another go - checking out this You Tube workout, targeting the upper body   

Monday, 4 January 2021

254 days since my last confesssion

It has been 254 days since my last confession.....

Happy New Year - 2021 (let's hope it is better than last year!)

I need an excuse for staying on track with a few health, fitness and well-being goals and have found the process of blogging (hopefully on a regular basis) to help.

It has been so long since my last post so I have quite a lot to cover, however best I pace myself and try to write more 'bite-size' content.

So what are these 2021 fitness goals:

- Proper structured training for a summer challenge (re-scheduled Loch Lomond SwimRun)
- Get down to race weight (target 79kg), currently 84kg (not good!). When I did Ironman I was nearer 76kg
- Explore benefits of cold-water (wild) swimming and attempting new adventures
- Regular strength training (TRX and weights) - always on my 'New Year Resolution' list but as yet, never made much progress
- Improve on my 2020 Strava stats (253 hours; 3,727km and 293 activities)

Over the coming days I will be updating you on what is going on in my world and my progress on the above fitness goals.

Let's do this!

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