#Janathon Day 22–HRM Breakthrough

As with running last year, its taking me a while to get used to cycling in the correct heart rate zone. All training is meant to be around Zone 2, but I’m regularly cycling above this. Until earlier today that was. Cycling out to meet the cycling club I managed to pretty much remain in Zone 2, completing 14 miles in just under an hour.

The cycling club ride was very social, particularly due to some cloudy heads after the Start of the Year dinner yesterday in a local pub. Starting at 10, and finishing a little after 12, 15 mile were covered, including a stop at a local cafe.

I then managed to blag a bacon sandwich from my father-in-law, along with a coffee before cycling into 12.5 miles of head and side winds. I decided to choose the more challenging route home, not thinking about how exposed the route was.

So a total of 43 miles in the bank. A welcome rest day tomorrow.

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#Janathon Day 14 – First Brick of 2012

The bike ride was meant to start at 8am to get back in time to join trainersintherox and her friend for a run at 10, but looking out I wasn’t brave enough to risk riding on the frost and went back to bed. 9am came and it didn’t look much better so I started contemplating heading to the gym to use the exercise bike and the treadmill.

But I really couldn’t face that, so just after midday I cautiously ventured out on the bike for an hour ride before getting back to do a run with trainersintherox and her friend.

The bike ride went well although I had to slow going down the hills – not brave enough to trust that the damp patches would have warmed up enough. As luck would have it the half-way ‘time’ came just at the top of a gigantic hill. Still, coming back down it was fun.

Then the jelly legs for the 1st mile of the run off the bike. But these seemed to clear quite quickly and I managed to get into the rhythm of 10 minute miling (my outside hope for the pace to run during a run/walk strategy for Outlaw in July).

I then got home and the offer of a hot cross bun and a cup of tea was made. There was a proviso to this though – I’d be the one that had to run the 1k down to the local shop and back to buy some butter. On this little run I realised I wasn’t too much short of doing an Olympic Tri distance today (no swim, about 8 miles short on the bike, 0.5m short on the run). Happy days for this point in the season.

The rest of the day was spent eating, quickly followed by still feeling hungry.

Tomorrows bike ride looks doubtful so I guess that trip to the gym might happen after all. 😦

Janathon Day 8–Club Bike Ride

Unable to find my bike lights I had to wait for the sun to come up before I could set off on my ride to meet up with club mates for the Sunday Social Ride. Think the sun came up just after 8am, leaving me an hour to cycle the 12.5 miles to the meeting point. The ride started well, and then a road I needed to use was closed. I didn’t have a known alternative route so in the end had to just follow my nose and hope for the best. The last 30 minutes of the ride became a race against time, but I managed to get to the meeting point 1 minute late – not bad going!

The ride then set-off for a nice little circular route round some the smaller villages in Hertfordshire, a little coffee stop, and then continued along some lumpy road until back at the meeting point – leaving me to cycle the 12.5 miles back home on my tod – without any road closures this time.

Managed to keep my average heart rate in Zone 2 for the ride, although fairly certain this will have spiked during some of the ‘lumpier’ sections. So just shy of 60 miles in a little under 5 hours.

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#Janathon Day 6 – Spinning and Recovery Runs

Embarrassing Times – Janathon Day 5 Completed

Yesterday I blogged before going swimming. I should have waited. At the end of the main set we did some relay races. I was paired up with the fastest swimmer, and another very good swimmer (the reason for this is due to my poor ability in the pool). Feeling the pressure of my gold-star team mates I set off like a rocket, only to get cramp in my right calf. Half way down the pool and I still couldn’t shake it out, and ended up having to cling onto the side and withdraw. Embarrassing or what?! 😦

Anyway, got home, and did #plankaday and #fitteam12 leg challenge.

Tight Calf Muscle

I woke this morning with my right calf being fairly tight but went to the spinning class none-the-less. Decided to hide at the back and take it easy. My calf seemed to ease up a little during the class but immediately tightened again after finishing.

I had my running kit with me so decided a 2 mile recovery run at lunch was in order. After a mile my leg felt great, and then I got overtaken by another runner. Recovery run soon went out the window as I stayed behind him for a while, before then deciding I’d actually be better doing the recovery run. I also got a little lost, so the 2 miles turned into a steady 3.5 miles in 34 mins.

I’m supposed to be racing a 5k tomorrow morning, but that will all depend on how my calf feels. If its tight I’ll just run at as a recovery run again and see if I can loosen things off!

A Little Inspiration

I’m not sure why, but a technical blog that I follow for work gave some inspiration to my blogging earlier today. Feel free to read it and see what you think.

#Janathon Day 4–Working Alarm Clocks & Busy Gyms

So this morning the alarm went off and I woke up. Admittedly I pressed Snooze for half an hour, but hey, still got to the swimming pool in time for a straight 1 mile swim.

One thing I really don’t understand about swimming is today I did 1 mile with full bi-lateral breathing and everything felt so much smoother and faster than almost any other swim I’ve ever done. So I at the end I looked at my watch to see 44 minutes. Last time I did a straight mile swim it took 43 minutes?!

Then at lunch I headed to the gym to sit on the exercise bike, but with it being January the gym was packed and there were no spare bikes. Managed to get on 1 for about 20 minutes. I did a fitness test on it, which just seemed to involve the resistance increasing and increasing. Still at the end it said I was in the top 100 percentile for my age group. I reported the machine as being broken.

With the gym being packed, and me questioning just how beneficial cycling on an exercise bike is, I started to research our local CTC. Turns out they do a Wednesday night ride. Now I’ve just got to remember where I put my bike lights, I’m sure I put them somewhere safe. Very safe. If you were a set of bike lights, where would you have been hibernating for the past 6 months?

Also, I’m intending to attend the #Janathon meet-up in February – who else is up for it?

White Water Rafting, Lee Valley Olympic 2012 Course

But before getting to the exciting bit, a quick reflection on the training week just gone.

After the panic of sore knees and a dodgy calf, the week started gingerly with a rest day on Monday. Tuesday was also going to be a rest day, but instead I tried a quick recovery run – turning out to be 3 miles longs in a little over 35 minutes. Whilst the calf didn’t feel right, it didn’t cause any pain and certainly didn’t warrant any more delays in training.

After struggling with various plans for triathlon this week I came across a plan I’d previously forgotten about. The reason I discarded it before was because I felt I was doing much more quantity that it was specifying – however with the realisation that I was sacrificing quality in order for this quantity to continue I had a fresh look at it. So the training plan I’m following for the next 6 weeks in preparation for the South Coast Triathlon is courtesy of Triathletes World. Plenty of quality in there, just now need to dedication to put in the hard work for the next few weeks.

And so on the back of this plan was a week of interval training. Firstly on the bike Wednesday morning – 20 seconds effort, followed by 40 seconds recovery. A commuting PB was grasped from me by 2 sets of traffic lights. That 40 minute barrier will be broken – hopefully this week!  Thursday saw the dreaded return of interval sessions in running. Whilst these work they’re not half painful. They’re also incredibly hard to do on your own, so I’m considering a return to a running club in the not distant future. 2 minutes moderate pace, 1 minute hard and then 3 minutes recovery. Repeated 6 times. Whilst it hurt I wasn’t in as much pain as my wife who somehow managed to run into a tree. No major damage to the tree I’m happy to report.

Friday saw a continuation of interval sessions, but this time in the pool. 5 repeats of 200m efforts with 30 seconds rest, followed by 3 repeats of 100m efforts. Arms were ready to drop off by the end. I did however get a chance to test out my new Timex Ironman watch to track my timings – an excellent piece of kit I wish I’d gotten ages ago.

Saturday morning was a couple of laps at the lake at Redricks – doing a mile of open water swimming in approximately 43 minutes. Sighting is still pretty poor with me ending up in the centre island on the second lap. I’ll not mention crashing into someone on the 1st lap either. The evening saw a run up towards Sonisphere to get some background music. The only thing that could be heard though was the falling raindrops that miraculously finished at exactly the same time as the run. Drenched is the only way to describe the run.

To keep inline with the efforts done this week I decided to finish the weeks training on an all out bike ride on Sunday morning to see exactly how fast I might be able to ride this triathlon. On a relatively flat route I managed to average around 18mph. After meeting up with a couple of other people and having a little bit more of a leisurely ride, I turned off to find the best downwards hill I’ve ever come across – it seemed to go on forever and ever. 25 miles later and feeling much happier I might be able to post a respectable time on the bike.

White Water Rafting, Lee Valley Park, Olympic Venue 2012

To celebrate his birthday, my best man, Craig, ran a marathon in Edinburgh earlier this year. I’m sure a much more welcome present was today – which was a trip to Lee Valley for a go at White Water Rafting courtesy of his girlfriends parents. We went along for the day out today, and a really great day it was.

After the safety talk, where most of it made sense, we got a chance to splash around in the water to ensure we could all swim and make it out alive if the raft capsized. During this swim I realised what a difference a triathlon specific wetsuit makes!

5 exhilarating trips later and being soaked through we all got off for a burger from the bar-b-q. An excellent day out and thank you very much to Claire and Craig for letting us come along. If you can get down there I can highly recommend it. Some random photos from today follow.

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Juneathon, The Great London Swim, (Nearly) 100 Mile Bike and Being Broken

Juneathon

Well, it didn’t really happen for me did it. Congratulations, and major respect, to everyone that did complete it – and hey, respect to everyone that even entered and did a little turn with it. I’ll be back on board for Janathon hopefully.

Unlike Janathon, I only half heartedly entered Juneathon this time round. I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete it due to Glastonbury (which was excellent by the way), and I wasn’t planning on running everyday, rather hoping to use it to cycle and swim more often.

Then a little thing called life got in the way. Things seem to be progressing nicely at the moment (I’m sure they’ll be a spanner in the works shortly), but we’ve had an offer accepted on a house and thus that has taken a lot of time to organise stuff for when I would have much rather have been out training.

The Great London Swim

On Friday night I found myself strangely nervous. The kind of nerves that used to hit me when I first entered running races. Loads of questions running through my mind like Would I finish? Will I be last? etc… On Thursday night I’d gone to Redricks and managed to swim 2 complete laps, not suffering any of the breathing problems I’d been struggling with up to now.

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Practising at Redricks

And so Saturday morning I found myself in a wetsuit and a bright Orange swim hat at the start of the Great London Swim. It really was a fantastically organised event, everything went very smoothly, and I had no problems once in the water.

I had hoped to sneak under the 40 minute timer, but unfortunately came in a few seconds over 45 minutes. On the back of this I’ve decided I really do need to get along to a local tri club to try and help develop my swimming. I’m happy I can do the distance for my triathlon now, I just need to pick up some speed from somewhere. Judging by the Great Swim time, I’d do the swim part of the triathlon in about 21m 30s, so I’d be hoping with some speed work I might be able to go sub 20.

The only downside of the day was that towards the end I managed to catch up with a group of 5 swimmers who seemed to have very poor sighting, and I kept banging into them. Just as I was approaching the finish one just stopped right in front of me. My left calf seized up and I thought it was just cramp, but I couldn’t get it to wear off. Sitting here 2 days on and my left calf is still in agony – not sure what I’ve done but it doesn’t seem good – even worse when this was my major return to running to start preparing for Liverpool Marathon and to try and get some speed into my legs for the triathlon. I guess I’ll have to watch this space to see what happens.

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The (Nearly) 100 Mile Bike Ride

So Sunday morning I met up with my father-in-law for a bike ride. I’d just found out that the Fairlands Valley Spartans Challenge Race I’d entered clashed with the weekend of the Dunwich Dynamos and so had resigned myself to the idea of no more (majorly) long rides. When asking how far we were going, 90 miles wasn’t the reply I was expecting. Ah well, see how I get on I thought – especially having ridden the 4.5 miles over to his house to start with.

Things started well and the 1st 30 miles or so went very quickly. At around 30 miles though my left knee started to give me some pain. I was thinking if it got no worse I’d easily be able to continue and was quite relieved to stop at Grafham Water for a sandwich, cake and coffee. Upon leaving though my knee started giving me some major grief, and after about another 10 miles I had to concede defeat to my father-in-law to say I’d continue but I’d probably have to slow right down (in his mind I was probably going at snail pace anyway). Another 10 miles or so further in, I completely conceded defeat saying we’d have to find a shortcut home, or I could sit in the pub all afternoon while he cycled home and then later collected me.

I don’t think he was up for the leaving me in the pub without him option, so we cycled to the nearest train station – which seemed to be mainly uphill and another 7 miles away. Finding out the trains only went once an hour to my little village I had to get off one stop early and cycle the 3 miles from there.

So all in all I think I managed just short of 80 miles in total, although admittedly those from about 55 miles onwards were freewheeling were possible and incredibly slow. On the bright side I do appear to have taught my father-in-law how to fall of his bike. Just after Grafham Water I did catch him having a little sleep in the road much to the amusement of the workman sorting out some utility pipes.

Being Broken

So this week was meant to be the week I was going to push on with doing some serious speed work in preparation for the final countdown to my triathlon. I’m confident I can do the distance for all disciplines, but I’m not confident I’m going to be particularly fast. But as with all great laid plans a problem arises and this appears to be my left calf (my left knee is still a slight pain but I think this will pretty much clear up in the next day or 2). As far as the calf muscle is concerned, I think I’ll attempt to go swimming tomorrow to see if it loosens anything off – if not a week of rest might be in order.