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 Day 1–A Full Throttle Start

And so it starts. And I’ve maybe gone off a bit faster than I should have. The reason? Well I’m struggling to work out how to juggle the various bits of required training for various events I’ve got coming up. Anyway, this will become more apparent over the course of the month, best get back to talking about what I’ve done today.

Early Start

Today marked the start of Juneathon. It also marked the start of my cycling commute. I’ve tried to commute by bike once before, and I was somewhat unconfident on the bike, to the point I was a bit scared to take my hands off the handlebars to signal. With this and the commute being along busy roads it was quite a silly idea.

After building my confidence on the bike over the past few months, I’ve decided I need to start doing the daily commute in order to get the miles in for Dunwich Dynamos next month, and also for my sprint triathlon. So just after 6.30am this morning I set off to work on my bike. I started with fingerless gloves, but quickly changed into my winter gloves as whilst the morning looked lovely, it was surprisingly cold. With it being half-term the roads were nice and quiet, and there was even a very friendly drive that stayed behind me for quite a distance when I approached a right-turn roundabout.

UnForunately nothing more interesting to report than that. With my Garmin not set to Auto-Pause I made it to work in about 47 minutes, which isn’t really fast enough for where I want to be on the bike leg in the triathlon – but the last 3 miles are by far the slowest taking approximately 18 minutes mainly due to the start/stop nature of the cycle paths and traffic lights. Surprisingly though this was still 2 minutes faster than the time I did into work back in February.

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Swimming

At lunchtime I made my way over to the swimming pool with 2 aims. The first was to get used to wearing a swimming cap, and the second was to do a pyramid session and cover a mile. From now on all my sessions in the pool will be a mile in length as I look to the Great London Swim next month.

Swimming cap on, set off for my first length and water pours into my right google. Trying to adjust the tightness and part of the plastic breaks off. Managing to get some kind of leak-proofing working I managed to do the 1st half of the pyramid (100m, 200m, 300m, 400m) and set off against time to do the remaining lengths. 30m into the 300m session and the googles completely snap. Time to call it a day, and get onto Wiggle to buy some replacements. These are coming in the post in the next couple of days (well, hopefully before Saturday when I go outdoor swimming for the 1st time!):

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Cycle Home

Last time I did this cycle home it took me a whooping 1hr 04m. This was mainly due to me not being able to get my clipless pedals free from the pedals in time when approaching some traffic lights. As a lay on the floor attached to my bike and unable to free my feet I looked up to see a large bloke walking towards me with a golf club. Lets just say he didn’t look like your typical golfer. Fortunately he turned out quite friendly and helped me free my feet from the pedals. I didn’t ask about the golf club.

Nothing quite as exciting happened this time, and I set off with the aim of beating 47 minutes. However getting caught at a number of traffic lights at the start rendered this an impossible dream. I’ve also got a feeling heading home is more uphill, so I may never be able to beat the ‘in’ time. However, I did manage to knock a massive 12 minutes of my previous time, getting home in about 52 minutes.

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Due to switching my Garmin into Bike Mode I appear to have managed to lose the mile split functionality. At this moment in time this does appear to be the only functionality change when switching from Running Mode to Bike Mode though.

Finally… Some Core Training

Getting back and I found my wife in her running gear asking me if I was coming out for a run. I was very tempted but thought better of it. Instead I’ve started the 100 Push-Up and 200 Sit-Up challenge. Being very organised (for a change) I did the initial tests on Monday so I’d know what to start with when Juneathon started. Being an idiot though I managed to do the reps required for the push-ups for the sit-up. I’d realised my mistake before I started doing the push-ups, so at least with those I got the correct number of reps.

200 Sit-Up Challenge – 14, 18, 14, 14, 20 Total – 80
100 Push-Up Challenge – 14, 18, 14, 14, 23 Total – 83

Phew… Thats it for today. I promise I won’t overdo it tomorrow.

2010 – The Year in Review

All in all, a pretty poor year. It started with my first ever DNS due to an injury, kept that theme going throughout the year, and ended that way with the last race being called off due to ice. Onwards and upwards as they say.

The Start of The Year – Build up to London Marathon

2009 had ended brilliantly – I was running really well, had put in some good long runs before Christmas (getting up to the 16 mile marker) and was running with a better standard of runner. Then the winter came with snow and ice, and then that was followed by a foot injury that came and went without much notice (well, took 3 weeks to go). The meant I was unable to run The Four Villages Half Marathon in January.

Getting back to running in late Jan early Feb coincided with a house and job move. Next up with Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon, closely followed by Liverpool Half. Silverstone I probably wasn’t really fit enough for, and then Liverpool was just a bad day at the office with runners stomach problems all the way round.

And so on London Marathon – what should be the highlight of any year – and was to a degree mine. I set a PB (by some 4 minutes, had hoped to smash it completely by some amazing time), and ultimately completing any marathon has to be seen as an achievement. The day itself though was gruelling. From about Mile 2 I felt as though I’d already run the marathon, and this continued pretty much all the way round.

After the event I was a bit miffed as to why I hadn’t set a better time, and also why I’d struggled so much. I’d run more miles than in the build up to Edinburgh 2009. Looking back now with a clearer head, I can see that those miles were pretty standard, one pace running miles – junk miles. I also stuck with my training strategy of 3 runs per week, and hence completely fell apart at about the 20 mile marker again.

Post Marathon Blues

Once again, as happen in 2009, after the marathon I really couldn’t keep up my running. I entered a couple of events to try and focus my training (Milton Keynes half being one), but then didn’t train, and therefore didn’t make the start line.

The End of 2010

Entering Edinburgh Marathon (after being rejected from London) in late September, early October, coupled with having a nice long relaxing honeymoon in Mexico has given me renewed enthusiasm about my running.

This lead to Ware 10, something I hadn’t trained particularly for, by wanted to use as a marker to see exactly where I was. Getting round in just over 1hr 30m was a cracking achievement, and I thought set me in really good stead to see out the year making some progress. I also took part in a Cross Country for the first time, and this ultimately lead to an ankle injury which then force 4 weeks off.

With the combination of injury, un-fitness and bad weather the remaining races for 2010 didn’t happen (Bedford Half, Dirt Half Marathon Challenge, RNLI Reindeer 10k and Buntingford 10).

Time for Reflection

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The marathon was a highlight, despite it being such a hard day. The realisation that I hadn’t run a sub 2hr half in 2010 sank in late last night. My PB at half distance in Liverpool (1hr 57m) was very much running within myself as that was part of my build up to Edinburgh. I had hoped to completely smash that time this year.

However, all these ‘poor’ performances can be attributed to a lack of disciplined training. The only consistent mileage was posted between Feb to April (and most of these were junk miles) and then after that there has been little focus or structure to my training.

To The Future – 2011

So to Edinburgh Marathon 2011 it is. With the disappointment of 2010, I’m desperate to perform really well at Edinburgh. I think I’m more than capable of a sub 4 hour marathon, and to help achieve this I’m trying a more structured approach with at least 4 runs per week, higher mileage, but possibly more importantly plenty of speed work and marathon pace runs. I’m also introducing much more consistent cross training (cycling and swimming) which should hopefully go some way to helping my overall fitness.

Following on from Edinburgh, I’ve got Seaford Triathlon in August. This has given me a fresh challenge which I’m as equally excited and daunted about. So far though, I’m totally engrossed, and delving into reading everything about the world of triathlons.

Towards the latter part of the year is the Mersey Marathon (Oct 9th) and then the Great South Run (Oct 30th). Along with the Triathlon, I’m hoping these 2 events will help ward off the post marathon blues!

2011 Goals

1. A sub 4 hour marathon
Aiming for this at Edinburgh. The backup goal will be to set a new PB.

2. Complete a Triathlon
This is Seaford, August 13th.

3. Run 1000 miles
Backup goal will be to run more miles than any other year (686 miles in 2009)

4. Side goals (which will be reviewed as the year progresses)
Set new PBs at various distances, particularly half marathon and 10 miles.

2011 Event List (so far)

Watford Half Marathon [6/2]
Aldi Ashby 20 Mile [13/3]
Edinburgh Marathon [22/5]
South Coast Triathlon, Seaford [13/8]
Mersey Marathon [9/10]
Great South Run [30/10]

I’m sure there will be plenty of others, but these are the focus so far. A races at the moment are Edinburgh Marathon, the Triathlon and probably the Great South Run, although I’ve never run 2 marathons in one year.

Other Important Things

I need to take more photos through next year, if for no other reason than to make my blog posts more interesting!!!!

 

So thats my year – what about you guys? Thanks for reading, have a great Christmas, and all the best to everyone for 2011, whatever your aims.