Sunday, 26 January 2014

Another week of learning

It feels like it been a while since I wrote a general training update as Ironman Austria hurtles towards me (and everyone else who is competing on the 29th June)

I'm currently at the end of week 8 of my 30 week plan and this week I have hit most of my training aims. Its been difficult fitting the training in but I've managed every session.

After my bike lactate test with Kev Dawson at Blizard Physio, it was suggested that I slightly alter my training plan to spend more time bike training with the aim being that my running would also improve. I amended my original training plan in line with Kev's suggestions to see what the impact of the altered training was.

This weeks training should have been as follows

  • Monday - Rest day
  • Tuesday - Track session and swim
  • Wednesday - 1 hour bike session and swim coaching
  • Thursday - 0:45 bike and 0:15 run brick session and swim coaching
  • Friday - Rest day
  • Saturday - 2:00 bike ride with 0:15 run
  • Sunday - 1:30 run and swim session

However the training this week has consisted of the following

  • On Monday I completed a 45 minute yoga session with the Mrs. I have been toying with the idea of yoga improving  my running by increasing my flexibility which in turn would increase my theoretical stride length which in turn would hypothetically make me quicker. The session was really hard work and tested my flexibility. By the end of the session I could nearly touch my toes but boy did my glutes hurt. Now I know I do a bit of running but my glutes never fire but 45 minutes of yoga and I was in bits. I expected to in agony on Tuesday but apart from tight hamstrings I felt okay.
  • On Tuesday despite my tight hamstrings I made my way to the track session at Doncaster Athletics. I was going to see if the tightness eased during the warm up before I made a decision on the entire session. The tightness eased somewhat so I took part in the main session. The session was 3 reps of 1200m followed by 800m followed by 400m, which would total 18 laps of the track. My legs were still in bits from my PB on Saturday so I made a decision to take it relatively easy and only complete 2 reps. I completed each of the laps in under 2 minutes which meant the entire session was completed at under 8min mile pace.
    • Now for the first important lesson I learnt this week. I went swimming after the track session when I was knackered. My swimming mojo seemed to have completely deserted me. I had no rhythm. This disheartened me no end especially as I have recently changed my swimming stroke. I only completed 2 reps of 200m and 1 rep of 100m. I just could not get settled into my stroke. I tried not to dwell on this but it is hard not to get disheartened when swimming is your easiest discipline in triathlon. In the end I put it down to tiredness and this was an important lesson to learn. Swimming after a hard running session will be hard work as your body is already tired.
  • On Wednesday I was struggling for time. I got home from work at 6pm but had to be at the pool for 7:30 to coach a swimming session. I managed a quick 45 minute ride on my turbo using Trainer Road. I really am enjoying Trainer Road. I find it does make turbo sessions enjoyable by giving me something to concentrate on other than just spinning my legs. To explain Trainer Road, you pick a workout from the 600+ which are on offer and there is a line which represents the power output required. The aim is to trace the line as closely as possible using the virtual power which is estimated by Trainer Road. This is the clever part, Trainer Road utilises the speed and cadence on your bike and the resistance level of your selected turbo trainer to spit out a virtual power. Trying to match your speed and cadence through gear selection to this blue power line is a challenge and this is what I like. You have an aim while sat on the turbo. You can pick rides which vary from easy to intense and rides which have specific aims.  It just makes the "torture chamber" fun especially now I have added a telly to my pain cave, this means I can watch videos and leave Trainer Road displaying on different screens.
    • I followed this turbo session up with a coaching session. I managed to help someone from the track session who could only swim two lengths of front crawl swim four lengths of crawl by the end of my one hour of coaching. I have since learnt that this swimmer has now swam 40 lengths continuously. This is what I love about coaching.

  • On Thursday I had a bit more time and managed another hour on my turbo with another Trainer Road workout for company. I followed this up with another hour of coaching. Again I really enjoyed my coaching by helping another swimming refine his stroke.
  • On Friday I got confused over which week it was and went for an hours run after work. I shouldn't have done this as it was meant to be a rest day but I had the most enjoyable run I have had in a while. I bloody loved it. I didn't overheat and just felt comfy running. Without really trying I managed a 58 minute 10km. 3 months ago I wouldn't have managed that. After the run I worked out that I had spent 38% of my time in zone 1 or below and 60% of my run in zone 2 and I still managed to bust out a 58 minute 10km. Hmmm? What's that about?
  • Saturday was time for me to see if the loaned saddle was really the one for me. I have borrowed an ISM Road saddle from TryBikeStore for 7-14 days with a view to purchasing one when I have found one suitable for me and my TT bike.  In summary this ISM saddle is not the one for me. After about 90 minutes I felt the familiar burn on my undercarriage so despite some more adjustments I just couldn't get comfy. I am going to return this saddle and swap it for a TT saddle. The TT model has a more forgiving nose and I think it it the nose which is causing my discomfort. In total I smashed out 45 miles in the 2:40 that I completed. As I couldn't get comfy for the last hour I didn't complete my planned 3 hour ride but learnt that the Road saddle is not the one for me. This is another important lesson learnt. After all being comfy for 112 miles is very important.
  • Today I had planned a 2 hour run which was in excess of the 1:30 that was on my plan but I fancied a long run. The weather however was horrendous. At the one hour turn point I was soaked. My hands were wet in their gloves. My torso in its waterproof (ahem!) was soaked so I cut short my run and only completed 1:30. Now for the good news. I negative splitted my training run. I reached 7.5km in 45:44 but completed my 15km in 1:28:51 which was a good feeling. What was even more encouraging was the fact that during the run I spent 61% of my time in zone 1 or below. But I still managed a sub 90 minute 15km. I didn't mange to go for my swim as I had to go and visit my Grandma in hospital.
    • Given that my HR on Friday and today has been quite low despite relatively good times (for me) being achieved I contacted Dave Tune and it transpires that with correct lactate training you have to work harder to achieve the same HR's. Oh so the fact I found the runs easy is just that I am getting fitter. Looks like I'll have to work harder on my next run to stay in zone 2. So it's true that it doesn't get easier you just get faster.
      • Today I also learnt that despite some people, making huge progress they take setbacks to heart. It is important to remember that the winter is where you build for the season ahead. Sessions which you miss or cut short are not the end of the World. It is the season where it is difficult to go out and achieve your best due to the weather, light, temperatures and a million other reasons. But remember you are lapping everyone who is inside on the couch. You are awesome if you get out in the horrendous weather. Winter miles mean for summer smiles. And take the positives from every session. Today for instance I cut my session short but taking the positives I negative splitted my run and performed all the run in zone 1 or 2 as scheduled.
Some random training stats for week 8 are:-

Time spent training - 8:24 (not including 2 hours coaching)
Distance travelled - 98 miles
Total calories burnt - 5779 kcal (not including 2 hours coaching)
Average HR bike - 118 bpm
Average HR run 155 bpm

I'm enjoying this revised training plan and think that the consistent training is leading to improvements in my running. I can't wait for some slightly better weather to see if those same improvements can be seen on the bike as well.

Thanks for reading,


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