I was thrilled that he asked me. We sat down to discuss when the coaching would start and what form it would take.
We decided that the coaching would start in December after my last race of 2014 at Leeds Abbey Dash.
To start things off in November we gathered some baseline data on my current swim bike and run ability.
In November my performances were as follows
Swim - 400m time - 6:22
Bike - 3 minute test result - 351W average and 3.68w/kg
Run - 5km - 23:37
Now we are three months into the coaching partnership it was time for some retests across all disciplines.
The last three months have been heavily centred around my bike and run. Any swimming I managed was an added bonus as it wasn't part of the plan.
The training has consisted of (work and life depending) a minimum of three bike sessions a week and a minimum of three run sessions a week with one strength and conditioning thrown in for good measure. I've found it tough to manage my time but feel my training has been fairly consistent. Yes I've missed sessions but life is life and sport is something we do for fun so there is no point berating ourselves for those missed sessions.
My weeks now boil down to
Monday - strength and conditioning and bike
Tuesday - track and bonus swim if not coaching
Wednesday - bike
Thursday - run
Friday - rest day or catch up on missed sessions
Saturday - long run or bike
Sunday - bike or long run
Given I am only doing sprints this year. My long runs are a maximum of 90 minutes in duration which is a lot different than last year where the duration had to increase if I was going to make the finish line in Klagenfurt.
But I think the consistency is helping with my belief in myself. Last year I was making my runs and bike rides longer to cope with the fact I was doing an ironman. This year however I can concentrate on quality sessions.
We scheduled last week as a rest and test week.
The plan was for me to complete tests across all three disciplines and have a running lactate test at Blizard Physio all within one week.
Monday - this consisted of my usual strength and conditioning class at Blizard Physio. Afterwards I went to the DTC committee meeting.
Tuesday - I had my lactate threshold run test at Blizard Physio and now have some new heart rates to run at. Not a major change from what I was doing but threshold running just became 4bpm harder. I then followed this up with a timed 400m and 200m at the pool in the DTC swim.
Wednesday - time to see how much 4bpm hurt? In a word they do. My average pace for the 45 min run was 8:08/mi. Now I know that is not quick by some people's standards but let's look where I have come from. This was a steady run. One that was not meant to put any lasting strain on my body. 18 months ago my pace for that sort of run was around 11:00/mi. 12 months ago I had only just gone under 25 minutes for 5km and nearly threw up after. Here I was nearly replicating it on a steady run.
Thursday - given I was racing (myself) on Saturday at parkrun Scunthorpe, this was a bonus rest day.
Friday - ahead of my PB attempt at Scunthorpe I went for a warm up and some strides.
Saturday - I drove over to Scunthorpe and arranged to meet a friend who was going to pace me around the course. I went for a warm up lap and some strides before making my way to the start line. The plan was simple. Run at 7:00/mi for the duration of the race to hopefully get me home in 21:XX. During my lactate at Blizard Towers I ran 5 mins at this pace and according to the data it should have been achievable. The first lap was tough but we got round in 11:02 which was on pace. About a third of the way into the second lap, my head told me I couldn't do it, that I couldn't cope with the pain. On the uphill section I was in a bad way and told my friend it was a waste of time. He nursed me home encouraging me all the way with an 11:46 second lap to get me home in a new PB time of 22:48. I was thrilled to bits that I PB'd but can't help thinking what might have been possible if my head hadn't got involved.
Sunday - steady bike ahead of my 3 minute test on the Wattbike on Monday.
Monday - strength and conditioning followed by 180 seconds of suffering.
180 seconds doesn't sound a lot but when you are putting everything you have through those pedals in an all out effort. It just hurts. There were several guttural animalistic screams which escaped from me in that 180 seconds. I'm amazed a neighbour didn't call the police.
So there we go. One rest and test week (well 8 days but who's counting) completed.
The results are in.
Swim - 400m time - 6:11 an 11 second improvement off about 6 swims since November.
Bike - 3 minute test result - 388W average and 4.17w/kg a 37w (10.5%) improvement
Run - 5km - 22:48 a 49 second improvement.
I'm pleased as punch. If you'd told me 3 years ago that I would be capable of these sort of times I'd have called you a bare faced liar. But do you know what?
Anything is possible and I don't know what the future holds. But I can't wait to find out.
Thanks for reading,