Look at the shinny shinny!

Several months ago – I bought some new wheels. These were bought with the money I was given for Christmas with the sole intention of buying wheels. The Family just didn’t get it. I picked them up, brought them home, smiled a lot and gazed at them lovingly, knowing it would be a while before I actually got round to trying them out.

That day was today.

It’s been like New Bike Day all over again!

I ordered the tyres to come next day, ordered tools needed to take the cassette off my turbo to put on my wheels and the inners to go with the deeper rims and waited. The knock on the door was earlier than expected but I knew instantly what it was. The joy!

The tyres and inner tubes were taken out of the packaging and unwrapped. The tyre leavers came out and so to did the bike front and Operation Sort Out the Wheels began.

As it wasn’t that long since I changed the tyres on the Spesh, I did this relatively quickly.

I even managed to fit the cassette. Wonders will never cease.

Feeling smug and over the moon, I then tried fitting the new wheels to my bike. Well. The new wheels are wider rimmed that my old ones and there were a few issues – which, thanks to a mate, got sorted (along with bringing in my bike leaves).

Oh MY!

So after the bit of tweaking and a cuppa at said mates, the breaks were sorted and my leaves brought in, I went home for tea, only to head straight out again to try my usually 15.5mile loop and do some segment hunting.

Naturally I had to wait until after tea – but it was worth it. First ride of the year on the new wheels. First ride in shorts. First ride in a short sleeved jersey.

What a difference. I knew wheels would have a difference but I headed out and knew I was just generally faster. I could feel it. Turns out that the wheels really do make a solid difference to performance (I knew they would but wasn’t sure how much). It felt like I was flying down some roads – genuinely quite surprised at how much difference I noticed. Unlike the ex’s wheels – it didn’t feel as stiff as I was expecting but marginally more responsive. I felt more confident as a rider. I averaged 17.7mph over the ride – but did not top 10 any segments – even though I felt I was pretty close on Long Lane!

So worth the investment? Yes yes and yes again. She also looks absolutely beautiful! The decision not to go with tan wall tyres was completely the right one too. It even got shared on LaRidley’s instagram video!

But don’t take my word for it – I’m sure you’ll agree – she’s a beaut!

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The Stealth Ninja – My absolute pride and joy! Ridley Liz 105.

Holkham Training – Week Four

Well I’ve hit an absolute dip in my motivation to train this week – in terms of running anyway. It’s just been busy. On the plus side – my cycling has increase and I got my two hour ride in on Saturday so I really need to stop beating myself up – I also didn’t get my LSR in on Sunday – I decided cheering my mates on at Skipton Triathlon (why is it always cold there?!) was more important! I also really need to give some serious time to strength and conditioning work! I would also like some more sleep!

Swimming – 3250m – Nothing to really report here – although my pace wasn’t on form at all this week – I’m not too worried – it has fallen a bit by the wayside due to cycling….

Cycling – 69.6km – All on the road and none on the turbo. Managed to get a two hour ride in on Saturday to town but spent nearly an hour gabbing to friends – on the downside, had a head wind back. Starting to feel a bit more confident with my cycling in terms of getting my general fitness back.

Running – 15km – This is really poor for this week – and where I really need to be focusing. I had a really good run on Wednesday but still suffering with a hot spot on my right foot when I try to put any pace on – and I missed my LSR on Sunday due to heading off to Skipton and not really getting up early enough to go before.

Next week I am not working quite as much – I am hoping I’ll get some run mojo back but I am not feeling particularly hopeful at the moment. I think Monday and Tuesday will be write-offs.

 

Holkham Training – Week Three

This week has been a very mixed week. As much as my fitness is improving – Coniston 14, general rubbish sleep and being busy has wiped me out this week so I have barely stuck to the plan – on the plus side though – I’ve found some cycling mojo again and seen major improvements in my CSS time. I’ve also managed to be relatively sociable – a committee meeting, a trip to the cinema and a evening at my mates, eating and generally chatting.

Swimming – 2500m – A very short week swim wise. Literally just due to tiredness but still. I did my CSS test with a mate on Thursday night and surprised myself to be honest, I wrote about it midweek – see here if you’re that interested! Apart from that, there isn’t more to say – the swim doesn’t worry me – although getting round in a good time would be rather nice! Swimming at my local lake started this weekend but it is too cold for me at the moment!

Cycling – 45.7km – This has been the bigger thing for me this week – I ended up having to take the summer bike off the turbo to go and pick my car up from the garage on Friday as I knew my other winter bike wouldn’t fit back in my car with mudguards. It’s first time I’ve ridden my summer bike this year on the road – and it really brought back my cycling mojo – I’ve just been so down about my own cycling and lack of over winter. It was only 12km to the garage but I managed to hit some of the speeds I was in the summer – peaking at 24mph through Elvington – short, sharp blast – proved I could still do it! So on Saturday, after work, I managed to get myself out on the bike for a 20 mile loop around home and really enjoyed it. It did help that the sun was shinning to be fair. Just glad to be finally getting myself back out.

Running – 5km, Ok this is really poor, even by my standards. I was going to run post committee meeting on Wednesday but I was just so tired. This week has really got to me and my general enthusiasm has waned. I’m not worried and just putting it down to general tiredness.

I’m really looking forward to next week though – I have only one private tutoring appointment as opposed to three and because I worked Saturday, I am off the day job Wednesday as well as Thursday. Hoping the Easter holidays will provide a little bit of quiet and rest as I won’t be working bank holiday Monday either. Hopefully next week I will be able to stick to the plan a bit better – and possible up my protein and sleep! Oh and actually doing some strength and conditioning work – might be wise!

Why hello 2019!

So I receive a tweet suggesting I change my Twitter name/handle – I think I probably should. I cant believe how far I’ve actually come in the last six or seven months. Anyway, this quick post isn’t about that – but it did make me think about what I should change it to – food for thought and suggestions welcome!

It’s not even about the fact I spend New Year’s Eve tinkering with TT bars on my bike and watching GCN videos on YouTube.

No – it’s about the fact that I spent the first day of the year on my CX bike, with a mate, plodding (read: getting whooped) around the Blue Route at Sherwood Pines. Poor lad had to deal with me coughing my guts up most of the day. I went last Friday and was fine, despite cough, today, on lack of sleep and coughing – it was hard going. I suppose the fact that my mate is far far stronger and skilled than I am put me through my paces didn’t help matters but the sun came out, I ate cake and had a lot of fun. Should 2019 continue in such a manner then bring it on!

Training Review 2018

Last Christmas (I gave you my heart…)… sorry, couldn’t resist, especially after the year I’ve had!

Let me start again.

Last Christmas, I got a free glittery notebook from Cath Kidston with an order. Being a
former teacher, I love a good notebook and unhealthy amounts of stationary. I had itchy feet to write in it – but what? I left it to the side until one day, I decided that I was going to keep a physical, rather than just digital record, of my training year.

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The cover of my new compendium definitely reflects my love of swimming!

Inside it was entitled; ‘Rach’s Compendium 2018’.

In it contains a review of 2017 in terms of distance and time for swim, bike, run and yoga, as well as a record of races, body statistics (yes – weight and measurements of all sorts body related – big drop in the summer), books read, goals (I achieved none of them!) and a monthly overview. In the monthly overview, I noted anything in particular the stuck out training wise, note on injuries, who I rode with, sportives – anything that took my fancy. I managed to keep it up – although at the back end of the year this has trailed off a little bit. Its a bit like a training diary but looking backwards rather than looking at what I have planned.

I want to carry this on, so I have a new compendium for this year – it is still glittery but slightly bigger. I will be using this alongside trainxhale.com and Endomondo (as well as Strava – but I don’t use Strava quite as religiously).

So what are the final results for 2018? Has it been a good year training wise?

2018

It has certainly been an interesting one.

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My swimming this year, screen shot from just before I hit the 160km mark on New Years Eve.

When I look at my stats – overall, 2018 has been a good year training wise. The stats are also a good representation of what has gone on in my life. In particular, my swimming stats. I have struggled over the last 18 months to get to the bottom of my swimming injury and resulting tightness. Swimming has also helped me meditate/switch off and help me recover from a horrible break up, my endurance is just about back, I just need to work on my speed). Cycling too – being dragged out to Time Trials in the aftermath of the break up brought on my cycling no end – in fact, if anything, the break up has massively contributed to me becoming more focused on me, my training, and doing what I want to do.

So distance wise – what have I done?

Cycling – (including turbo kms too) 2468.25km

Swimming – 160km

Running – (including treadmill) – 438.85km (considerably less than last year)

Total time across ALL activities – 14 days, 20 hours and 18 minutes – give or take.

When I reflect back on this, I am very conscious that a lot of this has lacked focus, so yes I have put the hours in and I have made a lot improvements (especially in terms of cycling), but I think I can do better.

I have done so much in the last six months because it has been all about me and doing what I love. I’ve probably pushed myself harder too. Reflecting on the year is rather good, as I know that with a focused training plan and getting in some decent base training, I stand a good chance of making some good improvements next year. I need/want to mix up my training, as doing the same thing won’t help me get better. I need more sessions where I push myself out of my comfort zone, but equally I need more sessions at lower intensity. ┬áPut basically – I need to keep mixing it up.

I am not sure what my biggest achievement sporting wise has been this year – but the two things I am most proud of I think involve my swimming come back and my new love of Time Trials and desire to improve and get better.

Targets and Goals for 2019

I do this every year and rarely meet any of them – or give up the ghost a bit but… if I write them here, in 12 months time, hopefully I will be able to tick them off!

  • Swim more than 160km
  • Get my CSS down to 1:55/100m or less.
  • Sub 30 minute 10 mile TT (I was VERY close this year)
  • Improve my average speed on the bike.
  • Cycle at least 2000 miles, if not more.
  • Run 1000km.
  • Run a sub 28 min 5km
  • Run a sub hour 10km
  • Learn to look after my bikes better!
  • Enter a CX race

 

2018 has been a rollercoaster year – roll on 2019 and the start of something truly epic!

Looking forward to 2019

I have to say, I am rather excited about 2019, and looking forward to waving 2018 goodbye. I cant say I have had the best year ever but I have definitely had an interesting and emotional year.

2019 will be something epic I think.

I’ve started to get some routine back with my training – this is definitely contributing to my current happiness and wellbeing. I’ve done two big weeks of swimming without any major back issues, even nudging 20k running this week over three runs and managed to go out three nights on the trot. My base training is starting to show results and I am feeling positive and motivated (long may this last – however, like all things, I know there will be highs and lows). I read a quote about every action being a small step towards that elusive looking goal. Holkham is my A race, and Coniston End to End swim in penciled in. These are my two main goals – with the aim of getting a reasonable decent time and enjoying them.

I love chatting about training and future plans with friends and comparing notes, pencilling events and debating what to do to help support my training. Coniston 14 is one such event, at the end of March. A friend is trying to talk me into doing some crazy 24 mile run/walk thing in February and another friend has talked me into doing a bed race in June. Edinburgh running festival has been mentioned as well as a few Epic Swims up in the Lakes (excellent training again…). I am so excited about what is to come and figuring out what I am going to do – maybe boys will have to take a back seat for a while!

 

Testing Testing….

As I am actually beginning to take my winter training a bit more serious, I thought I might as well do a couple of baseline tests. This was also triggered by a conversation with one of the coaches in the club as we were discussing doing a CSS (Critical Swim Speed) test set at the next swim session. I also decided I might as well do an FTP test on the bike too!

Swim Test….

CSS stands for Critical Swim Speed – it’s essentially the pace you can maintain for a continuous 1500m (or hour), but rather than do a full 1500m continuous swim or an hour time trial – you can work it out from a 400m TT and a 200TT (go check out Swim Smooth here). Most of my plans and races next year are longer than the 400m swim in sprint triathlons so for me, working on my CSS pace is a good aim – I’m not too worried about my shorter distance speed (although I won’t be ignoring speed sets). I cant even remember the last time I did a CSS set so Friday morning I set out on a mission to work mine out.

I had an idea before hand that my CSS pace should be somewhere around the 2min/100m mark. I used one of the club sets – braving the longer set. I did my warm up, including a bit of speed as well as a bit of pull. My 400m time was 7:46:06 – respectable considering my swimming has been hit or miss in the last year due to injury. My 200m time was 3:49:06. I was genuinely over the moon with this as my last sprint triathlon swim time was 7:32:00 and that was at my near peak swim fitness. When I got out of the pool and plugged the numbers into the CSS calculator on the Swim Smooth website – CSS pace – 1:59m/100m – BOOM! Sub 2 minutes! Not as great as it used to be but I am still happy with this as a starting point – I’m planning on swimming four times a week!

Cycling…

FTP – if you cycle regularly or have a turbo trainer, chances are you have heard of an FTP test – Functional Threshold Power – the power you can maintain/produce – over an hour. Quite similar in some respects to the CSS really in my eyes. I had a debate about this with my mate and how accurate my turbo would be in comparison to the Wattbikes at the gym. But considering I’m using my turbo for my training, I decided that I would just keep it to the turbo so it was all consistent. I signed back up to Zwift and this morning decided to have a go at the FTP shorter test. It’s a while since I’ve done that too!

Forty-five minutes of sweat and hurt. I followed the FTP shorter test on Zwift – the 20 minute section from which they take the average for your FTP averaged at 164 watts – Zwift take this and work out your average watts at 95% of that (which is similar to how the CSS worked out with me). 157 Watts was declared as my FTP score – with my weight this works out at 2.5W/Kg – which, according to Zwift is Fair to Moderate fitness (see here for details from Zwift on this – its quite interesting!).

So what does all this mean?

It means that my Zwift sessions will reflect my FTP – helping make my turbo training more efficient and hopefully less dull – as I’ll be focused on following a plan. It might not be particularly accurate or my real actual power output but its a starting point. In swimming, it means that when I’m working on my threshold and endurance, I’ve times to go off – such as 100s off 2.10.

it also gives me a nice data point to refer back to in a couple of months to check on my progress.

Fingers crossed the training will kick in and I’ll see some results!