Holkham Training – Week 5

The week did not start off particularly well. I am not sleeping as well as I would like and waking up early with zero motivation or energy to get out of bed. I did start the week with a swim – which was good fun – slowing down is hard, but my week also started with the news that my mate, who I was supposed to be racing with, has withdrawn. In all honesty, I am not surprised. Life does, sometimes, get in the way, and sometimes you just have to say no, or cancel things to protect your own health. Having being in a situation where things can be too much, I do get it completely! And talking of things getting in the way – the lack of energy/sleep thing has been getting to me – the lack of sleep issue is partly related to the cat, but I have also started taking iron tables so we shall see. Hopefully energy levels will improve – especially with long weekend and a quieter week work wise.

Swim – 2900m – Another lowish swim week but…. more interestingly – I have been reading Swim Speed Secrets by Sheila Taormina – and so I tried adjusting my stroke on session and suddenly I was swimming 1:42/100m! I need to work on it to get it to suit and finish reading the book but wow. Just wow. The theory, basically – is that swimming is 80% about the pull, 20% rotation/other stuff so need to focus on the pull – and within this, reducing the number of strokes as well as increasing the cadence. Sounds simple but I suspect it won’t be anything but! She also advocates/points out the high elbow within the pull, or at least keeping it high to start. So work to be done there. I am also conscious that I need to be thinking about starting OW swimming.

Bike – 87km – Three days on the trot – to be fair, Ive really enjoyed cycling this week – the weather has been glorious for it and its been a long bank holiday. I’ll be going out tomorrow too! From a mid week post, you might have seen that I’ve finally put new wheels on my bike – and they have made quite a difference to be fair when putting the speed down. They aren’t really any lighter but the deeper rims are more aero and I have felt the benefit. I was a little gutted to be 1 second away from a QOM, without really trying. I’ve just enjoyed it. I even got to ride with a mate this morning – even if it was only for 4 or 5 miles!

Running – 5km – And on a treadmill too. This isn’t good. I have just completely lost my run mojo. End off. It’ll come back. Hopefully on Tuesday!

Holkham Training – Week Two

It’s been a good week – managed again, to stick to the plan – although when I originally wrote the plan, I knew I would need to tweak it for my race on the 30th. Had a good week on the swimming front, managed to fit things around work and socialising – so all in all, I am pretty happy – until I look at my to do list of neglected things this week! I’ve also eaten well – which was causing me worry – meal prep to the rescue. Just need to cut down on the sugary stuff now. I also ended up buying a new bike – more about this below….

Swim- 6400m – Swimming is my favourite and this is no secret – this week has been a good week in the pool, managing three swims and an excellent average pace – so much so I shocked myself – maintaining 1:50/100m for 3000m! There is a story here though. There are two lads who swim together on a Tuesday morning (one swims Wed too). Sometimes when I have walked in, they have been swimming two abreast – which annoys the living daylights out of me. I admit, I have thrown dark looks and glares at them every Tuesday morning for the last few weeks. Anyway, after a moan to friends, I decided I might as well just get in and swim with them if they are going to swim in the medium lane when they should be in the speedy lane. So I did. I didn’t want to slow them down so I worked around them – and blasted out some speedy 100s – I’m not that horrible and insensitive to fact they were doing a set, faster than me and I was in after (both lads ended up moving). Similar thing happened on Wednesday and I was doing a longer set – again swimming with one of them made me faster as I didn’t want to hold him up. I am intrigued with their training and I think I really should apologise for glaring at them – partly because I want to quiz them about their training plan! Watch this space – there might be an update next week on this. I also think I could do to do a CSS test this week.

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The Ridley Phaeton T – what a beauty!

Bike – 32.37km – Well, I cycled a bit. I tried cycling after running Coniston 14 yesterday but there really was nothing in the legs. Again, this week has been a bit pants on the bike – empty turbo miles don’t make up for actually being on the bike. This morning’s effort was so hard. And worse thing is I try to push too hard when I cycle on my own. On the plus side though – I’ve just bought a triathlon TT bike. It wasn’t planned or anything – it was a link from a friend who was thinking of buying it. The bidding ended on it at 5.55am on Friday morning – I had a max bid of £300 and really did not expect to get it. Yet coming home from my race yesterday – I picked up a Ridley Phaeton T and she is beautiful! I’d best get used to riding it if I’m going to race on it! I am very excited! I cant believe how light she is even though she is aluminium with carbon forks – I’m seriously debating putting the race wheels on her. Really need to RIDE MY BIKE!

Run – 36.65km – Absolute epic week of running – we are at the end of march and this month I have run more in a month than any other since I started running years ago. It’s paying off! Zone 2 running is working and my race at Coniston was good – to the point that I think I could have pushed it a bit more. I ended up with a half marathon PB – and on a hilly course with not that much more training than the last one so all in all – good week running! I am also going to add here that Tailwind Nutrition is the bees knees – kept me going with no side effects!

Overall – happy with this week – particularly with my swimming more than anything, I even managed to be sociable on Thursday night for Helen’s leaving do! I am still concerned about my cycling but now Coniston 14 is out of the way, hopefully I can concentrate on getting big miles in rather than long runs – next weeks LSR is only 75 minutes according to the plan! Best just crack on with the to do list thats been left now!

 

Here goes nothing!

‘Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.’ Gail Devers

I’ve had a busy month and neglected writing. I’ve been away on holiday (which was exactly what I needed at the time, surrounded by friends and living the good life!), gained some more work in the form of new one-to-one pupils and completed my Level One Triathlon Coaching – all in all busy and productive. On the same note, it’s brought home some truths about the next few months.

Next week sees the ‘official’ start of my training plan for Holkham.

I am equally excited and terrified by this for several reasons. I have found that trying to eat well at the beginning of the week is incredibly hard. Monday through to Wednesday I am barely home – Monday I leave the house at 7am and get home about 9pm, Tuesday – gym before work means I can leave the house at 6am, go home for 20 minutes after work, then head out again, not to be home until 9.45pm and Wednesday is similar – gym pre work, work, tutoring and then running – so 9pm before home. I am going to have to start properly meal prepping if I am going to eat well enough to be able to train properly – and not eat so much rubbish. I’ve a few ideas on that front.

The other thing I’ve found is on the dating front – I just don’t have the time to date, that process of getting to know someone. I deleted my POF account the other day and felt better for it – it served its purpose at the time. If someone walks into my life that I find I willing want to make time for (mega bonus points if they swim/bike/run) then great, if not, then so be it. I am actually enjoying the single life too much to be too worried.

I am trying to balance saying yes to exciting things and how this is going to fit in with training/life. My major concern is actually cycling. As in May I am away three weekends – lots of running – little cycling. So that will be interesting. Coupled with the fact I am taking on an extra day at the day job – I have a lot going on. I’ve also got members day and renewals coming up in my club (being membership sec – this is the busiest time of year).

These are my main concerns in terms of general life getting in the way of training. Eating properly and fitting it in. I am going to try and keep myself a bit more accountable by blogging once a week purely about my training. A diary of sorts, in a mission to keep on top of training and keep myself motivated. Basically, I think I am just going to have to be a little (read as lot) selfish for the next four months.

Hopefully, come July 7th – I’ll be ready to smash out a great race and come back happy!

Best get cracking!

Fluctuating Mojo – Training and Dating

It happens to us all but this week has been generally quite rubbish training wise and I’ve had my thinking cap on to try and figure out why my head hasn’t quite been in it.

  • General tiredness – last weekend I was on a coaching course – two long, busy days, followed by three long work days (including new assessments). Think it has just zapped me – coupled with probably not enough sleep.
  • Training on my own – I ran with my mate one night last week and it was SO good just to go for a steady run (run/walk as she gets back into it) and have company. I went out on the bike today and really felt it – not just lack of general cycling fitness but missing company. End of last year, mileage on my own didnt bother me. It did today.
  • Realising my own lack of fitness – I texted one of my mates this afternoon having a mini-moan, she reminded me about how ill I was in January and to be fair, she is probably right, its probably had a longer lasting effect than I realised as I came back to training, felt better and then had two or three quite heavy weeks considering time of the year and previous illness. It maybe genuine tiredness. She also told me I need to get training because I’ve some silly races coming up. She is right.
  • Diet – This week I know I haven’t eaten as much or as well as I should. Last few weeks I have made breakfast bars at home and had these – which have been great. This week I haven’t (made some today – see below). In conversation mentioned above with a mate, suggested lack of iron (and maybe protein). Monday through to Wednesday I really struggle to eat well and properly. I need to try and get better organised with food I think to make it easier to get decent food in me as well as drink enough.
  • Sleep routine – It’s rubbish and I spend too much time looking at screens late at night and not enough reading – too much going through my head too. I don’t give myself enough down time and try to fit too much in.

I also appear to have fluctuating dating mojo too. I’ve a third date lined up on Thursday – he’s lovely but (I hate buts) there is just something that is niggling me and I’m not entirely sure what it is. The lad I was dating July/August time – I wanted to see him, was willing to make time to see him etc etc – he also cycled. It was easy in that respect. Maybe it’s just I feel I am too busy – but I don’t feel I want to make the time – it is almost like a hindrance and this isn’t good! Surely if its right, I would feel I want to make time and wouldn’t feel it was a hindrance? He mentioned a date on Valentines (way too soon!) but I said I was running with a mate – I wasn’t but I did end up going climbing with another mate. Surely I shouldn’t be doing this?! As things are getting busier again with work and training – I just wonder if I am doing the right thing. Someone shared a clip of a film called A Boy, A Girl and a Bicycle on Twitter the other day. The guy in the bike shop (on the right, with the suit on) with the woman, who clearly races and is holding said blokes dog, says ‘They all look the same to me!’ – the look on the woman’s face, alongside the bike shop owners face, says it all. I want a bloke whose face is like that of the shop owner – haha!

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A Boy, A girl and a Bicycle – the guy with the flat cap – look of shock when someone says that bikes all look the same – I need that bloke in my life.

On a more positive note – one week until my first race of the year and one week to go until my holiday. I am also on a road trip tomorrow to Blackpool and I am very excited about this! Next week will be better.

Looping a Lake and Heading Up Hill

Undulations and more undulations.

Took the bike up to the Lake District the other weekend – this proved interesting. My friends tried to persuade me up The Struggle – for those that do not know of The Struggle – it’s down as one of the top 200 Climbs in the UK, rated 8/10.

I did one lap of Windermere and got to Ambleside and refused point blank. My knee was already twinging from the mere 1700ft of climbing I had already done so I wondered back to the YHA we were staying at.  This left the two lads to go off and do it. I was quite glad when I got back that I hadn’t – I was talking to one of my friends when the lads rolled in. Looking wet and shattered!

This weekend I did a 30 mile circular route round North Lincolnshire – slightly hilly but same issue – dodgy on hills and dodgy left knee. What was also frustrating; I hadn’t ridden my bike in a week and I could feel it! I haven’t ridden anywhere near enough in last three weeks.

This has brought to the fore a few things….

  1. I need to do more hills and more climbing. This is nothing new to be honest. I am a bit of a rubbish climber.
  2. I need to work on my glutes – I think this is why I am suddenly having issues with my knee. Knee issues, apparently, are usually caused by weak glutes. Definitely my case with running, could be with cycling. Don’t think it’s my bike fit – its not long since I had one.
  3. I quickly get unfit on the bike. I haven’t ridden as much as I would like in the last few weeks. Partly because I’ve been busy, partly the weather. I suspect it is time I got the turbo out.
  4. It is officially winter kit season. I was cold on the bike yesterday. Shorts, base layer, summer jersey and arm. warmers – just not enough.
  5. As above. Cycle more hills. Cycle more.
  6. There aren’t many female cyclists in Lincolnshire. My 30 mile bike ride saw me get top 10 female positions on 8 different segments. Now, I’m a reasonable ok cyclist but that many? On one ride?
  7. I need to sort out the cleats on my shoes. I nearly came off my bike on a major roundabout – I slipped off the pedals thinking I was clipped in as I stood to get a move on around the roundabout. Serious wobble and thoughts I was actually going to fall. I’ve a nice bruise there now though…..

Anyway, despite all that, winter season is starting to draw closer, especially as today is the first day of Autumn. I don’t mind colder weather cycling as long as I’ve the layers on but I really do need to start putting the hours in on the turbo I think. I’ll be getting signed back on to Zwift but a friend has recommended Sufferfest. Either way, with Holkham half on the calendar and cyclocross to maybe brave… I need to start training again and stop being so lax!

Ride, ride, ride!

“Ride a bike. Ride a bike. Ride a bike” – Fausto Coppi, on how to improve

The only way I am actually going to get better on the bike is to actually go ride (I could say the same about running – I really need to work on that!). At the moment, I have no more races pencilled in for this year and as a result, I don’t really have a training plan. This has the advantage in that I can swim/bike/run as I like without feeling guilty but the downside in the fact that my running is being sorely neglected for cycling, swimming and gym work.

So with no races booked, my current dedication to my cycling and proving to myself what I’m capable off – a month or so ago I signed up for the York 100 sportive – 68 miles. I’ve done it before and enjoyed it so I thought why not!

The plan was to ride in from home, do the sportive, and ride home, rounding it up to 100 miles. This was the plan until this morning. In the end, I persuaded a friend to join me. He’s a bit of a beast on the bike. I finished on 80 hard earned miles.

I cycled to the start – all well and good. Met my mate, registered, and set off. All well and good. Made a very good pace out of town (my spin has improved massively and the TTs have paid off too) and headed towards some climbs. The thing with the York 100 is that it starts off fairly flat and finishes fairly flat, but has a very bumpy middle. There is nothing really major to actually report – it was really uneventful really, but there two observations that I want to make.

  1. Nutrition – I tried something different today. After being mocked for taking so much food that I realised today I genuinely don’t need, I did try some new nutrition. I’ve been a fan of High5 4:1 – it is good stuff but equally can be a bit sweet. On a recommendation, I bought some Tailwind (Caffenated Raspberry Buzz if you really want to know). I tried it in the pool – not so great – but on the bike, wow! Genuinely really impressed. It is a lot like rocket fuel. I took some extra but wish I’d had enough to fill a third bottle it was that good. I had a spare pouch of the High5 but missed having the Tailwind. My belly hasn’t felt badly and it wasn’t too sweet and sickly either. Going to stick with it and see how it goes.
  2. My cycling fitness – It has definitely improved this year, massively. But also over the last few years. 112 PR/2nd/3rds on Strava on that route – and more importantly, not once did I unclip up any climbs, including a very long climb out of Leavening and a climb out of Thixendale at 17% and with some help admittedly, I am also managing to maintain a good pace and dig deep at the end of a ride too. I am feeling very smug tonight. I also managed to average just shy of 15mph too. Former attempts at the York 100 have been so much slower and compared to my riding at the beginning of the year? Well. I am sooooo on it!

All in all, today was a very good day in the office!