Holkham Training – Week One

So first week of my half-iron training done. I’ve included an introduction – so will be a longer blog than maybe normal but seeing as I’ve few readers and this is mostly for my benefit – meh!

Training plan background and general introduction

I am following the plan from IronFit Triathlon Training for Women by Melanie and Don Fink. Why? Because it was the Be Iron Fit plan that the ex had followed for his IM training and it had worked for him and after a year and a half of it, I had a good feel for it. The Half Iron plan from the book follows a similar layout to the Be IronFit one to be fair so the routine is one I am used to. I am also using TrainXhale to map my training and record it (as well as Strava and Endomondo – I like stats). My base in terms of run fitness and swim fitness have been pretty good. My cycling has fallen by the wayside a little – but it’ll come back. I always worry more about my running but the cycling is creeping in a little. Regardless – going back to the ‘plan’ – The IronFit book has three levels of plan – complete/intermediate/competitive – I’ve looked at the intermediate and the competitive – and used a combination of both to make my training plan – the main differences between the intermediate and competitive were longer brick sessions, an extra bike session and longer swims. I know where I can tweak according to other plans. I have also taken on an extra day at work.

General issues

Beyond training – I struggle to eat properly at the start of the week due to work commitments. Last Sunday after a long run, I tried to be mega organised – I came home and cooked enough food to feed an army. Well, ok maybe a little bit of an exaggeration but certainly enough to get me through the start of the week. This has proved to be an absolute godsend and worked really well. I ate well and felt better for it. Until I scoffed my face at work with too much cake and sweet stuff – I need to be careful NOT to over eat on the premise that I am training more and need fuel. It doesn’t work like that!

I also need to find time to actually chill out, rest and do other things beyond triathlon – hard when I am in the middle of renewals, had Members’ Day to organise and a business to run (which I really need to get on top off and advertise more!). I managed to find some time this week and despite being tired, binge watched some ‘Nailed It!’ on Netflix.  I also managed to be sociable and went out for tea with a friend I haven’t seen in years.

Anyway – on to…

Training!

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Recovery! Chocolate milk is just the best after a long slow run!

Swim – 3 swims, 5.65km. Well, I still have the same niggles I’ve had for ages, didn’t quite get the distance I wanted either but think I may need to reassess my swimming and when I swim as quite often my pace is all over the place. I’m not worried though. Swim is swim. Nothing else to report!

Bike – 2 x Turbo sessions – 48.52km – One session was the 4wk FTP Booster Wk1 Day 6 Tempo with Accelerations and the other was literally 75 minutes of spinning/endurance. Nothing to report – I really need to get out on the bike. The second session nearly was – it was after being at Members’ Day all day and the faff of getting lights and kit out just did not appeal despite the weather.

Run – 2 x Treadmill, 2 x Runs – 35.9km total.  Did my first long slow run (lsr) in a LONG time on Sunday (before I actually started my plan on Monday) and it was actually really enjoyable. I can’t believe I’m saying that about running, although I always did prefer a LSR to sprint and tempo sessions. Sore feet (blisters by the end) but all in all – good. It was also my first solo lsr too. 14km. I’ve managed to keep the running up through the week – I’ve been aiming for Zone 2 runs on the treadmill and considering Wednesday night’s club session – it appears to be kicking in. Friday’s treadmill session was same pace as always but my heart rate average was 142 – so I know it’s definitely kicking in! My LSR today was 10 miles/16km – which was against the plan but I have a 14 mile race (Coniston 14) next weekend so thought I better get some miles in! Again, sore feet about 12km mark but slightly faster average. By end of March I will be on my longest ever running month. My mojo is slowly coming back.

Overall

I managed to keep to the plan this week – I even got in a stretch session at the gym and my normal yoga session on my rest day. Today’s LSR though did remind me that I definitely NEED to get in my strength and conditioning work as my glutes were complaining a bit today. I know there will be weeks and days were my motivation is dire and I may need to catch up on rest/be sociable but looking ahead, beyond this (and acknowledging it – Long slow work will be most important) my bigger concern is May as I am away a lot and will really have to think/consider how I am going to get long rides in. I’ve some time to think about that, but for now, I am happy that for the first time ever – I have ACTUALLY stuck to a training plan! Heres to the next fifteen weeks!

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!

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.  Put 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!

 

Swimmer’s sorrows

I love swimming.

Anyone who knows me, will tell you that out of the three* disciplines of triathlon, swim is my favourite and strongest discipline, although over summer, cycling nearly won out on that. I am happiest near, in or on water (and preferably a mountain/hill or two dotted about). I swear I was a mermaid in a former life. Those same people will also tell you have frustrated I’ve been with my swimming in the last 18 months.

I trained ridiculously hard and consistently over winter 2016/17 on my swim and in the run up to ITU Leeds Standard Triathlon, I was managing 7:30 400m – NOT majorly fast when compared to the speedy club members but a huge improvement from the year previous. I’d moved up the training lanes to sit comfortably in the top half of the club, and even managed to be 4th out of 12 club members racing in the Standard distance tri at Leeds that summer (31 min 1500m swim – it was a novelty overtaking people!). This came with a cost. Not enough S&C work resulted in a rotary cuff issue that put an end to my swimming for quite a while. This, over time and with some enforced rest of sorts, improved but the issue moved to my thoracic spine and lateral muscle area – tightness and soreness, that has made me really weary of swimming and aggravating it – however… I think I’ve got the solution and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

What’s changed?

I’d tried sports massages (which have helped massively and still do) and I’d tried resting it, with no real improvement. I’d tried cupping and other things too but no joy. I joined the gym to try and get on top of my S&C – started to help but I’ll admit I got lazy – I know its a necessary evil really but such is life (I will get back on it, even if its only one or two sessions a week). So what did actually change?

I’m guilty of not stretching enough and I do get so tight! Looking through the gym classes – I’m a big fan of yoga and I’m not really being one of these Les Mills Grit session girls, I signed up for the Pure Stretch classes. Wanting to make the most of my ridiculously expensive gym membership, I decided to give them ago. Well what a revelation they have turned out to be! Stretch classes have massively helped the back/shoulder issue. It’s not completely gone but it has helped so much more than I ever thought. Although at the moment, I’ve been going 3 to 4 times a week – well it is the off season so to speak. I know I am rubbish at doing it on my own so just going to a class and doing what I’m told has really helped. Although it was helping – I decided after bashing it out on a bouldering wall I should really go see a physiotherapist again and self-refereed through the NHS – I got an appointment in two weeks. I suppose it was really for reassurance that I hadn’t done the damage that I thought I might have. I did, and got some new stretches to help and told that muscular issues like mine do seem to take forever to heal but if the stretch and massage was working to keep with it.

This was all I needed and I bashed out a nice 2.5k set on Wednesday and felt that maybe the time was right to start thinking more seriously about building my swim fitness and speed back up – especially as my back didn’t hurt! I also swam with a mate last night which pushed me, simply because I know I’m a generally better swimmer than him and had that reputation to maintain (he whoops me on the run and bike so its my only wee boast), and reminded me that I need to get some speed sets in.

This has all made me a very happy swimmer this week and I have taken the swim sets from IronFit Triathlon Training for Women and typed them up, printed them and am about to laminate them, to help me sort out some sort of training plan for my swimming so it isn’t aimless. I am so excited about the prospect of getting back to swimming three to four times a week again. As one of the swim coaches at the club sessions keeps reminding me, swim 2-3 times to maintain, 4 times or more to improve! I’ve also found some other training sets this morning that I think will be useful. Tied in with a better S&C routine, I feel excited about winter training. I just need to figure out HOW to fit in the running and the cycling now. Maybe some run/swim sessions and maybe swim/bike sessions – just to mix it up!

*four disciplines – lets not forget transition!

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Decisions decisions!

‘Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion.’ Unknown

I’ve been meaning to write for a few weeks, but as always, life gets in the way. I’m about to fly out to a small island in the middle of the Med to support friends who are racing.  Discussing this and next years race season with one of my friends last Tuesday has made me realise I really need to decide now what I want to do next year race wise. It has been on the back of my mind for a few months really but my training is currently aimless and even though I know I should be building my base fitness – what am I building it for?

This is where the quote comes in above as being quite apt. As for permanent decision – not long after the split up, I bought another bike (ok not a permanent decision but still!) and I bought a business (a slightly more permanent decision!). Why is this relevant to my training/life/race decisions? Well, the thing is, I’ve been debating going long course next year and to me, this is a bigger commitment than the business – maybe not so much money wise, but certainly time wise. I’ve a half already booked (its not up on my ‘Races’ page yet for various reasons) – I’m doing this with some friends. I know I can be race fit for this as my base fitness has improved massively already since the summer. I’ve proved I can do the distance in the swim and the bike – running is just the thing to conquer next.

The issue is – what else do I want to do?

There are so many awesome races out there that I could do.

I’d like to go long course, but I’d like to do Coniston End to End swim. I’d like to do Red Bull Time Laps too. I’ve even been asked about doing Brecca Swim Run at Coniston.

I’ve not wanted to make too hasty a decision as if I do go long course, it has to fit in with my half-iron in July and my life in general. If I do go long course I also need to make far more serious commitment to training but it also means I have to be more careful planning out the rest of the season so I don’t over do it.

I need to be making the decision and soon.

I always said 2020 would be the year, but that was 12 months ago and a lot has changed, but I am worried that I am thinking long course next year to prove a point and therefore potentially for the wrong reasons. I know I have nothing to prove but still. Experienced and unexperienced friends alike all have their opinions but even on their advice, I still need to make the decision. And soon.

Having never properly planned my race season and going with the flow, this is proving to be a tougher decision process than I thought! Maybe five days on a sunny island, surrounded by friends and triathletes will help me make my mind up!