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– slowing down is hard, but my week also started with the news that my mate, who I was supposed to be racing with, has withdrawn.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 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!

R&R coupled with improvements

Not that I needed reminded but as someone recently pointed out on Twitter, rest is as important as training. After running Coniston 14 at the weekend, I think general tiredness coupled with a busy life caught up with me yesterday – so I made the wise decision to have a complete day off training – and most of today too – knowing that I was going to swim tonight. I’ll probably write up a bit more about this at the weekend – but on a different note – taking the day or so off wasn’t a bad thing I was planning a CSS test tonight.

I dragged a mate out with me to swim tonight – because he needed to do his CSS too (according to me anyway!) so I sent him the set – and didn’t get a reply. I was mean though and sent him the advanced set! I still made him do the intermediate one. Because I am nice like that!

Anyway – on to the important stuff – I wasn’t really sure where my pace was at in all honesty. It was November when I last did my CSS – which was 1:59/100m – I was over the moon at this as I roughly knew I was around the 2 minute mark but to have it just under after a rocky year swim wise – I was very happy. Any one who swims regularly knows that it actually takes a lot of effort to actually bring the pace down in swimming compared to making improvements in running and cycling (unless your me then running takes forever).

Doing my CSS test tonight was definitely going into the unknown. I knew I wasn’t any slower than I was in November – my training has been quite consistent and I have been pushing myself more so when I got out of the pool and checked it – it’s come down to 1:52/100, – so 7s faster. That doesn’t sound like a particularly huge improvement but I am rather pleased with that – and will happily take that.

I just need to put some serious effort into my cycling as I know full well I have not been on it – and having just bought a brand new second hand Ridley Phaeton – its about time I did!

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!

 

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.

Starting again

I am starting again and this time I’m not talking about relationships and starting again after becoming single. On that front as I’ve already said, I am in a far better place than I ever thought I would be. I am enjoying being single. Today is a prime example of why. A friend on Tuesday night, post swim, asked me if I fancied going climbing. I’ve not been since I was dating the lad that first introduced me to it – naturally I said yes. Bit of a habit! Anyway, this isn’t so much about that but more about my first week easing myself back into training.

After three weeks of enforced rest/being ill/recovering, I started some training this week. I feel like I have lost a bit of my mojo with being ill, and because I know I am still not quite 100% and I have lost a bit of fitness I feel like I have a bit of a fight on my hands. My swim endurance (pace is fine so long as I’m well fuels and rested) has dropped a bit, my run left me with DOMS and I looked at my bike last night and just didn’t have the energy.

I also think I am being too harsh on myself. I am pretty sure it will all come back sooner than I think but I know I am a little impatient with myself. It’s also frustrating because before Christmas my fitness and endurance was on a general upward trajectory and I could see the improvements in my training. Ah well. Like friends have said, better now than in the middle of race season.

Things will slowly come back – I have also decided that I don’t think I am eating enough and that what I am eating probably isn’t really good enough quality – too much sugar/rubbish – so I have a few things I want to have a go at in the next few weeks – salads, more veggies, and possibly offering to cook more at home – we’ll see (I do need to improve my diet!). This has been backed up by some stats – at my gym there is a ‘Bodytrax’ machine that measures a load of different stats – I have lost weight – nearly back to what I was a month after the break up – however, my body fat percentage has gone up since Christmas and my muscle mass gone down. This is hardly surprising considering I have been so inactive but still – one kilogram difference either way.

On the plus side to recovery and what not – I did finally go bouldering again and I am debating in learning how to climb, with ropes with the intention of being able to relay and go with mates – making the most of Rock City. We shall but see. Today reminded my though that bouldering and climbing wrecks your hands. They are a little tender tonight, but I definitely feel better for doing something different, with a mate, and having a laugh!

Onwards and upwards!

Back on the Road to Recovery

So far January has been a bit rubbish for me. I’ve not done any training whatsoever due to an extreme bout of tonsillitis, having never had it before, I can honestly say I never want it again. It has been awful! So awful that I couldn’t get excited about new tyres coming for the bike.

Anyway, light at the end of the tunnel, a full week off work and hours spent watching GCN on YouTube, I am starting to feel better. So much better that this morning I decided to actually try doing something useful with my bike.

My winter bike hasn’t been touched since my last ride out months ago – on said ride I got a puncture and I was in such a foul mood that rather than fix it on the side of the road, I decided that ringing home and getting a lift back was a better idea. My bike, and it’s puncture, have been sat in the garage ever since. Over Christmas though I decided to treat my bike to a new set of tyres – hopefully something a bit more puncture resistant and better quality. The front wheel was still on it’s factory fitted and there was a £12 cheap tyre on the rear.

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New tyres! Continental GP4000 sII

I ordered some Continental GP4000 sII from Wiggle – £60 for a pair. I did try getting them at Evans Cycles and Halfords – I didn’t try my LBS like I should have because in all honesty, I didn’t think they would be able to price check them. When you’re saving for new wheels and you’re a bit skint, it does matter, however torn I was.

The tyres arrived right as I was in the middle of being poorly with no motivation or energy to fit them. This morning though, well on the road to recovery, I thought I’d better give it a go. Cant be that hard…. Now, most of my cycling life, I have been with a bloke who cycles, and I’ve left most of the maintenance stuff to him, so this was new territory.

Turns out wasn’t half as bad as I was expecting. I knew what I needed to do but double checked anyway. Had the new inner for back wheel ready, track pump and tyre leavers to hand and set about changing the wheels. Turns out I’m more capable than I thought at sorting random stuff out and it didn’t take me as long as I thought it would either. So I am feeling quite smug this afternoon about it. Wheels are now back on the bike – correctly – I usually stress about putting the back wheel on – but no issues. Took the bike down the road to check all in order – bosh – job done (can already tell a difference in tyres too – wish id changed them sooner!). Although more randomly, after riding the Ridley inside on the turbo and getting back on the spesh – the spesh felt huge! It was also REALLY cold outside (although to be fair, I went out with bare minimum on just to check it).

Now all I need to to properly get better and start building the training up again!