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!

She wouldn’t believe it!

This post has been flitting through my mind without even realising it until today. I’ve partly categorised this under ‘Matters of the heart’ because it is a subject that is close to my heart – education…

Random thoughts this morning while heading to the gym to swim included the thought that one day I would like to write a book. I’m not sure if I ever will but if I do it will probably be related in some way shape or form to triathlon. I say random thought but I think it was triggered after seeing that Sean Conway’s new book is available for pre-order. This then got me thinking about who I would dedicate it to – which links in with a random tweet from someone the other day about school PE and former PE teachers.

To put this into a bit more context. The tweet in question was something along the lines of how being a chubby (fat) child, people presume you would be bad at sports – yet there she was having running an ultra as an adult. I was a chubby child, more academic than sporty. Sorry. Academic and non-sporty. I was rubbish at sports and dreaded PE. I had this the other day with some lad over on POF when I announced my dislike of team sports, he presumed that it was because I was rubbish at sport – not an uncommon assumption. He carried on to say that it didn’t matter if I was the slowest etc – I could still train and play – or words to that effect. I clearly put him in his place (don’t get me wrong, I’m not the fastest but I’m definitely a competent swimmer and reasonable cyclist). I just don’t like team sports such as netball (or football etc).

So all these thoughts and things coming together – if I wrote a book that was sports related – I would dedicate it to Mrs Houlston – one of my PE teachers from secondary school.

As you’ve probably guessed, I really did despise the majority of PE in school. Most of all team sports. Netball topping the list. Being picked last is demoralising. I hated most of it. Although ironically, considering my love hate relationship with running, I never minded XC and I loved badminton (the only sport I ever played as extra curricula at school – we were just allowed to play, it was run by the male DT teacher and with hindsight was probably rather dodgy!). That’s about it. You may have already noted – these are usually solo events. Even now I hate team sports or anything like that – although relays are fine. I put it down to school mostly but when its a solo sport, you’ve only yourself to upset/let down really, anyway this is going off point a little.

Where does Mrs H come in in all of this? Why would I dedicate a book to her?

By the time I was in Y11, I was walking a lot more, being generally more active and I’d started to lose the puppy fat that had plagued me for as long as I remember. No-one ever said I was fat or anything like that but I wasn’t slim and my mum always just called it puppy fat. There was a complete transformation in my appearance – when I show people my Y7/9/11 school pics they don’t believe its the same person.

There is one PE lesson, or rather snippet at the end of a lesson, that really stuck in my head. It was summer, we were playing rounders. Yes I’d been picked last again but as I wasn’t carrying the weight any more suddenly I was managing to run and get half/full rounders. We were walking back to the changing rooms and Mrs Houlston was walking beside me and just happened to say something along the lines of how well I’d played or compliment me on how much faster I was/fitter I seemed. I told her about the walking, she seemed impressed. I don’t quite remember the words, but I remember the feeling. I’d had a compliment/praise from a PE teacher! I was secretly proud as punch – praise was less meaningful in other subjects as I was pretty good academically. The other thing to note about Mrs H, especially compared to my other PE teacher, Mrs P, Mrs H was always more understanding of us less sporty girls – encouraging yes but never berating us for thinking we weren’t putting the effort in or make us feel awful. It’s like she knew how much we despised it and tried to make it tolerable (she did know, I’m sure of it!). Mrs P always seemed full of over-enthusiasm and had obvious favourites – the sporty ones. We always copped it.

That feeling that I got from the quiet praise and the fact she had noticed, means that Mrs H will always be a bit of a hero when I look back. Its been the comment thats stuck with me more than anything at school. It’s probably inspired me more than I realise too as I often wonder what she would make of what I get up to now! I’d like to think that she would be a little bit proud. She will have no idea just how much of a lasting impression her words have had and I would love to just bump into her one day and tell her. My inner teacher is reminded that teachers hold more sway than they realise sometimes and sometimes its the littlest things than make the biggest impact.

So if and when I do write that book… I will dedicate it to Mrs Houlston, with a massive thank you for recognising that I maybe wasn’t quite as rubbish as I thought and for just making my last term of school PE ok.

 

(I’m starting a triathlon coaching course this weekend. I don’t think she’d believe it!)

 

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!

Cough cough splutter

I am rubbish at being ill.

I suspect most people are but when you have races coming up and your training, pre illness, was going well, it is infuriating having to rest – creating a slightly grumpy triathlete! I started with a cough about two or three weeks ago. It got really bad this week and in the last week I have barely done any training – enforced rest. I can’t say that I have taken it too well. It has been glorious today and all I have wanted to do is go ride my bike.

So I am nearly on two weeks off.

My cough has improved and I now have symptoms more akin to having a cold. I am debating slowly easing back into training in a hope that I have cracked the back of it now – so my plan of action is some yoga at the start of the week and into an easy run/swim on Tuesday and see how it goes.

I am also going to re-jig my training plan. I am only 7 weeks off my first race (a 10k) and less than three months of a half marathon.

In the meantime – I have been swotting up, watching lots of GCN videos on YouTube and booked another race/ordered some new tyres…. It has kept my motivation in place and helped prevent me from going loopy!

There are some advantages to enforced rest I suppose. Fingers crossed that this week I can get back into training and get some structure and routine back this week! I know I haven’t been alone.

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!

Mirror Mirror

‘Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.’ Winston Churchill

Wise words from Churchill himself.

I have actually done some reflecting, not quite intentionally, as a result of a random dream and random recent events that I won’t go into too much detail about. This year has been one of many ups and downs.

Well, I say many ups and downs, it started up, then went down majorly, then improved – more than I thought it would. In all honesty, I am in a far better place than I thought I would be and I am really excited about 2019 (my credit card isn’t so happy). I genuinely cant believe I’m sat here, six months post break up, in such a better place.

It is the first time I have been single for twelve years. Written down, that looks more tragic than I feel it is. I am starting to enjoy being single and as cliche as it sounds, finding out what makes me tick and makes me me again. A friend said to me the other day that she thought it was a good thing that I was still single and finding my feet. Clearly my ex wasn’t actually good enough for me (or good enough for any woman? or just not right for me? Not sure). I’m at the point where his new girlfriend is most welcome to him as when I sat and thought about it, I think I was too laid back and actually, I’ve realised quite a few things that again, for various reasons, were just not normal/right in a relationship that lasted that long. I suppose after the former boyfriend, things seemed more normal. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I do believe things happen and people come into your life (and out) for a reason – even if it isn’t clear at the time. The fog and confusion of a major break up is just about clear (some things still hurt occasionally but for the most part, the voodoo doll is away).

Anyway, on a more positive note…

As daft as it sounds, I feel like I’m reverting back to the teenage me, or rather, the 17 year old me – and I quite like her! Although I hope I am somewhat wiser than the 17 year old me. The flirting, having fun, no commitment, no considering other people’s plans – another mate asked me how I seem to be attracting blokes, but in all honesty, I like blokes, and even though the last one eventually showed his true colours, I know not all men are the same. In the same breath, I am also more aware that not all men are knights in shinning armour/have honest intentions – but so long as the intentions are clear – I am rather enjoying being single.

I am really looking forward to 2019 – I’ve so many things I want to do and develop – I’ve a new business that I want to build up and expand on, exciting races planned, training penciled in, a holiday booked and so many other things I want to do – I feel the world is at my feet. It’s just up to me to embrace it and see what happens.

So while I have been reflective – I am also rejoicing – the love of family and friends has got me through so much and I am eternally grateful for that. I am rejoicing that I am stronger than I thought and emotionally in such a better place.

2018/19, I think, may prove to be the making of me.

 

I am just a little bit excited!