Holkham Training – Week 9

Slowly starting to find my mojo again I think. This week was, in some cases, an improvement on last weeks. Doing Alnwick Sprint has helped I think and this weekend’s club trip away has also helped too, so I feel a bit more positive about next week, about my training and about maybe throwing in some sportive!

Swim – 0km – VERY unusual even for me. I didnt even swim in the Lakes – however, I think I may be suffering a bit from swimmers ear after Alnwick Tri. They are very cracklely!

Bike – 47.6km – Not ideal and less than I would have liked and in one day too. I did a 6 mile TT in the evening on Thursday – as I love a good TT but… it was so hilly! For a six-miler come and try event, I think it might have put a few people off! The rest of the mileage was a loop around home on my own, I feel pretty happy with the bike in respect of its comfortable but I need to really be upping my distance.

Run – 19.1km – More than I have done in ages! This consisted of three runs – one short slow dreadmill run, 5km Parkrun at Keswick and the 10km trail race. I actually enjoyed all of it too. I am hoping this is a sign from above?!

Ive been looking at my timetable for the next week – my biggest concern is the bike – I am off to Edinburgh next weekend for running races but I need to cycle – I’m just not 100% sure how I will fit it in yet. We will have to wait and see (she says, looking at sportive for June!).

The ‘Short and Nasty’ TT

It isn’t a secret that I don’t enjoy running. I find it hard to push myself to want to get better but I know that if I ran more and trained better – I would have better results. When it comes to cycling and swimming – I do not have these qualms. Most of the time. I also have found that I love a good TT.

Tonight’s TT was, to be blunt, both short and awful.

Six measly miles.

Six hilly miles.

4 miles of me wondering why I was there.

To drive to the wrong side of town to ride 6 miles. No wonder one of my mates didn’t rock up. I’ll be having words!

Either way – a baptism of fire. The first two miles were great, but if you go down, you have to come back up. I really have zero strength on the bike and really need to go ride some hills. It was a hard slog, although I had ridden 20 miles in the morning – one of my favourite routes that takes in my favourite TT too!

All the pain of cycling uphill was self rewarded with Guiness and chips and a bit of a natter – so all in all – not too bad an evening. My prediction on my time was pretty spot on too!

Roll on next week!

Time Trial Start!

I discovered the joy of Time Trials last year.

On Thursday I reminded myself how much they hurt!

Thursday was the first time trial of the season – flat and just shy of 10 miles. We got sent off to park at the village hall in the village but I suppose that acted as a reasonable warm up.

My first ever TT was a bit of a shock – someone holding your bike while your clipped in with both feet was strange – now I’m used to it but stupidly forgot to change my gears and set off in too high a gear so getting that initial momentum was a bit tricky.

The route for the TT though is, for the most part, ok but it hurt from the get go – I just remember thinking – cycling from the car didn’t feel this bad! I kept glancing at my watch – I roughly knew what my time was from the last time and all the signs were good but even so. I tried riding on the drops but head wasn’t in it. Regardless – coming back on to the main road – I was starting to flag – at mile 7 I wanted to be a little sick I was pushing that hard! In the end – the last mile was into a headwind and I was pretty happy to finish – my feet were frozen too! The whole time you’re TT you hate it then love it when you’ve finished! My official time I think was 31:30 – not mega fast by most standards but second woman (to a teenager!) and not last! Boom!  Definite improvement on last year.

The post TT faff though – I come straight from work and so my boot is full of work gear, my bike is on the back seat, and so the front seat was just full of everything else – as the photo shows! Just another two months of the same chaos (and hopefully a few less DOMS)!

Bring it on!

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Winter gloves, recovery, and safety – ticking all the boxes….. 

Beryl Burton – Cycling Legend

The chances are you have never heard of Beryl Burton – arguably one of the greatest female cyclists ever. Her achievements were phenomenal and, despite having died in 1996, her 12 hour distance record still stands.

On Friday night, a few friends and I went to see the play, ‘Beryl’ – a play written by Maxine Peak, originally for the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It tells the story of her life and her achievements – not only on the road or time trialling but also on the track in pursuit.

She is still relatively unknown by so many people – yet even with today’s modern technology and bike, knowledge of training and nutrition, she still holds the record, as I mentioned, for distance travelled in 12 hours (277.7 miles if I remember rightly!). At the time, she even took the men’s record – which took another two years to be beaten.

The play itself was fantastic and I thoroughly recommend going to see it if you ever get the chance. Having read the screenplay while away on holiday, I knew the play but to see if performed live was really special. I also had a bit of a heads up on my friends so it was a pleasure from my point of view to see their reactions to her, and introduce them to the wonder that was Beryl Burton. A wee bit of a cycling heroine in my eyes – with an absolute compulsion to compete and win!

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!

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!

Time Trial Novice

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle, British author

Apart from Sherlock Holmes being my favourite fictional detective, I rather like this quote from Arthur Conan Doyle. Yesterday was a horrible horrible day, not work wise, just life wise, but tonight, I ended up at the local time trail – I blame one of the lads in the club (who last night was mistaken for my husband, to which I came home to a text referring to me as wifey – this has amused me greatly) but in all honesty, it has done me good. I did one two weeks ago, a rolling and undulating 13 miler – which nearly finished me off, but tonight’s flat-ish 10 miler was mint!

It had the advantage of being reasonable local (second nearest TT route I think), mostly flat and known territory and a beautiful evening for it. I’d gone straight from work and was actually pretty early. A few lads, or rather, gentlemen, from the club were there and some familiar faces too. So far so good. Now, this was only my third ever TT and I’m still finding my feet and tonight for some reason I actually felt nervous. I was honestly also rather surprised that there were only 15 of us.

For once, I wasn’t near the back setting off (9th out of 15 compared to 18/19 last time) – put simply, the TT went ridiculously well for me too. I was without a doubt, the slowest one out tonight but… I came in with 31:32, that’s an average of 19mph so I’m pretty happy with that. I spent the first four miles or so wondering what the hell I was doing for, and the last six miles wishing I had eaten a bit more and feeling marginally sick, and finished with a smile! Despite being overtaken by a club mate and trying so hard to keep within a minute of him (I failed by about 35 seconds).

Problem is tonight, I really enjoyed it! I would have been happy to be under 35 minutes with my current fitness but obviously losing a stone has its advantages. I just wish I’d started earlier in the season! Far too happy after tonights race. Proper endorphin rush. After the last few days – pushing it hard on the bike has done me some serious good!

Next time I have a bad day, I’m going to try riding it out.

Maybe with the pearl bracelet, you know, for added glamour!