Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Week 2

With the spectre of Swansea City playing in a Wembley final on the horizon, I hope it won't have a detrimental effect on my training this week.

Monday again, safe in the knowledge that I put in a good week training last week and keen for the week ahead. Time to kick back and enjoy the rest day.

Tuesday's swim was went well; the main set was 16x25m, 1x400m, 16x25m. Very pleased not to have had an attack of cramp. This was possibly aided by the addition of a High 5 Zero tablet in my water. The most satisfying part of my swim was my new goggles, they are Aqua Sphere Kayenne (in my usual red motif). I was really pleased with the lack of misting and the comfort was good too.

Managed to squeeze in a 30 minute run in whilst James was at rugby training. I was going to pootle up and down the cycle path, but Ang convinced me to hit the hills. Hills, be buggered! 110m of climbing in a 6km run!

My legs were somewhat laboured in the bike element of Wednesday morning's brick session, but I felt fresh on the run. Sort of sums up my abilities really. I followed this up with a weights and core session.

Thursday's swim set was a testing main set of 1 x 300m, 3 x 200m, 1 x 300m. I felt strong through the session and no indication of foot cramp was a benefit.

A 30 minute spin on the turbo was nice and easy on my legs.

Friday's 45 minute run was done on the treadmill, as these sessions start to get longer, I can't see me doing them indoors for much longer. This was followed by a session on the TRX. Finding out I'd hit my target weight of 11st 7lbs was a bargain, I'm not sure that'll still be the case after the shenanigans of the upcoming weekend. 

A busy Saturday morning meant that I was on the turbo again, the 90 minute ride was helped along its way by watching The Wire. After a quick wash and brush up, Ang and I were were on our way to London in preparation for the Capital One Cup Final.

Despite being away from home, I still managed to complete my training week with a  60 minute run around Highbury Fields and the Emirates Stadium.

The run was followed by a very enjoyable trip to Wembley, winning 5-0 is more than we could have asked for. The only thing missing was an element of drama in the game.

A summary of my training is shown below

Summary of Week 2
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 2:14 2:00 +0:14 26%
Bike 2:31 2:30 +0.01 29%
Run 2:33 2:30 +0:03 30%
Other 1:16 0:45 +0:31 15%
Total 8:34 7:45 +0:49

All sessions ticked off again, in another straight forward week

Cumulative Summary
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 4:26 4:00 +0:26 27%
Bike 4:31 4:30 +0.01 28%
Run 4:34 4:30 +0:04 28%
Other 2:51 1:30 +1:21 17%
Total 16:22 14:30 +1:52

Two weeks done and it all rather feels quite good

Monday, 18 February 2013

Week 1

The hardest part of deciding if I was going to do Ironman Wales is the commitment of time required to get to the start line. But as always I have the support of my wonderful wife, which means I will have the motivation and time to be able to give it my all.

Well here we go, start of the base phase. This shouldn't really task me much compared to what I've been doing already over the winter.

Monday is a rest day, and who am I to argue.

I was able to just about squeeze both of Tuesday's sessions in before work. First up was a 30 minute Z2 run, which I did on the treadmill, which was followed by a 60 minute swim set. As I'm used to doing a 90 minute session before work this is pretty much par for the course.

A short brick session was the key session on Wednesday (all done in the comfort of the gym). This was followed by a strength and core session and quick blast of #febrowary.

Thursday morning and the swim was a bit of shock to the system. It was probably the longest swim I'd done since Ironman Wales. But it was soon done and ticked off. The main set was 4 x 125m; 4 x 175m; 4 x 125m. First evening session today a gentle Z1 30 minute ride on the turbo.

Friday was a very easy day, just a thirty minute Z2 run. So I bulked it out with a row and some work on the TRX

The building block of any training plan is the steady bike ride, this week's is a 60 minute session which I did on the turbo.

At last I get a session outside, I don't think a 45 minute run counts as long, but it was steady and at a decent pace. 8.6km in 46 minutes, giving me a pace of 5:07km.

A summary of my training is shown below

Summary of Week 1
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 2:12 2:00 +0:12 28%
Bike 2:00 2:00 +0.00 26%
Run 2:01 2:00 +0:01 26%
Other 1:35 0:45 +0:50 20%
Total 7:48 6:45 +1:03

All sessions ticked off, but it was an easy week

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Living like a caveman

I have a tendency to be little on the overweight side, not necessary fat, but definitely overweight. Therefore I'm keen to be in a position to be able to control my weight, which is part of the reason for this whole exercise malarkey.

Over the years I really have had an antipathy towards fad diets, and there have been plenty that have come across my radar.

There have been the bog-standard calorie deficit schemes like Weight Watchers and Slimmers' World. These diets are created by corporations to make money, ultimately they are designed to fail, as the whole premise is that you can earn the right to have treats.

Also there have been the extreme diets like the cabbage soup diet; a diet where you eat, well, cabbage soup. Pretty tedious and in no way a life choice.

I've always been drawn to foods that don't have many ingredients and aren't rammed full of chemicals and additives. So when some of the good people on TriTalk started talking about the Paleo diet, I took good look at it.

My uneducated take on it was you eat food that the cavemen ate, with the primary tenet being no processed food. Not eating (overly) processed food can only be a good thing can't it?

So what are the paleo commandments, and how would they affect my life:

  1. No processed foods - This seems to be a no-brainer to me. However in these days of mass production, it is very hard to avoid
  2. No refined sugars - another tick in the common sense box
  3. No grains - I'm not a massive fan of bread, so that wouldn't be too much of a hit. However I enjoyed a large bowl of porridge to kick start my day, this could be an issue. Another loss would be no pasta which is a quick and easy regular meal in the Harris household. No rice is another one that will effect what we'd eat on a regular basis
  4. No potatoes - Meh, not bothered. I've never been much of a fan, be they mashed, fried, roasted or boiled. I've always seen potatoes as something to get over and done with as quickly as possible before getting to the good stuff
  5. No legumes - This means beans, peas and peanuts. This one is a bit confusing to me, but the premise as I see it is that they have to be cooked to be eaten and that is why they are on the list
  6. No Dairy - This is a biggy. Lots of stuff in this food group that I enjoy.
  7. Eat lean unprocessed meats and eggs
  8. Eat your veggies, and plenty of them.
  9. Eat fruit, but try and minimise the amount of sugars
  10. Eat nuts

Prior to committing to the paleo diet, my typical working day meals may have looked a little like this

Large bowl of porridge
Small glass of orange juice

Couple of tortilla wraps with various fillings
Various fruit

Evening meal
Pasta dish
Bowl of ice-cream

In addition to this I'd probably have 3-4 mugs of coffee with milk and one sugar.

Now, even with the benefit of hindsight, this strikes me as a traditionally understood healthy diet. But under the paleo structure, most of this would not be acceptable.

In November 2011, I challenged myself to have one month of strict paleo eating and see how what worked for me and what didn't. I even went as far as making paleo ketchup, as I'm a bit of a bugger when it comes to having moist meals.

Since the change, my daily working day meals look something like this

Boiled egg
Fruit smoothie 

Salad or soup
Various fruit

Evening meal
Roasted veg with chicken/lamb/steak/pork

But yes, I'm still having my bowl of ice-cream.

I've cut the coffee right down and am now having green tea.

The benefits I've seen are quite marked, the most noticeable is that I've lost a bit of excess weight. I don't feel so bloated after eating a meal (even if it a huge portion). My whole digestive system seems to be operating much better and I've got a general feeling of, well, feeling well.

So this seems to be the way forward for me. I'm by no means strict and I will eat processed crap like a good 'un when it takes my fancy. But, I have taken the option to cut out some of these toxins from my life and it seems to be doing the job

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Road to Tenby - mk II

It seems inevitable that I will be racing at Ironman Wales for the second time this September. I've not quite made the financial commitment, but I've certainly made the emotional commitment.

I've got unfinished business in Pembroke, as I had a slight hamstring tear the last time I did this race. This obviously had a detrimental effect on my bike time.

Once again I'll be using the Fink book, Be Iron Fit. But this time I'll be going with the intermediate plan for swimming and running and the competitive plan for the bike.

If I took nothing else from the last time I raced in Pembrokeshire, is that the bike is brutal and the better you are on the bike, the more you'll have left for that tough hilly run. This means I'll be focusing on getting my bike legs up to speed.

So, lets see what the next 30 weeks has in store, one thing is for certain the weather is going to get better.