Monday, 25 March 2013

Week 6

Didn't feel like the rest day was necessary this week, but took it none the less - as it is a vital part of the training cycle (and when I say cycle I don't mean the metal thing with two wheels).

Tuesday's swim was ticked off with a main set of 12 x 100m. This was followed by a great run in the evening, 11.6km of Z2 running in 60 minutes.

Wednesday morning was a quick row followed by a weights and core session.

I've had to switch around the some of the sessions to make sure I can work around Ang's work schedule. This now means that Wednesday evening is a Z1 spin out on the turbo, I spent a very enjoyable hour watching Japan on DVD

I felt sluggish at the start of Thursday's swim session, but slight change to my technique had me flying along with no additional effort required. That goes down as a good swim session. The main set was 4 x 125m, 4 x 175m, 4 x 125m

I was sweating like a good un on the turbo for the brick session, and then followed that with a good run off the bike. This was the first proper run off the bike this year and I felt I had plenty in my legs.

The weather made me glad this was only a 15 minutes run.

I took a look a the weather on Friday morning and said 'bugger that for a game of soldiers', and did my 60 minute run on the treadmill; tedious, but at least I was warm and dry.

Saturday was my birthday, and what better way to spend it than racing a duathlon. I tell you what, there's loads of better ways. Especially as it was so very cold. I'll do a race report soon with more details; but in summary I was happy with the running but I need to work on the bike if I hope to hit my targets for Tenby.

But I finished with a smile on my face, and enough energy to act like a fool.

As the plan for this week didn't include a race, I had to finish off the week with an hour on the turbo.

Summary of Week 6
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 2:19 2:00 +0:19 22%
Bike 3:59 3:45 +0.14 38%
Run 3:00 3:15 -0:15 29%
Other 1:03 0:45 +0:18 10%
Total 10:21 9:45 +0:36

A bit mixed up, with a race to boot, but all ticked off again.

Cumulative Summary
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 13:05 12:00 +1:05 25%
Bike 17:07 16:45 +0.22 33%
Run 16:00 16:15 -0:15 31%
Other 5:58 4:30 +1:28 11%
Total 52:10 49:30 +2:40

Still making gains on my running, I just hope (need) that my bike follows suit

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Week 5

Bloody hell halfway through the Base phase already.

I'm not sure if Monday's rest day was to recover from

a. The training week
b. The cross country
c. Saturdays drinking session
d. All three

My swimming felt slow during Tuesday's swim set of 1 x 300m, 3 x 200m, 1 x 300m. Possibly because the pool was too warm now.

One of the downsides of Ironman training is that I end up missing time with my family, and tonight's run was a case in point as I was unable to take James to rugby training. But it was a good 9.1km run taking me 47 minutes.

My legs are feeling the strain and I had to get the foam roller out, and followed that by putting on my recovery tights.

Still had that DOMS sensation when I woke up on Wednesday morning, but nothing a quick brick session wouldn't sort out. Followed this with some strength and core work, and another blast on the foam roller.

Was still feeling the DOMS on Wednesday evening, so out came the roller and the tights.

Another 2,500m swim time trial on Thursday morning, I posted a time of 52:17 which is nearly 1 minute faster that 3 weeks ago. Very pleased with the progress made over such a short time.

I'm really enjoying the Thursday evening spin out on the turbo, especially now as we've had the conservatory replaced. 45 minutes tonight; lovely stuff

Friday's 60 minute run was on one of my usual routes, taking in a few hills (111m of climbing), but still keeping the pace ticking over.

I'm really enjoying these steady Z2 sessions (I'm also feeling the benefits too), it's a shame that I'm gonna have to inject a bit of pace soon.

Well there's no more pontificating, I've committed myself to racing Ironman Wales for the second time.

In another shock to the system, I actually went outside on my bike. I took in a great route out to Rhos and back.

It felt good to be out and about, despite it being a touch on the fresh side, so I ensured I was wrapped up nice and snug. Plenty of climbing too, with 482m of elevation in the 44km

The weather was perfect for running on Sunday and it was a pleasure to be out there. A great run at a very satisfying pace

A summary of my training is shown below

Summary of Week 5
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 1:55 2:00 -0:05 22%
Bike 3:07 3:00 +0.07 35%
Run 3:06 3:00 +0:06 35%
Other 0:40 0:45 -0:05 8%
Total 8:48 8:45 +0:03

All sessions ticked off again.

Cumulative Summary
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 10:46 10:00 +0:46 26%
Bike 13:08 13:00 +0.08 31%
Run 13:00 13:00 +0:00 31%
Other 4:55 3:45 +1:10 12%
Total 41:49 39:45 +2:04

A real feeling that I'm making some gains already with some good progress being made on the swimming and running.

Well, I've Only Gone and Done It

Well there's no going back now, no more pontificating. I've signed up for Ironman Wales 2013.

In the immortal words of Winston Churchill

You've done what? You bloody idiot

The last time I raced it was a tough old day, weather wasn't good and I had a slight hamstring tear. My finishing time in 2011 was 14:29.

Taking into account on how well I think I could do, I'm going to target a time of sub 13 hours for the race this time. So that means I need to take 90 minutes off my race time, yes, one and half hours, or the time it takes to play a football match.

I'm going to target a 7 hour ride, gaining 1 hour on my previous time; and a 4 hour marathon, this is a 50 minute gain on my previous attempt. I'm assuming that I'll be there or there abouts on the swim compared to the last race.

I am under no doubts that I'm asking a lot out of my body to make such gains, but I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. But, if everything goes to plan this could be achievable.

The next six months are going to be tough and no doubt I will have good days and bad days on my journey to the start line.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all that...


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New Balance Minimus 10 Trail Shoes

Those awfully nice chaps at New Balance have sent me another pair of shoes to test and review (surely two pairs of shoes means I'm a sponsored athlete)

The Minimus range of shoes are designed to be a mid point between traditional running shoes and bare foot running. And obviously being trail shoes these are designed for going off road.

This is what New Balance has to say about the shoes

The Minimus was designed not to chase trends, but rather to satisfy individuals looking to achieve a closer-to-barefoot running experience, by encouraging a more natural foot position and foot-strike. The minimalist approach to footwear sheds not only weight, but also convention, in pursuit of a truly minimalist feel.

The original Minimus shoe features a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, ideal for those looking to transition to a mid-foot strike, or pursue a more minimal experience with less material between your feet and the ground.

An entirely different approach to trail running, the Minimus 10 Trail takes the versatile durability of a Vibram® outsole and combines it with a fitted, minimalist upper for a closer-to-barefoot experience.
The price of the shoes on the website is £74.99, but shopping around it looks like you can pick them up for between £65-£70

This is what I have to say about the shoes

Now, 'they' say that you shouldn't try something for the first time during a race. But what do 'they' know. I decided to give these shoes a test at one of the West Glamorgan Cross Country series races. I don't do enough off-road running, as I prefer the regularity of being able to plan my route by hitting the tarmac, and minimal cushioning is a new experience for me. So all in all whole smorgasbord of newness. 

My first impressions were that these were a striking looking shoes and the additional Vibrams branding was very prominent. As soon as I put the shoes on I could feel how light they felt, really didn't feel like I had a pair of running shoes on. Comfy too.

I'd run at Margam Park before and knew that it could get very muddy in parts, so I knew the shoes were in for a testing time. Has to be said that it was a horribly cold day, too cold for running for my liking (but I'm pretty sure this was no fault of the shoes).

As soon as we hit the first corner the mud was apparent, and the shoes held their own and I had no problems keeping my feet.

Now, if I'd read the pre-race information I would have seen that most of this race is on trail path, and when I say trail path, I mean trail path with horrible pointy stones. So when I wasn't off-road I did find myself having to find the path of least resistance.

Obviously the minimal nature of the shoes meant that they didn't give me much protection on these stones. But I am very much aware this is a limitation on my planning on the run as opposed to any short-comings of the shoes.

In summary I found these a great shoe to run in, however the design of the shoes meant that if you are unsure of the terrain the minimal nature of the shoe might cause some issues.

But my introduction to minimal running was a reasonable success and I think I should look further into it.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Week 4

So this is my fourth week of Ironman training, only 26 to go!

Week 4 is a recovery week, which has fitted in well with the way I was feeling at the end of Week 3. Monday's rest day is very welcome indeed.

Pool still cold on Tuesday morning, but at least it was at the normal level and had increased in temperature by a degree or two. The main set was a testing 4 x 125m, 4 x 175m, 4 x 125m; all in all including warm up drills and cool down a solid 3km of swimming.

Took the easy option and avoided the hills on my 30 minute run and was rewarded with my fastest run of the year, with a pace of 5:05 kilometres. Which is none too shabby for a Z2 run.

Another indoor brick session on Wednesday morning, this was followed by a strength and core session. The weights session hurt this morning, which I guess is the objective, but it didn't make it particularly enjoyable.

Hurrah, the pool was back to normal temperature on Thusday morning, so the swim was much more pleasurable. The main set was 16 x 25m; 1 x 400m; 16 x 25m. A nice solid swim, which I could feel across my back, arms and shoulders later in the day.

Span out a 30 minute Z1 session, nice and easy - if only all training was this easy.

Mixed up the planned sessions this week and did the 'long' run on Friday morning. A 60 minute 11.1km run that took in 110m of climbing.

Another busy Saturday, meant it was another early morning turbo session. but the benefit being that I'd spend the afternoon watching rugby and having a beer or three.

The beers didn't seem like a good idea when I woke up for Sunday's cross country, and the Jagerbomb even less so. But, it's only 4 miles so how bad can it be. Very is the answer to that particular question. Cold, wind, mud and hills do not mix well with a hangover.

I think I took about 32 minutes but I'm not sure as I forgot to switch off my watch. I guess I'll have to wait for the results to see my time.

A summary of my training is shown below

Summary of Week 4
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 2:25 2:00 +0:25 31%
Bike 2:30 2:30 +0.00 32%
Run 2:18 2:30 -0:12 29%
Other 0:41 0:45 -0:04 9%
Total 7:54 7:45 +0:09

I gave the sessions a bit of a shuffle, but still got them all ticked off.

Cumulative Summary
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 8:51 8:00 +0:51 27%
Bike 10:01 10:00 +0.01 30%
Run 9:54 10:00 -0:06 30%
Other 4:15 3:00 +1:15 13%
Total 33:01 31:00 +2:01

Over 2 hours up on the plan, but not in the areas that I need to see some gains, i.e. bike and run

Monday, 4 March 2013

Week 3

With the victory of Sunday's cup final behind me it was time to continue with my training and focus on my goals and aspirations

Monday's rest day involved driving back from London, so that worked out quite well.

Tuesday's swim set was a 2,500m time trial; I wasn't looking forward to this as it can be quite tedious. However the session wasn't too bad and was completed in a time of 53:16 which I was pleasantly pleased with. Tuesday's run had to compete with the Swansea City victory parade as well as James's rugby training so it ended up being a late one

Wednesday's 30/15 brick session was done in the gym again, and followed up with a strength and core session.

Damn! The pool was cold this morning, a fault in the system meant  the water level was dropped and the temperature was down a couple of degrees. And boy did  I feel it. The main set was 12 x 100m.

The 45 minute spin out on the turbo was very enjoyable.

Happy St David's Day! I took Friday's 60 minute run outside, much more enjoyable than being on the treadmill.

Another busy Saturday meant I had to get up early (for me). Up and on the turbo by 7 o'clock to ensure I was done and dusted before taking Thomas to play football and then off to watch the Swans. I'm really hoping that I can get out on my bike next week

Sunday's run was a brisk 60 minute run, 11.5km meant this was a decent pace for me, especially with 109m of climbing.

This was the first run where I felt it, even on the flat, pretty sure this is the effect of a tough weeks training

On Sunday, the news filtered through to me of the tragic death of the young cyclist Junior Heffman, who died whilst competing in the Severn Bridge Road Race. I would like to take this opportunity  to pass on my condolences to the friends and family of Junior at this difficult time.

A summary of my training is shown below

Summary of Week 3
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 2:00 2:00 +0:00 23%
Bike 3:00 3:00 +0.00 34%
Run 3:02 3:00 +0:02 35%
Other 0:43 0:45 -0:02 8%
Total 8:45 8:45 +0:00

Still got all the sessions ticked off, but definitely a tougher week

Cumulative Summary
Activity Actual Time Planned Time Variance +/- Percentage
Swim 6:26 6:00 +0:26 26%
Bike 7:31 7:30 +0.01 30%
Run 7:36 7:30 +0:06 30%
Other 3:34 2:15 +1:19 14%
Total 25:07 23:15 +1:52

After only 3 weeks in, I'm already feeling that I'm making some gains.