Monday, November 4, 2013

Weeks 1 & 2 roundup

Steps on Otley Chevin
Steps on Otley Chevin by Tim Green aka atoach, on Flickr. Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0

 So, here I am, first two weeks done. How's it going?

Week 1: Three runs: tick. Progression: tick. Feeling good: tick.
Monday, 8 x (2 min run + 1 min walk). Wednesday, 9 x (2+1). Sunday, 10 x (2+1).

Week 2 (and a tiny bit): Three runs: bzzzt. Progression: tick. Feeling good: tentative tick.

Wednesday, 7 x (3+1). Monday, 9 x (3+1).

With storms outside and a million things to do inside, then a tweaked lower back, week 2 kind of unravelled a bit on me. But I'm not too far behind. Total running time is up to 27 minutes, and I'll aim to get that up to 30 next time (Wednesday), then start consolidating the runs and losing the walks.
I'm discovering all sorts of cut throughs and alleyways on the estate - not that I use them on night runs, but if I get a weekend daytime excursion it's quite fun to take a magical mystery tour and pop off down paths when I see them. Anything to keep me interested and stop me looking at my watch!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do, or do not, there is no tri

The Road Ahead 
The Road Ahead, by Michael Krigsman (mkrigsman) on Flickr. Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0 

No tri on the horizon for me, at least not the near horizon. So, according to the little green guy, it's "do, or do not" - and I chose "do".

Starting from near-scratch with a nearly 9-month old baby, you do the maths and work out if I'd "really earned a rest" after my last entry! Perhaps not quite as much of a rest as I gave myself, though.

Anyway, here I am. Time to turn this around (think oil tanker rather than handbrake turns), and I've got to start somewhere. That somewhere is: 8 x run 2 mins, walk 1. I got out and did it tonight after Small's bedtime, and it felt good both to move and to get some "me time". I didn't deliberately wait until it was dark in the early evening to start running again, but I can't say I mind ;) Next is to repeat that twice this week (aiming for Weds/Thurs and Sat, maybe adding an extra rep), and then step up next week. I might check out Couch to 5k and see where I fit in, not week 1 at least!

My short term aim is a sub-30 parkrun by Christmas. Longer term, it would be good to get back to running with my club one day a week, and longer longer term I would like to get back to triathlon - whether the training demands stack up with other commitments, we'll see, but a girl (mum) can dream...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week 4 - have I really earned a rest?


Week 4 of the plan is a "rest and absorb" week. However, as parts of week 5 and 6 will be something of an enforced rest for me due to a work trip, and since I didn't really do week 1 justice, I'm going to keep up the effort this week as much as I can, and repeat last week's sets. Easter's coming up and it's supposed to get cold and nasty, so we'll see what happens particularly with regard to the bike, but that's my aim!

Mon: swim 1400m inc. 4 x 100m fast as main set, plus drills, kick, warm up and cool down; run 45min steady
Tue: bike 50min inc 6x30s efforts
Wed: swim 1400m inc. 4 x 100m mixed as main set, plus drills, kick, warm up and cool down; run 35min inc. 8x30s efforts
Thu: gym, core strength
Fri: swim 1700m inc. 1200m moderate; run 40 steady
Sat: rest
Sun: steady bike, 2h - 2h30

Photo: Resting by RaGardner4, on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tracking week 3

First Place Step By Step 
Another daily-update progress post as it worked well last week and saves me finding a photo every day :)

Swim 1400m inc. 4 x 100m fast as main set, plus drills, kick, warm up and cool down
Monday lunchtime. Cramming the session in between meetings meant I had just 30 mins pool time so I cut the drills and kick. Total session was 1200m inc. 4 x 100m (8:40 including 30s total rest). Would have preferred to be under 8:00 for the swimming time but hopefully that will improve.
Run 45min steady
Monday night. 10:13/mile but I was slow at the start and got quicker as I warmed up. Really a recovery run I think.
Bike 50min inc 6x30s efforts
Tuesday lunchtime. Same course as last Tuesday but 4 mins quicker thanks to doing it on the road bike not the commuter bike. Started the efforts in the same place and finished 1-200m sooner, although fudged them a bit in the middle to avoid meeting a right turn mid effort. Can't decide whether I should be more pleased that I was 4 mins quicker today or only 4 mins slower on the heavy bike :)
Swim 1400m inc. 4 x 100m mixed as main set, plus drills, kick, warm up and cool down
Wednesday lunchtime. Got the whole lot in this time, drills, kicks and all! Spurred on by being slightly narked at a lady who was significantly slower than me but got in my lane (so far, so good - I don't have a problem sharing) but then refused to give way even once, despite me being on her toes at the end of a length several times. Grrr.
Run 35min inc. 8x30s efforts
Wednesday morning. I did the 35 mins but failed on the efforts. I fitted this in as a run to work, i.e. before breakfast, and there was quite literally nothing in the tank for even dinky sprints. I'll know better next time. However, the average speed was quicker than Monday night!
Run 40 steady
Friday afternoon - took it easy and made it 50 mins instead. Garmin was out of battery but it was around 4.9 miles in 51 minutes. A lovely easy run, all the better for 45 minutes catching up with Lizzie on the way out.
Bike, 2h - 2h30 steady
Sunday morning, 2:25 / 38 miles (15.9mph) down to Sibton for a pub lunch. And a lift home :) Cycling solo actually felt quite tough, and once into Suffolk there were a few more ups and downs to contend with, but the miles trundled past quickly enough. I stopped at 20 miles to consume a hot cross bun, and again at the top of a hill around 30 miles to take on my emergency gel. But a nice stretch of Roman road with a downhill slant finished things off nicely!

To do:
Gym, core strength work killed this one - bah.
Swim 1700m inc. 1200m moderate guess who forgot the pool closes for 50m/25m changeover from 9am-9.40 on Fridays? d'oh.

Photo: First Place Step By Step by Evalia England, on Flickr

Coming up in Week 3...

The road ahead 

Week 2 is done, and I'm feeling positive :)  This is a quick post just to get the plan in place for week 3...

Mon: swim 1400m inc. 4 x 100m fast as main set, plus drills, kick, warm up and cool down; run 45min steady
Tue: bike 50min inc 6x30s efforts
Wed: swim 1400m inc. 4 x 100m mixed as main set, plus drills, kick, warm up and cool down; run 35min inc. 8x30s efforts
Thu: gym, core strength
Fri: swim 1700m inc. 1200m moderate; run 40 steady
Sat: rest
Sun: steady bike, 2h - 2h30

Photo: The road ahead by Piero Sierra, on Flickr

Monday, March 19, 2012

Progress so far...

Step by step 

(This post is being updated as I tick off my sessions. We'll see if this way helps focus/motivation!)

Swim intervals, target 1400m: done, Monday lunchtime.
200m warmup, 150m drills, 8 x (25m fast, 25m slow, 25m fast, 25m slow, 10s rest), 150m kick, 200m cooldown. Total 1500m, time 38 minutes.
Main set: 2:03, 2:12, 2:09, 2:10, 2:09, 2:09, 2:09, 2:09   
Really pleased with the consistency of the later ones, and the speed of the first one! The session felt good - nothing like drills and kick sets to make 'normal' swimming feel swift and smooth!
Steady run, target 40 min @ 10 min miles: done, Monday evening.
Waterworks Road, 50 mins, 5 miles.
Claudia's last run before leaving the UK for her new job in Germany - we will miss her!
Bike 'power intervals': done, Tuesday lunchtime.
A loop out to Barford, just shy of 14 miles in 55 minutes. Moderate pace, with 6 x (30s sprint, 2:00 recovery) in the middle (4-8mi).  
Really enjoyable ride with Alice in the sunshine - a good route with just about the right amount of up and down to be a bit challenging when it coincides with the efforts.
Fartlek run, target 40 min @ 10 min miles, inc. sprints @ 7-8 min miles: done, Wednesday lunchtime.
Waitrose loop, but the short version, down the hill and over the metal bridge to cut back as early as possible. Cheese-pop efforts along Colney Lane (up the pace for the chorus of a cheesy pop song, recover during the verse). Steady pace largely 10 min mi or above, max effort pace 6:09/mi :)
It was a squeeze workwise but I did it in 28 mins in the blazing sun (OK, about 14°C).
Swim long intervals, target 1500m: done, Friday morning.
200m warmup, 1200m steady (27:02), 200m cooldown, total 1600m. Good session, during which bizarrely I felt strongest about two thirds of the way through the main set. A few pauses for goggle/noseclip faffing and to let my lane-mate overtake means I should be under 27:00 on a clear run.
Parkrun, target 29 minutes: done, Saturday morning (when else?!)
Official time 28:15, watch time 28:00 on the nose. Average 9 min mile. 
I'm really pleased with this. It was tough at times given I had pretty tired legs from this week's other training, but I kept going and even managed a sprint finish. Listening to music really helped get me round.
Long bike, target 30-40 miles @ 12-13mph: done, Sunday afternoon.
Went out with Clare and did 34 miles at 14.4mph.
Not the 50-60 planned at the start of the week, as unexpected social plans came up and I got to catch up with friends I don't see very often. But we made the most of the later daylight and headed out at 4.30, and achieved the 30-40 I had revised my plans to. A slightly hilly (for Norfolk) route, I think we did pretty well overall. It dropped decidedly chilly towards the end but it really was another glorious spring ride.

Still to do:
Swim moderate intervals, target 1500m - cutting this one this week; didn't think I had time for both a swim and a run on Weds, and it was a lovely day so Going Outside won.
Gym: target 40 min weights/core. Please miss, I forgot my kit. Totally failed to appreciate I used my "work" set of kit for running the day before. What a berk. Went for a walk instead!

Photo: Step by step by markb120, on Flickr

Let's try that again, shall we?

Moncton 2010 IAAF World Jr Championships - Day 3 

OK, I admit it - a bit of a false start last week. Work stuff ate my lunchtimes :( And then it all just unravelled, although I take the blame for letting it go to such an extent.

I managed:
  1. A 50-minute run on Monday evening
  2. A 30-minute swim squeezed in on Wednesday
  3. A 3h+ bike ride on Sunday (which was excellent, considering it was only my second this year)
It's significantly better than nothing, but nowhere near what I planned. I feel like I am in a better place mentally this week, though. It's time to get aspirational again, and this week I WILL be ticking off a LOT more (i.e. at least 2 of each discipline) of the following:

Mon: Swim mixed intervals (1400m total) and steady run (40 min)
Tue: Bike 'power intervals' (short sharp speed bursts, within 60 min ride)
Wed: Swim moderate intervals (1500m total) and fartlek run 40 min inc. sprints
Thurs: Gym: weights/core
Fri: Swim long intervals (1500m total)
Sat: Steady parkrun
Sun: Long bike (aiming for 50-60 miles)

I would write more, but I need to get to the pool :)

Photo: Moncton 2010 IAAF World Jr Championships - Day 3 by Stephen Downes, on Flickr

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Plan starts here

Feb 20 (Day 51): To Do List 

And good grief, it's looking like quite some plan. Still, start as you mean to go on and all. It's based on rate of perceived exertion (RPE), i.e. things like "moderate" and "speed" rather than a specific pace, so I can ease into it if needed. But all the half-Ironman plans in the book are based on nine sessions a week - I haven't been doing that many lately so I will see how it goes and if necessary start from 2 sessions in each discipline and work up to 3 over the first few weeks.

The thing that's really tricky to fit in is weekday bike rides before the clocks go forward. The bikes in the gym are hugely uncomfortable. Heading out before work means I meet people rat-running on the country lanes. I could go in to work on my road bike and then head out at lunchtime but then it's hard to carry things to the office. But if it's for intervals and building up speed/strength then I reckon training on my everyday bike won't hurt, for one session a week. It may also work out that I just do these sessions on my one day off a week, on my road bike, from home. The second (steady) weekday bike session I will convert to a gym session for core strength.

Anyway, one step at a time. This week's plan looks like this:

Mon: Swim mixed intervals (1300m total) and steady run (35 min)
Tue: Bike 'power intervals' (short sharp speed bursts, within 50 min ride)
Wed: Swim moderate intervals (1400m total) and fartlek run (35 min inc. sprints) / or rest
Thurs: Gym
Fri: Swim long intervals (1500m total) and steady run (45 min)
Sat: rest
Sun: Steady bike (1h15)

Let's see what happens...

Photo: Feb 20 (Day 51): To Do List by dmachiavello, on Flickr

Friday, March 2, 2012

Base building


One week left of base-building and then the plan starts. After crisis week the other week, annoyingly things have got more pressured work-wise and lunchtime sport has slipped. I have, however, returned to running club sessions even if Thursday was 'effortless efforts' with fellow returnees from injury, Hannah and Hugh. After next week my schedule at work should get better, but I will be putting my training plan into my diary as more or less immovable fixtures just to make sure.

So where's my base? I'm running reasonably comfortably at about 9:30 per mile for up to 45-50 minutes, and can happily throw in a fartlek session including (if my Garmin is to be believed) under 7 min miling for very short bursts. I'm swimming comfortably, not doing any more than 40 minutes at a time but again playing about with speed and effort. I haven't been out on my road bike yet this year (oops) but am looking to rectify that very soon! And despite the chaos I'm back to 3 exercise sessions per week as a minimum, and even better my ankle is healing up nicely - pretty much healed, I would say.

Nearly time to start building upwards... bring it on :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Un-lost property

215/365 - Tan Lines 

I found it! My Garmin wasn't lost, it had fallen off my desk on to a little ledge where I couldn't see it. I'm so glad to know I am not stupid enough to leave it in the shower room...

UEA sledgers 2

In other news, my manic weekend did allow me time for a walk (!) to work with my camera in hand, capturing the snow we got dumped overnight. My determination not to derail is so far still intact, although I am feeling the pressure. Five days to go. With a repeated thaw-freeze cycle forecast for the week, I think there might be heavy use made of my Sportspark card this week for swimming and gymming - since I'm not keen on the idea of respraining my ankle. 

Photos: 215/365 - Tan Lines by aithom2, on Flickr; UEA sledgers 2 by ermintrude75 (me!), on Flickr

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Staying on track

Staying on track..

Potential distraction ahoy - a bit of an issue with a work deadline coming up. No point in dwelling on the whats or the whys, just a staement: I'm not going to let this derail me so early on. A week or so and it will all be over (it's a bit of a concentrated crisis, this one), but a lot of damage could be done in a week, mentally if nothing else. If I stick with the plan and keep running, biking and gymming this week as planned, I'll get some important mental space and energy to get me through the deadline. And as an aside, I'm not going to get through it by eating crap either.

The last week's been pretty good and I look forward to building on it. Another mile swum (broken into 4 fast, 4 slow x 8), a good gym session, and two runs - the last one at 9:29/mile for 3.6 miles and feeling pretty good. On the downside, I managed to lose my Garmin :( - think I left it in the shower room at work, so here's hoping Lost Property can help...

Staying on track.. by etgeek (Eric), on Flickr

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What a difference...

skydiving goggles make. Barely knew they were there. So refreshing not to be emptying them every 4 lengths, or have them digging into my face.

I was so happy, I did a mile! Except I didn't. My counting skills failed me and I did 62 lengths. I was hitting the lap button on my watch after each 100m, but either I got super-fast around 500m or I only did 50m that time. D'oh. Multiplied up I would have done the mile in about 38:15, or just under 36s per length. There was a pretty straight fade from 32s/25m to 37s/25m over the session. Anyway, it's not pretty, but it's a baseline.

Right, I'm off to watch Sesame Street now and practice my counting for next time.

Photo: skydiving by dollie_mixtures, on Flickr

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Take aim...


Pondering is done. I have a monster in my sights. This one. So, a middle distance/half ironman it is - let's see if I can NOT get a puncture, and beat 7hrs this time. The course is flat, so no hills to slow me down, but on a windy day cycling in the Fens will be a b*gger... but the swim is downstream at least!

I've also signed up to Norwich Tri (aiming again for sub 3hrs, this time I'll remember to refuel on the bike). The 20-week plans I am looking at have an Olympic distance tri at 16 weeks - this one's a bit early but there is wiggle room as I'm starting early. R(ace) minus 20 weeks makes April 2nd for the start of The Plan, or 12th March if I want to hit the oly at 16w and have an extra 3w between then and the full (half) monty, which sounds better.

I've got 6 weeks between now and 12th March to get myself running, swimming and biking to a level that's ready to go. Sounds good. Bring it on.

Hanako! by sally_monster, on Flickr

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New year...

Happy New Year 2012!

OK, so last year kind of went out with a feeble whimper, as evidenced by this blog. Some issues turned up and squashed a lot of things (like enthusiasm and motivation for a start), and winter has been cold and dark so far in more ways than one. What I have learned, though, is that these things do not magically resolve themselves, and happy endings don't just appear because you think you don't deserve any more crap. At some point you have to lend a helping hand to make good things happen - like going looking for them.

If I hesitate to make full-on resolutions, I can at least take stock. 2011 was a mixed year, some good times, but overshadowed in the end by things outside my control - including work trips, neverending colds, back pain, and finally a badly sprained ankle which has me laid off running for a week or two yet, to be followed by a slow comeback. Taking a long, hard look at what I did with the year, I could certainly have done better - both Waveneys were lacklustre, to say the least, and while my 5k time got better within the year, I'm a way off my best. The adventure race weekend was the real shining highlight, though, and if nothing else I am glad I did that. But compared to a year ago I'm less fit, more fat, and I sure as hell don't want to be sitting here next year thinking "could have done better" all over again. I need to train - even if I don't make the start line for whatever reason, time spent training is never wasted, right?

So I'm looking for a race to focus on. Nothing too big, but just the right amount of pressure to keep me motivated. No big trip abroad (i.e. flying) tied up with it, and nothing any longer than I've done before. Ironman 70.3 Ireland (Galway) is a contender, but I'm still checking out options closer to home like the Ely Monster middle distance. Another adventure race is massively tempting, although the only Questar weekenders are Exmoor or the South Downs - not quite as handy as one on my back doorstep in Thetford. A side adventure that's looking good is the ~120 mile overnight Dunwich Dynamo, and I hope I'll be up to running a selection of local races just for fun, but for my main focus I really want something multisport. I'll find out what my buddies are doing, but my main goal will be for me.

Hmm... time to sit down with a cuppa, a laptop, and the training bible, and have a good old think...

Happy New Year 2012! by Creativity103, on Flickr