Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pushing it

Tough swim session tonight - bearing in mind I haven't been in the water for a week and the last session was at Thetford, it went really well.

I missed a bit of warm up but got 150m in. Kerry put me in lane 2 with Marie so my warm up was not quite as gentle as usual, as I didn't want to hold anyone up!

The main set was 10 x 100m on 2:15. That worried me a bit, as I thought that the other week in the Sportspark I was doing 100m in 2:02 at the very quickest. However, with my watch on intervals, I did the first few in 1:47, 1:51 ish. It certainly felt good. However, after the first 4-5 I began to flag a bit and so did a few at the back of my lane, still coming in around 1:58-2:02 though. If I could keep that pace up I would be under 8 mins for my 400m - possibly unlikely but I hope to shave some off my 8:46 from last time.

After that it was drills and then a couple of fun relay sprints to round off.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chop and change

Original schedule: 45 min run with 20 mins building to race pace
Swapped for Thursday: 55 min cycle with 3 x 6 min @ race pace

Actual: 53 min cycle with 3 x 6 min @ 20mph+

Out around the Ketteringham loop. Must have been a fairly tough session as my legs were getting a bit crampy (had to stop and stretch before the third effort) - I definitely think it was worth going out, anyway. I decided that Thursday's Conac session will probably fulfil my need for a run effort (at worst I can head off on my own for 20 mins), and as tonight was at least dry (if a bit breezy), I swapped sessions and headed out on the bike. Overall average 16.5mph but I did take it very easy in between reps and heading home, trying to stretch out. First effort was with a side/rear wind, but the other two were side/head wind so reasonably tough.

Might have to fiddle with the saddle some more, could be a bit higher still I think, and not sure whether it was a weeny bit loose tonight. It wasn't bad enough to stop and investigate further.

Nice to see loads of other cyclists out too!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh dear

Schedule: bike 1:00 easy

Actual: 30 mins with beginners

It rained, so no bike for me even if I hadn't gone with the beginners group. I was at the back and we covered 2.5 miles, ending at the grass track where the improvers were doing efforts. We walked back from there. I counted it as a recovery after yesterday.

I'm going to try and fit a bike in on Thurs but not sure I can. Maybe if I skip efforts (tomorrow's run is an effort after all)?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chase the Train

Somehow the forecast torrential rain failed to materialise and it was actually quite hot - breeze, cloud cover and shady cuttings were very welcome, and I even went so far as to pour water on my head! But no major effort from me, I did this as a nice plod as it's a lovely course and not too far (the time went surprisingly fast actually). Having given blood on Friday and biked yesterday I was feeling a little tired, and doing the first two miles at 8:45 pace was not so wise. I slowed down and did the whole thing in 1:23 ish (9:20/mile average), walking for the water stations and a few other little pauses. I decided to forego the nice (but very slow) train ride back to Aylsham in favour of Jennie and Steve's kind offer of a lift, so was home in a reasonable time too (at which point it rained...)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Enough of the wind already

At least today it was in my face on the way out, and behind me on the return.

Schedule: bike 1:40 including 2 x 20 mins @ threshold

Actual: 1:32 but no HRM - steady effort

Route was out to Spooner Row including a detour to investigate the "closure" of St Thomas' Lane (which wasn't blocked, just barriered) and Potash Lane (which was barriered south of Lotus - I could have investigated but there was a low loader reversing). Had a good meander out there (just over an hour) and zoomed back along the old A11 (just about half an hour). Max speed on the way back was 32mph and I reckon I maintained 22-23mph average between Spooner Row and Wymondham. Hardly any traffic, glorious weather, just that damn wind!! Still, when it got behind me it was great.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Schedule: swim 40 drills

Actual: nothing - busy at work with a meeting 11-2:30, and then gave blood this eve, so further activity was out.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Trials and tribulations

Schedule: bike session
Actual: 2-mile time trial with Conac

Oh well. Still haven't got the bike thing sorted - I will have to start going out in the evenings somehow, but at least I got out and did something tonight.

The route was the Boxing Day Relay route (not that I have ever done the relay), twice around a 1-mile circuit in Eaton Park, with warm up/cool down out and back. Given that my feet still hurt from yesterday I was pleased to do it in 16:14, and pretty evenly too - 8:05 for the first lap. The idea is we come back and do it again in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Unfamiliar territory

Schedule: swim session

Circumstances conspired to find me in Thetford this afternoon (never mind), but they have a pool so I was determined to do my swim. Having walked, and then limped, around London and Thetford in heeled boots, my feet were certainly glad of it. So glad that one of them decided to make itself known via cramp - never had that before. Not painful, just weird. Then when I was getting rid of that cramp, I got another one, inner thigh this time. Managed to kill it before it got too bad, thankfully.

Thetford does have a 25m pool in addition to the wave pool and jaccuzi (which I declined although at £3.80 I should have made sure I used everything!). However, the concept of lanes doesn't seem to have filtered that far down the A11, and it was a bit of a free for all. In between the kids faffing about and the people who like to swim widths (!), I was doing well to get away with just 2 collisions. Obviously it's designed for the heads-up swimmer. Overall, I was tired, a bit hacked off, and slow, but I stayed in for an hour. No idea how many lengths - it was just good to swim.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How things change

One day after "bleh" and I had a great run.

Schedule: 45 mins inc 20 building to race pace

Actual: 46:30 inc 20 at race pace

Route: Colney Lane, U-turn, Keswick. Having worked a bit later I ran from home. Got caught up with Hannah and Les on their Conac run, coming down Church Lane, hence a bit of a longer run. Fifteen mins warm up took me to just past Gurney Lane, then turned around and ran back along Colney Lane, over Cringleford Green and along Keswick Road all the way to Lizzie's and just around the corner on the track to the level crossing. Unbelievably, GMaps measures that 20 minutes' work as just over 2.5 miles, which makes just under 8:00 per mile. Very nice. 10 minutes cool down took me home including a bit extra along the lane. Total distance 5.3, overall average 8:45/mile.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Schedule: 45 mins inc. 10 x 1 min hard, 1 min rest

Actual: beginners, 2 x 20 mins, 2 mins rest

Just 3.5 miles around Earlham marshes. Then went straight home as I had loads to do, and having run a similar set on Sat, biked on Sun, and with another run coming up on Tues, I thought I would count it as a rest.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ride like the wind

Or, alternatively, into it.

Schedule: 1h30 bike with 30 mins @ race pace

Actual: 1h47 bike, 30 minutes (or more) of sustained effort although "race pace" was at the discretion of the wind!

Went out with half formed ideas of a route, didn't quite do what I intended but at least made it a loop and didn't end up converging on the same junction several times from different directions! Just shy of 30 miles via Intwood, East Carleton, Hethel, Ashwellthorpe (circuitously :), Tacolneston mast, back of Spooner Row, in to Wymondham from the Silfield side, then Browick Rd, Ketteringham and back via East Carleton. Good to be out, the weather was crap this morning but it was worth waiting as now the sun is shining and apart from the wind it's gorgeous.

Pace was good, average 16.9mpg with a max 0f 30 (downhill near East Carleton), and a few bits where I was cranking out 20mph+ continuously. Very tough at times with the wind, but I just pushed on. Still feel like I need to sort out my saddle - wonder if it's slipped a bit over time?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Schedule: 45 min run with 8 x 1 min hard, 1 min rest

Actual: 25 mins slow, 25 mins moderate run with 10 x 1 min hard, 1 min rest

Set out with Mark to do the beginner session, 3 x (15 + 2), but he was having shin/knee problems and stopped after 10 mins of the second set (total 25 mins running). That was in Eaton Park, so we walked back together as far as Newmarket Rd, from where I took off to top up my session. I did another 27 mins running, and topped up to 10 efforts as I had to take a break midway for a loo stop. The efforts felt good, I was able to pick up the pace quite well since they were short, and mostly kept jogging in between rather than walking.

My convoluted route!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Better swim

Schedule and actual: 40 mins of drills

250m warm up, then 50m each of kick, pull, closed fists and catch-up. Repeated several times, with 100m reps on the last one, then 250m cool down. It all felt much better than Wednesday. Also I tried a little soap (well dried) in my goggles and they stayed clear all session, which was a revelation.

Busy in the pool today with half the deep lanes in use for the swimathon. Slotted in with a couple of moderately fast guys in a lane, then went to join Jenna when her lane emptied out. Bad move - being the edge lane with the steps, it attracted a dry-hair swimmer (i.e. she wouldn't duck under the lane rope or get in off the end into another lane) who was really, really, really slow. I feel bad for saying that, but she was. I even caught her up on kick lengths. Why would you get into a lane with two swimmers who are clearly a lot faster than you? There was still plenty of space in the other pool too.

Hmph. Anyway, we were nearly done then so just put up with it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Colney Lane hill efforts

Schedule: bike

Actual: effort session

Just couldn't grab the time to go to the gym in the day, and the gym bike session was so rubbish last time that I wasn't inspired, so I went out to play with Conac instead.

Route: Over to the pitches, warm up around the football field, a couple of times up the easy slope towards the big hill, then three times around the Colney Lane double-hill loop. Home via the Broad and up the loooong hill from the Broad to the main car park. Short but satisfying.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No energy

Schedule: swim session.

Actual: er, swim session!

Felt OK today but once in the pool the "flow" had deserted me and more or less every length was an effort to keep going. Others were complaining the water was a bit warm, it didn't feel too bad to me initially but certainly whenever I stopped I felt quite hot.

We did some mass and open water starts, then started a 1600m pyramid (100m to 400m increasing by 100 with 20s rest each time) but couldn't finish it. 20s rest wasn't really enough and my lane tended to take a bit longer.

Overall it feels like one of those sessions that was churned out a bit for the sake of it, certainly not as enjoyable as the last couple of weeks. Maybe I'm just tired.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Solid race pace session

Schedule: 40 mins run, with 15 mins building to race pace.

Actual: 40 minutes run with 15 mins at race pace.

Route was around Wymondham. Ran steady with Clare and Kerry for the first 15 mins, then suitably warmed up I just tried to keep a sustainable 5k-ish pace for the next 15, along Tuttles Lane from end to end (as it happened). After that I jogged back to meet them (only a couple of minutes) and ran with them to the end (with an attempt at a faster race-style finish!)

Covered 1.8 miles in the 15 mins which makes 8:20 per mile - not as fast as my 5k pb pace but I'm really pleased with that. Overall distance was 4.4 miles in 39 minutes, 8:51/mile, i.e. about 9:15 for the rest of the time which is a good pace!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Peak performance

A blank day on the tri schedule today, but I went out with the beginners, who are now up to the peak total running time of 3 x 15 minutes, with 3 minute rests. We covered 4.2 miles around Colney Lane, the Broad and Bluebell Road. Mark struggled on the first hill a bit but was fine after that and everyone did pretty well. I ran with Kath at the back and she was putting on some speed at the end of the reps - big improvement!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Not exactly part of the plan...

...but walking 10 miles while watching the London Marathon is fun, inspirational, and (this year) not a little cold and wet! We followed from Docklands to the finish, although not along the exact route. Saw Andy on his way to a 2:38 (!), and Kate three times on her rock-solid way to 4:46, plus Julia, Joe, and other Conac runners.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Aylesbury strikes again

Something in the air disagrees with me - having been fine for weeks, as soon as I go running in Aylesbury, I start wheezing. Not badly (not as bad as at Christmas anyway), but enough to feel uncomfortable. I did the planned session, 45 mins inc. 18 @ threshold, but threshold (160 ish BPM) seemed to relate to a low running speed (presumably because I wasn't getting enough oxygen?). It came out at 4.8 miles total, i.e. about 9:25 per mile average, but with 18 mins steady, 18 quicker, and 9 cool down. Without pushing it ridiculously speed-wise, my max HR was 186, which seems a tad high, but the speed/distance is OK.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chop and change

Since Wednesday's scheduled "swim" session was more like drills, I spent today's scheduled drill session just swimming :)

Warmed up (400m) then set the watch to 37s reps. Started trying to do a pyramid (1-1-2-4-6-8-6-4-2-1-1) but got as far as the first 4 and hit traffic. I had deliberately got in with a slow swimmer, figuring that I could at least overtake him fairly easily when needed, but two other guys got into the lane, making that impossible. The other lanes were pretty full too, so no point in swapping.

If I gave the other guys a suitable head start, I could just about fit 4 lengths in before getting caught up, so I did several (6 or so - lost count as I stopped and reset the watch a few times) 4-length sets, the best coming in with 26 secs remaining on the 4th 37-sec rep. That makes ((4 x 37)- 26) = 2 mins 2 secs. After that I did several 2-length sets and a cool down. When I got stuck behind someone in the main swim I just slowed down and focused on technique. Overall the technique felt good and I was concentrating on kicking from the hips, and rotating with each stroke not just for breathing. Both of those still fail me when I don't concentrate!

Total was 40 mins, didn't count lengths but must have been 50-60 overall.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ho hum

Computer conspiracy meant I struggled to finish work in time to head off to a meeting tonight, so a big fat zero for today. Looking forward to that swim tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The old routine (and a new bit)

The old routine as in cycling to German (25 mins each way) at lunchtime, as well as going swimming in the evening. A new bit in terms of accompanying Mark on his midweek homework, but this time on the bike (ah role, reversal :) as I was short of clean kit.

With Mark: 3.5 miles total around UEA/Colney Lane, in 3 x 12 mins + 9 mins walking (3 at the start). Great going, despite him saying at the end of rep 1 that he wouldn't do all 3. Ha.

At swimming: 400m warm up, then various drills relating to open water preparation: "crocodile eyes" for sighting, open-water starts (from treading water to swimming), mass starts (3 per lane at once), and acceleration (swim version of the train, i.e. last swimmer overtakes the rest), and turning (swimming around someone acting as a buoy). Just a couple of lengths cool down. Didn't count lengths. A good swim with a few nice bursts of speed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Easy run

Schedule: 55 mins easy. Actual - an hour around Wymondham with Kerry and Clare, covering just over 5.5 miles. That works out at just under 11 min miles, and made for a lovely run. Took the HRM but it wasn't working so well for the first part of the run, giving me 80-90bpm and a more realistic 140-160 for the rest of it. Probably interference from the police HQ mast :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pain in the backside

Schedule: bike 55 mins inc 20 @ threshold.

I did this in the gym. Ouch. The bike seats are enormous and really not very comfortable (duh - how do they expect people to get fit?). My backside now aches. A lot. The pedals were annoying too - I miss my SPDs! Also I forgot a towel so I got very sweaty. I suppose at least I didn't get cramp!

I did 15 mins @ HR 130-140, then 20 @ 150-160 (threshold), then 20 @ 130-150. I was pleased with the session but I didn't enjoy all the fidgeting to try (in vain) to get comfortable.

Interesting that I don't get anywhere near max HR on the bike before my legs complain whereas in the run I can hit and maintain 170-180. (That said I think I topped 180 going up Skeet's Hill once.) I occasionally went over 160 today but the bike flashed "High Heart Rate!" and my thighs started burning whenever I did, so I slowed down... had it been more comfortable to ride maybe I could have pushed it a bit more. I must take the HRM on an effort session to find out my max!

After that I ran with the beginners on 3 x 12 + 3, starting in the rain. We looped around Eaton Park, which was a nice change. Mark made it through the 36 mins and reckons he could have done the lot non-stop! We shall see, but I like the attitude :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kicking myself (a bit)

This morning: snow, sleet, cold, damp, yuk. Lovely for marshalling a duathlon...

This afternoon/evening: sunny, but still cold, roads dry.

Why didn't I go out on the bike? Just for an hour? Lazy arse!

The training plan starts tomorrow - no more shirking!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Plan

The original 12-week plan has 3 blocks of 3 weeks building + 1 week recovery or taper. I have only 5 weeks, and the past couple have been fairly easy, so I'm going to do the last "build" week, then 3 weeks "race prep" and the taper. Some things have to be fitted around other plans, but I think I can get most of it in.

All weeks except taper include:

Swim x2: 1 recovery/drills, 1 standard
Run x2: usually 1 acceleration, 1 with several small efforts - all under 1h total
Bike x2: 1 short turbo/spin, 1 long on road inc race pace
Brick x1 (sometimes): instead of a run or bike
Rest x1: sometimes swap for beginners session or other easy run

Week 1 - building
M Bike 55 inc 20 @ threshold [in gym?] also run with beginners
T Run 55 easy
W Swim
Th? Bike/run/bike/run 1:45, pace building , second set hard [not sure I can fit this in this week]
F Swim 45 drills
Sa Run 45 inc 18 @ threshold [Aylesbury]
Su Rest [London]

Week 2 - race prep 1
M Run with beginners
T Run 40 inc 15 mins building to race pace
W Swim w/ club [schedule inc 5 x 100m @ race pace]
Th Bike 50 inc 3 x 4 mins @ race pace [in gym?]
F Swim 40 drills
Sa Run 45 inc 8 x 1min hard, 1 min walk
Su Bike 1:30 inc 30 @ threshold [or do last week's brick session if not done]

Week 3 - race prep 2
M Run with beginners, then run 50 inc 10 x 1min hard, 1 min walk
T Run 45 inc 20 building to race pace
W Swim [schedule inc 6 x 100m @ race pace] [edit - now got to go to London - maybe fit in on Tues lunch]
Th Bike 55 inc 3 x 5min @ race pace [in gym?]
F Swim 40 drills
Sa Bike 1:40 inc 2 x 20 @ threshold
Su Chase the Train - 9mi easy

Week 4 - race prep 3
M Bike 1:00 easy
T Run 45 inc 20 building to race pace
W Swim 45 [schedule inc 7 x 100m @ race pace]
Th Bike 55 inc 3 x 6min @ race pace
F Swim 40 drills
Sa Brick, 15+10 x 2, 1 @ threshold, 1 @ race pace
Su Breckland 10k - 6mi easy

Week 5 - taper
M Swim 40 drills
T bike 30 easy inc 3 x 3 @ race pace
W Swim 40 easy, 8 x 50 @ race pace w/ full recovery between
Th Run 20 inc 10 building to race pace
F Rest
Sa Bike 30 easy
Su Race

Two for one

Planning to do the beginners' session with Mark about 10am, and then go for a longer run on my own, but plans changed when Kerry knocked on my door (and got me out of bed!) to see if I wanted to run with her and Clare. Well, it would have been rude to say no :) But obviously I couldn't just take off for a long run with them. So I knocked out 2.5 fast-ish (fast enough!) miles with Kerry, to the bottom of Greenways, and then came home. She waited for Clare, who'd taken that lap easier, and I collected Mark for a loop around Keswick. We did the 3 x 8mins, although the first rest was a bit longer as it handily coincided with passing Lizzie and Neal's. But the point is, Mark survived the 3 x 8! Monday brings a shift to 3 x 12 minutes.

I've passed on a bike ride for today, to paint the study, but the promised/threatened rain hasn't materialised yet and I'm beginning to think that was a missed chance.

The other good news is Kerry has lent me a stack of 220 magazines, including one with a 12-week sprint tri training plan. OK so there are only 5 weeks left to Waveney, but it's still a plan!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Go with the flow

Another 40-min swim with Jenna over lunch time, actually a great swim as I felt I had finally found the "flow" and got a smooth, continuous stroke. I put the watch away and just concentrated on finding that flow and getting a feel for the water and what works. I had been watching a few of these videos, maybe that helped! Like Wednesday, it was really enjoyable and I'm tired now but happy :)

Swam for a while with a slower chap in the lane at first, then he left, and a serious looking guy asked if we could split the lane (it was a wide one, at the side) and stick to one side each. I soon found out why he asked, as he began to plough up and down, 16 strokes to a length, almost twice as fast as me! No way we could have followed each other round and round. I tried to work out what his secret was, but unfortunately it seemed to be long arms and lots of muscles, neither of which I could develop in the 20 minutes I had left. I think I might have gone a bit faster just so as not to look like quite so much of a snail, so maybe it was a bonus having him share!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Deja vu

Mark came up to do a session before Conac tonight, and it was similar to last week - he was tired, his legs were aching, and he stopped before the end. I tried to stick to the flat and off road, but that didn't help much. Clearly wasn't a happy bunny, but managed to do 2 of the 3 scheduled lots of 8 mins. We'll try again on Saturday.

The Conac session was down on the playing fields for the first time this year, a mixed bag comprising:

2 laps football pitch (jog short side, run long)
3 long shallow hills
1 lap of the "train"
3 x 200m in pairs (half the track each, walk across the middle for recovery)
1 x Colney Lane double hill (up to the top, down the middle, up the other side)
Back via the Broad.

I enjoyed the session, nice to be in the light and on the grass again, and I felt fairly strong, definitely on the 200m bursts and even on the hills.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life in the fast lane

...well, the second-slowest lane, anyway. I seem to be coping so hopefully I can stay there!

Pretty full-on continuous session tonight. I was a bit late so missed a few lengths of the initial warm up, but then did:

100-150m warm up
4 x 50m, 10s rest between, increasing speed
50 x 25m on 40s
100-150m cool down

We took it in turns (4 of us in the lane) to lead for 10 lengths - the plan was 60, but our lane managed 50. Still 1250m. I clearly felt a slow down - at first I had a consistent 11-12 secs left at the end of each length, but later on I just felt like I couldn't swim any faster and was down to 7-8 secs rest. Not much I can do about that but practice and get fitter. I did feel, early on, that I was swimming quite well, and even had a grin on my face at one point!