Thursday, January 27, 2011


Shut Happens

Pool's still closed - argh.I failed to plan for that contingency. Didn't fancy running or gymming in my swimming cossie so went for a walk....

Photo: Shut Happens by psd, on Flickr

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Missing the pool

Day 3 without a pool... (to be read in a Big Brother voice over stylee)

Back to the gym, for bike "short hills" efforts today. I have to say I am really missing the pool - I hadn't realised how much swimming balances my workout week. It almost felt wrong to be back in the gym! The bikes were pretty busy when I arrived and there wasn't much choice - this week's was even worse. I guess over time I'll get to know which ones are most comfortable least uncomfortable.

I cheated a weeny bit - I cycled longer this morning (coming to work via the city, adding on 20-25 minutes) and I'll do the same tonight, so I cut down the non-effort bits of the session and concentrated on the crux of it: 8x 1 min hard + 2 mins recovery. This left me time for... the dreaded planks I wimped out of on Monday. And they were pretty good for where I'm at right now - 3x 22-25 seconds.

The Old Planks of Narrabeen Rock Pool

Isn't that beautiful? I would love to be able to do my planks on these planks (apart from the splinter potential). Just amazing.. and pretty nice swimming too. All the photos I'm using in this blog are found on Flickr and have Creative Commons licensing - it's very cool that people make such great photos freely available.

What I learned today: that my gym card is at home on the shelf in the hall. D'oh!


Red Potion

Over to Eaton Park for a fartlek run (that's what the training plan calls it - to me a fartlek is more ad-hoc, but never mind). Warm up by running out to and around the park for 16 minutes, then 6x 30s sprint + 90s recovery, and 8 minutes cool down/return to base.

It's a tougher session than it sounds (and/or I've lost more fitness than I thought)... the recoveries were definitely getting more and more important (and laboured) as the reps went on. I'm not quite sure how I'll do with 8x next week, but I know effort sessions do me good so I sort of look forward to them in a perverse way. Like cod liver oil, maybe - not pleasant at the time, but repeated regularly you really do see the benefits, so you just have to hold your nose, screw up your face to let the world know you're not bonkers enough to actually enjoy this, and get it done.

The drizzle decided to up its game as the session went on, leaving us to squelch back to the office, but to be honest it felt lovely and cool on my beetroot face so I didn't care. Training buddy Alice had enough energy to go back quicker than me - she hadn't done the sprints, but I still say she's darn good for a beginner. Keeps me on my toes, anyway. First back, first in the shower :)

What I learned today: the pool is going to re-open on Thursday at the earliest :(

Photo: Red Potion by A3sthetix, on Flickr

Monday, January 24, 2011


brick face

I had a good, solid gym workout - the same as last week apart from the planks (oops). I had to dash to get back to work - too much resting going on I think. Next week I will get them in nearer the start.

As usual, I spent some time idly contemplating my own reflection during the squats, lunges and weights. Not an activity I would usually rush to do, but once a week is no bad thing. The same word came to mind - solid. It's just the way I look at the moment - from hips to shoulders especially. Not necessarily a bad thing, it's just interesting that that's what immediately sprang to mind rather than squishy. Here's to gradually getting less solid but not squishy (a waist would be nice too!).

What I learned today: some girlies think nothing of hogging the stretching mats and reading Grazia (that top quality fitness publication). Sigh.

Photo: brick face by nualabugeye, on Flickr

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One week down...

One year on ....

So, week one is done. That wasn't a bad week to start with - nothing got in the way of training, and circumstances actually conspired to help me out at the weekend with the social bike ride and additional rest day. I feel like I achieved what I wanted to, and needed to, and I feel like I might just about be able to say I am triathlete again. So after a small pat on the back (yay me! OK, that's enough...) it's time to look ahead to week two.

This week's going to be a little trickier, organisation wise. I have a weekend away that starts on Friday, although it involves a hotel with a pool (unknown size - probably 10m) and gym (also unknown), and I can always take my trainers. I thought there might have been a parkrun to go to, but there isn't (pull your finger out, Bristol!). I will manage, though - perhaps not the perfect mix of disciplines, but definitely enough activity to keep me ticking over and balance out the eating out and other assorted merriment with friends and family, which I am really looking forward to.

Edit on Monday: I've also just learned that the pool I use is closed for maintenance, with no reopening date/time as yet. Hopefully that will be fixed before tomorrow's swim!

Other assorted learnings from this week: I found various things I thought I had lost... my other running tights (just in time, since the older ones died yesterday), my gym card (too late, paid for a new one), and my cycling overshoes (too late for this week but there will be other chilly rides). I also learned how much I missed having a spreadsheet, aka The Plan.

Photo: One year on .... by Mrs Logic, on Flickr

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finding my feet again

I said at the start of the week that I hadn't been on the road bike for a while (OK, about 5 months). I felt it today! Not in terms of the saddle, or tired legs, but getting used to a smaller, twitchier bike (I missed you, Bluebird) and... (cue dramatic music) clipless pedals.

No, I did not fall off.

Where I seem to get bizarrely paralysed is starting off. Making that move to actually get going took a lot of mental effort this morning - I can't even put my finger on why, it just felt scary somehow.


I need to practice, I think. It did improve over the course of the ride, thankfully! The ride was the Norwich sprint tri route, plus riding to parkrun beforehand (that was what made me give myself a mental kick up the arse to stop being a scredy cat, get moving and not be late). There were eight of us, all ladies, and it was just a nice, relaxed social ride, with a healthy helping of bloody long hills in the middle. The only thing missing was my waterproof, windproof overboots - when I finished the ride I half expected there to be a few deep-frozen toes rattling around in my shoes.

Parkrun beforehand, not much to say about that but two words: personal worst. But not by much - 30:27. With 5 days' training in my legs and trying to bear in mind I was about to go for a bike ride, that's OK. I ran the whole way and I wasn't last :)

So, I have cunningly combined both my weekend sessions into one day, and I can have tomorrow off. Yay!

What I learned today: I need to do some more work on starting off on the road bike. And I need new running tights as I wore out my old pair and suffered chafing as a result (ouch)

Friday, January 21, 2011

What lies beneath

"Short hills" on the bike poses a problem. There are not many hills that I can cycle up hard for a whole minute, where I can also turn right around and actively recover for 2 minutes (without being run over, at least). The plan actually acknowledges this and suggests a turbo trainer - I don't have one of those either. So I headed off to the gym...

...well, the session was an hour and that was about all I could endure. Which is bad as from here on in, the sessions get longer. It's the saddles they have - a big, wide, fat, shiny saddle that means I slide forward as my legs work, with a bump on the 'nose' that is a rather uncomfortable place for ladies (and I can't imagine it's much better for the boys?). I'm half tempted to wear cycling shorts next time but I think they would make the sliding worse.

Ride Upright

My legs are OK and just feel "worked", but... um... other bits are complaining. *sigh* This one needs a rethink - maybe I can shorten the total session, but still get the efforts in? Today was 20 mins either side of the effort set of 7 x (1 min max, 2 mins recovery). I'd rather do another short, moderate weekend ride to get the saddle time in if that's what it takes. And then I'd be on my own bike more.

What (else) I learned today:
the maximum exercise period on the gym bikes is 20 mins before it defaults to cooldown. Cue faffing to cancel the cooldown and start again.

Oh boy - I'm not really this much of a whinger. It was a good session and I'm pleased with that. My playlist was chucking out some good tunes (no News Quiz today) - this was the last song, now stuck in my head but I don't really mind:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, jelly... in my arms

Red jelly

Jelly arms. That's what I have now... not the bingo wing variety (well, I have those too but I didn't grow them over lunch) but the puppet-stings-cut, boneless feeling that comes from A Good Swim Session.

Today it included:
  • drills - working on catch and pull, especially on the left where it all goes a bit Pete Tong.
  • 25m sprints / 10s rest - ranging between 25 and 27 seconds. I'd like to see that nearer 23s by the tri, but for my current state that's not too shabby.
  • 200m threshold intervals / 45s rest - 4:11, 4:07, 4:14, 4:16. These should have been at a faster speed than the 100m reps from Tuesday, but weren't. Either I wasn't quick enough today or I was too quick on Tues. I couldn't have maintained anything faster for 200m so I'm putting it down to over-enthusiasm last time.
  • kick - complete tedium, only did 4 (out of 6) and then another one to return the borrowed float to the other end of the pool. I'm not sure what I am supposed to be getting out of this... shall buttonhole a friendly swim coach and find out.

What I learned today: I should read the plan properly before I go to the pool. I wasn't supposed to do any sprints, but I was supposed to do one more 200m rep.*rolls eyes* Sadly I was not imagining the kick set!

Photo: Red jelly by net_efekt, on Flickr

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New blood

No, not mine! I'm still in one piece...

I've convinced my swim buddy, new colleague Alice, to do the Waveney tri as well (it didn't take much convincing to be honest :), which will be her first ever triathlon, and so today she came out for her first run since school. I was down for a fartlek session of 30 mins including six 30-second sprints, so I fitted that in by running ahead and then back to her as needed. Not that it was needed much - I think she'll be beating me before too long - but it was good to have company! And boy oh boy those sprints felt foreign... wobbly legs ahoy.

What I learned today: I can't run my watch's interval timer and stopwatch at the same time. If I'm doing intervals, it's not counting up my total run time. Boo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Settling in to The Plan

First swim session of The Plan today, nothing too taxing but a good one nonetheless - felt quite strong. I'd forgotten how quickly the session flies by when you are concentrating on reps and interval times rather than overall minutes.

The main set was 8 x 100m @ moderate intensity with 5s rests. I swam 1:59, 2:05, 2:06, 2:05, 2:05, 2:05, 2:07, 2:08, which I am pleased with considering my lack of focused training. Technique definitely tailed off as I got tired, especially catch/pull, and I could feel the residue of yesterday's gym session, although nothing as bad as it has been. I need to remember my float so I can do some pull drills next time.

With warm up and cool down, drills and kick, total session distance was 1600m.

What I learned today: it's like what they say about money - take care of the seconds (pennies), and the minutes (pounds) take care of themselves.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 1, day 1...

(I'm going to have to work on blog post title inspiration. So far it's either nicked or dull. Onwards and upwards!)

Started off gently with a gym session today. Static lunges, squats; biceps, triceps and lats; russian twists, abs and planks (very weak planks...), and half (kneeling) pressups. Not too many of each, nothing too heavy, paying attention to form, and finishing off with a good old stretch. It felt good!

Question of the day: what are you supposed to do with an mp3 player on an armband when you want to do bicep curls?

What I learned today: don't listen to the News Quiz podcast in the gym. Grinning like an idiot and occasionally chuckling out loud marks you out as a bit of a freak. But on the upside, you get plenty of room on the free weights mat...

Tomorrow: swim base intervals.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

There will be spreadsheets

(OK, so I borrowedstole the blog post title from one of my favourite bloggers - but I like it and more to the point it is true :)

It's been too long. Last year was slack, slack, slack - apart from a trip to France and the National Relays, I barely got on my road bike. Silly girl. Time to rectify that and find some focus.

I've done a few editions of Waveney sprint tri in the past (1 - 2 - 3), and marshalled a few more, so when it opened to club members this week I figured it was time to race again, and signed myself up before I could come up with some lame-arsed excuse. I've been swimming and running regularly, so it's not like I am starting from rock bottom.

Plus race day, May 8th, is 16 whole weeks away, which gives me time to follow one of the 12-week plans from the training bible plus 4 weeks extra at the start to build up a really good base. My overall goal is to beat my Waveney PB of 1:05:23. I figure that along the way I should also be able to crack my frankly dismal parkrun PB of 28:35 (if not my all-time 5km PB of 24:38), and lose a few kg as well - plenty of those to spare at the moment.

So, the plan is this.
  1. Follow weeks 5-8 of the level 4 sprint training plan ("modest initial fitness level; 6 workouts per week"), which is three "build" weeks and a recovery week.
  2. Follow weeks 1-12 at level 5 of the same plan ("decent base fitness; not just finish, but finish well; three workouts per week per discipline"). That's 3 weeks of "base", one recovery, three "build", one recovery, three "peak", and one taper leading up to the race.
I have a big spreadsheet where I am putting the training plan elements into a quick-to-read format. (I'm also tracking calories in/out, and weight. I said there would be spreadsheets, didn't I?). Next week's schedule is:
  • Monday: off-plan - hit the gym for some gentle strength and core work
  • Tuesday: swim - base intervals plus drills and kick
  • Wednesday: bike - (in the gym seeing as it's still dark when I'm not in work...) "hills", plus core
  • Thursday: swim - tempo intervals plus drills and kick
  • Friday: run - steady including short sprints
  • Saturday: bike - steady
  • Sunday: run - steady
I might change the order to find myself training buddies and do parkrun on Saturday - perhaps swap Weds/Fri and Sat/Sun.

So, goal for this week, 17th-23rd January: complete the above training plan! Eat to fuel the training, and stay hydrated. And keep blogging - I feel better for writing all that down, so that's a good start :)