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Thursday, 21 June 2012

If I'd left the reservation after 4 days straight training, I must have let the planet as I've done 6 days straight

6 days straight training. What was I thinking? Oh yeah my first triathlon is in 37 days that's what. This is a sprint distance so the primary aim of the next months training is to be able to run the 5k. I can rulk (my new catchphrase for run walk) 5k in about 35 minutes but I want to be able to run it as this is the biggest challenge for me.

I have had quite an even split this week training wise since my last post.

I have completed

  • 2 swims (one open water, one pool based) totalling 2.26km
  • 5 runs (including one brick after a bike ride) totalling 22.42km
  • 2 bike rides (including one brick before a run) 23.26km
Not bad for a weeks work even if I do say so myself.

To break this down (and in case anyone wants to monitor routes or metrics etc)

Saturday - gym day including 3.04km on treadmill (20 mins @ 8.5km/h) and 0.9km in the pool

Sunday - run with PT in the AM and again she made me feel better about my running. She upped the intervals and now I am running 4 lampposts and walking one or two. I did about 1.5km at running 8 and walking one but got a little tired. So I think that will be the challenge next time. Lunch with the Brother and Sister in law followed. Then I went on a bike ride when I got in. I don't think this was my best move as I wasn't in the mood and after 9km got a puncture. And forgot my puncture repair kit. Harumph.

Monday - Had a good trip back from the office and decided to brick some training. I decided to do one lap of my usual route on the bike and follow this with a run. Felt a bit weird running after the bike but I need to get used to it.

Tuesday - Quick run once I got to London after my training course so that I could complete the run leg of my #12xIronman challenge.

Wednesday - I got convinced to go to the open water swim run by RG Active at Ham Lake, which was a little out of my way but worth the trip. Again I had an amazing time and was made to feel really welcome despite me being the "newbie". Learnt a lot and I know I have a lot to work on in the pool. I learnt that my pace is up there with the best but I do not have the fitness to sustain that pace. I managed to stay with the coach and the other fastest swimmer until the first buoy when told to go hard. But hit a brick wall between this buoy and the second and had to stop for a rest. A bit disappointing but a valuable learning experience for race day. I also learnt how invaluable Bodyglide is as I ended up with a nice friction burn on my neck after I applied it to quickly and missed a spot. 

Swimming in open water was described as claustrophobic by one of the swimmers but I really didn't get that, I find it a lonely but peaceful existence. I also learnt that standing after swimming a long way makes you go a little light headed. That should be fun for my transitions. NOT.

Thursday - I was feeling a bit tired but decided to train after work and went for one rulking lap of Regents Park. The pace was ok (similar to last week) but I felt really tired. Need to learn to utilise rest days as I don't think 6 days straight training was my best idea.

All the links above take you to the Garmin website as my Garmin 910XT has arrived. What a wonderful piece of engineering this watch is. The amount of metrics it produces is amazing and I haven't even scratched the surface. It can time a triathlon including transitions. It can tell you how efficiently you are swimming. It is mind blowing really that all this data can come from a watch not much bigger than a normal wrist watch. I'm finding it really useful for pace control when running.

If you are into triathlon and have a spare £300. BUY BUY BUY is my recommendation.

What else have I been up to. Went to Total Fitness in Nottingham and genuinely what a well run store it is with very knowledgable, friendly and helpful staff. I bought some hydration products and some calf compression. If you are ever in Nottingham the shop is well worth a visit. My purchases can be seen in the photo below.



On a side note, what is up with this freaky weather, one day brilliant sunshine and the next rain and strong winds. It's bizarre and will be hampering my cycle training for this weekend. Looks like some long sessions on the turbotrainer for me.

I think I have motivated myself to doing a 70.3 triathlon next year and am tempted by the Mallorca 70.3 in May. RG Active are taking a team out and have already booked some hotel rooms. I think I may be asking for one of those. I am still planning on doing this for HHHO and am relishing the challenge even though I still have to complete my first two triathlons.

I had an epiphany during the week. I am not doing this quest to compete at triathlon, I am doing it to complete the triathlons and if a charity benefits from my pain then all the better in my eyes.

My sponsorship is creeping up and I am now confident I will reach the £1000 target. Remember every little helps and you can sponsor me through Justgiving or by texting NSMK50 £x to 70070.

Thanks for reading,

Michael


Thursday, 14 June 2012

100 days to go

Well firstly in 100 days I will be lining up with a lot of other triathletes to complete the London Triathlon at Olympic Distance. The words OH DEAR should be in my head but instead the words in my head are CAN'T WAIT.

There are a lot of reasons for this and all are born from my experiences over the last 100 days since my post on the 11th March. Less than 200 days to go

In summary 100 days ago:-

  • The maximum I had gone on the bike was 11.84km, now I do 40km most weekends.
  • I was still smoking, now I'm 77 days nicotine free
  • My bike didn't fit me, now I have a lovely bike that fits me correctly
  • I was injured with achilles tendonitis, now I run 3 or 4 times a week. I even have a PT to help me with running.
  • I needed a lot of equipment, now the only thing I need is a transition bag
  • I was only training once during the week, now I'm training a minimum of three times during the week and both days at weekends.
  • I had hardly any sponsorship, now I have reached £600 (in pledged and Justgiving) which means I officially can do the triathlon.
  • I was scared of running, now I embrace running thanks to the new found confidence I have gained from my PT.
  • I was swimming once a week at best, now I swim two to three times a week.
So a lot has changed in the last 100 or so days. I am approaching this challenge with a sense of enthusiasm and I really can't wait to line up at the start line in either of my triathlons this season. The first of which is in 44 days.

Well what else have I been up to in the last 10 days.

Well actually a hell of a lot.

I've joined one of my Twitfriends (@curesam) challenge of one ironman a month throughout the rest of the year. Now before you all think I have gone mad, the total of my training in a month should be greater than the distance of an Ironman (3.8km swim, 180km cycle, 42.2km run). I was doing quite well after the Jubilee weekend but as I thought would happen the lack of cycling during the week is starting to hamper my progress. It is a good training tool and if anyone wants more details, please contact curesam.

Wednesday thru Thursday last week were spent in London working. No time for training as I was too tired or busy.

Friday thru Sunday were spent in Cardiff where I was lucky enough to gain media accreditation to photograph the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup event. Some of my photos can be seen here. I was also invited out for tea by someone who works for Cancer Research one night, which was a very nice gesture and I had a cracking evening talking about my triathlon and other things. I even managed a session in the gym on Friday as the canoeing got cancelled due to the wind. My session consisted of a run, lots of leg weights another run and a swim.

Monday thru today have been again spent in London but with a lot of time training.

Monday night was a gym night after the football (note to self watching football while drinking coke is not the same as when drinking beer). I made the mistake of thinking the gym would be quiet. The session was a 15 minute run starting at 8.5km/h and increasing by 0.1km/h every minute. I'm not going to lie I had to have a breather after 10 minutes as I find running on a treadmill more difficult than outside due to the fact I get so hot. At least outside the wind cools you down.

Tuesday night was a whole new experience for me. Some of my Twitfriends (@Annelovesthegym) train with a London based company called RG Active who specialise in triathlon training. They run open water swimming in a variety of settings across London so that people can get some time in their wetsuits before race day. RG Active were running a new(ish) session at Hampstead Heath, this was more or less round the corner from my work so I decided to pop along. It cost £10 but boy was it worth it. Due to no one else turning up for the first 30 minutes, I managed to get half an hours one to one tuition on swimming in wetsuits with the owner of the company (who used to be a professional triathlete). Now I consider myself a strong swimmer and I this session reinforced my belief due to Mr @RGActive claiming he had to work to catch me (WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!) but I learnt so much during this 30 minutes.

I learnt:-
  • how to sight, 
  • that my stroke on my right hand side is too low and therefore not as efficient as my left. 
  • that I should swim with straighter arms as it is more efficient, 
  • that my strength in the water could get me ahead(ish) of the mass at a triathlon, 
  • that I had nothing to be worried about regarding the temperature of the water as it was a chilly 13 degrees on Tuesday 
  • that swimming in a wetsuit gets more difficult the more tired you get as it constricts your chest.
  • that open water swimming is a very peaceful experience as the lack of visibility and quietness are very calming.
All in all well worth the £10. I can't thank my trainer enough and I will definitely be going again.

From memory I then recreated my workout so I could get a distance to log on #12xIronman challenge. The route can be seen below.


Next week I will be able to log this accurately as my Garmin 910XT has arrived as my bike and other bits and bobs sold. Can't wait to try it out over the coming week.

Wednedsay's training consisted of a run outside. Thankfully the weather held out. In fact it was lovely. I was following the regime set by my PT that consisted of run for two lampposts, walk for one lamppost. Repeat for your normal run time. This was an ingenious way of getting me running.

In total I completed 5.89km in a fairly respectable (given I walked between 35 and 40% of it) time of 00:44:19. My best 5km was 00:35:35. I was thrilled to bits with this and had I had some water I really believe I could have completed another lap of Regents Park. The total time was only 18% over my ideal race pace. I still can't believe how enjoyable I found this when just over two weeks ago I was on the verge of packing my triathlon quest in due to the running.

My route can be seen below. I even managed to get lost on a circle. Who knew you has a left hand turn when running around a circle.



I gave myself a night off from training on Thursday as I sense a hectic weekend with England playing on Friday, needing to go for a cycle and gym on Saturday and meeting my PT on Sunday. Night off deserved in my eyes.

What else have I been up to?

I saw the following tweet from Harry Moseley's mum on Twitter and contacted her about an idea I have had (conversation further below).


Since I took up this challenge I have been keen to know how far I can push myself.


I have been debating with myself on whether to "GO LONG" after these first two triathlons and have also been debating doing this for charity (sorry everyone but they are good causes). I saw this tweet and decided I would "GO LONG" provided that I enjoy my first two triathlons.

The plan now is

2012 - Sprint and Olympic distance completed
2013 - Olympic and Half Ironman completed
2014 - Ironman completed.

Before everyone starts expecting this to be done, I must enjoy the first two races this year. If I do then the above is an aim I have and I will give it my all.

What better charity to support than one which is new, but first let me get the first two out of the way.

That's all from me folks.

Remember you can still sponsor my via my Justgiving page or by texting NSMK50 £X where X is how much you would like to sponsor me.

Thanks for reading,

Michael



Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend = lots of training and a bit of relaxing

Right so this ├╝ber long bank holiday weekend has seen me doing some conventional and unconventional training.


On Friday I went for a run after work. My wife (@NotanAMbird) joined me for the first mile or so but jibbed out as she was too tired. In total I plodded for 3.88km over the 32 minute interval run. I was quite happy with this as to be honest, the Mrs was a bit of a hinderance for the first mile. Sorry love.


The route for this run is below.





I'm still not that happy running but I have formulated a plan for this.


On Saturday my workout consisted of building a new base for a new shed at home which involved lots of lifting. Not a conventional workout but my arms hurt afterwards. Unfortunately this was probably undone by several pints at the pub with my mates. Well I can't be good all the time, can I?


On Sunday my plan for improving my running was put into place. I met a personal trainer and went running for an hour.


It turns out I'm not that bad at running but I have been trying to run too fast and thus tiring myself out. In the 50 or so minutes I did nearly three laps of the lake at Lakeside in Doncaster (about 7km, which is the furthest I have ever run). Many thanks to my new personal trainer. She is now preparing me a training plan to help my running and overall fitness improve and stated that I should be running the 10km in a few weeks. This would be a great weight off my mind as I have been quietly bricking myself over the run. I really do feel like I have turned a corner with running thanks to Samantha.


On Monday, the Mrs was desperate to go to the gym to do some cardio and powerplate. To be honest I really wasn't feeling it but went along and did 5 minutes on the cross trainer, 5 minutes on the running machine and my usual 3 sets on the powerplate followed by a quick swim. In total I swam a measly 400m, like I said I wasn't really feeling it. I still averaged 50m/min which I am chuffed with.


After we finally got home via trips to Evans Cycles and Asda I then had to do some more work in the garden where I had to relay some turf. Because of the rain on Sunday, the turf weighed a lot more than when I stripped it. Hey ho more exercise.


Today (Tuesday) I had to go on a bike ride as I felt like I'd neglected this over the weekend. Well to be fair I had. I finally set off at half 10 with the aim of completing 40km again. The headwind for the last 6km of each of my laps around Doncaster was soul destroying. I very nearly gave up at the end of my second lap but decided to continue. Riding uphill into a headwind is about the least fun I have ever had on a bike. It very nearly broke me, but I have no idea what the conditions will be like in either of my triathlons so it was a good test to my willpower. In hindsight I am glad I completed this ride.


My route can be seen below. To put the headwind into into context there is a section of the route that is fast and downhill and in a bus lane so I have no cars to worry about, last week I managed a maximum of 40.45km/h along this section, this week I struggled to keep the speed above 30km/h on this section.


Very frustrating.





I think I am going to go for a run later but not using my training app as I feel this is counter intuitive to what I got told on Sunday by my PT. Hopefully I can manage over 5km on my own although I do find running boring still.


Another thing I got told during my training session was that I need to listen to less high tempo music as this has been causing me to run too fast, breath faster and has contributed to me tiring myself out. Who knows what I can listen to now? Any ideas let me know please.


I am selling some items on eBay if anyone is interested, this is so I can purchase the Garmin 910XT sports watch which is basically all singing and all dancing as it tracks speed, cadence, route, heart rate, swimming metrics, and a million and one other things which I am sure I will find some use for at some point. Everyone who I have spoken to about this can't stop saying how good it is.


The items I am selling are below, please click to follow the links. The auctions end on Sunday 10th June


 Bike


 Bike Computer

Thats about all I can think of for now apart from my first triathlon is in 54 days and remember you can sponsor me via my Justgiving page, I nearly have enough to compete in the London Triathlon but that is not the end to my fundraising I am aiming to raise as much as I can as it is for such a good cause. Thanks to all for your support so far.

Cheers for reading,

Michael

Update


Well I went for a run this evening and felt ok apart from my calves were really tight. I struggled through the 4k. Can't wait for the training plan to come from my PT and my next accompanied run as my confidence was through the roof on that run. Still struggling to keep my pace even but it is a lot better than it was. Route below.



Thanks for reading,

Michael