Sunday, 27 June 2010


So it is nearly raceday and time to commit to my goals. When you are feeling good in the run up to IM in my experience this is no guarantee of a good race... which leaves me with mixed feelings since I know that my bike is the strongest ever and that my run training has been solid if not spectacular.

I would like to feel that I can post a solid bike to put me in the zone for an AG place to Kona if I run a pb (and then some) in the marathon. Sometimes the 40-44 AG can be unforgiving.. they often seem to race faster than the younger AGers, see the results at yesterdays ITU European longcourse champs where the top4 AGers were 40-44!

So back to my goal which to work means I need to keep every run split at 5min/km or better and that is where the racing comes in. Hitherto I have only ever really aimed to meet a certain target or even just to complete. Will the concept of "racing" help or will it just mean I pace my race more poorly than normal and have a really bad split somewhere in the marathon. Well I believe I am fit enough to reach my target and have done (enough?) work to put me in the frame. So it will be time to use up the mental resource to push through that vital third quarter of the marathon and know that come the last 10km I will be racing for the finish and not just for the clock.

Monday, 14 June 2010

I'm Spartacus

Well not really but I am the midnight centurion. Midsummer is soon upon us and a Tri London tradition of celebrating with a century ride around Regents Park is bout to be reenacted. This will be my fourth 100 mile outing (that will be 38 laps as you ask) with the record currently standing at 4hrs 45ish mins as fastest and 7hrs something as slowest (the Nadir in both time and light as it was done on the darkest and coldest night in December 2007).

Last year was done as a TT and we will repeat the effort this year, but hopefuly as a 2 or 3 up TT team, with full aerokit to boot. This fulfils a whole range of things. Firstly it is clearly atypical behaviour and therefore a good thing! Secondly it is a good test of aero position and bike kit prior to an A race and third, I had my best IM race ever last year after doing it so clearly I need to do it again.

The enjoyment I get from this sort of activity is not appreciated by most but reading stories of endurance runners doing the Grand Union Canal Race or the run across America suggests that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Part of me is long since acclimatised to working long nocturnal hours since as a junior doctor I used to go to work on Saturday at 8 am and return from work on Monday at about 7 pm and could sometimes go the whole 60 hrs on 4-6 hrs sleep. I know some countries (USA for instance) still work their juniors this hard but thanks to the European Working Time Directive this is now illegal. I think on balance this is a good thing but still feel that the self awareness and discipline that I learnt through working in theses conditions are not easily replicated elsewhere.. and when I engage in these activities I find my self saying "well at least I have a choice over this and it is not work!"

I know for instance that by about 0800 tomorrow after a night with minimal sleep I will still feel pretty lively, that I will start to dip around lunchtime and that unless there is something I have to concentrate on sleep will beckon. I have learnt that a shower and shave is worth about an hours sleep (you'll have to trust me on that one) and that a good breakfast will help offset the fatigue (especially a high protein and fat fry up) and finally that a 20-30 min powernap can leave me ready for a further 4-6 hr stint. Finally I have also learnt that If I am not asleep by 10 pm I may find my body tired nut unable to switch off due some strange affect of the fatigue. This was all supported by research in which I was a guinea pig but I seem to remember it also involved drinking, something else that also seems to no longer be quite such a part of the junior doctor curriculum.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


The last few weeks have been tiring. Blending a few flights with a couple of weekend races and trying to keep the training rhythm has proved challenging. In the last 17 days I have not slept in past 6.30 on a single day, and while you can go to bed early it is not always easy. Not that I am moaning, this is my choice and something I find invigorating, it is just some days at a bout 4 ish I get the urge to have a nap (and occasionally do).

The tour of Wessex was a fantastic. Although I only did 2 days it is an event that a wholly recommend to anyone who likes cycling and especially those IMers looking to dig a bit of a fatigue hole/build a foundation in their training. The routes are great the organisation is just so, and the cakes provided at the end are great. I am already planning next year.

About this tiredness, the question is, as you make that final push to peak fitness, is exactly where the limit lies and what the most benefit to be had is in these last few weeks. Sure I understand "you can easily lose a race through overtraining in the last few weeks" sort of thing and have had my own troubles in the past, but knowing that there are only three more Thursday morning sessions does incline me to be a bit more reckless with my efforts. For instance even tho' today I felt inert at as i set out to do my early morning ride planned set of a few hill repeats followed by 4 x 20 mins HIM pace... I felt less inert by 6.30 as I raced around Regents Park in a paceline that was averaging over 25mph (thanks to the bike boys Damian Tim and the man in yellow who today was strangely wearing black)... for sure it was not the session I had set but the fatigue and weakness were overcome by the company of friends, and the set was broadly similar to what I set out to do. Currently I am favouring the lots of hours and careful as I run approach there is a lot of Achilles trouble about and I have had my fill of this before and before and another time too! That said with running as my key limiter the temptation is always there to do that bit more. The next two weeks will define whether I have achieved my goals since I aim to do2 x 7 hr running weeks.

Finally the summer solstice approaches and I fancy another 100 miler. And fancy a go at the 4hr 42 odd we managed last time, I am hoping for a bit of help with this one!