Saturday, 30 April 2011

A good days training

Me doing the London Fields 5k Swimathon

After reading an article by Dave Scott in this months 220 magazine I got to thinking about how many sessions a week I do where I come out feeling like I achieved my goals and felt good in the process. Some of the training I do is to get the session done... I strongly believe in consistently repeating the same weeks sessions until they start to feel easy at which point volume or intensity are increased. My tightly scheduled week means I know what I am doing when and what my goal is. Most of my sessions are tailored to fit in the long run and bike each week. After the 5K swimathon (1hr 20mins) which I did three weeks ago I have now also made a commitment to a long swim (>4KM) every week.

So this year I have reduced some of the length of my non endurance sessions and put a greater focus on quality in each session. So far it seems to be working. But it is challenging. It seems to be much easier just to get in the pool and knock out 3km than it is to do a set of drills, main set etc. Like wise cycling where for each session I have always figured more is better, but am now starting to focus on more specific sets in each session.

So yesterday I had a new wetsuit to try out. A zone 3 aspire swimsuit to replace my blueseventy helix which I don't think ever fitted me properly. It went on nicely but does seem a bit thin. Once in the water though I was more than happy. I proceeded to do my quality endurance set of the week which was a warm up and drills followed by 30 x 100 of 1:50. The goal is to keep the 100s consistent with a rest of 15-20 secs. I have been building this up and aim to be doing 40x 100 ny peak week. Funny things started to happen. Firstly I kept coming in on 1.25-1.28 which is about 5 secs faster than I expected (even with a wetsuit) secondly I got faster as I went on. With 18 reps done I decided to up the ante and did the next 12 of 1.45 coming in each time on 1.25 and putting in a final dig of 1.18 for the last 100.

Put simply that is the best swimming I have ever done! Which considered it is off the back of 2 x 20 hr weeks of training (pretty much my limit) suggests am I in good form. Or maybe this wetsuit gives me superpowers! Which of course gives me something else to worry about... can I keep the form and will my superpowers disappear?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Training in the Gaps

One of the problems with training for an Ironman is having to work in the gaps in between training sessions. I am sure there are plenty out there who at my age (42years as you ask) have completed part 1 and 2 of their life plan through some successful business enterprise which they have managed to achieve alongside rearing a family. I imagine these guys who now have to commit a few days a week to keeping business ticking over and have the luxury to devote several days a week to focused training.

I know of several people who are out there "living the dream". This can take various guises. Some sell up and take to the road in a hope of achieving elite athlete status, some just want to give it their best shot and decide to take a few years as out of the mainstream, and some try to make it a new business venture combining their passion with coaching and training to create an all round triathlon lifestyle. For those of us who seek to augment their life through ironman these options may be a step to far, and besides I quite like my life the way it is. The challenge is as ever to find the gaps to train in.

This saw me getting up at 6 on sunday to then cycle my bike into work where I had a few patients to see. I then cycled in an arc keeping within 30 mins or so of work in case I had to respond to an emergency calling me back into work. I focused on doing some hill reps where I worked hard on each steady climb. After a few hours of this I then headed back pushing hard on the bike in time for lunch at my mother in laws, to celebrate mothers day. This was a relaxed affair with good food and cake. After about an hour stop I was back on the bike setting off towards home and threw in a few laps or Regents Park to bring my ride time up to the allotted 5+hours. I found that my energy levels remained good in spite of the stop start nature of the ride. Once home a few domestic chores were sorted before I took my children to their swimming lessons, and combined this with a 45 min HR capped run and about 20 mins stretching before watching the last half hour of their lesson to show them some support.

Finally I got home cooked supper and slumped onto the sofa at about 8.15 to watch Robin Hood with the kids before bedtime.

That was a fairly extreme way of getting a long ride in but it worked. Some days it does not and that can be frustrating. Would I like to have a day off a week to train in? Sure I would but I cannot justify it against the other demands so I just need to keep training in the gaps whilst I enjoy the challenges of work and the love of my family.