Saturday, October 24, 2009

T20 and counting....

20 days to go.

I was hoping the week was going to be easier. Its been a tough few months, in fact a tough long year. With only 20 days left I was hoping for a serious reduction in training volume. When I checked the programme I noticed, it wasn't significantly different but enough to make a difference.

Monday was a day off..... again.... taking a lot of these. It also was Moleys Birthday, 43. We went out first for a recovery cycle only for 1.15hr. We had planned 2 hrs but the bikes were giving out to us. There was a lot of creaking going on!! A trip to the cycle superstore was on the cards. How much this time I wonder? Of course when I got there, I forgot about money and was like a kid in a sweet shop. I got a new shorts and tri top, for the race and left the bike in for a service, knowing I needed a lot of work done. Then it was off to the pool where we did 100 repeats. A 300 warm up then 25 100's on 1.40 with 20 sec recovery per 100. I felt great at the end.

Tuesday: a day off..... A run was planned but we were on 'The Restaurant' for next seasons show and had to travel to Athlone so between work etc it wasn't going to happen.

Wednesday: another long day, drive from Athlone to work, long day at work then off for a quick run prior to an accupunture session. I did an hour on the threadmill and ended at 13.5km/hr pace. Focussed on my form although its difficult in the gym, its a different type of running. Alex worked on my calves, loads of knots to undo and did accupunture on both my knees. Although sore I always feel better after these sessions.

Thursday: Turbo day or speed run. Based on the volume I have been running in the past 8 week I decided to skip the speed run and do the turbo instead. The main set consisted of( 2 x 2mins with a 15sec rest between then 12min hard, 2.5min easy) x 2. I love these sessions. Short and hard.

Friday: Took another day off, had agreed with my boss as I wanted another mini block prior to the main part of the taper. I did a pyramid session which consisted of 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 and a 200 cool down. Total 3.8km. Thats the first 3.8km I've swum since IM Lanza. I used the pull buoy on a couple of the sets but went back to kicking towards the end. As a session it worked for me as I got distance and maintained my sub 1.40 pace for the lot.

Saturday: 5 hr bike planned, weather to be dreadful. Ah well, we've had a great 2 months of weather so no complaints. we left at 10 instead of 9 and met up with Cian and Eanna. I'm really enjoying cycling with others again. We have trained so much and so hard on our own this year. We were lucky.... we only had 2 heavy showers. Today we hit the hills a bit more, felt like fun. I need more fun in my cycling. Ended up with 4hr 35mins, then the heavens opened. We finished on 125km. A drop of about 40km on our normal Saturday cycle.

So the week is nearly over, 2 weeks left today. I'm a little nervous, usual questions, have I done enough, am I fast enough, will I puncture, what will I do if I puncture, what will I wear......

One day of this week left, a 2 hr run planned. Probably do a similar route to the last few weeks, again focus on technique and holding my pace. Will let you know how it went.

2 hrs planned for today and well I just wasn’t up to it. No, that’s a lie. I was but I just didn’t feel motivated. Not sure why, legs were fine, no injuries. Think the toll of training is catching up with me. We decided on an out and back route and we cut the time by 15mins. As it was now to be 1.45hr we didn’t leave out any water and didn’t use any gels. We both started together and were holding an ok pace 5.15min/hr, slow for me a little faster than normal for Paul. However, I was fine with that. I just wanted to complete the time, distance was irrelevant. When we got to Ashford, I felt a lot better in myself so picked up the pace and ran at 4.30min/km for about 3km, just a little test really to check how I was doing. When you are running well you really notice the fluidity and it feels great. Then I doubled back and continued the run with Paul. We held a 5.05min pace (I think) for the remainder of the run. I ended up running 20km in 1.42hr, not my finest ever run but 20km all the same. I was happy with it as I felt fine and recovery from the run would be quick. Real taper starts tomorrow, every second day off wahoooooooooooo. Oh sh*t, that means the race is around the corner!!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The week before the taper starts.......

Start of another week. What would it bring I wondered!! Even though we are only 4 weeks out, the volume hasn't reduced much, if any, at all. I realised this week that I have been uttering the same words over and over again. Thy are 'I feel so tired'..... So with that in mind I decided to have a smarter week, relax a little more, and build up the energy reserves for the weekend.

Monday: As mentioned above I was feeling tired but had arranged to meet Eanna for a 2 hr spin Monday morning. Legs were a little heavy but I had run 31km yesterday. I stayed in the low front ring and spun the legs until I met up with Eanna and we headed out to Aughrim and back. It went great, legs felt so much better after I had finished. Had a quick shower and off to the gym for a weights session.

Spent 45mins there and did the 12 exercises. This is the last week of weights. This is great as it will free up some time to recover. This is also frightening as it means we are getting close to D-day. After the weights I had a massage and Alex worked on my knees and rubbed out the knots in my calves. I need a few more sessions to get them right.

Monday evening, I joined up with the WTC crowd for the swim session. We threw out approx 2500m. i was hapy enough with that. I'm not swimming enough and plan in the next 2 weeks to throw in a session or two of long slow swims to get the feel for the water again.

Tuesday: I did the speed bike on the turbo. It was tough. After the warm up etc the main part was a 20min TT, with a negative split and then 8 x 30secs sprints and a cool down. Took about 1 hr, but it was a tough one hour.


Mid week run day. I met up with Jenn and we headed out to Ashford. I planned on 1.2ohr. As soon as I started I started, I knew it wasn't there. Legs were heavy. I plodded on, hooked up with Jenn and well we just ran the best we could. I really wanted to stop but I've been running really well, even when tired so thought my legs would return. They didn't. I got home a little dejected, 1.17hr and only 15km ran. I stretched and tried to understand why it had gone wrong. Conclusion, I'm really tired.

Thursday: I decided to have an easy one so tonight I just did my weights set. I left out the speed run, thought my legs could do with the rest. An easy night, 45mins of weights. The rest of the night was spent on the couch.

Friday: I had planned long swim Friday as I only had swam once this week. Was late leaving work, got back to Wicklow, pool was booked, drove to Greystones and had forgotten my goggles and hat, so with the hump I went home. I ended up doing another 45mins of weights and had another easy night. Two easy days in a row, its been so long!!

Saturday: Long day planned (again), I had a lie on and only left today at 10.40am. An extra few hours sleep, ya gotta love it. We headed out to Glenealy, Rathdrum, Clash, Aughrim, Carnew, Gorey, Arklow, Woodenbridge, Aughrim, Rathdrum, Laragh, Annamoe, Roundwood, Ashford, Fruit farm, Rathnew and Wicklow, 160km, 5.30hr, quick change and out for a run, did my usual, fastest ever, 25.30min for 6km, sub 4.20min/km off the bike, deadly, looks like I needed the 2 day rest. I felt great. Confidence grew today. I felt strong on the bike, particularly the latter end. I ate well too, 2 gels 2 bars, 1 banana, 1 electrolyte drink, 1 coke and 1 water. Tomorrow is 2.20hr run. Not sure what route I'll take but reckon I'll go a little easier. I plan on doing approx 26km.
Sunday: It must be a sign of fitness but I’ve noticed I’m feeling much better on the morning after my long ride. Today I felt great. Legs didn’t feel at all heavy. We were scheduled for 2.20hr run. We also had planned the same route, the feck*n fruit farm loop. If I see that loop again it’ll be too soon. Nothing wrong with it per se, I just don’t like the coast road as it is extremely dangerous and the hedges haven’t been cut back all year so you are constantly crossing the road at corners to ensure your safety.

Moley, Jamie, Jenn and myself set off, all of us with our own goal in mind, mine close to 30km at an even pace, have 3 gels and focus on smoothness of technique. I went nice and easy for the first 3-4km, to loosen up and ensure my muscles were warm. Then just got into my stride. While it didn’t feel hard, it didn’t feel easy!!! If that makes sense.

I had my first gel at about 8km, early enough, just to make sure really, topping up the reserves, then another at 19km and 22km. Really I didn’t space the gels well enough but I got caught out with the placement of the water stops.

I finished up on 2.17hr with exactly 29km completed. I was thrilled. I really felt that I managed to control my pace for teh duration of the run and there was definitely more in the tank.
Roll on next week......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

5 weeks and counting

The hard work is now complete (I hope) and from now on the focus will be on staying fit, fresh, sharp, injury free and getting rid of any little niggles that have been hanging around and there are a few. Specifically my knees. With 60km a week running, for the last 6 weeks, I've noticed an increase in my knee pain. However, the milage (now that we are metric, whats the equivalent word? kilometerage???) Anyway I digress..... should decrease so I'll get a few more accupunture sessions in, lots of ice and stretching and it should be good for D-day.

I mention above that the hard work is complete, what am I saying.... this week I have to do approx 20hrs so really I mean next week it'll get easier, I hope.

After the long Sunday run, 36km, I took a day off work and started the day with an easy turbo for an hour to flush out remaining lactic from the run. I assume it was lactic, probably muscle damage. Anyway, I stayed below 35km/hr (easy on a turbo). After that it was off to the pool for a swim session. I did one of the coach's sets and racked up 3,500m. Delighted. I used the pull buoy a little too much but my legs were sore so I allowed myself!! After a quick shower it was up to the gym and I did one of the 'chisel' sessions. These are 2 x 12 of the 12 exercises we have been given performed in a faster fashion to stimulate the muscles. 

I was so hungry after all that that I could resist a coffee slice!!, my guilty pleasure.

Tuesday: Legs still a wee bit sore so instead of my mid week run I opted for the speed turbo session. It was slightly easier than last week and lasted for about 1hr. 5 mins stretching and I was done, an easy night.

Wednesday: Today was run day. The programme was for a 1.30hr run but I was running late from work so opted to run 14km instead. It was a cold evening, leggings were back on (argh winter is setting i and the season is not over yet). I went at a nice pace felt good considering the milage that we have been doing. I headed for Ashford and turned at the roundabout where you can turn onto the M11. I got home in 1.06hr, which was fine. stretched for 10mins as I have a knot in my left calf that is giving me a bit of hassle.

Thursday: Another run, yay!! tonight was a speed run. I decided to go the same route as last night to see what, if there would be any difference in overall distance covered or time taken to complete the course. The session was warm up, a few pick ups then 12 mins hard, 5 recovery, 9 hard 3 recovery, 6 x 1 mins with 30 sec recovery and 6 x 30secs with 15secs recovery and a cool down. It was a great session. I noticed how much harder I hit the ground when running at a faster speed!! Also, the last section of the session was tough as I was tired and it was constant shifting of gear, fast slow, fast, slow. I ened up completing the run 4 mins quicker than the previous night, so 14km in 1.02hr, which was interesting to see. Even with the recovery sections within the session, my overall average pace was higher. Finished with a long stretch, calf issues......

Friday: Day off, unplanned but happy to take it to be honest. Big weekend ahead.

Saturday: Today was supposed to be 7hrs and a 30min break but we opted for 5.30hr and a brick. Eanna joined us on the bike today which was great as it can get a wee bit boring and repetitive on our own. We headed out to Rathdrum, Aughrim, Gorey, Arklow, Woodenbridge, Rathdrum, Laragh, Roundwood, Kilmacanogue and home. Total was 165km in 5.30hr, quick change and a 6km run. I felt great for the whole day which was a surprise. I stayed for a long time in the small chain ring and increased my cadence to stay with the others. It worked. For the last 2 hrs I was pushing a big gear. Legs felt ok tonight. Spent the rest of the day watching the World Champs in Kona, fantastic race for the men and a show of true class for the women with Chrissie Wellington romping home and breaking the 17yr record Paula Newby-Frazer had.

Sunday: Started with a lie in as it was 3am when I got to bed. Plan was 2.40hr. A cracking day. Jenn and Jamie joined us, Jenn for the first loop and Jamie was out for a 10km interval. I didn't reall see them much as I pretty much hit my pace straight away and just went with it. We decided on a two loop strategy, 1 large and a smaller second. While my legs felt a little heavy I kept to my 4.40-4.50min/km pace. I had 3 gels over the course of the run, 10km, 17km and 25km. I felt pretty good through out and just tried to keep focused on my running style and running tall. I bumped into Jamie, who was on his way home on my second lap and also ran into Paula Humby at 26km. Paula was out for 8miles easy, she's in the taper mode for the Dublin Marathon. She's flying.... Dublin will be no bother to her. I ended up going back out to Ashford to make up my time as I had finished the 2 loops in 2.06. I added another 5km and finished fairly strong in 2.28 for 31km. More stretching, home, took an anti-inflammatory as my knee was tender.

The run finished a long week. Did I get out of it what I wanted??? yes and no. Negative only 1 swim, positives 4 tough runs, 3 bikes and 2 weights. In total, 16hrs, 4 less than required but I'm fine with that. The sessions were quality.

What will next week bring...... oh I reckon more of the same. Each week is like groundhog day for me at the moment!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mr Grump.

After the previous week of 20 hrs, I was all geared up for another big week. Things change so quick.

Monday morning I felt great, off to work, planned on a trip to the gym that evening and a swim. As the day progressed I started to feel lethargic and legs were getting a little stiffer, not surprising considering was I had put them through the previous 2 days. Anyway, by the time I got home I was so so so grumpy. Paul had managed a 3km swim during the day and was planning an hour on the turbo to loosen his legs and remove any remaining lactic. I think I was grump cos he was feeling so well and I was suffering. Also, a bit peeved that he can get a luchtime session in, something I have never been able to do.

I decided to go and do some weights and core, didn't go to the gym, have a few weights at home so plodded upstairs and completed about 45mins.

Tuesday morning I completed my swim in the pool, mainly drills, I'm conscious that I'm not getting enough long swims in, need to rectify that. That evening I did my mid week long run, 1.30hr, 16km, about 2km slower than normal for me but I took it easy, stayed with Paul and Jenn. I needed an easy run. A lot of them have been tough lately. 

Wednesday was a speed turbo session, roughly 70mins. I enjoy these sessions, short but tough and boy do you sweat.

Thursday wasn't a good day I felt miserable, sneezing all day and running eyes, think I had a head cold, but then again it could have just been the reaction to the chlorine in the Wicklow pool, it always gives me grief. I took it easy, took some antihistamines and sneezed my way through the rest of the evening.

Friday: as I didn't get my swim in Thursday I went to the pool and knocked out 2500m, then home and completed another 45mins of weights, and then in the evening, put on my wetsuit and went down to the harbour and did approx 1500m, not bad an easy day!!

Saturday, long cycle day, getting a bit tired of these....... programme was for 6hr 15mins. We were planning on 5 laps to Kilmac and back. First 2 went fine but we were both feeling tired on lap 3. Planned to stop for a break at the end of the third loop, but Paul got a puncture and had to limp home..... I went on to Glenealy, deputy's pass and home another hour. Ended up 4.45hrs and 140km, alright but not great.

Sunday was an early start, up at 7am planned on a 3hr run. Met the guys at 8.30 and planned to do 3 laps on the Murrough. I went with the guys pace for the first lap, pace was way too fast for me so I slowed to my own pace and ran with Siobhan. The lads were stopping after 2 so were holding a right old pace. After the rest finished I had to complete another full lap and a half lap. I ended up holding my sub 5min/km pace for the full run, 2.54hr in total, 36.2km, consumed 2 gels along the way and not nearly enough water... I need to learn from that.

For the week my total training was 3 swims, 2 bikes, 2 runs, 2 weights, approx 15hrs. NOT a great week, but it ended on a high. The run was great, felt strong right up until the last 20mins, I reckon that was due to poor nutrition.

Thats it..... 5 weeks to go....... Tune in next week for an update!