Sunday, 30 June 2013

2 up time trial

A warm and calm evening greeted us on Wednesday for the Phoenix 2 up tt, with me partnering Russell. The two of us are normally within 10-15 seconds of each other when doing a solo 10 so we seemed to be a good match, although we are very different. Russell is a good deal taller and bigger than I am and pushes a much larger gear, while I am more of a spinner. We decided to take turns of about a minute or more, rather than the much quicker turnover usually recommended. The less amount of swinging out into the traffic on the A24 we could do, the better.

I took the first turn and felt a bit guilty as I swung out about a third of the way up the first significant rise on the G42/10 course (no need to thank me Russell). Russell then took a really long turn on the front after that before handing back to me as we approached the turn at Beare Green. A nice rest for me as I tucked into Russ' slipstream, even having to dab the brakes now and again to avoid touching his back wheel. We crossed the line together in a time of 23:42, which is a good 40 seconds or so faster than my solo pb. It felt quite fartlekky, with a really hard effort followed by a good rest, just coasting. All good fun.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Backing myself

Another good week's training with a solid 10 hours in the bag. Cycling is improving well while running continues to be a bit of a struggle, because the cycling's going well I guess. The culmination was yesterday's SCCU 50 mile time trial, which was my first 50 tt in two years. With the windy conditions and a long run in my legs from the day before I took it fairly steady, only really pushing hard over the last 8 miles or so. 2:19:03 plus a couple of minutes going off course was a very solid, if unspectacular result with me being some 6 minutes or so behind Simon. Me on a road bike with clip-ons and him on a full Cervelo P3 tt rig; I'll take that. To be fair, Simon is in the last block of training for the Outlaw and he's been looking quite tired and in need of his taper, so while it was also a pb for him I think that he's got a lot more in the tank when he's rested.

So the news is this. I have gone and got myself a coach. Let's go back a stage or two.

Anyone who has shown the remotest interest in this blog, (Mum, Dad and errrrr..) will have realised from my ramblings that the thing most lacking in what I do is the C word. No, not cake, my life most definitely does not lack cake, but my training does lack consistency. Every week I am out doing something to keep the cake from hitting my middle too hard but with little regard for an overall plan. I do make plans but they are quite short term, usually some race in the next few months where I end up over-cooking it too soon, get injured and  then beat myself up over not reaching a fairly modest target. The cycle then repeats itself.  I know about periodisation, training blocks, specificity, tapering, drills, race simulation etc but I seem unable to put all this different stuff into practise and make it work for me, so the time has come to ask for help.

So what do I hope a coach can do for me? Well I know what he's not going to do and that's turn me into a pro, Kona qualifier or age group winner. My expectations are a good deal more realistic and limited than that. But what I think a coach can do is help to give me some focus and get me enjoying my training, get me trying new things and ultimately progressing towards a better me. Hmm, that sounds pretty deep and very pretentious but it's heartfelt. I seem to operate best when I pick a big target and work towards it. I like targets and I like to work towards a biggie and then nail it, like I did with Ad and Jamie in the DW. Embrunman is a biggie. Running a sub-3 marathon is a biggie. Combining them together seems virtually impossible for me at the moment and so I am waving the white flag and admitting that I need some help to get there.

So I've spent the last month or so looking at coaches who I could use, and again, readers of this blog will not be surprised that I picked Russell Cox. Russell was a regular poster on the TriTalk forum and he was always ready to give constructive advice to those who asked. His website has been a mine of useful information and has given me a lot to think about and when I was training for the Forestman two years ago; it was one of his Ironman schedules that I used as a basis for my training. His blog tends to be remarkably candid, despite him being an Ironman Kona qualifier himself he has not shied away from describing the downs, as well as ups, of his own training. He's also a data and numbers man. I am not. Percieved effort, feel, all that stuff is my modus operandi and therefore a little bit more of a scientific approach could well increase my training efficacy. Ulitimately, I am paying Russell to rustle me up some plans (see what I did there?) and as such I am investing in myself; backing myself to be better and do better while I have the chance. The very fact I am paying for this means that I will put more effort into following the structure that he's laid out for me. If this doesn't work then I probably will only have myself to blame.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cycling; lots of.

I have had two solid weeks of training, just getting back into the habit of running and cycling. Most of the running has been pretty steady and achy. Yesterday was different; an interval session while waiting for Wheezy Junior to finish a tennis lesson which was a 1 mile warm up followed by 6 x 3 minutes hard. I felt pretty rugged towards the end and was trying to focus more on running tall rather than fast, running from the hips. It was my first interval session since I got injured back in February and it showed. I binned today's steady run in favour of a rest from running but it was a faster than planned commute into work as I got into a race with another commuter. Pathetic I know but after going past him I found him latched onto my wheel so I ended ripping my legs off while he sat up behind me, although he dropped off as soon as we went up a rise about a mile later. The n this evening it was a steady long commute over Boxhill and home. I almost felt the warmth of the sun on my face.

I had a good ride out with Simon on Sunday with another 50 miler taking in a few new roads. I was pleased that I was able to stay with him, most of the time and even got the jump on him on the last bend at the top of Boxhill although he flicked past me within a few wheel lengths while my quads twitched like a bag of rabbits with myxomatosis. Still, some improvement which is all good. I have the SCCU 50 mile tt on Sunday. Unless I have a mechanical I should be guaranteed a pb as the last time I did this event I went 4 miles off course. So I 'd better read the course map a lot more closely between now and Sunday.

Got a plan in the pipeline and I will reveal all next post. No, it's not a new tt bike but hopefully it will have even more benefits than that.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

100 miles.....

Well, almost. 98 actually and over 2 rides on Sunday and this evening. Basically the same hilly route taking in Combe Bottom (gyick gsnerk) and Crocknorth with a Boxhill aperitif. Sunday's ride was on smashed legs attempting to dodge the millions of people who were also out at 6.30am. What IS wrong with these people? Happy that I managed to burn a couple of them off my back wheel. Went out on the same loop with a couple of mates from work. It was a lot slower but good fun, good weather and good company. Also managed to burn a couple more off my wheel on the way back home. Something's happening. I seem to be getting competitive again and it feels good.

I have a couple of ideas for blowing a stupid amount of cash on triathlon related nomenclature but I need to tell Mrs W when it's the right time. When she's asleep?


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Buying some time

With it being half term I have been able to get out most days for a ride or a run. Running is hard work at the moment as I am carrying a few extra pounds and I just feel generally sluggish but I'm just aiming to get out 3 times per week at the moment. On Thursday I bimbled round Oxshott and Malden Rushett for an hour and by the end I was shuffling with a little more style.

To be fair, I had battered myself to bits the night before at the latest Phoenix 10 mile time trial and I had cycled over to the start and back giving me a solid 35 miles. I was wearing a tt helmet for the first time and that, combined with newly laid tarmac replacing the Somme-esque lumps and bumps that used to be on that section of the A24 gave me a quite respectable 25:13. The most remarkable thing about wearing a tt lid, other than the fact I look a complete twonk, is how hot my ears got. I still need to work on getting more aero on the bike (hard to do on one designed for sportive riding) so maybe as few cockpit tweaks might help me get a few more seconds. I paced it pretty well, feeling good until 7 miles but the penultimate hill at 9 miles always catches me out. I just never seem to hit it right and slowed far too much. Friday saw me head out for another 45 miles with Simon. He was taking it easy as he's got the Outlaw Half IM tomorrow; I was in bits just trying to keep up.

Ultimately, I just need to ride my bike a lot more and drop this weight so with that in mind and the thought of Embrunman I am going to make a concerted effort to start getting my long Sunday ride going again. Tomorrow's a 5.30am start to fit it in. I had forgotten what they were like.