Sprint triathlon training week 6 so far

Monday – rest/lazy day

With a Bank Holiday on Monday, my training options were limited. In fact, I didn’t do any but did cycle to and from Riverside Park with Daniel and with both Daniel and Connor while we were there.

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We’d originally planned to go to Aquadome in Basingstoke but got there to find the pool was closed as a child had puked in the pool. Grrrr!

Tuesday – 10k (ish!) run

On Tuesday, I decided that I’d go out for a run and try out an iPhone app, ‘Zombies, Run’, to try and distract me. I’m not sure whether it didn’t install properly but there wasn’t much audio and I eventually gave up on it and listened to music instead. Whilst I did so, I ran a little under 10km which I was pleased about.

Wednesday – STC swim and quick interval run

Today, Wednesday, I had the usual battle to get out of bed for 5:40am for the STC swim session. It would have been easy to roll over but I got out of bed and got dressed. No turning back.

Once I got to the pool, it was clear it was going to be quite a busy session. Jan, Neil, Ian and Jon and I were in the lane. We started off with our usual 400m warmup.

It was clear that someone had left a little nugget at the bottom of the pool in our lane. It was difficult not to spot and, without going into gory details, was moving about a fair but and starting to break up.

Jon called over the lifeguards and asked that it be saved from its watery grave. After several minutes and a reminder, one of the lifeguards went to fetch a net to scoop the poop up.

Once he returned, after a few moments of looking, the lifeguard couldn’t spot the nugget so I swam over to point to its location. The lifeguard couldn’t see it so passed me the net. Clearly, pooper scooping was my job for the day. Hmmm!

I did my best to rescue as many bits as I could but a swimmer in lane 2 spotted an escapee so I went back to fish that out too. Job done.

The rescue mission had led to us falling behind in our session so we cut back on a couple of the sets.

We did some sets with fins and some with hand paddles but we mostly did front crawl.

We finished the session with some time to spare so I did some bilateral swim practice. I’m getting there… Slowly.

As I’d been a little naughty and consumed a Mars bar and some mini Creme Eggs, I thought that I’d try to offset by burning a few extra calories so hit the treadmill at lunchtime for a quick interval session. I decided on 400m (10mph on treadmill) easy followed by 400m (12mph) and do that several times.

It was a good session and meant that I could overindulge and have a couple more treats without exceeding my calorie target for the day.

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Sprint triathlon training week 5 – what was left of it

So, the week started well. It’s been fairly busy since then too.

Thursday

After a lie in on Wednesday, Thursday morning started with an early alarm call at 5:30am so that I could go to Run Camp.

I decided to cycle again but that almost didn’t happen after struggling to find the right key to open the padlock on the shed. Fortunately, I managed to find it in time to hit the road at 6:05am which gave me 25 minutes to get to Southampton Sports Centre.

Although I felt quicker on the bike, my average pace was slower than the previous week.

I got to the track at 6:30am and joined the rest of the group.

The session consisted of 3 x 8 minutes at 5km pace with 2 1/2 minutes recovery.

I managed to complete about 1.66km on each interval but did overdo it on the first interval and was more conservative for the latter two intervals.

We did a little S&C before the end of the session before cycling home. I got home with both lights still intact. Phew!

At lunchtime, I went swimming for about an hour but didn’t record the activity. I have several things I want to focus on:

* trying to extend both arms as right arm is more dominant
* keep fingers together in right hand
* rotate to allow easier bilateral breathing especially to left hand side
* kick from hips
* point toes
* maintain kick at all points of stroke

Overall, a good session.

Another rest day on Friday although we did cycle down to Riverside Park.

Saturday – volunteering at Southampton parkrun

On Saturday, I was volunteering as part of RD Kathy’s team as Funnel Manager. As the number of runners at the Common is often over 500, managing the funnel requires several people and a double-funnel. As the Manager, it was my responsibility to make sure that everything ran smoothly.

I had a team of 4 funnel pushers who’s role was to keep runners:

- moving once they’d crossed the finish line to the end of the funnel where they are given their finish tokens

- in order so each runner receives the position token associated with their position

My role also consisted of managing the dual funnel. Basically, about 1/3 of the way down the funnel, it splits into two. A ‘gate’ is then used to allow runners to enter one of the two funnels until that side is full at which point, the gate is moved across to the other funnel so runners enter that funnel. This means that the funnel doesn’t back up too far and prevents runners from running into the back of the queue in the funnel.

The funnel worked well and we managed to keep all 455 finishers in order which meant that all positions and times were aligned.

After the event, I headed home and had a lazy rest of the day.

Sunday – junior parkrun and 10K ‘slow’ run

As the boys were going to an Easter party, I headed down to Southampton Juniors parkrun at 8:10am and met up with Run Director, Donna, and her parents. After helping with set up, I went out to take photos of the juniors. Due to the threat of rain and the fact it was Easter Sunday, the attendance was quite low with 41 juniors plus parents.

As Denise and the boys were not due back until after midday, I took the opportunity to do a 10km treadmill run before they got back. It was slow and steady.

The week has been great. Not much training overall compared to most weeks but have done what I can given other commitments.

In other news, I started the week last Sunday (13th) at 12st 8.9lbs and finished the week at 12st 7lbs. Almost 2lbs lost and at my lowest weight since 15 October 2013.

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Not bad given some bad food days and a lack of training as can be seen from the calorie chart from myfitnesspal:

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What a week… so far

Well, this week I have a week’s holiday and that means lots of time with the family and a little less training.

On Monday, we lazed around for the day until the late afternoon when we took the boys down to Riverside Park on their bikes. In the evening, it was the STC swim I posted about earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, we visited Chessington World of Adventures which was great. Lots of walking. Managed to avoid ice creams and various calorie-laden meals.

Airkix indoor skydiving

On Wednesday, we took the boys to airkix in Basingstoke for some indoor sky-diving. It was an amazing experience. We were in a group of 10 and after a video briefing and meeting our instructor, Gary, we put our ‘flying suits’ on and waited to be called through to the airlock.

Denise was 2nd into the ‘tunnel’ and did really well. She was very stable in flight and probably one of the best in the group. Up next was Daniel who entered the tunnel apprehensively – not surprising due to a combination of the noise and wind.

Daniel got into a flight position quickly and the instructor tried to signal that he needed Daniel to straighten his legs. However, I think nerves got the better of Daniel and he put his thumbs down indicating that he wanted to leave the tunnel.

Connor was next and he did really well. As a 5 year old he’s probably one of the youngest to use the tunnel. He tried so hard but ended up trying to swim through the air and then signalled that he wanted out.

Next up was me. I entered the tunnel and fell forward into flight position. I was able to get into position ok but found that I was moving around a lot. The slightest movement was magnified 10-fold. Lowering the hands into your eye-line meant you raised up the tunnel but any movement of a hand or leg led to me careering into one of the walls. After 75 seconds my flight was over. It seemed like much longer.

The other family then all flew before it was Denise’s turn again. Again, she did well although having watched the DVD, she was less stable on her 2nd flight. At the end of her 2nd flight, Gary asked whether she wanted to be spun up to the top of the ‘tower’ which she did. This was an extra £5 but well worth it.

Daniel took his 2nd flight and did really well lasting for the full 75 seconds. He enjoyed his 2nd flight and it was great that he was brave enough to give it a go after his first flight.

It was then my turn for my 2nd and last flight. I felt more stable that time but certainly wasn’t as stable as Denise. The culmination of my flight was a ‘high-flyer’ where the instructor span with my to the top of the tower. A great experience.

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After the other family had had their turns, Daniel had his third flight. Lucky lad!! He did well again and just before he left the tunnel, Gary swung him around and around.

A great experience. Definitely worth £60 in Clubcard Boost vouchers.

Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay

While we were out in Basingstoke I received an email from my Mum to say that the Daily Echo had announced the 6 people chosen to carry the baton in the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay in Southampton. The city, celebrating 50th year since becoming a city, is one of the few cities outside Scotland to have the baton pass through it.

The 6 chosen Baton Bearers include Iwan Thomas and Annie Clewlow who organises diving at The Quays.

I was nominated and short-listed to be an Olympic Torch holder but unfortunately wasn’t one of the chosen few back in 2012. However, I feel really honoured to have been chosen as a Baton Bearer. Being chosen brings a lump to my throat as I don’t want or expect any reward for what I do with parkrun. I’m involved because I love what I do and it’s a big part of my life and has changed my life considerably in the last 3-4 years.

Although I’ve founded 3 parkruns (Netley Abbey, Southampton and Southampton Juniors) and helped several other events start over the last 3-4 years, their success has been down to the amazing event teams that have worked tirelessly week in, week out to deliver each parkrun so as I hold or carry the Baton, I’ll be holding it in behalf of the Event Directors, Run Directors and core volunteer teams who give up their Saturday (and in some cases, Sunday) mornings to enable many hundreds of runners of all ages and abilities to enjoy a run and all the other amazing community spirit parkrun encompasses.

Will write another post later in the week to cover the rest of the week.

Sprint triathlon training week 5 day 1 – STC swim

After yesterday’s rest day, it was back in the pool this evening for the Southampton Tri Club swim. I’d gorged on a Indian meal deal before the session laden with 1250+ calories not that I’ll be using that as an excuse… I won’t!! I promise!!

This evening’s session consisted of:

Warmup:
200m swim
100m pull
25m kick, 25m pull

Main set:
4 x 50m (target 1:20 including rest)
4 x 100m (2:10)
2 x 200m (4:05)
50m recovery
1 x 400m (100m pull, 100m swim, 100m pull, 100m swim)
50m recovery

Cool down:
50m

My Garmin stats were:

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So, for the session until the 2nd 200m, I was on pace. I was overtaken on the 2nd 200m and the 400m so that’d explain some of the extra time taken.

However, the reality is that I’m improving each week and there are some sessions that are tough. This was one of them. As Tamsyn said at the end of the session ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger‘. This week it was touch and go but I survived!!

Yes, it’s a little depressing to turn at the far end of the pool and look ahead to see the person ahead of you coming to the end of their length (particularly when I started 5 seconds behind them) and this happened to me on several sets this evening but I just got on with it. I could have given up, dropped 50m or a whole set. These options crossed my mind. Instead, I carried on and ‘zipped up my man suit’ and got on with it. I wasn’t racing the other swimmers in my lane after all.

Being at the back in the lane and clinging on to the end of the group is probably the toughest position mentally but it pushes me and the STC sessions have been priceless for that. Every length makes me stronger even if, at the time, it doesn’t feel like it. That’s why I love the STC sessions, and really look forward to them each week, no matter how tough they are!

The really positive news is that after swimming a mile, my pace in the pool is much quicker than it was a year ago (even when I was swimming fresh then) so that really is encouraging.

Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 6 – STC swim and weekly summary

Last training day of the week and the decision was between a parkrun or STC swim. The latter was the chosen activity as I’d missed it for a few weeks.

The session was coached by Kathy and was very good. However, I can’t really tell you how I did quantitatively as when I went to turn on my Garmin, it gave a long beep and wouldn’t come to life. It appears that trying to charge it from a PC that’s not turned on isn’t the cleverest way! Darn!

Having said that, it was nice to not have to worry about starting and stopping the watch after every set. Would have oved to have had a SwimTag to fall back on. Never mind.

The session consisted of several soon-forgotten sets. I know we started with a warm up of 300m of which some was with a pull-buoy. We did some single arm sets, some rotation drills and some kick drills (awful as ever!)

The other set I recall was a 400m effort. This wasn’t done at race pace but a comfortably fast pace. I stroke counted for 4 or 5 of the lengths (between 22 and 24). Fortunately, Julian was wearing his Garmin so at the end of the set, as I had been in his tail, I asked what he’d done it in. 7:43. BOOM!

Another great swim session with Southampton Tri Club. Taking part in their regular sessions has really transformed by swim performances from having been on a plateau. I know that I have a long way to go but I’m confident that with STC swim sessions 2-3 times a week, I’ll improve my efficiency and speed over the coming months.

Another good week of training which consisted of:

MondaySTC swim

Tuesday23km ride and LRR Mile event

WednesdaySTC long swim session

Thursdaycycle to and from Run Camp

Fridaylong run

Saturday – STC SWIM (this post)

Sunday – rest day

Meanwhile, things are definitely improving weight-wise:

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and that’s largely due to tight calorie tracking with MyFitnessPal. I was 12st 12.9lbs last Saturday and 12st 9.1lbs today; a loss of over 3lbs without really trying:

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I’m not eating anything different but just counting every calorie and doing all I can to stick to my daily target.

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Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 5 – Long run (it’s all relative)

A short one today…

This morning, I headed into Southampton for a quick meeting at Southampton City Council with Head of Events, Craig Lintott.

Craig and I have been in regular contact over the last couple of years by email discussing Southampton parkrun, Southampton Juniors parkrun, Lordshill Mile series and the two main Lordshill Road Runners road races so it was good to meet him in person. Craig has been instrumental in helping get these events approved so really can’t thank him enough for his support.

As a fellow parkrunner with 58 parkruns completed, I’m sure we’ll see each other fairly regularly in the future.

As the meeting finished earlier than expected, I drove home and decided to head out for a run and covered 11.82km (7.33 miles) at a LSR pace of a little over 6 mins per km. Scarily, I believe this is one of my longest runs for a while!

Once home, my right Achilles was quite tender so, for once, I stretched it and it made a big difference.

With only the weekend remaining, I’m heading for the STC swim tomorrow morning (as I’m volunteering at Southampton parkrun next Saturday) and then enjoying a rest day on Sunday.

Will summarise my training week in a post at some point over the weekend.

Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 4 – Run Camp and cycling

This morning was the third Run Camp in the set and I’d set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual for one main reason; I planned to cycle to and from Southampton Sports Centre. The reasons for this were simple:

  • Cycling there and back would allow me to incorporate an additional fitness activity in to my day
  • It would most likely be quicker getting home in the rush hour traffic by bike than driving

Yesterday evening, I’d checked the route and distance (approximately 7.5km each way) and made sure my lights were working. My route both ways would take me along the Avenue, the thought of which was a little daunting at first.

After breakfast, I got dressed (I decided to wear a tri suit to give me some saddle padding and a cycling jacket) and headed out to get my bike. Once all set, I hit the road. It was pretty quiet at 6am as expected and I made it to the track in about 24 minutes. It was quite an uphill journey until I reached the Avenue where it was nice and flat. As it’s dual carriageway on the Avenue, drivers were able to give me ample room. As I got to the roundabout where I needed to turn right, I made sure I was well positioned in the road to make it clear exactly where I was going. Easy!!

As I arrived, I could hear a car behind me. It had to be a fellow Run Camper and it was, Steve Le Bas. I cycled down the hill to the track and met up with Jules who’d arrived early.

Once off the bike, I prepared to run. As I did so, the other Run Campers turned up and we set off for a warmup.

The plan for the session was a pyramid. However, as Ant explained it, it was clear that it was an inverse pyramid or, as it became known, a ‘valley’! It consisted of:

  • 4 minute run with 2 minute rest
  • 3 minute run with 90 seconds rest
  • 2 minute run with 1 minute rest
  • 1 minute run with 30 seconds rest
  • 2 minute run with 1 minute rest
  • 3 minute run with 90 seconds rest
  • 4 minute run with 2 minutes rest

My effort paces were:

4 minutes: 910m (4:25 mins/km)

3 minutes: 710m (4:17 mins/km)

2 minutes: 480m (4:15 mins/km)

1 minute: 270m (3:43 mins/km)

2 minutes: 430m (4:41 mins/km)

3 minutes: ???

4 minutes: ???

As you’ll see, things were going well until the 2nd 2 minute interval. You might ask what happened there…. Well, I went off like a rocket on the 1 minute interval and for the first 30 seconds was actually just behind Steve and ahead of Jules. However, after 30 seconds at the pace I was running, it wasn’t long until my body decided I’d tried to hard and I slowed down considerably. Having said that, I still managed a decent pace…

But…. the overcooking of my 1 minute effort meant that I struggled in the 2 minute interval and got about 1 minute into it and then both legs cramped up. I felt in a lot of pain and it reminded me of the Valley Leisure Tri in 2013. I really didn’t want to be hobbling off of the track so slowed down and once the interval was over, I stretched by quads as much as I could. There wasn’t time for me to get back to the start line so I started my 3 minute effort at about the 100m line. I didn’t push that effort at all and just cruised around.

Once I finished, I asked Ant what stretch would ease the pain and took his advice. The pain eased again and we moved onto a very short S&C set. Part of the set was plank with side rotation which caused my quads to spasm again. Ouch!

With Run Camp over for another week, it was time to get back on the bike and head home. The first challenge was getting up the hill. This would have been easier had my legs not gone into spasm again leading me to almost fall off infront of a dog walker and her canine friend. Street cred lost in a second! Having decided to get off (fall off), I walked up the hill and then got onto the bike once I reached the top.

The ride home was largely uneventful apart from losing my back light as I hit one of the many potholes. I only realised as I heard it smash into a zillion pieces behind and to the side of me! Another Amazon order placed shortly after I got home for replacements.