The Scribbler

26 March 2011

Training catch up

Filed under: run,swim,training,triathlon — The Scribbler @ 19:51

Another glorious spring day with barely a breath of wind, perfect for my planned cycle to run session. I set off a bit later than usual after a trip to our friend’s farm to see the new calves and piglets – a sign that Spring really is on the way.

The piglets were all hidden in their straw nest when we arrived, but they soon started to wriggle and shake, then pop up through the bedding one by one and come running out to see if we were offering food. The welsh sow, Gwyneth is a good mum, quite relaxed but protective of her brood who squealed and squabbled over the best spot for milk.

Their tails are just starting to curl and their bright curiosity about their world is adorable. As we were leaving, one of the black and white saddlebacks popped out of its pen to take a good look at us. But when it saw we’d noticed it, scampered back to mum quick smart.

Back home and out onto my bike, following roughly the same route as last week and opting to test myself up Priory Hill at the start again. I’m so much more confident on my bike now. Every time it gets easier to get out and get into a good rhythm. And it helps that I know the roads and paths a little better now.

So keeping it strong but not flat out. Trying to stay more on the biggest ring and mainly staying on the top levels of the gears (except for the massive hill). I felt like I was going faster for less effort than last time. That feeling changed a little when I turned into the wind, but the ride back was fun. And overestimating my turning spot meant I covered a bit more distance than last week, but managed it in a similar time.

Back home, rack the bike, remove the helmet, gloves and jacket and out again for the run leg. This time I definitely knew they were my legs because they hurt. Not injury painful, but leaden, achey pain as though at the end of a long run.

I’ve forgotten that ache as most of my runs are shorter now. Today it was just 5k. But it was a tough 5k and the ache never really eased. I will have this to come again I’m sure, later in the year when I start to build up my distance. I kept telling myself it was good practice for running on tired legs.

The rest of the day I was busy cleaning, tidying and preparing a delicious belly pork hot pot that we shared with our friends from the farm who provide our delicious organic meat and vegetables each week.

I don’t know what it is since I started swimming ‘properly’, but I’m often a bit more nervous when I first get in the pool and it takes me a while to settle. I started a bit like that, fretting and rushing through my swim even though I was just warming up. The pool was quite busy but I was trying to tell myself that would be good for me as I’ll be swimming in a competition in the next couple of weeks and need to be confident in a turbulent pool.

At the end of one length, as I was fiddling with my goggles, a guy offered me some advice about cleaning them and then said “I notice you cross your arms in front of your body when you swim. You would be better to stretch them out straight ahead.”

I thanked him for the advice and we got into a bit of conversation, wherein he explained he used to do a lot of swimming and had trained as a lifeguard. After a couple more lengths as I was taking another breather, he asked if he could swim alongside me and help me with some tips. I was a bit unsure, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and give it a try.

So I swam some more sets, mainly 100m at a time and tried to pick up on some technique. I need to bend my arms more under the water, use my legs a little more (pushing down as well as up), make more use of the push off the side and keep my fingers together.

It was all good advice, kindly given and to be honest, all things I sort of know myself, but it did help me focus. It completely made me forget that I’d been a bit uncomfortable in the pool before and probably pushed me to swim a bit faster than I would have done – although I never did anything longer than a 200m set. But overall it was good to get a bit of unofficial coaching.

I set the alarm early and made the most of a glorious still early morning out at the coast. My legs were a bit reluctant after the weekend and a swim, but I managed a solid set of 7 reps of 4 min run and 1 min recovery. And I relished being able to enjoy the best part of the day.

When I woke early again on Wednesday morning, I decided to make the most of it and hit the backyard for a session with my kettlebell. It was a session planned for Saturday, but I’d already decided I wanted to give myself the option of an easier day at the weekend ahead of the Hartlepool Marina 5 mile race on Sunday.

It meant I doubled up with a spinning session later that evening. And that was another toughie. A different instructor this week, so a different session, but still hard work with some sprint and climb intervals. I was absolutely shattered at the end, and made sure I had a good stretching session to ease out the kinks.

Thursday – my awesome PT session
I love this workout. It’s been a staple in my calendar since I started all this back in September 2008. It’s what started me running and what first got me thinking about triathlons, inspired by my amazing personal trainer and friend, Ian.

This morning he’d brought a 12kg and 8kg kettlebell and skipping ropes that I used as part of my warm up. Then, without telling me what he had planned, he put me through his kettlebell challenge. I figured it out part of the way through when we did 5 sets of an exercise that I normally do 3 of. And also because he was trying to keep me moving with very little rest between the different exercises.

Now I’ve looked at this challenge and said I’d try it one day. But really I was daunted by it, so I never did. And I completed it in just over 25 minutes. It was hellish tough. But when we got to the last exercise I knew I could do it. And the feeling when I did was as exhilarating as any race I’ve done.

That wasn’t the end of my workout. There was more before stretches and chat and emptying the sand from my trainers. But it was an amazing achievement that kept me smiling and bouncing the rest of the day.

We’d discussed training and racing for the rest of the week. And I had agreed I needed to get some rest in. So it was madness to go for a swim the same evening. But I had the time free, and I figured it might ease out some muscle tightness.

So I swam. Just a short one – around 20 minutes with no particular goals or focus. And it did ease out the tightness in my legs. Best of all, in a busy pool, there was no anxiety or fretfulness at the start. Maybe I was too tired to care. But I swam and enjoyed it and I even remembered some of the coaching tips.

Ok, so not a complete rest day as I fitted in a lunchtime pilates session. Sadly it will probably be my last one of these as Sylvia, our instructor, is heading off to Cyprus. We’ll miss her as she does an excellent class and today’s was one of the best.

There are a some pilates, yoga and body balance type classes at my gym, so I’ll have to see if there’s one I can get to. It’s a good discipline to have some good stretches alongside the running and pilates has helped me develop strong core muscles. Plus I like the contrast of the quieter, more chilled out exercise alongside all the high adrenaline stuff I do.

So that’s me this week. Lots going on as usual. And some quality training that has me feeling fitter, stronger and ready to take on my next challenge. Next up – a five mile race on Sunday.


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