willthames's blog

Ironman Switzerland - 23 weeks to go

Type Hours done Hours planned Total distance Max distance
Swim 3.75 3 8.1km 2.7km
Bike 5 5.5 98km 82km
Run 1.5 3.75 15.8km 8.6km
Core 0.25 0.5    
Total 10.5 12.75    

What went well

Made it out for the long bike, a good solid 4+ hour ride. Did all three swim sessions.

What didn't go well

Long ride was supposed to be Saturday but got canned due to hangover and lack of organisation from my side, in terms of just getting there. Made up for it today, but meant that the long run got missed. Also missed a roller session and its companion core session.

Thoughts for next week's plan

More cycling, as usual. And also more running. Perhaps the same amount of swimming, happy with that at least.

Ironman Switzerland - 24 weeks to go

Type Hours done Hours planned Total distance Max distance
Swim 2.5 3 5.2km 2.6km
Bike 4 4 73km 60km
Run 3.5 5.25 39.25km 21.75km
Core 0.25 0.5    
Total 9.75 12.75    

What went well

Good long bike and long run, met all of my planned targets after Tuesday. Had a good but hard long ride in the Surrey Hills yesterday, legs didn't hurt as badly as last time but still need to build up to a heavy hilly ride.

What didn't go well

Monday was an unplanned rest day due to excess work. Tuesday evening was also written off. Missed one swim, one run, one bike and one core session as a result. Forgot to take my shoes in on Thursday, although just moved the run to Friday instead.

Thoughts for next week's plan

I should prioritise the bike more - I managed three runs this week but only two bikes - I can already run a half marathon, so probably need more practice cycling. Should have a great long ride next weekend - plan is for a longer, but less steep, ride.

Training update - 25 weeks to go

Number of training hours (done/planned)

Swim: 3.5/3
Bike: 0.75/2.25
Run: 1.25/1.75
Core/weights: 0.0/0.5
Total: 5.55/7.5

What went well

Set up my fundraising page to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust. Went running in the dark twice after work to ensure I kept up a reasonable schedule. Three good length swims are always an achievement to be happy with.

What didn't go well

Turned into an epic week at work, particularly the weekend, so didn't make all planned exercise sessions. Bike suffered as usual.

Thoughts for next week's plan

Will take some time off in lieu assuming work is not as disastrous, and make up training. It's still early in the build-up so I can afford a quieter week, and a rest week may well be beneficial, so I shouldn't feel the urge to make it all up next week. A good couple of long runs and bikes are my major goals for next week, time and work permitting.

Training update - 26 weeks to go

Number of training hours (done/planned)

Swim: 3.25/3
Bike: 2.66/3
Run: 3/3
Core/weights: 0.5/0.5
Total: 9.4/9.5

What went well

Had my bikefit session. Managed to cope with a schedule rearranged because of last Sunday's illness - took Monday as a rest day and so all my swims had to move by a day, and everything else had to slot in with that. Very close to my planned weekly hours, just a roller session short really. Starting to feel good in the water, the extra sessions and extra distances may be paying off. I think yesterday's session confirms that my first CSS test was more accurate than my second one. CSS = 31s/25m

What didn't go well

Fitting two biggish sessions in on the Saturday meant I didn't have much time or energy to do anything else during the day - it felt like a bit of a rush and I neglected Peta. I think one four hour session would have been easier!

My nutritional planning (or lack of) at weekends is starting to show. I need to be better organised so that I can plan eating better.

Navigation on the bike ride, even with the GPS, was a bit of a chore. Next time I'll try less ambitious routes - this one had a few too many turns (as with every turn is the potential to go the wrong way)

Thoughts for next week's plan

I'm oncall this week, which limits my training. My goal is to do three swims, three indoor bikes and two runs, with the long run in the Monday of the week after. Might do more in the gym as a result next weekend.

My first bikefit

If I'm going to go long, I want to do so in as much comfort as the rules allow (so a limo is not an option). As such I'm prepared to invest in things that will improve my efficiency, such as my recent Swim Smooth clinic, improve my running technique (my new Newton Sir Isaacs) and now a proper bike fit.

After some searching around, I came across The Bike Whisperer based nearby in Ealing, run by Scherrit and Corinne. There sessions can be as long as 3 hours, with the last session at 7pm - in the end evenings are enough of a premium at the moment so I decided to cash in some time off in lieu and take an afternoon off.

I was given the promised great cup of coffee, and Scherrit took my history of cycling and niggles, and measured my bike. After this I popped on the turbo and we went through a cycle of pedalling, tweaking, more pedalling and more tweaking. My cleats were reoriented to reduce the niggle in my right medial ligament, and my saddle moved forward and lowered slightly. Apparently I'm not very leggy and am mostly torso-ey.

The great news was that the guys at GB Cycles had done a fantastic job of fitting my bike for me in terms of the stuff that couldn't be changed - frame size, handlebar width and stem length were all deemed perfect.

One other great result was the guarantee - the payment was for one bike and one pair of shoes - so if I have any problems with the fitting I can go back and get readjusted at no extra cost.

Had a fun ride home in the dark, was the first time I'd ridden at night in months. I had all my reflective gear on, although I did borrow a light from Scherrit which I'll post back as soon as I can (I found my back light next to where I'd been packing my bag ready to go out).

Map of my run on 12/10/2010

What I'm about to show here might just look like the standard output from e.g. mapmyrun or similar. It's not. It's a map taken from exported Ascent CSV data and converted to a Google Map using a ruby script.

Script is still a work in progress, but it's reasonably well modularised - the code that turns a training session into a google map is totally separate to the bit that creates a training session from an Ascent CSV file. Meaning that I can make a new parser that creates a training session from a TCX file, or create a graph from a training session.

Just need to automate it better or work out how to integrate it with drupal better- at the moment it just loads an iframe.

Training update - 27 weeks to go

Number of training hours (done/planned)

Swim: 3/3
Bike: 1/2
Run: 3/3.25
Core/weights: 0.25/1.25
Total: 7.25/9.5

What went well

Managed to swim three times this week, involving two 7am starts (and I'm not a morning person). Also exercised twice on two days, which is also good practice. Arranged my bikefit session, to ensure that cycling is soft on the knees - would have been on Thursday just gone, but got moved to this Tuesday coming. Went running today in spite of feeling under the weather, although given I'm still not feeling any better, not convinced that was an entirely sensible plan. Will have to play this week by ear now.

What didn't go well

I did very little core this week. I always seem to be planning it for just after a long session, so haven't felt like it, and it's still the sacrificial lamb.

Didn't go for a long bike yesterday as planned - the weather was lousy and by the time I felt ready there wasn't much daylight left. Overheated on the rollers, so only managed 30 mins in total, not great.

Thoughts for next week's plan

I'm happy with my session planning for this week - any shortcomings were due to length of time I was willing to put into a session, not the number of sessions. So I will attempt the same again this week, and perhaps go for a more realistic level of core (three * 1/4 hour). I need to use evenings better too - before work and lunchtime are a little constrained (although before work is constrained only by what time I get up).

Next week I will go outside on the bike unless it is snowy or icy - rain is not a sufficient excuse!

On the rollers

Had another go at the rollers tonight - just 30 mins, but felt long enough. The main reasons I bought the rollers is that I think that they will improve my balance and handling, and also be slightly more interesting than the turbo.

I've now done an hour, and I'm definitely improving - I'm going minutes without bumping off the door frame, I'm cycling clipped in, and I only occasionally nearly cycle off it. Today I tried drinking from the bottle, taking a hand off handlebars, changing gears, shifting between hoods, drops and tops. Also tried some standing up.

ln future I'd like all of these to be more normal, and also add in eating, more shifting positions, more standing, more high cadence (today was around 70 rpm) and more hands off (at least one hand comfortably, perhaps both in the long distance future to prove that I control my balance). Oh, and I'd like to move out from the doorframe! Bouncing off it occasionally is fine but I aim to be fully independent in future!

Snowy Sunday afternoon run

I was in two minds whether it was sensible to run today - certainly if the recent ice hadn't improved I'd have had to look to some kind of indoor training. However, it looked like it had thawed a bit, so I set out for my planned 90 mins run.

My plan was to run up to Richmond Park and then head back after 45 minutes - wasn't quite sure where this would be. At the start of the route just after Colet Court finally runs out of land, there was a fork in the path. Normally I stick to the river but the left hand fork was so snowy and inviting, I decided to explore. After not too far I came to a gate, and this took me onto a more elevated path - to my left, probably 10 feet below, was a totally icy lake. I was able to run along the path by the lake for a good while, before it finally ended - and then I got to the sign - it was in fact the Leg O' Mutton Nature Reserve. Carrying on towards Barnes, I noticed I was running through Small Profit Dock Gardens - what a fantastic name. I've been running that route for 18 months now, and this was the first time I'd been through either. Just goes to show what a little snow can do.

Much of the rest of the run was uneventful, although Richmond Park itself was gorgeous, very snowy. I stuck to the road past the White Lodge, and then onto the Tamsin Trail to get the most of the run. Saw a few deer at the Robin Hood Gate end, and then headed back out of Roehampton Gate, down past the Priory, across to Barnes Station then along Castelnau back to Hammersmith.

In the end it was a 16km run in 1:35, which is as fast as I normally manage in normal conditions. The snow was reasonably fun to run in (not too deep, mostly not too icy), thankfully.

Training update - 28 weeks to go

Number of training hours (done/planned)

Swim: 2/3
Bike: 1/1
Run: 2.75/2.75
Core/weights: 0.1/0.75
Total: 5.85/7.5

What went well

Went on SwimSmooth's training clinic all of Saturday - so while that worked out at a bit under 1 training hour, I actually spent 9 hours swimming or thinking about swimming. I now know what the major faults in my swim are (and they're not too bad - exhalation timing, initial catch and pacing) so hopefully I can start to make real improvements. I also realised that while technique is an issue, it's no longer as big a deal as just working harder to get faster (not at the expense of technique)

I started using my rollers - only for half an hour, and probably didn't get particularly effective pedalling technique session but hopefully the extra work to maintain balance will pay off in technique elsewhere. I plan to stick at the rollers, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do hour long sessions or longer in future.

I managed to go running on three occasions in spite of the snow and ice.

What didn't go well

I did no core this week. I did very little weights (although weights will continue to be the sacrificial lamb when short on time).

Bike was planned to be very short, but it does mean I'm not working hard enough on it - it should be probably around half of my weekly effort.

Thoughts for next week's plan

I'd like to do three sessions of each discipline per week, but with a rest day that would mean two sessions on three days per week. That seems like quite a lot of additional effort, particularly as the big sessions at the weekend would mean I'd be less likely to want to do it then, which would mean one week day being a rest day, one week day being a one session day and the other three days being two session days. Maybe I'll build up to that!

Main thoughts are to do more on the bike (difficult in this weather but not impossible with rollers and turbo) and to concentrate on the weaknesses identified in the swim clinic.

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