Teddington Lock and back

Although I had expressed concern earlier that the tides might not work for this run (high tide at Richmond at same height as my abortive attempt four weeks ago, at 1656 today). However, setting off at 1430 meant that I hit Richmond going out at 1530 and coming back at around high tide, on the higher paths. Certainly by the time I got to Kew on the way home the water was looking as though it was just a few inches from spilling on to the path (although I assume tide was going out by then). With it being warmer and more drier this week, it might be that Richmond wasn't affected in the same way today anyway.

So, the run itself - a good practice for a marathon run, my longest run ever. Took a couple of breaks to buy water and use the loo at Syon House (which was quite a way from the signs at the entrance - must have been a 200m walk each way!). I certainly struggled towards the end - pace dropped, and my left knee started to resist running quite strongly - the first time that has happened! Took a walk break and was able to maintain a slowish 6:00/km to finish.

Lessons learned then - running that far is very tiring. I think the clif shot bloks every 5k helped, and I'd have used more regular water breaks if that had been possible. My pacing today was originally aimed at a 4 hr marathon time, I'm not sure that's realistic at the moment even if I was doing one standalone (although there are still 8 weeks of training left) - I should start considering if I want to come up with a run walk schedule (I was always planning on having some kind of rest at the aid stations to ensure I got hydrated and nourished).

Having said that I maintained an average 6:07/km overall, even with water, toilet and walk breaks, so if I could even those out slightly that would give me a 4:20 standalone marathon time, so perhaps my 4:40 goal isn't too ridiculous.

Wetronome training

As I was going for a run today, decided to pack light for swimming - so just trunks, goggles, ringwatch and wetronome.

Decided my session should be:
400m warm up
10 x 200m on 5:00, at 46, 48, ..., 64 strokes per minute
100m cool down (actually I was enjoying it so did 200m)

So a 2600m session, lasting just over an hour.

My pacing for the sessions was very consistent
very fast; medium; medium; slow; medium; slow; medium; medium

Not quite sure why the 4th and 6th laps were always amongst the slowest!

My 60 strokes per minute was the fastest, and that was after a faff entering 58 that meant I set off on 05:15, but felt good after 58 to set off on what would have been the 05:00 again (i.e. I had 15 seconds extra rest after the 58, and 15 seconds less rest after the 60).

I struggled with doing 62 and even more with 64. It was useful to show just how much rhythm is lost just by breathing!

I'll definitely do some more sessions with the wetronome - would like to experiment with longer distances at 60, and also do some sessions at 64 to force me to even out my rhythm.

Ironman Switzerland - 9 weeks to go

With nine weeks left, I've had my slackest week since I went skiing (and probably got more fitness benefit from that). In fairness, I always knew I wasn't going to get much done in nine days away in Scotland - the fact I did a 27km hilly offroad run was probably more surprising than if I'd done nothing. Holiday and training just don't mix well for me - I usually try and fit too much in to days as it is.

Still, I now have two weeks to get some proper training in before I have a small taper for Bala (as it's not my A race and I'm nowhere near overtrained I'll probably taper less than I plan to for IMCH).

Following yesterday's short bike and today's slow 10km, plans for the rest of the week include Tues: swim, bike; Weds: run; Thurs: bike; Fri: swim; Sat: long bike; Mon: long run

4km swim

One of the reasons I decided to take up long distance triathon was because in an Olympic distance, I feel like I'm only getting warmed up by the end of each discipline.

Today was a classic - I decided to do the full 4k swim for the Ironman session 29, in spite of the fact that it would take over 90 mins.

Using my ringwatch, I recorded a split every two lengths, or 50m, as it only records the times for 100 laps (it counts more), and recording every 25m would exceed that.

I obviously paced myself well (perhaps a little slowly) at the start, as 9 of my fastest 50m splits were in the last kilometre. My fastest 50m was the last (could have been the fact that I didn't need to turn).

I need to get into a longer pool now to see how the turn affects my times - I think the interruption breaks my rhythm but there are benefits in the push off and the extra breath, so not sure whether the effect is positive or negative. Only trouble would be finding a longer pool that I can swim for long enough without too many other people in the way, or that I don't need a wetsuit which would have other effects on my time.

Spreadsheet comparing my times against my last 3.8km swim is here
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key= ... 0SlE&hl=en

Duncton Super Sportive

I entered this to get some practice on a long ride with lots of people about. However, I wasn't too bothered about drafting too heavily as it's not what I'll be able to do in Switzerland. This was quite fortunate as I got dropped by Ash and Jim fairly early on, although I did later catch up with them a few km before the first feed station, although lost them again not long after.

I should know that when Ash and Jim say 'Will, would you like to do this event with us', there's going to be something not that nice about it. In this case, it was the hills. This was probably one of the hilliest rides I've ever done in terms of ascent per km travelled, and definitely in terms of total ascent (nearly 2000 metres). It was also the furthest I've ever ridden by a good 30km (I'd have liked that not to be the case, but I've missed out on some long rides recently)

So, it was very hilly, and I got fed up with them. I even had to stop going up one hill as my heart rate was at max and I just needed a break before carrying on.

It was a good mental and physical challenge - around the 100km I was getting quite tired and wondering if I'd finish, but reminded myself that I just had to keep pedalling - I'd rather finish in a crap time than not finish. Nutritionally, I did ok - the gel flask worked well, and semi-regular shot bloks, together with the energy drink got me round - ideally I'd eat more, more regularly. Lessons include taking more bars, and putting more in the gel flask. For Ironman I'll try and get the computer to beep at me every 20 mins and I'll take a couple of shot bloks - that would give me 600 cals per hour.

I forgot to start my bike computer at the start, and so I'm missing 7km of the ride. That would have been an interesting 7km to monitor, as I was trying to keep up with Ash and Jim, who were trying to keep up with Ash's colleague Nick - I should have let myself be dropped far earlier, I knew at the time it was stupid. I'm quite happy to start off gentle - especially as I don't need to keep up with any pack. Getting up to heartrate max in the first twenty minutes almost certainly hurt over the ride.

My average speed over the monitored ride was 22kph, which is lower than I am hoping for for Ironman, but of course Ironman has only 1200m hills, and that is spread over 180km, so I should still be able to achieve my target pace.

All in all, a useful long ride with some good learning experiences - as long as my lower back recovers (it really doesn't like hills).

Figures below are my measured numbers, until the chip timing records are published.

Ironman Switzerland - 12 weeks to go

A mixed week this week - happy with my running and swimming leaving, as usual, my cycling to be unhappy about. It was all looking so good until today - an unprecedented 70km done before the weekend, with my first weeknight outing to Richmond Park, and a strong session on the rollers. Tiredness, lethargy, bad weather and disorganisation combined today to knock a large hole in my plans, and the 150km long ride that I'd planned at one point turned into a 60km set of circuits around Richmond Park.

Talking of Richmond Park, I've entered the London Duathlon. This year they have an Epic version - 20km run, 80km bike, 10km run. Of course I signed up for that one, in spite of the cut off of 6h30 - which is pretty much my estimated time (2hrs, 3h30, 1hr), if you don't include transitions! There will be a few minutes I can shave off here and there, but it will be close! I have a suspicion that after 10 laps of Richmond Park, I may never want to see the place again!

On the positive side this week, I did my longest ever run, of 32km. Of course come 25 July I'll have to do an extra 10km on top of that, after having just swam nearly 4km and biked 180km.

Why do I do it to myself

So, I've had my confirmation of my Bala entry confirmed.

Apparently it was rated one of the UK's 10 toughest triathlons in 2007.

The bike doesn't look too bad - about 650m climbing, the run could be the harder section with 150m altitude gain.

The Bala distances aren't quite half the ironman distances - it's a 2km swim (vs 1.9 for HIM), 80km bike (vs 90km), 20km run (vs 21km).

Taking that into account, I'm hoping to do it in a bit under half my IMCH target - so under 7 hours, with 00:50 swim, 03:20 bike, 02:15 run - allowing ridiculously slow 10 min for each transition (difficult to halve transition times while practising for the main event) that should be 06:50. However, failure to meet this is fine if it results in a learning experience for IMCH - this is not my A race. Things I do want to practise are nutrition and to see if I can survive in trikit or should have a full change in the main event.

Lanzarote bike rides

Playa Blanca to Timanfaya via El Golfo

Playa Blanca to just past Maguez (ride abandoned due to genuine danger of aquaplaning in torrential rain - rare for Lanzarote!)

Playa Blanca to Orzola - better route finding past Maguez this time allowed me to take more direct route to Orzola (if the section between Haria and Maguez looks long, it was significantly flatter than the direct route)

Ironman Switzerland - 13 weeks to go

Since my last write-up, four weeks have passed. The number of days left until IMCH is now down to double digits - indeed less than 90!

Much of the lack of entries here has been due to my holiday in Lanzarote that was supposed to be 7 days and ended up being 12. Lanzarote should in theory be a great place to be stuck as a triathlete - plenty of long hilly bike rides to do - and indeed the bike was my most trained discipline with over 8 hours logged. I got a good couple of longish runs (I hesitate them to call them long runs at this point of training - they were a bit shorter than planned, but also significantly hotter and hillier). I did very little swimming. And we ate out a lot. Found many fine restaurants. And lazed around by the pool a bit. Compared to what it might have been, it was quite an active holiday, however. But not as active as if I'd not been relaxing on holiday!

After a stag do at the weekend that pretty much wrote off any desire to train, it's now time to get back in the groove.

One run in today and it all feels good again, planning a swim and bike tomorrow, another run on Weds, bike Thursday and swim Friday. Oh, and then a wedding on Saturday. May really isn't going to be much better than April ended, what with a second wedding two weeks later followed by a short holiday in Scotland (might take some training kit and squeeze something in). As it's a long weekend, I'll plan a run on Sunday and then long bike on Monday, so this wedding shouldn't hit too hard.

Ironman Switzerland - 17 weeks to go

Very happy with my training last week - while there was room for improvement (an extra swim and an extra bike would have been good), it was mostly to let life get in the way (e.g. a useful work trip to the pub).

My long bike was great training, and my long run seemed easy compared to last week's, although not too surprising as it was shorter, and I felt less broken after the bike ride.

Won't get to do too much over the next couple of weekends, and how much I do in Lanzarote remains doubtful (sure I can hire a bike, swim in a pool or the sea, and go for runs, but that all competes with drinking cocktails by the pool).

Happy with where I am right now training-wise, but need to keep motivated over the next few weeks to remain on target.

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