Getting it right is an art!

Today’s session was a hard one, or I made it hard. Not sure which at the moment.

It was a 40 mile ride and a 35 mins run off the bike. Fairly simple instructions from Mark. The last 30 mins of the bike up the pace to Brisk and the first 15 mins of the run Brisk too.

I rode to Box Hill and did one loop of Box Hill, which is an 8 mile loop including an up and down Box Hill and then I rode back.

The ride was OK – very enjoyable, very warm, a good pace, fairly flat ride except for Box Hill. All felt good – the ride was 60K not 65K (which is what I needed to do for 40 miles) solely due to crap maths on my part! I toyed with doing another 5K but by then I was near home, there was lots of traffic around and there was a Boot Fair at the local park so even more traffic so I decided 60K was enough. A total ride time of 2 hours 22 mins meaning an average speed of 25 kmph.

I transitioned out of my bike gear and put on my running gear and headed out for the run. I did 10 mins at circa 12 kmph pace and then I hit the wall. I stopped and walked for about 20 seconds as I was going up a hill, then carried on and did the remaining 25 mins at a slower pace (circa 10.5 – 11 kmph) and I ended up doing an extra 5 mins so 40 mins in total.

First time I have had to walk on a run for a VERY long time. Three factors to blame (unless Mark has a fourth?):

1) I switched to water and High 5 Zero tablets rather than Lucozade Sport (as the name suggests it’s Zero calories where as the sports drink is 130 calories) – maybe I was missing important calories?

2) Due to the heat (it is a very sunny and warm day today) I needed more fluid than the 1.2 litres I consumed on the bike. I also consumed a torq bar during the second hour of the ride and a gel at the start of the run

3) I went off too hard on the first 10 minutes on the run and paid the pice – the bike might also have been at a too high pace as well 25 kmph average including a ride up Box Hill?

All food for thought and good experience to learn from. The key positive was after having to stop and walk, I was soon able to finish the run at a fairly good pace.

This week has also included another swim at Tooting Bec Lido yesterday and a run straight after. A turbo session, a pool swim and a long (ish) easy run. That lido really is a good find, giving me wetsuit swimming practice at any time during the day so I can have a bit of a lie in and no 5 am start to get to Heron Lake.

Three weeks to go . . . . . .

Thanks for reading.

Etape Du Sussex

Having had a lot of ‘non training’ time while in Egypt, it was good to get some training under my belt this week.

Sunday was a 90 minute turbo with efforts, which put that week on a 2 hour total volume week.

This week started and ended well, Monday was a good 1 hour ish run session and Tuesday a swim session, Wednesday was a rest day due to a work event and a late night.

But Thursday I woke up early for a run pre work, but was so tired I sacked it off. I had a full on day lined up for Thursday and another work event in the evening. So I missed another session.

Friday I wanted to make up for two missed days so I definitely wanted to do the planned swim and then do the Thursday 30 min easy run I missed. However, Friday is usually a rest day so I am not used to going to the pool on a Friday, so it was a surprise to see the pool closed for kids swimming lessons.

So I went home, got changed and did a run and a few core exercises afterwards.

Saturday was a good day – I went to Tooting Bec Lido and did a 5 x 500 metre swim in the 90 m pool in my wetsuit. This was a good session. It got me used to swimming in my wetsuit again, a 90 metre pool was good so not loads of pushing off the walls and lots of sighting practise as it was a bit of a free for all. That’s an exaggeration but you did have to keep your wits about you. I was also able to draft a couple of people to get some experience of that, again the 90 metre pool meant this was easy to do. This was a really good find as it means I can do open water / wetsuit swim training without needing to get up at 5.30 am and make my way over to Heron lake.

I followed this up with a short easy run around Tooting Bec common and Saturday afternoon I chillaxed and had a power nap to catch up on lost sleep from in the week. And that led to Sunday …

Etape Du Sussex

I was unsure whether to do this SRS Events organised sportive, but having got the thumbs up from Mark I went for the ‘on the day’ registration.

There was a bit of a queue to start but once under way all was good. I have done a few of these sportives in the past but usually I ride alone. As there was a queue it meant a lot of people rode off together in batches of 10. We all rode off fairly easy and I used it as a warm up. After a while I had left my group and caught the group in front and this is how the ride went. I didn’t go ‘balls out’ at all. I climbed the hills with confidence but at a comfortable pace, there were a lot of fast descents and a lot of fast flats, where I could go on the drops and put some power down. I caught a group of riders, rode in their draft and recovered and pushed on to the next group.

A had enough food to not need to stop but I thought I might need some more fluids but as there was a mandatory stop at the half way feed station, I could top up supplies there. This wasn’t quite as easy as I planned. I took a while to find somewhere to put my bike as it was busy, I topped up my water bottles and looked for the guy to swipe my timing chip. After finally finding him his machine wasn’t working but that didn’t stop him trying for what seemed like an eternity. He sent me inside to find his colleague. I went inside and thought I would take a quick pee while there were toilets to hand and only one person queuing, big mistake – it must have only been a minute or two but again why didn’t I just find a bush in the many country roads I had, and was still, going to be riding on.

I finally found someone to swipe my chip, grabbed a couple of flap jack pieces and was on my way, but 6 mins that stop totalled – annoying as I wasn’t even planning on stopping at all.

The rest of the ride was as before, fast!

Nutrition wise I switched to gels as I wanted to practice taking them rather than solids. In total, for the entire ride, nutrition went like this, first hour nothing I did it on my big breakfast, drinking on the way to the event and a banana just before the start, then after the first hour I had two torq bars (a third of a bar every 20 mins) so a bar per hour, four pieces of Flap Jack, three gels, 750ml of sports drink and 750ml of water.

The rides are ranked and based on age and gender and there are three grades based on finish time. Gold for this event was a finish time of 3 hrs 55 mins or under. Towards the end I was trying to work out if this was possible to hit. I was 10K away and doing maths on pace and time to try and work out if it was possible, 5K away and on 3hrs 45 mins – could I do the last 5K in 10 mins? Push. Push. Push.

I finished in a time of 3 hrs 57 mins. Very frustrating as a) it was only 2 mins out of the Gold standard and b) If I hadn’t of wasted time at the feed station it would have in the bag.

So you live and learn.

I was quite achy when I got home and the 15 mins easy run later in the day wasn’t high on my to do list, but I did it around 5pm and felt a lot better afterwards and today. Active recovery – that’s the way forward.

Four weeks to go until the Vachery half and confidence is sky high.

Finally a big shout out to Lee Thomas and Paul Foster both of whom did Ironman Nice and both did it in a fabulous time.

Thanks for reading.

Sometimes Life just gets in the way ….

This week has been a training disaster.

On Tuesday the wife and I flew to Egypt. We were only there for a few days, until Saturday, so it was always going to be hectic.

As we were up early Tuesday and I needed to pack Monday evening, I sacked off Monday nights run. Tuesday was travelling, driving to the airport, flying, sorting the hire car, checking into the hotel, unpacking etc.

Wednesday was a fairly easy day and I fitted in a 30 minute easy run in the evening and that was due to be the start of some training in the sun.

BUT – Thursday we checked out of the hotel and went to our new apartment. The purpose of the trip was to sign off the furniture that we had commissioned to be made for the apartment and to get all the other essentials; plates, knives, forks, kettle, bedding etc.

The furniture was brilliant – all as ordered and to a very high quality, which resulted in the furniture man taking us for a meal. In Egypt a quick meal can take at least 2 hours! Then off to hyper market number one for supplies. We got back late and by the time we had unloaded the car and sorted ourselves out it was too late to train.

Friday we started the challenge of washing all of the furniture and washing all the stuff we had bought before putting it all away. Then off to hyper market number two for the second batch of supplies, then off to see our property manager to do the accounts and she took us to Shark’s Bay to a lovely fish restaurant for a meal. Then in the evening we were off to Old Market to buy towels and sheets. That was Friday gone. Still no training – I hadn’t even unpacked the bike from the bike bag yet.

Saturday was also hectic. I unloaded the bike, set it up and checked all was OK. A few last minute supplies from hyper market number 3 and then the task of putting dust cloths around the mattresses, settee, TV etc, packing to come home.

Then off to the airport to take the hire car back and get our flight home. We landed at 11.30 pm and got to bed in the early hours of this morning.

So Monday to Saturday my total training was a 30 minute easy run. NOT GOOD.

I discussed this with the wife at the airport – that all week I had ‘done nothing’. Sam rightly pointed out I had spent several hours each day, over the past 3 days, on my hands and knees washing our marble floor by hand after the furniture people had coated it in dust and dirt, washing all the kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, cooker etc. All in temperatures of over 100 degrees. I must have unloaded the car and carried supplies to the apartment circa 20 plus times, so it was hardly ‘done nothing’.

Whilst missing a week of training isn’t ideal, to be honest it isn’t the end of the world for me. Sorting out our apartment in Egypt has been a 2 year exercise and now finally it was finished and getting it habitable so we can use it was key.

It also means I am well rested and raring to get going now I am back. It’s five weeks to my first (of two) A races this year, the Vachery Half Ironman. So over to Mark to put a solid pre race block of training together. This next five week block needs to include some open water swims, a bike ride of the Half Ironman bike route and whatever else is needed to get me across the finish in under 6 hours.

Thanks for reading.

oooh new bike sir?

My beautiful picture


I have started  to fall behind on blogs again, but just the blogs not the training. Training has been going well, very well, great guns, brilliantly etc.

Last week I did 8 hrs 10 mins volume of training. This was good but better still was some of the sessions I did. One being a 60 mins turbo followed by a 20 minute run, straight into another 40 mins turbo followed by a 10 min run, straight into another turbo 20 minutes with a 5 minute run to round off. Two hours thirty five minutes of brick training – very tough but also enjoyable.

All run sessions are featuring pacing work with runs split into different pacing within the run. Makes the session go quick and keeps me focussed.

This week has also been awesome. The mid week sessions have been good, a run and a turbo brick session on Monday evening, a turbo with intervals on Tuesday and then there was Wednesday. A one hour run including a 25 minute run at 5K pace. I warmed up as needed, did the pre set and then hit the timer and increased the pace up to my 5K pace. I felt good, it felt … well not easy but comfortable. I kept the pace and then increased it a bit and then a bit more. I hit the timer again (to stop it) as I reached 5K distance on the Garmin. 23 mins 56 seconds. A new PB. A sub 24 mins. During training. Where is all this coming from? A run session in the midst of a heavy (ish) week and another run PB distance smashed (previous PB being 24 mins 30 secs)!

I finished the run session off with the broadest grin on my face. It was literally ear to ear.

The rest of the week was good too. A big swim session Thursday. I switched Saturday’s and Sunday’s sessions so yesterday was a 2 hour bike ride and a 15 mins run off the bike all very easy and today one hour Core and a run with 5K intervals. This week has been just under 10 hours training – 9 hrs 55 mins to be exact.

I have another run scheduled for tomorrow but I am going to play it by ear and speak to Mark as Tuesday we fly to Egypt for a 5 days break. Bit of a holiday but also a bit of business to do out there. So I will be trying to get away from work at a reasonable time, packing and preparing and trying to fit in a 60 mins run might be tough. Also getting up at 5am the next day to spend 5 hours on a plane I don’t want to fly if I am too knackered.

It’s really exciting to be going on the trip as we will be staying in our apartment for the first time which is finally finished and furnished (we hope! – that’s why we are going to check all is OK). So there will be quite a bit of running around to do in the five days but I am sure I will be fitting in some runs, swimming and cycling because …. I bought a bike bag to take my bike on the plane.

My beautiful picture


And I bought a new bike. I have been looking at the Boardman CX for a while and the other weekend there was a 14% sale so I took the plunge. Initially I will take my mountain bike to Egypt while I suss out what the roads are like out there. If they are bad I will take the CX out there – if the roads are OK I will take my Pearson Carbon ‘training’ bike out there and leave the CX here for winter rides in the UK.

My beautiful picture

I rode it yesterday just to make sure it was all OK. And it was – it’s like riding on air, it just soaks up the bumps (well massive pot holes).

So all is going well.

Thanks for reading.