Cutting out the junk

I learnt a lot whilst on the Egypt break. Sadly the biggest learning was in the last few days!

For me, a good week of training is a high volume week. Quantity overrides quality because I have never really understood what a good quality session is.

So I proudly emailed Mark, with a few days to go, to tell him training had gone well and I had (so far) covered all sessions in his program. His response was ‘Excellent, but please do not tick off the sessions for trainings sake’.

Mark backed these words up by sending me an article by Chrissie Wellington on the very subject. Saying that in her early days, when she was an age grouper and had a full time job, she physically couldn’t train the hours that the professionals were training, so she swapped quantity for quality. She states in the article, that a good 40 minute (hard) interval session can be as good as doing a 2 hour (easier) session.

Also, the importance of recovery and the need for training to fit in around your life and not taking over your life.

And both Mark and Chrissie are right. Some sessions I did in Egypt I felt really good doing them and equally as good afterwards having completed them. Felt good as in I felt strong during the session, I paced it well, I did the intervals or the consistent pacing etc, I came back beaming and was up for the next session later that day or the next day (as in no aching or tightness).

But some sessions I left the apartment with the words ‘right I better go do this run’, or I ran with my legs still aching from the earlier ride etc.

This enlightenment from Mark came on Thursday, which is why, as I set off for another run, when I was really not in the mood (at all) to run, with my legs aching from the 8 days training so far, and the slight strain on my abductor playing up again that week, the wind howling as I set off up the long hill which was the start of every run session, I thought – this is one of the sessions I am doing to tick off the plan and I would do better to skip this session and rest more – which came out as ‘sod this I cannot be arsed’.

So I stopped after 6 mins and walked back to the apartment. I then backed this up by turning off the 6.30am alarm for the next morning with the idea, if I woke up early I would ride, if not, then I wouldn’t.

So I didn’t do Thursday’s run, or Friday’s ride or Friday’s evenings run and as we flew back on Saturday I didn’t train after Thursday morning’s bike. What I did do was enjoyed the last few days of my holiday rather than grind out those last few sessions. I starting to absorb the training I had done so far and came back motivated to train this week and not knackered after a hard boot camp.

I am obviously not fully converted away from volume yet, as I have the need to state I did 14 hours training over the 8 days I trained, split as:

2 hours swimming

7 hours cycling

5 hours running

Thanks for reading

Race your Pace 2015

I had big expectations for this one. As I set off for Dorney Lakes I had a clear game plan in my head and for the first time ever, a realistic target to aim for.

Training had been perfect leading up to the event. I had covered this distance so many times on my weekly long run, this time it was all about pacing.

The plan was simple; three laps steady at circa 10.5 kmph and then go for it on the last lap.

Race day prep was fine, I got there in plenty of time, parked the car and got to the start, checked my bag in bag drop off and before I knew it they were calling us to the start.

And we were off.

A cheeky little loop to cover the 1K and then 4 laps of the lake, each lap being pretty much dead on 5K.

The pace was spot on, I felt comfortable, dare I say it felt easy. First lap done and I hit the counter on my Garmin and it said 27 mins and something (I didn’t see the seconds). With the initial loop taking 6 minutes, I quickly worked out 4 times 27 was 12 minutes away from 2 hours plus the initial 6 minutes was 1 hr 54. BUT it was 27 something and the 6 minute loop was 6 minute something – worse case we could be looking at just 2 mins under 2 hours if the something’s were high 50’s (which was not acceptable).

But I stayed calm, I kept the same pace even though it felt easy and at the end of lap two I hit the lap counter and another 27 mins and this time I did see the seconds 43 – I was right to be cautious, the seconds were high. But that was fine. Lap three I thought about speeding up, and at points I did, but not significantly. I had taken a gel at the start of the race and another one after 45 mins, I had one left so as I came to the end of lap 3 (27 mins 38 secs) I took my last gel, took on some fluids at the feed station and started the last lap.

I pushed from the start of the lap not too hard but a higher pace then I had been doing. I sustained this pace for about half the lap, then I had to back off a bit but with only one quarter of the lap to go I upped the pace and ‘gave it my all’.

I crossed the line in 1 hour 56 mins and 29 seconds. Which was good. I was happy with this. 4 and a half minutes off of my PB – very precisely paced. I ticked a lot of boxes in that event.

I didn’t ache too much that afternoon or the following day. I did take a few days off training mainly as on the Sunday (the day after) I helped Mark out at the 220 Triathlon show at Sandown Park, Monday I worked late and Tuesday I was packing as I am writing this blog sitting on an Easyjet flight to Sunny Sharm for a 10 day break. I am feeling good and have a good running based training program for the break as further build up to the Brighton Marathon on 12th April.

The small matter of another half marathon (Paddock Wood) at the end of March – and I am thinking a sub 1 hour 55 mins seems sensible.

Finally two big shouts out to Human Race – the organisers. The pacer who was in earshot for some of my running (the 9 minute miler) was excellent. He was giving advice, tips and motivation to all those who were running with him. Pointers like take a gel before the feed station and then take a drink to get rid of the taste in your mouth, squeeze the cup so you drink some and wear less etc! Telling runners what pace they were running would equate to as a marathon finish time.

Secondly the Marshall’s were all good, but the lady at the far end, after the feed station was truly outstanding. Cheering us on by number or by the pacer we were running with, asking us to smile and wave etc. She thoroughly deserved the applause I gave her on the last lap.

Remember to thank the Marshalls people, if it weren’t for them we would be, quite literally, all over the place.

Thanks for reading.