Blogs

Boot camp Sharm – The story so far . . .

Just a quick update to say all is going very, very well on the training front. Every session covered and enjoyed.

The days start at 6.15am when the alarm goes off and I start the day with either a bike ride,  a run or a brick session (so both). Tomorrow is a brick session being a 40 mins bike, 15 mins run, 25 mins bike and a 10 minute run.

I aim to do the rides on the Sharm Sprint Tri course that I am racing on Friday and practise transitions, again ready for Friday.

Other days have been similar brick sessions or longer stand alone runs (I have done a 75 mins and an 80 mins run) or stand alone rides that have been 60 – 80 mins. But everything is very structured with different pace, effort and recovery sessions. My main focus has been dialling in my Sprint race pace and not defaulting to a half or full IM pace!

I have also swum – a lot. Five swim sessions so far including one sea swim – again in readiness for Friday’s race. I intended to swim for 30 mins but the jelly fish put me off – after I swum into one head on – luckily it did’t sting but I thought I was chancing it too much to carry on, so I stopped at 20 mins.

The swims have been late afternoon, while the sun is still out but not blazing down on me while I swim. Five swims in a week isn’t a lot for most triathletes, but for me it is a lot as I focus more on my running and sacrifice swim sessions.

This is a training blog so I won’t bore you with how brilliant the holiday is too. How excellent the new apartment is, the complex we are on, the neighbours, the location, the pool, having a roof area, with it’s own; pergola, sun beds, kitchen. And just how relaxing and chill out the whole break has been.

So a great combo of training hard and relaxing hard. Just need to make sure I am not in relax mode Friday morning at 5.15am.

Thanks for reading.

Catching up on Bloggage

I cannot believe it has been over 6 weeks since my last post!

The flu I had was pretty nasty and I ended up taking another two full weeks off of training. Mark then created a plan, with reduced training, one week at a time, after I gave feedback on how I was going on the previous weeks training. This ‘tip toeing’ was frustrating as I just wanted to get back on the horse and pick up where I left off – I have a marathon to train for. But that’s why I have Mark. His years of experience got me back to fitness in record time, my way of doing it would have got me back to bed with another cold!

So a few weeks off, followed by a few building weeks ending with a weekend in France. I had the pleasure of mixing a cheeky weekend away with friends with some nice rides on nice, quiet, pot hole free, French roads full of courteous drivers.

Feeling good after that little block of training I was keen to test my fitness the following weekend. I decided not to run the Surrey Half Marathon, but instead to do a half marathon distance training run on feel. So if I felt OK I would push the pace, if I felt knackered during the run I would hold back. I ended up having a real good run. I did 20.88K in a time of 1hr 57 mins, which is circa 90 secs off of my PB half marathon time. Not back after three weeks in bed and the same as build training.

The week after I took it easy AGAIN as it was a busy week at a conference most of the week and busy at work the rest f the week as at the weekend I was flying to Sharm El Sheikh for a two week holiday AKA Boot Camp, which is where I am now.

So an update of how I got from laying in bed with Flu to training in the sun. I will do more posts during this hols  – little and often so I don’t bore my readers.

See, I do listen to the feedback.

Thanks for reading.

Training 56% of the time

Having blogged about how good training was going, it was inevitable that it would come to an end.

Two Thursday’s ago, in the middle of another big week, I came down with a cold. But it wasn’t the usual run of the mill cold. Sore throat and headache etc. This one came on quick and came on hard. I worked on the Friday out of need rather than common sense.

I went home at 4pm after feeling absolutely awful all day. I went straight to bed and had one of the worst weekends of my life. Shivers, sweats, joints aching, chest hurting from the coughing, backache, headache more like a migraine and absolutely no energy at all.

I didn’t get out of bed until the following Tuesday and went back to work on the Thursday, which I now realise was a mistake. Thursday was OK but Friday was hard going, struggling to make it to the end of the day. I was just so tired.

I have now spent a second weekend trying to rid myself of this cold. If I don’t set my alarm I don’t wake until10am or 11am, I am tired by 9pm and this cough is now really getting on my nerves.

I would be a nightmare to live with, but on this occasion I have also given it to ‘the wife’ – caring is sharing! Sam came down with it last weekend and has had all week off work with it and is still rough now. Oh and I gave it to Ollie my grandson, who had to miss swimming this weekend because of it.

What impact another two weeks (at least) lost training will have is anyone’s guess. How long it will take to get fitness back and the bigger question, how long until I get my next cold. I have given up trying to avoid them, I need to just structure them into my training.

In the past 23 weeks I have lost out on training on 10 weeks due to having a cold. So 44% of the past 23 weeks have been lost to illness. That’s five separate colds in 23 weeks. Pro-rata’d that’s more than 10 colds a year.

This is worrying as the events are coming thick and fast, two weeks time is a PB attempt at the 5K park run, the weekend after is Kenley 10K (another PB attempt), then a couple of weeks later is the Surrey Half Marathon, the weekend after we are off to Egypt for two weeks training in the Sun and while there doing the Sharm sprint distance triathlon, back for the Brighton Marathon and a few weeks later flying off to Barcelona for the half IM.

I just don’t have time to be ill. There is no point in doing any training until this cough has gone, so it’s just more cough mixture, honey and lemon, cold and flu tablets, vitamin C, Neovite, multi-vitamins etc.

Thanks for reading.

Getting into the rhythm

Last week certainly was a big week. Sunday to Sunday (so 8 days not 7 days) I:

  • ran a total of 52K (including 2 sessions as interval speed sessions)
  • cycled 84K over four sessions of 21K each (so 2 rides to work and back)
  • did my first swim session of the year
  • And had a rest day

Not too shabby – over 10 hours training over those 8 days. Especially as this was the week of the -5 degrees most days. So, safe to say, I have certainly bounced back from the bad throat last week.

This week is also on target for another biggie too. Mark’s training sessions are flexible in terms of which days I do what, so yesterday was a run day and today is a ride to work and back. But yesterday it was pee’ing down when I got home from work and the forecast for today was showers all day. So I did a hard 60 min turbo session yesterday, instead of the run, and I did the run session this evening instead of the ride to work and back.

I am not a fair weather trainer only, I am ‘happy’ to run in the rain or ride to work in bad weather etc, but only if I have to. If I can be a bit clever and cover all my set sessions by swapping them around then that, for me, is a better option. Being The man and cycling in the rain is fine but then going on to miss a week’s training with a cold soon makes you re-evaluate weather (see what I did there) it was really worth it.

I wouldn’t miss training due to bad weather but I am happy to switch sessions around to make it as comfortable as possible. It is a hobby after all.

The forecast for tomorrow is ‘a nice day’ so I will do the ride to work on Thursday and either back to back that with Friday too – or do another hard run or hard turbo Friday evening. If I am behind I will do a double session on Saturday, with Sunday being my first double run day this year – woohayyy – A easy run Sunday morning and a faster pace run in the afternoon – BOOM.

Last Monday was cool, the wife and I went to Lee Valley Velodrome and did a 1 hour taster session cycling on fixed wheel bikes on the boards. It was brilliant.

You don’t appreciate the size and ‘shape’ of the track from just watching it on TV and the feel of flying around those boards and going up on the 42 degree bank. The bikes were great, the track was perfect and the coach was brilliant. It’s got both me and the wife keen to do a follow up session at some point soon.

I also booked up IM 70.3 Raleigh, North Carolina last weekend so that’s all ‘A race’ events this year booked and sorted except Weymouth.

Thanks for reading.

The Living Daylights

The first two weeks at work in 2016 have flown by. Initially, it started to go a bit Pete Tong. I did, what the training plan called, an easy run on Monday evening (the 4th Jan) but it felt anything but easy. I then woke up Tuesday feeling a bit ‘under the weather’. So rather than cycle to work I did a turbo in the evening. Wednesday I had a bit of a scratchy throat in the afternoon, but I repeated Monday’s run and did it two minutes quicker (without trying) and felt a lot better on the run.

So I was disappointed when I woke up Thursday with a bad sore throat. I took a rest day from training and Friday felt just as bad. I did another easy turbo Friday evening and set the alarm for 7am to do a swim set Saturday morning before Ollie’s swim lesson.

But I a) snoozed the alarm until 8am b) got Leigh to do the lesson with Ollie and I watched. When we got home, at about 10 am, I went back to bed and slept until 1.30 pm. And I must say I felt a lot better for that extra sleep. I also had an early night Saturday night and got another good 12 hours kip.

I didn’t train Saturday or Sunday and veg’d about the house all weekend.

Monday I felt better for the veg’ing. The sore throat seemed to be behind me but I still played safe and did a turbo in the evening. I also spoke to Mark on Monday to ask him about how I had caught another cold/throat infection. Everyday I take Neovite, Vitamin C tablets, Vitamin D tablets, multi Vitamin tablets and Echinacea tablets. Mark asked why I take Vitamin D. I advised I get to work and it’s dark, I leave the office and it’s dark and I don’t leave the office during the day. So I don’t get any daylight. I also spent most of the weekend inside as well – so from the 4th Jan to 11th Jan, in those 8 days, I hardly got any natural daylight. Probably less than an hour, in total, across those 8 days. Natural daylight, even 20 mins a day, boosts your Vitamin D which helps your immune system.

So I am in operation daylight since that chat. Tuesday I got up early and went to work for 8am and then did a 45 mins run from work in the day light. Then went back to the office and showered and started my day, Wednesday I had a work event so it was a scheduled rest day. I did think about catching up on lost hours last week, but I know better than that.

Thursday I rode my pushbike to work making sure I got the daylight on the ride in. Friday was another rest day as another evening out. And Saturday (sadly) was a recovery day from a fun evening out at The Clink Restaurant Charity Ball.

Today I did a 13K easy run (1 hour 13 mins) in the afternoon. It was quite a good pace for an easy run, mainly on feel. And crucially included daylight.

Coincidently, quite a few people at work have since come down with a cold/bad throat, including the two people who sit either side of me. So maybe my immune system is better than I thought it was and I got over it in a few days.

Game on for next week, hopefully my first big training week of 2016.

Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year

We didn’t get to Egypt like we had planned because of flight restriction issues. We were due to fly out Boxing Day and return 6th January. But that all went to pot and we ended up staying in the UK.

I have trained quite consistently the past three weeks though. The week leading up to the week leading up to Christmas (also known as the week commencing 14th December) I did a total of 5 hours 40 mins training. 3 x 1 hour turbo sessions and 3 runs, two easy 40 minute runs and 1 longer 75 minute run.

Not a massive volume but not bad as it was my first proper training week for 4 weeks, due initially to illness and then due to work related Christmas events. So it was just good to do some training.

The week leading up to Christmas (week commencing 21st December) I was off work that week so I was able to do a bit more. So in between going with my Grandson to see Santa Claus at Godstone Farm, going to Brighton Aquarium to see the Sharks and his first attempt at Bowling on Christmas Eve – I was able to get 6 hours 45 minutes training under my belt. Again not a massive volume, but as this was all done in the first 5 days of that week, it was a good block of training. Two 90 minute turbo sessions, two longer runs (both 11K runs at 65 mins, including one on Christmas Day!) and a good core and body conditioning session. I then had two days at a Spa absorbing the training done so far.

This week has been good, at just over 7 and a half hours, which again included two rest days.

The poor weather has meant turbo sessions rather than outside rides (thank God for Homeland Season 5). Three turbo sessions in total, each 90 minutes in duration, one run (another 11K in 65 mins) and a big body conditioning session at 50 minutes rowing, 40 minutes weights and 10 mins core work.

So I am fully back into the swing of it, with three good weeks under my belt and ready to get cracking with what 2016 has in store.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to all my followers.

Darren

Review of 2015

This year was a massive learning year. From a racing perspective, and at the end of the day racing is what it is all about, it was a bit disappointing.

I pinned the year on IM Vichy and whilst I finished the race I was extremely disappointed in my performance. So it was all a bit of an anti-climax. Six months on and I am still not ‘over the experience’. But I did learn a lot from the day. I learnt about me in a big way. About my mental strength, nutrition and the importance of changing my expectations during the race to adapt to different conditions and situations.

I completed my first standalone marathon in April – The Brighton Marathon – in a time of 4 hrs 25 mins. That was a very good start to the year. Training is already underway for the same event in 2016.

A couple of training events – the Bewl Water (Olympic Distance) and the Cowman (Middle Distance) where I missed the sub 6 hour target by 4 minutes, finishing in 6 hours and 4 mins.

So event wise it’s been a bit disappointing, which is why I have planned 2016 completely differently. Booking more events and focusing in 70.3 distance while I get my IM mojo back – and it will be back.

Training wise it’s been a very good year. A total of 362 hours training, 10 hours more than 2014.

A significantly higher volume of running, hitting 112 hours and covering 1,127K (700 miles). That’s 26 hours more running in 2015 than 2014.

Cycling was about the same 207 hours in 2015 versus 202 in 2014, Swimming was significantly less only hitting 21 hours this year versus 50 hours last year (which was always the plan).

The block of Yoga I did at the start of 2015 meant I did 22 hours of body conditioning in 2015 versus 14 hours in 2014.

So another IM year behind me and another big year to look forward to with 4 races booked and planned already.

So here’s to 2016 – Happy New Year everyone.

Thanks for reading.