Finding It Tough

It’s been a tough week unfortunately not in terms of training but again due to motivation. I am sleeping lots and feeling tired. It could be that I’m just older now and can’t handle the volume as easily, it could be that the intensity is increased. I’m swimming harder, doing formal sessions on the bike, doing big run mileage and even doing an interval session on the run. It means this week rather than building on my volume has seen a reduction on it.

Following racing on Sunday we had a relatively easy day on Monday. Jo and I went to the pool and did a swim. In the afternoon we ran in the hills. I was running well so much better than the day before. We got away later than expected and ended up late in London. It meant I didn’t get enough sleep and when I woke to pissing rain I decided sleep was more important than driving down to Box Hill. Bad decision, as the day ended up pretty good. The day just drifted away and ended up a rest day. Like back when I was studying for my accountancy exams unplanned rest days are so much less fun than planned ones since you feel guilty. Needed my sleep wednesday morning so didn’t get out on the bike. In the afternoon got my long run done – 3hrs and I felt strong throughout. In the evening did a great swim session – was cruising 100s in 1:18 and 200s in 2:40 and then did a couple of 600s in 7:54 and 7:51. Really going well. Thursday morning was a tough bike session – 6 x (8 mins fast, 2 mins rest) .. was managing to lap Regents Park in about 7:30 on all of them. We tagged on an extra one “for luck”. Felt wasted so rested all day before doing the club run session in the evening.

This being full time isn’t as easy as you would think. Certainly being in London isn’t ideal especially as I don’t like riding in the traffic. It means if I don’t get up and out before rush hour I find it very difficult to go for a ride. If I have an hours session to do it will take at least 3 hours when you include the ride out to and back from roads appropriate for the session. Also, when training is the main focus in your life if it’s not going well there’s little to fall back on. Wonder whether this would be better or worse if I was making a living at it.  I’m trying to ease the pressure on myself and stop chasing numbers. I sometimes wonder whether a training diary is a help or a hindrance – it’s great for data looking back and when things are going well but when you are tired and you can’t hit the numbers you’d hoped it’s tough. Chrissie Wellington said in an interview that she didn’t keep a diary her coach tracked what she was doing. That seems pretty sensible to me as it gives all the benefits of having the data without the bad pressures. Since I’m self coached this approach is not so easy. Jo came up with a good idea of tracking intensity of sessions so that figure could be chased rather than just volume. I may include that for next year !

Got some interesting advice from some very experienced Ironman Triathletes about my approach to competing in Wisconsin and Kona close together. One of the guys had been in touch with Team TBB about how their athletes perform so well in consecutive Ironman. They taper for the first Ironman as per normal then immediately after they get active – so the day after they do few short sessions – walking, swimming. They continue like this for 7 – 10 days and then get back in to normal training but with reduced volume and intensity. They continue this WITHOUT tapering through to the second race. Several people concurred with this. It seems the logic behind it is that tapering from big volume gives u fitness gains but the recovery period sees you lose some fitness. Thus, the aim is to build your aerobic base back but whilst staying fresh. A taper for the second race won’t really work since you won’t be tapering from big volume. This makes real sense as the big thing I was worried about when I looked at my plan for Kona was how little volume there was for so long ahead of the race. This was due to trying to taper for both. I’m going to rejig it.

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