One Year On

ONE YEAR ON ———————>

It’s one year to the day that I had my surgery. It really hit home to me today. I really shouldn’t care what happens at Taupo. The fact I’’m fit and able to race should be enough. Not only that, I’m coming into this race in great shape. Not sure I would have believed that was possible a year a go. The picture to the right is me in our new EverydayTraining race kit. If the shorts look tight it’s because they’re Jo’s ( mine haven’’t arrived yet).  Jo put in loads of work getting this kit sorted. Oomph made up the kit and JB Drax Honoré generously paid for it. I’m really pleased with it. It looks great and come Taupo it’ll be the first time I’ve not raced an Ironman in TriLondon kit.

I feel in pretty good shape at the moment but I can’t say I’m totally confident. I certainly feel I should qualify. The big question mark is my running. I’m running well but it’s difficult to truly judge. I’m running well compare to any time during the last year but really how much is that saying. If I look at my preparation it seems lacking. Again, that’s in comparison to what I’ve done before. I’ve not done enough to be sure  I will run strong. The last time I did this race I’d done a serious TONNE of running. The most running I’ve ever managed consistently EVER. I knew I’d run well and I did. It was the hardest I’ve ever managed to run the last 5k of a ironman marathon. This time I’m lucky if I’ve averaged half of what I did then. Looking impartially at what training I’ve done for the run I should feel reasonably confident. This year I’ve:

  1. Averaged 44 miles per week
  2. Done a long run every week at decent pace building to 3 hours
  3. Weekly hilly runs
  4. Weekly brick.

We will see in just over a week.

Now that I’m running again I seem to be getting some perspective on how my running developed pre injury. In order to get back some sort of shape I’ve found myself not only running faster in training but also running faster at the end of runs. Over coffee with Phil and Jo on Wednesday we touched on the topic and Phil said something along the lines of you can either suffer in training or suffer in racing. It made me think…

I chatted with Clas a lot about run training and what he did to be so fast.  There appeared to be a couple of things, neither being more volume. One was hilly runs and in particular downhill running, the second was negative split long runs.

I’ve been mulling this all over for quite some time now and realised that back when I was running really well there were some things I was always doing but at the time not realising there true benefit

1. Loads of running in the hills. Not week in week out but when I was at my mums, in the Peaks, on holidays in the Lakes, Scotland I was running everyday in the hills.

2. There would be some really strong bursts of running during sessions normally with them building through the session. I remember regular lunchtime runs with Rob where from about halfway we’d slowly increase the pace. It was unspoken but I’m pretty sure we were both trying to drop the other (I was!). By the time we’d be running back along Embankment or between the last couple of bridges on the canal it would have reached max effort.

As I tried to get more serious about Ironman I seem to have lost this fun aspect – just doing what felt right. I mistakenly changed what I was doing – looked for long mileage feeling it didn’t matter the pace just log big miles.

Scott leant Jo and I some books including “Running With The Legends” – reading that shows there are many ways to be very good. It also shows that those that run long ran those at a decent pace as well. I don’t believe that running long is necessarily bad but as your mileage increases it should not be at the cost of pace of running and some fast running. Thats my feeling now and as my running improves and weekly mileage increases (though I don’t ever imagine to what it was before) I will hopefully keep that in mind.

I’m into taper now and have become my usual taper procrastinator. I reckon there must be something physical going on that increases your lethargy. There’s definitely a mental aspect. During taper there’s an easy reason not to train. There’s a mental switch that now less is definitely more and erring on the side of rest is probably wise. This seems to translate to procrastination for me. Luckily I’ve largely nipped it in the bud and though training may start late I’ve got it largely done. I still feel this is where I really could improve – getting the last couple of weeks right. Unfortunately I’m not really that much wiser now as to whats right for me. I can plan it well but left to  my own devices I still tend to go by feel. A coach, an independent third party could probably help me but I still want to figure it out for myself.

For years now I’ve set the target of averaging 8 hours sleep a night. I’ve never managed it. This year I’ve currently averaged 8.8 hours ! I’m rather excited about this as I feel I’ve given my body the time to recover. I’ve persisted with this as I’ve tapered. Giving getting enough sleep a priority and not forcing myself out to swim. It means I’ve managed one squad swim this week and made up another. It’s concerned me a little but I’ve reminded myself that for many races (Kona in particular) when I arrive 2 weeks ahead I don’t do any squad swimming this close to the race. All my swimming steady state. So.. touch wood, it’ll be ok !

This is how the last 5 days panned out:

  • MONDAY – 2h45 hilly ride.
  • TUESDAY – Jog to pool. 5.3k squad swim, 3hr gym
  • WEDNESDAY – 1h30 long run.
  • THURSDAY – 5.5 mile run in my FiveFingers split to and from the gym. 1h30 gym (core and lower body). 2.1k swim. Did a 2k pull TT building the pace throughout. Ended with a 1:18 final 100 completing in 29 minutes. This was long course and was rather reassuring that I was still swimming OK despite missing squad sessions
  • TODAY – 4h30 ride followed by 30 minute fast transition run. It was done at 3hr marathon pace. Felt OK but certainly was faster than I could maintain for a full marathon.

Jo has managed to run a complete hour. That together with it being a year since my surgery prompted us to head out and have a couple of pints in celebration.

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