My ‘Training Camp’ – Weeks 13-15
Well I am now half way through all my training for the IM, scary thought! I have spent the last 3 weeks enjoying the holidays by spending pretty much the entire time by training! Over the 3 weeks I managed to clock up:
Swim – 26.5k
Bike – 531.59k
Run – 152.6k
This brings my totals so far to:
Swim – 85.5k
Bike – 1736.81k
Run – 419.5k
Commuting – 427k
The little training camp was actually quite good fun! Despite having pretty much the entire day to train for the most part, I discovered I still have an uncanny ability to do it all late, even managing a weights session at half 3 at night at one point! On the plus side, it allowed me to spend much more of the day recovering, rather than commuting into uni, working all day at uni, going out and any other stuff that usually eats into my recovery time during term time. This allows me to push myself harder and longer in training as I know I will recover quicker.
My swimming went quite well, despite all the problems faced in the local leisure centre. Boy I missed the aquatics centre in manchester! Having to contend with silly opening times, families who ‘didn’t seem to notice you’ and little kids who thought it would be funny to get in the way so I would wack them over the head, it was definitely the most stressful part of my training! For the most part I was still feeling quite, getting used to the big increase in mileage from my base period of the season. But I have a good 3k swim test (58.26) and was really starting to enjoy the longer pieces. I was also noticing that my technique is starting to hold up, I am getting much more relaxed during the stroke, and am generally getting better (though the ever-evasive tumble turns are still not perfected!). I am looking forward to some solid training in the 2nd half of the lead up as well as speed work with the tri club, open water swimming (finally!) and some races! On the plus side of having to use the leisure centre, it did mean I had access to a decent gym with some decent weights, so my legs took a good battering compared to usual, which should help develop some power to hold higher speeds and power myself over the hills on the bike course.
Speaking of the cycling, what can I say…. wow! I think I found my favourite road in the country! There is a section on the B4961, where after you have passed over the first big climb on Bala road, there is a long snaking downhill part, that twists round the mountain, with some sharp descents, amazing views and the best part is a brand new road surface! I managed to hit some stupidly high speeds in the Welsh mountains and improve my cornering technique. But the views and climbs were amazing! I could ride for a could 3 hours without hitting a junction, climb solidly for 20k, and take on the best the Welsh mountains and Snowdonia had to offer! On the 2nd last day I did a 120k ride followed by a 7k run, with equivalent climbing to what I will have to deal with in the IM and it was actually quite nice. Granted, the run was a BIG shock to the system, but I felt quite good, and although I screwed up my nutrition a bit, I was holding a good pace. The long rides (which build up to 6 hours or around 180k) are there to practice what will happen during the race, so I can be confident I can do the distance, run afterwards, and have a solid nutrition plan that is tested. It is also my favourite part of the sport, and cycling around that area is just amazing. (Though trying to do an easy bike ride can be tough when there are hills whichever way you go!)
For someone who has knees that no one can work out what is wrong with them, I think 150k of running is pretty good! My running is getting better and better, and I am really starting to get into the rhythm of the long distance running. On the last day I did an 18k run at nearly race pace and felt great during it, knees held up well and I reckon come race time I should be on track for my sub-3:30 marathon (though after 180k it could be a different story!). I am getting used to running of the bike and with tired legs, and find that in the shorter brick sessions I am no longer affected on the run, and with long bike sessions, I can find my running legs after about half an hour or so and then hold a good pace.
All in all, everything is looking good (touch wood!), I have amended my projected times/goals (from the original sub-12hr), to a 1 hour 5 min swim, 6 hour bike, and 3 hour 30 marathon. Now this would give me a sub-11hr IM which would be incredible, and with more bike work and race wheels this could come down further (depending on the course, which I will reccee soon) but this is my first IM and you CANNOT underestimate it. It is the hardest single day endurance event on the planet, and there is no telling how my body will hold out after 8/9/10 hours. So my goal is still to get sub-12 hours, if I can do this I will be happy and satisfied. If I go sub-11 hours, or even sub 10:30 I will be exstatic! We shall see how I feel after another 15 weeks of training! The next 15 weeks continue with increasing the mileage until I am clocking up 25 hour weeks at my peak I suspect, and along with this there is more speed work to up the pace, increase my muscular endurance and reduce my times. Also I am finally racing!!! I live for racing, and it has been tough this year with only having one A race of the year and only another 2 built into the training plan. But I can race more after my IM. Currently lined up are Wimslow sprint tri at the end of week 18 (10th of May), which is a definate, I would have liked to have done an olympic with an OW swim, but there are none close on that date. Also I have a half-IM on the 7th June, end of week 22, and it looks like this will be Weymouth Middle Distance Tri. Was hoping to do the Dorney Middle Distance, though it appears this has now been cancelled, so Weymouth it is (if they sort their online entry problem out!). This includes a sea swim, which could be fun…
I now have a rest week, with a reduced mileage to recover from 3 hard weeks of training, and then it builds up again. Thats all for now,