Coming To The End Of The Build
The basic principles of training are that you put your body under stress, and in doing so, when you recover, it repairs itself, but in a better state than before. This is know as supercompensation, and is the underlying principle in every bit of training that we do, as I’m sure most of you know. Many, including Joe Friel, also talk about extreme compensation, or extreme overloading, which basically follows a pattern of a short pattern of time, followed by a period of recovery, in which you put your body under extreme amounts of stress, well above what you normal undertake. During this, it never recovers properly whilst in this period, but when the recovery period starts, you get a massive spike in fitness, well above what you would get from normal training.
This type of training can only be sustained for short periods of time, otherwise you risk overtraining, burning out, or more likely injury or illness first. So aside from the little sports science lesson, I have been playing a little experiment on myself in the last few weeks, to see how much of this I can take. Before I started my main build, I was probably averaging around 15 hours a week, but had had a couple of weeks of reduced training due to my stomach bug. Given my age, and knowing I recover quickly (a broken collar bone in 3 weeks!), it has been an interesting experience, and confirms what I have suspected on past training camps (such as Lanzarote going from 7 hours a week to a 30 hour week): I can take a lot of training before I start seeing negative results. Ignoring the foot injury, which was a stupid mistake on my part, it took 2 and a half weeks for cracks to begin to appear. If I had the chance to do it full time, rather than fitting it around work, I suspect it may have been less as I could have done more. But it was good fun none the less. Lessons learnt include:
- Don’t do speed work with tired legs when you haven’t done any in months
- Sleep is paramount – when I was on less than 6 hours, I really felt it. When I got 8 I really noticed the difference the next day.
- Diet is just as important, eat well, ensure you get enough protein to repair everything, and eat soon after big sessions and you will recover much quicker.
Week 3 saw a return to some sort of running form as I ramped up the frequency, running 8 days in a row. The foot injury now seems to have subsided, and I haven’t had any problems from it for a couple of days so fingers crossed it will be ok! My long run of 2 hours went well, though I certainly need to do another one next week to get used to running long again. It is a bit annoying I never managed to fit a 3 hour run in, but I will just have to cope.
Swimming included a 3.8k tt to make sure I was comfortable with the distance, and resulted in a 1 hour 09 swim! Very pleased with that, and the training has really started to show and puts me in good stead for my 1 hour 5 target.
Cycling saw an ‘easy’ office ride, which ended up me doing 3 hard laps of Beacon Fell, turning the next day’s ride into a recovery ride. On Sunday we had the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride, in which I rode to the start (I live near Blackpool), did the bike at a good effort, then rode home, finishing up with an hours brick run! Very pleased with that session, and my running after.
So Week 3 Totals:
Swim – 9.3k
Bike – 322.17k
Run – 43.37
Total Time – 21 and a half hours
Including what I have done so far this week, I have managed over 80 hours of training in under 4 weeks, so very pleased with that. I know my aerobic fitness is very good, and my run and swim speed is where I want it to be. I know the bike speed is there, but it remains to be seen if I will be able to hold the speed I want at IM effort once the fatigue has lifted. The focus for the next 2 weeks is my taper. I have one longish bike, and a long run at the start of next week to finalise nutrition and getting used to it then I need to ensure than I recover fully. I am hoping to put in a big swim week, as this will only take a week to taper down from, and hopefully this will include a trip to a lake for some OW swimming! I just have to remind myself of the principles of training when I start getting restless to train! I have a basic plan to follow, but most of it will be played by ear, at the end of the day, I know how I am feeling.
So on Sunday I am off to Llandudno to for my final race before Switzerland. Aims of the race re simple – PB and check everything for my IM. As such, I am racing in IM kit, with IM bike set up to check everything. The only change will be bike shoes, as I have decided to wear road shoes and socks for the IM, but it is not worth the hassle for an Olympic – given the mileage over the last few weeks, I am comfortable with that setup! A PB shouldn’t be too difficult given that this time last year I had done one swim in 6 weeks, having broken my collarbone and barely any running or road cycling. The only equal part could be the bike, but I am hoping the volume will ensure a good time. If the weather is bad (and rain is forecast) I won’t be taking any chances on the bike. It is a technical course with some nasty descents, and certainly nothing to gain a couple of minutes over crashing and putting myself out of IM Switzerland! The swim should be a guaranteed PB, and will be looking for sub 25 mins. The run depends on the wind and my foot, any twinges and I’ll back off, otherwise hopefully I will have a solid run.
After that it is only 2 weeks to go until the big day! I have got all my travel information through, and The Fear is beginning to creep up. But I love it, cannot wait, and am looking forward to it so much!