Wednesday 30 March 2016

The now Annual update!!

It's been a while since I posted last, and to be quite honest, I have missed this.  It's surprising how therapeutic it is to babble on aimlessly to the absolutely nobody in particular.

So, to re-cap from the last entry (didn't want to say Last Post because I found that funny but thought most readers wouldn't), I'd pretty much decided to forget about entering any events through 2015 to allow the Heart investigations to continue, and boy they didn't seem to stop.  ECG's, blood tests, 24Hr Heart Monitors, MRI's etc etc throughout the year all the way through to the back end of September finally resulted in a formal diagnosis of the Congenital Heart Defect that I already knew about (and that the Docs don't feel is worth worrying about), and right at the end of the tests, a further diagnosis of a LV Systolic Impairment, which basically just confirms that the Heart ain't pumping as efficiently as most others, but again, the Docs will only monitor over the next couple of years as it's not a major impairment. 

With that said, all year I felt absolutely fine, and haven't had any repeat symptoms of the original chest pain from 2014.  Bonus!

And, me being me, I didn't want to completely stop any exercise, so I was continuing to do about 5-6 hours of light training all the way through to May.  Sunday morning cycles with my mate Al, occasionally joining Ashford Road Cycle Club and another local club ride, GRAPPA.  Early morning swims before work just to keep ticking over, and evening runs in the back-lanes around home.

It was during one of those runs that I fractured my leg .................
Yep.  I know.  Twat!

Now, I'm assuming that because I have no subconscious pressure of training for anything, my running was just getting better.  I'd slap the earphones in, click play ....... or at least swipe the screen, and run.  It was going so well, that in mid-May I loaded Bon Jovi (I know, I know, but it works for me!) and just sang along to my fastest ever average run speed and hardly felt it at all.  This was probably my downfall, 'cos the very next run was Injury Time ..... as opposed to Hammer Time.  Youngsters can ask their parents about that one!.
It was a lovely sunny evening (unusual in the UK) and I was about 3 miles in.  Slowly a dull pain in the lower LH ankle appeared ...... It'll be OK, will run through it.  I had done before.  Got worst .... and worst ..... to the point that I stopped and a road junction and couldn't re-start. 
There was nobody home to pick me up as the wife actually has a social life, so a very slow 4-mile hobble home was called for.

Much ICE and it'll be fine.  The pain was not sharp, and was exactly like I'd encountered loads of time over the years.  A couple of weeks off and it'll be fine.  Shin Splints!
I wasn't planning any races and my vacation was a couple of weeks away, so all's good.
Regular ICE, compression etc etc and it took a bloody age to calm down.  As in months!

So some of you may think that I was being the typical bloke and burying my head in the sand, not going to the GP ...... you may be right, but I'm not afraid of doing that sort of thing.  I just did honestly feel that it was something I'd felt before and 2-3 weeks of rest any it'll be right.

BULLSHIT!  The pain initially subsided over 3 weeks to a point where, without pressure it was 100% perfect, but I got to the point of dreading Stairs, and constant up and down from my desk was met with a face-pull that resembled me watching my dog eat shit!  Not pretty!
I finally went to the GP when it was quite clear that the swelling wasn't going down any further.  Not that it was that bad or painful.  I'd just expected it to go.
Anyway, a quick X-ray and blood test and yes, you guessed it ...... suddenly a mad panic with the dreaded 'two week consultation'.  For those who don't know the UK NHS,  as good as it can be,  waiting times for most examinations and procedures will be measured in quarters or halves ....... of years!!  Quick it ain't.   So when you get a 2-wk appointment it usually suggests something .... sinister.

A couple of MRI's later and there turned out to be nothing to worry about. All of the potential causes for worries had been ruled out and the only thing to do was to rest it until it was 100%.  This took .... no time at all because the waiting between appointments had taken about four months and the leg was fine by the time the final 'you're fine' came along.  Again, Bonus! 

I'm afraid that I didn't think to get an image of the MRI / X-ray at the time, so this image is the nearest that I could find from Dr Google!!

So what next?

Well.  to be honest I'm not sure.  I'm constantly thinking about the Heart when I go any form of exercise now, so I'm not sure how I'd fair if I entered any races.  Psychologically I don't think that I could push myself as I would want to with a long-distance event. I suppose that I'll continue with the swim / bike / run thing for the year and just see how I feel about them as the year progresses. 

I would really love to get better at the bike so will slowly build back the miles and try to keep up with the Club guys.  The Wife has recently gotten into road cycling, so I'll help here build up confidence on the roads for the early part of the year.  Traffic is quite heavy in the South East of the UK, and road surfaces are real bad, so she hasn't quite got the confidence just yet.

Swimming?  Looking forward to the Open Water season for the evening swims on the way home from work.  I've have very little enthusiasm to get out of the front door at 06:00 to use the pool for a couple of months now, so should kick my ass into gear.

Run?  I'll just ease myself into it real slow and do some exercises to strengthen up the ankles after more that 6 months off of the road.

I've been doing some simple strengthening stuff over the last couple of months - trying to get rid of the little belly that I seem to carry round with me all the time, so will continue to do that.  I've joined a couple of Calisthenics 'groups' on various formats.  YouTube vids of this look real impressive.  Not suggesting that I'll get to that level, but it might be nice to fill out my Leicester Tigers shirt a little more ;)
My Gym has just sent a letter saying that there is an imminent change of ownership - read 'prices are going to go up'!  If that's the case, I'll change to a closer gym and start going a little more.

Unfortunately due to work pressures and time needed to be spent with the Family (Daughter doing school Finals and learning to drive, Wife starting new job) I've decided to take a bit of a rest from the Ashford Tri Club for the foreseeable.  Will try to get back into it during the Summer as I do love the social side of the training.  Would love to group-run in the local woodland more.

I have a couple of overseas trips for work coming up, so hotel gyms will take a hammering, and hope to get a couple of runs out to Bondi Beach and the Sydney Harbour Bridge area.  Happy Days.

Will try to post more regularly.  Promise.

Instagram:  chaoswill1

Thursday 9 April 2015

And it's over before it began

The last sentence from the previous post reads 'GET INTO MY PLAN AND STICK WITH IT ........ for a while at least!'.  And so it passes.  That while turns out to be a full two weeks.

New Year action was looking positive.  The new Turbo regimen was working a treat.  PC issues all gone, bike almost permanently set up in the shed so that I can just jump on and ride.  FTP numbers increased from an initial 250W to 299W and really loving it.
Running going well too.  Sticking to any one of three regular country lane routes with some small hills to keep me honest, I wasn't bounding out the big miles, but the 5 - 10 mile runs were coming to me easy with a fairly constant 8 minute mile pace without trying too hard.  Perfect.
Swimming was just ticking over, mainly due to work and not being able to 'pick it up'.  I was happy with the progress (short sessions revolving around short 100 or 200 repeats mostly) and awaiting the start to the (reasonable) Open Water season where I'd up the distance quickly compared to last years efforts.
Job, as they as, is a good'un.

So, re-winding a bit, and I'd received the expected 6-monthly Out-patient Appointment in Nottingham as a standard follow-on from my visit last year.  No problems.  They had even postponed the date form early Jan back to mid Feb because of the typical NHS scheduling process.  Again, no problem. 

I was more than happy to take a day off and have a relaxing 350 mile round trip for the 10 minute consultation for closure and continuity purposes if for nothing else. 
In typical fashion, while the Doc was reading my notes off his nice PC screen, I had to fill him in on the circumstances, what / why / wherefore etc etc.  As far as I was concerned, ramping up the training following the Kitchen Project had gone exactly to plan.  The ONLY time that I'd been cautious of how I felt during training was an extended MTB ride with some friends that was a little out of my comfort zone (compared to their fitness levels and experience).  After 4+ hours on the bike my chest just felt a little heavy.  Nothing more.  I quickly recovered and training continued.  No dramas.

So, the appointment was at 15:50 and I was back in the car by 16:15.  Parking was only GBP 2.00 as well.  Bonus!
The trip home was uneventful (except for my singing) and I was home by 21:00 if my grey and fuzzy memory recalls.
Back at work the next day and I receive a call from Senior Management (Wife) asking if I have received the answerphone message from home.  NO?  'twas the Doc calling.  "Hello Mr Farrell Its Doc Hollywood (Not really, but I can't think of a better name at the moment).  We've reviewed your notes and would like to conduct further tests.  Can you call me back ASAP?'  Ah!

I replied the next working day and yes, you guessed it.  They've reviewed the previous screen-shots from the Echo and Angio taken during my stay last August and would like to discuss further 'treatment'.  Without misspelling some long words, they want to further investigate the Congenital Heart Defect with a view to 'rectification' if required, raising the risk of Stroke from blood clots passing from one heart vessel to another, then directly on to the brain.  No brain to speak of, so side-lining that one for now.
Twice I'd been waved goodbye and told the if I have any further reoccurrences of any chest pain then visit my GP, but otherwise, have a nice life.  Sure I say, no problem.  You too. 

Since that call, officially SHIT.  What the sod'in hell do I think now?  WTF, OMG, BOLLOCKS, and anything else the youth of today say.  What do I do?  I have no clarity and no real answers.  I'm not sure that the Docs see that I do a little more then 'exercise'. 
During the call I stated that I was happy to have further test done, but also requested that my care was moved closer to home - another suggestion that the Consultant in Notts recommended back in August.  Great.  Easy!!  NOT.  In my confusion, I didn't really ask what I am / am not able to do in the mean time, and follow-on calls have so far fallen on deaf ears.  Not surprising as I have to call twice just to actually receive the letter between Notts NHS and my local joint detailing the care transfer request. Moreover, we distinctly discussed the fact that I was not on any medication, and they didn't suggest I should immediately commence any, or even visit my GP pending a further consultation.  Angry Bird right here.

In the mean time, stress levels have just gone through the roof.  Literally since the day of the call I can feel absolutely EVERY heart beat.  Every little twinge or pull that people probably have every day of the week but never really notice.
Over-night I have gone from feeling strong and really positive about the Summer - maybe even more so that last year in a different way.  Not overawed with the IM thing.  Enjoying it in a different way and feeling improvements. everywhere.  As I write this I feel like someone has a Size 10 (Soucony of course) firmly planted on my Sternum and the only time it comes off is at night in bed!

6 weeks passed before I received the letter, and I'm just now awaiting a date for a local consultation.  I am not expecting this to be very quick either.

ALL thought of racing this year have been blown away and I withdrew from Outlaw last week.  Training has now been replaced by the dreaded 'exercise'  and I'm probably doing one swim, one run, one shed bike and one road bike per week without pushing myself at all.  Absolutely NO hard effort until I have finally been given the all clear to go for it.
Strangely the only time I feel 100% is during exercise (!) when I feel I'm actively controlling my heart rate.  Go figure.

I've been feeling pretty pissed at the hole thing lately.  I should apologise to these Tri friends who clearly immediately noticed something was up and offered kind words of support.  I'm not really very good at opening up (Blogging is my Therapy ...... Does that rhyme with a song?) and obviously not very good at acting either.  Appreciate it guys.  Also, I think I pissed them off a bit by updating my Facebook Banner - maybe inappropriately in hindsight.  Now revised!  Just goes to show that the head isn't there at the moment.

That'll be it for Tri Talk with this Blog ...... until I receive the All Clear.  Any suggestions for a new hobby in the mean time? ...... and a Tri Bike for sale?


Thursday 5 February 2015

Just my luck!

How the hell does anyone ever actually stick to a plan?

So I have a lucky trip abroad with work,  Dubai no less ............ but hold your horses.  It just entailed long days on a Trade Stand speaking to numerous people from the Healthcare Industry in the Arabic region, plus a day to set up and a day to re-pack stuff.  Joy!  Long days and long evenings meant not too much time to myself.

Home for four days ......

I wasn't expecting anything else really, but it might have been nice!  I'm stuck in an Exhibition Centre so wouldn't know that it WAS 25 degrees and clear blue skies.  May have well been a Manchester Summer (Rain every day).
Just to rub salt into the wounds, on the Friday that I did have off (got dragged round the Creek area where EVERYTHING was closed) I find out the Dubai Desert Classic golf was playing just round the corner.  Then, to add Vinegar onto the salt in the wound, I get home and the Tour of Dubai runs the very next week!   AHhhhhhhh  Whats a guy got the do?
Just to carry on the moan, I catch a cold on the last day and feel crap for the first week home.
I'll look at the bright side though.  I did get quality time in a decent Hotel Gym, had a (bit too warm) 25 meter pool to myself every morning and visited some fantastic restaurants and Hotel bars, so al in all, probably ends up evens with Lady Luck!

Why has this pic attached 90 degrees out?  Anyone?
I knew about the trip just prior to the Christmas break, so has intended to use it as a starting point to getting back to serious training.  I even finished creating my training plan before I left.  Its based on last years as I found it easy to fit in around home and work commitments, but instead of working on a 3wk / 1wk system, I've modified it to a 2wk / 1wk program so that I can add to the recovery a bit.  I'm also really motivated to stick to pre-set work-outs fro each session instead of just piling on the time like last year.  Its already showing progress with the bike on the Turbo, so I'll create running specific workouts to complete (both on and off road).
To compound my frustration, I was all set to kick it up straight away on my return, but this Cold wasn't in the plan.  Just means more CORE work (no 6-pack - doubt I'll ever get there, but lots of 'cross-directional' strength stuff  to help with running and swimming stroke). 
Although not yet fully recovered (I'm writing this when I'm off work er ........ sick), I did go for a gentle trot last night.  Lovely and cold, full moon - you know the scenario by now. 
Et Voila ......
Rocking a nice new pair of Saucony's in a certain 'Foff Yellow' (should be the official colour name - Mr H, have a word).  They seem sweet so far.  Will keep you updated on those.
Also just subscribed to Instagram to try and prompt more pics of training stuff if I ever remember to do it.  Search chaoswill1 if you wanna follow.  Also chaoswill on Strava where I log bike and run stuff.
PC / Turbo connection issues were sorted in the days before the trip, so will be banging out a session this evening before our regular Thursday shopping trip.  Get in there! ....... the shed that is. 
Hopefully back out on a proper bike this weekend if I'm better and the weather is at least a bit reasonable.  Need the fresh air.
Key words today:
Motivated (training)
Demotivated (work)
Sore (throat / nose)
Bemused (almost everything else)
The plan now ....
GET INTO MY PLAN AND STICK WITH IT ........ for a while at least!
W :)


Thursday 22 January 2015

Ahhh - The New Year

I mentioned in my last post that I needed some time off of work, so the Christmas break couldn't come fast enough, and with a couple of weekends in the break it meant a nice load of time away from work.  I had the 'out-of-hours' phone, but received only the one call.  Sweet!

As usual, I approached the holiday with many thoughts of grabbing a load of training time.  I knew we had a typically hectic Christmas Day, Boxing day and a day or two after that with plans, all of which were fantastic and appreciated (completely forgot about work quickly and the stress just fell away), but training for the rest of the time was not er......... focussed!  Never mind. I did get in a few nice long bike rides in the freezing cold (bottled one 28 miles in as the road ice was just not worth the risk). 

I had the onset of that old running injury, so I stayed off the runs for a week or so, but did manage my first Park Run 5K a couple of weeks ago.  Times were measured differently wherever I read - I timed 20:54, official time was 21:00.  Guess which one I'll be sticking with?  I'm pretty happy with that since I don't like speed work too much and never concentrate on speed when I do my lonely runs, and towards the end I was ultra conscious of my chest / heart rate.  Also, my PB is 20:48 from exactly one year ago.  
I'm undecided as to how many of these runs I'll do during the next few months. I guess that I'll just play it by ear.  A lot will depend on the plans for any given weekend!

The cycling remains good.  Trying not to look at times or speed.  As I mentioned, on the open road it has been a little risky with last years tyres only just replaced, a lot of frost and ice around, some howling winds recently and my lack of desire to risk it.  Having said that, one Sunday I reverted to the Rollers in the shed while watching the Isle of Man TT movie 'Closer to the Edge'.  So, dynamic cycling on rollers while watching on-board footage of a race-bike hurtling through villages at +180 mph is ..... fun!  Concentration was needed right there!

I've had a couple of great MTB rides.  One long 40miler that completely blew my up!  Had real period of disillusionment after that 'cos the old chest was really struggling.  Must remember to 1) take it easy, 2) remember that I'm building from the rest period STILL, 3) lots of time still, 4) don't be embarrassed to be slower than those you are training with 5), MTFU!
Rode Bedgebury last week with MrH.  Why-O-why do I ALWAYS drive back home from there thinking 'I must do that more often'?  Despite all the recent rain it wasn't disastrously muddy.  Sure, a little sloppy .... you should have seen the Missus's face when she saw the plastered clothes - I don't know why, I ALWAYS come back at least three times muddier than anyone else.  I do admit, the clothes remained 'soaking' in a water bucket for a couple of days before I plucked up the courage to tackle them.  Bike got cleaned straight away though :)
Note to self - DO MORE OF THAT!

The old (NEW) turbo trainer has been a bit hit and miss - mainly due to the lack of focus, but also 'cos I've had a couple of hardware (PC) issues with the web-site training software.  I needed to change the PC that I used in early Dec, but the old(ish) desk-top that I wanted to use just wouldn't acknowledge the ANT+ dongle that worked perfectly well on the loptop.  At least the company offering the software were both local (South of the UK and in to Time Trialling) and really willing to try and sort it.  The result was that it was almost 100% certain that it was my PC that was the issue, so a change of PC for a spare Loptop that I fortunately have at home (not my work one!!) and I'm back up and running ..... just in time for a business trip abroad so I can't use it for about 10 days now.  Bugger!

Swimming is going well considering the low volume I'm doing.  Happy to be doing CORE, low level strength work and technique work in the pool with short interval repeats, so Job is a good'un as they say.
The hotel that I'm in for the next week has a pool, so I'll use this to kick-start I think (hope!)

I'm lov'in the feedback I get from this blog - especially from over-seas, seeing how others cope / focus / enjoy.
Will try to remember to take some more images of training to help anyone interested see what I'm up to and the type of environment I train in.

Happy Days.


Tuesday 16 December 2014

One track mind

I'm beginning to think that I'm a little obsessed!

Although I think that I've always had the type of nature to 'need' a hobby or interest to focus on - something just for me, I don't think I have the sort of nature that has 'addictive' tendencies.  That is to say, what ever I've been interested in, it hasn't consumed me entirely.  I've always seen the bigger picture and always treated them for exactly what they were - a pass-time.  Something to enjoy, but would always be second place if more important things came up.  That has never been a problem for me.  Perfectly happy to stand-down and leave it for another day. 
But Tri ..... I'm beginning to think that it is becoming an obsession.  Even given the events of July (never to be mentioned by name again!), taking a couple of quite months and slowly ramping up the training, I've now found myself back top the place (in my mind) that I was in June / July.  Almost every spare moment I have I'm thinking about ......... the next training session, where I can fit in another Turbo set, where I'm gonna run, the swim set that I'll be doing tomorrow morning.
I have my face in Magazines, reading other Blogs, listening to Pod Casts (Friday Fat Black, IM Talk and The Real Starky are favourites), thinking about speeds and times and distances ALL the time!! STOP NOW!!

I NEED a break from work now (the past three weeks at work have been almost unbearable with office politics (not involving me, but with an open-plan office you just can't help but be dragged down by it).  I'm sure that I've been assigned my own personal 'Dementor' to follow me about when I'm in the building, sucking the life out of me when ever certain 'subjects' or people are mentioned.  I look forward to customers calling in and placing demands on you, just to create some relief..... or the Holiday break to do some more training :).  I should be moving to a new office come Jan, so that'll bring some relief.  The long commute home helps.  I've catch up with the obligatory PodCasts - The Real Starky is SO funny, and I'm also trawling my way through the Jack Reacher book series on Audible.  They make the journey fly by, and when I arrive home, seeing the Girls and doing a bit of exercise always helps.

So, thoughts have been:
  • Considering the small amount of running that I've done, how come I feel so good? 
Mostly night running due to the time I get in from work, but that's all good.  I've mentioned before, running round the back-lanes of Kent in the cold rocks.  The last few runs (5 / 6 miles) have been at least as fast as pre 'the event' with relatively little effort.  I've certainly not gone out with an intention to push the pace.  I'm thinking of throwing in a couple of long runs to see what I feel like there.  I'm trying desperately to think only about form while running and look at the numbers when I get home.  This seems to be working - NO over-exertion, NO pressure.  I must get into the habit of using the local athletics stadium for some Reps on the way home from work.  I think that that'll really help my pace.  The 'interval-based workouts that I've done using the Turbo Trainer are already seeing benefits, so I'm thinking that run intervals may also help.  I MUST keep my eye on the prize though - FINISH first, time will be what it will be.

  • Why do I NOT want too must more kit?
SO it's always nice to look at bike and gadgets and all (and I always do), I'm really happy with what I have right now.  The Chinarello is working a treat.  Smooth as silk and I feel completely at home on it.  OK, some winter tyres are probably long over-due and I have a new chain to throw at it soon, I'd be really hard pushed to replace it right now.
Watches and things don't really interest me.
I've invested in some exercise stuff to help with the CORE work-outs (Yoga band, Medicine Ball, Core Roller), but they are not exactly 'sexy' gadgets!  Am I normal?
OK, so maybe a new ATC Tri suit some time soon (broke the Zip on mine in hospital as I recall), maybe some nice new Soucony's will be coming my way in the New Year (but trainers are just wear'n tear aren't they?......... and a MTB would be nice .......... some new wheels may be coming next year .......and a training vacation ...... and ........ OK, I do want after stuff.  Consider myself normal.
  • Target time - What 'could' I achieve .......... NO stop that.  What will be will be .......... But could I qualify for GB ..........NO - STOP IT!!

  • Are the running injuries going to return when I crank up the mileage?

  • Etc, Etc Etc.  You get the message.

The connections via GOOGLE+ are growing across the globe.  I've people following the Blog from all over.  It's bloody great.  NZ, Chile, USA, Columbia, Hungary, Italy ......... even Wales!  Reading some other's stories is interesting.  Different motivations, accomplishments and interests. 
Should really post more - tri and spread the ATC word!  Would ATC make a good global brand?  Think we should start an informal competition to see who has ATC club kit in the most far-off place for training or competing.

Recent bike action has been bloody great fun.  Sort of can't get enough but just have to juggle weekend commitments with saddle time.  Couple of HARD hours on the MTB a couple of weeks ago followed by a nice long road ride.  Couple this to the Turbo and I'm really happy with two wheels.  For all the rides that I've done over the years I've never suffered from sore legs the day after .... until the Turbo.  Even after 'the event' and 6+ hours of work - not a problem next day.  Maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough or was just happy in that comfort zone where I felt that I was working adequately, or I've re-calibrated the mind into having different targets.  Now, EVERY session on the bike in the shed results in sore Quads.  Sadistic, but LOVE IT!!
The re-calibration needs to transfer to the 'recovery' rides.  This is relatively gentle saddle time just ticking over with a low heart rate and minimal effort.  It is really difficult to understand that it IS Ok to ride slow and maintain what seems to be NO effort and still call it 'training'. 
I have found it strange that the sessions I concentrate on this and just plod away at 60 - 65% I get to a stage just over an hour in when I become so hungry I'm climbing off the bike almost shaking.  It happens within minutes.  One second I'm fine watching a film or something and then, the next I'm loosing concentration and desperate for food.  Bizarrely, working with a higher effort and I can go much longer than that while feeling relatively fine.  Must be the way I'm drawing on the old energy reserves or something!
I generally try to train in empty and look to replenish after a work-out.  I think this works well for me and the time that I get to train. I've started on the Fat Black coffees in the morning.  I've found it easy to do and feel fine with it, so I'll persevere with this.  I don't have a problem with any difference in taste and all.  I do need to drink more water though, so I'll focus on this during work-days - and stay off the Coffee after 12:00!! 

It seems that every week I try and plan for the next Park Run, or a nice long run, or hours on the bike or the Track Interval sessions but never seem to get round to it.  I suppose that isn;t too much fo a problem at the moment and I should remember to chill out about it.  I'm not in a fixed plan right now, so should just make sure I maximise the training that I can do!! 
I'll continue with the bike at Weekends, the Turbo mid-week and just slotting swim and run is as and when.  Over the Holiday period I'll be compiling The Plan onto a wall-chart and slotting in those target events to work back to a start-date so that I can slowly start to crap myself :)

Happy training!


Monday 1 December 2014

Ramping UP!

So the training  is starting to take shape now and ramping up already - The bike mainly.  Still not going to panic too much about the run or swim just yet.

Last years plan for the bike only really ended up being road riding.  I was happy with that and I think I stuck to it quite well.  It was only after the event do you understand how all of those slow slogs through constant headwinds at what seem to be walking pace really do have some affect come summertime and race season.  Many was the time that I arrived home after a Sunday ride having been dragged around by Al (trying desperately to draft him ..... usually without success) in the freezing cold and drenched through sort of demoralised that I wasn't progressing quite as I wished. 
I did notice some improvement, but there didn't seem to be a fair return on the effort if you know what I mean. 

So for this winter, as I've enjoyed (not) the pumping House Music and the tacky nature of the Gym bike, I've invested in a shiny new Turbo Trainer.  Yeh, Yeh.  For those who read some early posts, I have previously talked of my Rollers and how I prefer these.  Well, opinion hasn't changed.  They are still a favourite, but they will be used in a different way.
The priority will be to get out on the road and Mountain Bike as much as possible at the weekends, but when the weather is too bad to have either a safe (!) or reasonable session, then the Rollers will be employed for longer duration Tempo training (steady-state constant effort stuff).  The new ingredient (and a different type of fun) will be the Turbo .....

This will be used for shorter duration (1 - 1.5 hrs) of 'Interval' based sessions where you vary your effort based on Power (through the pedals - measured in Watts), Heart-rate zones or simulated Slope Gradient.  The Turbo that I have is a computer controlled thing that links to an ipad of PC and automatically varies the resistance of the wheel depending on the requirements of the pre-set program.  All very cleaver stuff, and exactly what I like.  An image of a typical session graph is below.  I've subscribed to a web site ( who provide full training plans and individual turbo session plans.  And before anyone askes, no, I'm not sponsored by them, its just a site that is exactly what I wanted to back-up the use of the Turbo.


These plans will be the staple diet for weekday evenings.

Having said that, I've been loving the renewed enthusiasm for hitting the streets and trails with some fantastic weekend rides lately.  Muddy fun on the MTB (with a bloody hard road / off-road ride of 34.5 miles on Saturday followed by a ATC Club ride knocking up 47 more on the Sunday) only slightly tempered with the need to clean the thing after every outing ...... and the looks I get from the Missus when I return plastered in mud.

I'm all set for trying to do one MTB ride and one road ride throughout the winter.  It is strange how I seem to have a lot of confidence on the MTB in the slippery mud, but recently the road bike confidence levels are not there.  If its dry then fine, but any sort of damp surface any I'm a little tentative around the faster corners.  Not to worry.  Better safe than sorry I suppose!

I've already noticed progress on the bike (from the level that I can remember from just prior to the last Outlaw attempt), so all remains good.  I'll try to keep updating on my perceived progress as the posts continue.

Running has been OK, although not exactly full-on.  I have a fantastic night-run the other week with my head-torch around the country lanes.  I'll do that again this evening.
Seeing the various creatures eyes illuminating in the woods is quite un-nerving to start with, but it is nice to be off the main roads.  Although I hadn't run for a few weeks, the pace was just as I left it prior to the race (not the pace DURING the race!!), so I can only be happy with that.  At this point my only plan will be to concentrate on training to get through the race, not beat a specific race time.  I have a feeling that it'll be a massive mental struggle for me rather than anything else.
I'll be entering a local Half Iron distance event in May so I'll use this as a gauge of my running progress off the bike, together with entering Half-marathons and Duathlons in the early season.  Just watch this space!


Friday 7 November 2014

And so it (Re..) Starts!

So, the last instalment seems like it was ages ago.  Seems like I've just been busy with work and stuff to have not really considered the planning or scheduling of the next 9 months of training and events.  Me and the Missus only really started to discuss it last night actually, and the small number of events that I think I'll do all seems to slot in quite nicely.  More later!

So, my lethargy to get back in to training seems to emanate from work-life at the moment.  I can't seem to get in to a routine that I can slot training around.  Days away in Ireland here and there and other things meant a bout of attacking semi-functional Gym bikes with only limited success.  What the bloody hell Hotels think they are doing in advertising a Gym when the bikes are nothing more then pitiful!  Broken pedal straps, missing illuminations for the control panel ...... and 'sticky' .... bits!

Now I know the gym bikes are not a very good representation of the type of things we want to get up to so maybe I shouldn't worry too much, but they do keep me out of the Bar and to be honest, I quite enjoy the use of the display statistics and various interval sets that you can do.  Think I'll invest in a programmable Turbo Trainer to help over the winter and mix it in with the Rollers for non-road bike training.

I have taken a step away from listening to Radio in the car and started listening to Tri related pod-casts.  This in itself is a bit of a double-edged sword.  At first it was quite a bit of fun as it was during the lead-up to Kona this year (late Oct), so there were loads of great interviews and opinions on who will do what in the race.  However, along-side that, there are some podcasts that are extremely opinionated on certain aspects of nutrition and general health-related 'policies' to stick to during training.  It seems that the more I podcasts I listen to, the larger the number of opinions that you are supposed to subscribe to.  One of the main issues that I have with this is that all of them are mostly focussed around Elite or semi-elite athletes, a category of which I sadly don't fall in to.  The notion of making suggestions for training based on the total number of hours you have to train in any given week (or to recover for that matter), or the food options / supplements, various grams of this or that that you should be monitoring, your fluid (type and intake) simply baffle and just can't be considered for the vast majority of hobby triathletes. 
Probably the most interesting aspect that I'm keep to at least research more is to become 'fat-adapted', where you gradually change your eating habits away from Carbs to certain fatty foods, training your body to relay on fat stores before carbs.  I'm really undecided on trying it, but I'll certainly look in to it. Something I'll also look in to will be to become a Gluten-free eater.  I do think that the largest consideration would be what impact it will have on general family eating habits.  I'm not going to impose anything on the Ladies of the house if it proves to be too awkward to do!

A couple of the Podcasts are:  Friday Fat Black, Triathlon Research and IM Talk

So training hasn't kicked off with any purpose yet.  I've bought a 2015 year planner that still remains blank.  Must fill that in soon!
I'll plan it based on last year for the four or so months lead up to the race(because sessions were flexible around the time I had - I didn't feel compelled to stick rigidly to it), but I'll structure and focus a lot more during the winter period.  Last year I feel I just went through the motions during the winter period.  This time I'm gonna ensure that I have a specific aims of the workout.
I've slotted into the bike quite well with the weekend rides going well.  I'll get the routine of complimenting them with evening interval sets.  Hopefully the Turbo trainer I'll get will have a power meter on it, so I'll use the Interval Set plans I have made up to develop as much as possible, and use it all the way through to about May time when the real long rides will start.
I intend the road rides to be really slow - Zone 1 / 2 heart rate as much as possible...... Oh, and MOUNTAIN BIKE ALOT! 

Swim stuff with stay pretty much the same as last year.  Given the time that I have available, it worked OK.  Just be sure to extend the Open Water Swimming as quickly as possible.  Do loads of 100m reps in the pool mainly.

Run, now where DO I start here?  I had no real long-term consistency last time so have nothing to compare to.
The final couple of months before the race went well and felt really good, so I'm inclined to just build up to repeat those as soon as I can.  Maybe off-road stuff to work on strength and hills, then graduate to long slow stuff.  The hotel gyms have at least got me hitting the tread-mill and a reasonable period of time.  Again, I think these are worse than gym bikes as the tread-mill does a lot of the work for you, but to observe technique in the mirror and as a means to build back up to getting outdoors again, it is a means to an end!

Again, I head nothing but mixed messages about the distances to run in the training for a Long Course Tri.  Some say don't do a marathon as it takes too long to recover.  Others say do as many as possible as the run is the hardest part and you need to prepare yourself.  Well, I wouldn't know about that yet would I!
I'm inclined to do some very long runs, but maybe not a race so that I can happily pace myself to cope with running for four+ hours.

Events that I'll try and do over the full training period:

Hole Park MTB Duathlon - Mid March
Paddock Wood Half Marathon - Late March

East Grinstead Tri - Early May (slim possibility)
Marshman Half - Mid May

Bedgebury Trail Half Marathon - Early June

If anyone has any feedback or questions, I'd be more than happy to make myself look a fool in responding!!

I'll try and take some images of training during the winter period to let you see how I'm getting on.