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!


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