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The London Triathlon in aid of Cancer Research

Cancer Research UK
Just Giving


Part three, speed training.

To read from the start of this article use the drop down menu above or click HERE

This is the beginning of the build up to racing. The idea is that for the past few months I've built my base fitness by exercising in my aerobic zone (fat burning zone) and built up my endurance. I'm sure that's the case as I can now complete each event in isolation and continue for much further than race distance, even in running! That has trained my body to primarily use fat as a fuel which the body has an almost limitless supply of rather than using carbohydrates which it has about 1.5 hours worth. For the next 12 weeks there will by an emphasis on speed work but during shorter training sessions. That trains the nervous system to operate at a faster rate and get those muscles moving faster. This will be quite a difficult time as it's prone to injury which I can do without. I'll have to step it up very slowly and take care, paying attention to my aches and pains and judging what training to do.

I've entered a few other shorter races as a way to learn first hand what I'll need to do on the big day. There are loads of people who are willing to offer advice but advice is only so good and isn't like being there. I'll keep you posted as to how I do, first race is Easter Sunday at Sevenoaks. However, I won't be doing any specific training leading up to these events. They'll be like training days in themselves rather than races. As if I'm going to be able to get there and not race! Following my running injury I've come up with a new schedule. This one has only two sessions of each sport with some spare sessions where I can do what I feel I need to work on. I've been feeling that I've been swimming where I ought to be cycling so decided to make the schedule more flexible.

Fund Raising
Ask Michele or me for a 'Charities' tube. It's a tube of Smarties, complete with Smarties of course, you eat the Smarties then use the tube to collect pound or 20p coins. Once the tube is full or your collection is complete you can either pay it in by clicking <HERE> or give the tube to Michele or me and we'll pay it in for you. A tube holds about 42 pound coins or 76 20p's (£15.20).

Remember, this is in aid of Cancer Research and you can donate to them online by clicking the 'Just Giving' logo above or the thermometer on the left, you can also view others who have sponsored me. Or email Michele or me for a 'Ch-arities' tube and save and donate that way.

SwimFebruary 04:
I like swimming. We've been working on speed from the start of February and although it can get quite tiring I'm sure I'm beginning to see the results. An example of the swim set goes like this: 1 x 150m, 8 x 50m, 8 x 25m with 30 seconds rest between each swim. (To explain that some more, first swim 150m and rest for 30 seconds, then swim 50m and rest for 30 seconds, then another seven 50m with 30 seconds rest between each etc). The idea is that by swimming short amounts you can swim it faster and by swimming faster you're developing your muscles to take on that speed. I've been averaging around 25 seconds for 25m. If you translate that to the race day distance then I'll be getting out the water after 25 minutes, 5 minutes inside my target. So, at last, I can swim fast enough but not for long enough. I'm told that will come in time. Only 6 months to go!

March: A few problems this month with swimming. Not with me but with the pools! The Sunday pool was double booked so I missed a long swim which makes quite a difference to my weekly total. I went Tuesday morning instead and managed to swim a mile in 35 minutes and almost did it non-stop. Had to stop twice because one person thought it would be a good idea to swim back stroke very slowly while other were front crawling. She managed to get in everyone's way. The Wednesday pool was vandalised and they had to drain it out, clean and refill it. We didn't miss the session but as the water was very fresh (they'd only finished refilling it that day) it was freezing cold. Should've taken my wet suit.

Towards the end of the month I changed my swimming to stringing lots of lengths together to get ready for my first race. It's a 400m swim and although I can swim well over 4000m in a swim set not much of it is strung together. I've done three sessions of getting in 400m swims and I'm getting better at it, we'll see how I go on the day. Easter Sunday is the first race at Sevenoaks.

April: Done my first race! Here's the swim report: Sevenoaks Tri, April 11th. A 7.30am start at the pool had us up at 4am to eat, pack the car and get there in time to register and look around to see what I have to do. Got to the pool side with a few minutes to go. Got in, the man said GO and off I went. Swam 400m quite easily, didn't run out of puff or struggle at the 100m stage as I have in training. Just easy back-and-forth swimming. Jumped out the pool and run into transition 1 and recorded a time of 7 mins 29 secs, quite good! (Jump to Cycling April to continue).

BikeFebruary 04:
I'm now putting in serious effort to cycle twice a week. So far that means twice a week on the turbo trainer which is really dull but I'm treating it as a head start for when the weather gets better and the sun comes up earlier. My Tuesday ride is an hour on the turbo, developing my aerobic system by keeping my heart rate in zone three, see the previous page for info. My Thursday ride is an hour and a half on the Turbo which is quite difficult to do. Takes a lot of staying power to say on board and keep going. I haven't ridden the new bike this month, always seems to be raining/dark/cold.

Went for a ride last Sunday on the new bike and went around the same route I was using at the end of last summer, a 35k (21 mile) hilly ride. It was very windy and I rode into a head wind for about two-thirds of the ride but I was still 2 minutes faster than my fastest time set last year on a lovely calm sunny day in September. Not sure if that's my work on the indoor turbo or the new bike, probably the new bike! Very encouraging though.

March: As the weather gets better I'm squeezing in a long Sunday ride (except today as it's raining and windy out). The ride takes me down to Edenbridge then back thorough Sevenoaks and totals 45 miles. On the new bike it takes about 3 hours, a full 20 minutes faster than my mountain bike, even in the cold and wind. I'm looking forward to the nice weather as I should be able to get a lot of quality rides in. I've pencilled in a longer ride that takes me down to East Grinstead then across to Tunbridge Wells, that's 60 miles. Looking out the window though, that might be a while off.

On the 30th I rode my 35k route again and took another 2 minutes off my time. Down to 1hr 14 minutes now and averaging 17 mph. Getting there!

April: (Sevenoaks Tri report) I ran through T1 only wearing my cycle shorts and soaking wet, that wakes you up in the cold frosty April air. Got my clothes, helmet and number on and off I went. Cycled the course which is quite hills and approximately 16 miles. I think I went out too fast, my heart rate was up in the high 160's which is higher than in training by about 10 beats per minute. That's important as it means I'm using more carbs and it's hard to sustain that level of effort. I tried to lower my HR on the second part of the ride and it did come down a bit. Got back to transition in 55 minutes - not bad! Over took three people and was only over taken by one. (Jump to Running April to continue).

Me runningFebruary 04:
At long last my hamstring injury seems to be healing. I've managed two runs this month with no ill effect. The hamstring feels a bit tight the following day but that's OK. I'm continuing to stretch it twice daily and even been trying out a few yoga moves! I'm giving up serious run training for the time being as I keep getting hurt. I'm going to continue running shorter distances in the hope of building some strength, running about 6k (4 miles). I'm doing an hour a week at the gym, working on my legs to try and help and also attending sports massage. He said he'd be able to detect any problems and let me know before they cause me any serious problems. Exactly what I need.

Went for a massage a few days ago and he found a knot in my 'gluteus medius' which is a muscle on the side of your bottom. He's smoothed it out and since then the stiffness in my hams has gone. I'm very relieved about that and now running is just the usual mix of struggling to get around and trying not to stop. I'm managing three runs a week and although it leaves my legs a bit tight there's no more drama, fingers crossed!

March: Since Trevor (the massage chap) sorted my woes I've had a good spell of running. Increased my distance to 7.5 miles and can now run three times a week. The 7.5 mile run takes about an hour and is longer than race distance so should build me up quite nicely for the event. Running is still the hardest of the three events but at least I'm getting somewhere with it now.

I've been working on distance all month and in the last week I put in a 10 mile run. My first ever. Took me 1hr 19mins which is also the longest time I've ever run in one go. I'm just relieved I'm getting through these runs without any injury. I hope I've seen the back of them.

April: (Sevenoaks Tri report) I put the bike back on the rack, took my helmet off and changed into my running shoes and headed off into Knowl Park. Running down a really steep path, through a gate at the bottom and into the park I turned right and ran up a valley. That took my up hill for about a mile or so which was very hard. I struggled to get up the very steep path at the end and had to walk a little bit of it. Once at the top I turned back on myself and ran back parallel to the valley. That's down hill and I was able to get my breath back and relax into it. At the end of another mile it's the turn around point and you basically loop back on yourself. The run is about 5 miles in all and finished off with a run back up the steep alley into the car park. Run time was 41 minutes, again quite good. Total event time was 1hr 47mins but I don't know where I finished in the field as they've not published the results yet! I'll let you know. I learnt a lot about racing and I have new things to work on, such as pacing on the bike and running up hill. I over took a few on the run and no one ran past me. All very encouraging.

For part four, click HERE

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