Week 21 of 40: Travel & Training

Training is now a very big part of my life. I’ve had to plan a lot of travel and training this week, from getting to the start of leg 15 for the South Downs relay to travelling to Portugal. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

May 21st to May 27th

As my children are now 17 and 21, they’re very used to me training on holiday and sometimes waiting for me to get it done before we head out for a day a the beach. Today I’m writing this in training time! Who said a holiday is about resting?

This week started with a recovery day after last week’s Swashbuckler Race. My back was very sore and I had a headache for most of Monday which I put down to the heavy atmospherics and dehydration. Nurofen sorted both out!

On Tuesday I had intended to train, but I also had to finish my year-end accounts before going away, so I sat in my training gear at my desk from 8am to 8pm and didn’t really move! Two days off training…. sacrilege.

I didn’t need to worry about having had two rest days – I needed it. On Wednesday I set off just before 630am to pick up Tori and travel the 90+ minutes in the car to the start of leg 15 for our final recce before the forthcoming South Downs Relay, a 100-mile running relay event which we’re taking part in next week, as part of the Brighton Triathlon club Mixed team. Needless to say the run included some serious hills and Tori and I ran very slowly! After dropping Tori to Havant station, I drove to Heathrow airport to meet my friend Celia, who had flown in from California for our tip to Portugal. By the time we got home it was almost 4pm and I’d eaten a yogurt and 3 Clifbar blocks and drunk coffee. Celia and I enjoyed a lovely Thai meal and a few beers – but I was running on adrenaline. 

On Thursday, Celia and I rushed off to an excellent intense 45 minute spin session, then it was all about packing and travelling. I had a familiar lightheaded feeling and a few sparks of light, that usually sparks a migraine, but luckily  it didn’t develop. We arrived at our destination and ate late, and hit bed by 1am.

The migraine did arrive on the first morning of the holiday and floored me for half an hour, but in the afternoon I managed a lovely 2K sea swim.  On Saturday I was still a bit wary and enjoyed a 5K run with my daughter and some swimming in the pool (it’s tiny so I went around in circles rather than kick off the side)! On Sunday energy levels were restored and I enjoyed exploring, taking pictures and running for 10 miles and in the afternoon managed 2350M in the clear sea. The week’s hours were single digit for the first time in over six weeks, but I was quite happy to have has an easier week after racing.

Coach’s Summary

Coach Dave has given me a nice mid-term summary: ‘I have to bring you back to the objective figures that I am measuring. When we met before your training camp holiday, on 17th March your Chronic Training Load (CTL) was at 37 TSS points per day. As of today, it is at 74 TSS per day. So, although mid March was quite a low point for you in terms of the cumulative training load from the New Year until then due to your accident and surgery / recovery, you have still managed to steadily build your volume to double what it was then. Fitness lags training load a bit as it takes time to absorb and you won’t really feel the benefit obviously for another few weeks. We’re aiming to build a kind of fitness that won’t be truly tested until Barcelona in October and over the time between now and then, we’re going to have to trust the process and track the increasing training load. Sessions which feel hard now, will seem easier, particularly on the bike in terms of duration and with your swimming pace.’

 

 

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The end of week 20: Swashbuckler Middle Distance Ironman

The last post in my training log was written in the middle of week 20 – in the run up to the Swashbuckler, my first half Ironman of 2018 –  and only my second middle distance race (here’s my first one). Here’s my race report.

In that post I said;

“I don’t have great expectations timewise on Sunday. I’m guessing the swim could be anywhere between 2.00 and 2.15 per 100m, I’m expecting to the bike to be between 13 and 15 mph and the run between 8.00 and 8.45 min mile pace. Transition is not a strong point. On that basis I’ll be aiming for around 6.5 hours plus.”

The swim which turned out be 350M short of Middle distance was in fact slower than my prediction at 2.20 per 100M (36.29). The bike was a bit faster, at 16.4 mph for 53 miles (3.14)  but a much easier course than I’d expected and relative to the rest of the field, slow! The run thankfully was at my optimistic end at exactly 8.00 min mile pace for 13.85 miles in a time of 1.50.53. Transitions were slow! The finish time was 5.50.

How early?

Overall, I was very happy with the result as it put me where I thought I was and I was very pleased to get a middle distance race done 20 weeks out. Racing, particularly in triathlon, not only gives you an injection of fitness, but it also is a learning arena. In triathlon there are more variables to consider than in the single sport and therefore always lessons to learn.

Swim

The positives for me were the 330am alarm and 515am start wasn’t as bad as I feared. Swimming at 515am may have accounted for my slower swim, but also I have to admit I’ve done very little swimming in the last six months (even before breaking my collar-bone). I was in the wrong position at the start – too near the front so had to endure lots of kicks in the face and large bodies trying to swim over mine! I looked up at one point and it seemed to be a frenzy of arms and splashing water in the mist and it reminded me of a brilliant photograph from a tri magazine – but I wasn’t sure it was that brilliant being in it! However, I managed to avoid panicking – unusual for me in this sort of chaotic swim.

Transition

I was very slow in transition one – a total of 6’13. I hadn’t mentally rehearsed transition or allowed myself to think about what I should do. And for transition two I hadn’t managed to sort out laces in my new running shoes. I had decided for this middle distance race doing it was more important than the fine-tuning, but I will pay attention in my next race (The Tribesman in Galway in July).

Bike

On the bike I realised that my cold hands were going to get colder. I had a thin bike jacket, but hadn’t put in arm warmers or gloves – a mistake, particularly with such an early start. I couldn’t change into the bigger gear and was only able to move through the easier gears. I couldn’t grab my bottle for fuel but I reasoned to myself that it would probably be an hour of coldness and I could cope with that. After an hour I attempted my bottle. I had to slow down almost to a stop and managed to a few good gulps of TailWind. I also ate  half a Clifbar. The second time I tried, the bottle felt out of my hands and I decided I needed fuel so got off the bike and ran back to where it had rolled off the side of the road. The next time I dropped it, I let it go! But I finished the bar. I felt I had enough fuel for today.

So far so good. I was enjoying the ride through the insanely scenic New Forest, where cows and donkeys roam freely on the quiet roads and a heathery backdrop made for a peaceful early morning setting. Cycling into the finish I became aware how much work on the bike I’ll need to do as I saw more and more runners streaming past and guessed I was in the bottom third. I knew even with a good run I wouldn’t be making it up though the ranks of the women, but I decided the run was my chance to feel a bit better about my peformance.

Run

The run started well and as I comfortably passed people, most of whom were on their second lap, I did let them know I was on my first. I didn’t want them to feel despondent. Passing through people is a great psychological boost and the 7.45 wish pace felt easy, feeling I was holding back I thought I’d go faster on the second lap and pick it up to 7.30. This was not to be! With hardly anyone left on the course my pace dropped off on round two, not shockingly so and I didn’t physically feel bad. I knew I was on for my goal of 8 min mile pace and sub six hours, so felt happy. I also felt relieved not to have bonked at all and reassured that I’m fit, even if I’m not super fast.

A good day

After the race I spoke to my coach about my slight disappointment with being so far down the field after the swim and the bike. Not surprisingly he reminded me that I need to do more of both. I’m also hoping that a time trial bike will help me to race faster, but I’m very aware that all the gear… well it won’t get me far if I haven’t put the miles in. Roll on the summer….

Week 20 of 40: Feeling fit, plans to ban the booze, and pre-race stuff

Build up to the Swashbuckler 70.3 Triathlon and some random stuff

I’m writing this on Thursday morning before I get stuck into my year-end accounts. It’s feeling so summery. I love this time of year. I’m feeling fit! I noticed it first last week. Running felt lighter, easier, cycling faster – swimming, well not quite so as I haven’t done enough. I feel like my endurance base is building. I’ve had lots of tired days, but today I’m not tired (yesterday after early morning swimming I did take a 20-minute snooze at my desk). I lay in until 715am and had a late start today. I did procrastinate, but managed to get my run back and be ready to start the day properly by 1015am – so I’ll get my full eight hours in (a thing of mine being self-employed is that I have to get eight hours in, and that doesn’t include blog writing!).

More Alcohol-free beer Vicar?

I’m building up to going booze-free. It’s something I’ve talked about for, erm, years (and yes I have written about it too!). Pre-children I was a very heavy, madly hedonistic  drinker, then in my late 20s/early 30s a non-drinker for some of pregnancy (but not all), after that I became a social drinker. I’ve had non-drinking months, I’ve drunk just at the weekend (but to be honest not very often) and I’ve run 20+ marathons this way. I haven’t been ‘drunk’ drunk for a long, long time, I haven’t been sick, or been so hungover that I’ve been wishing the day away (although this was something in the past I was too familiar with). I’m not unhealthy from drinking (well not that I know of) but I do battle with drink in that I always think about what I’m going to drink and I always feel it needs to be kept under control. I do keep it under control, but, it takes energy! I also know that the fact that I have to think about not drinking at all, and don’t just don’t do it with ease, means it has some control over me. And that won’t do at all!

So, I’m cutting out most booze now and going booze-free from the beginning of June (I’ve got a holiday to fit in) until, well at least until the Ironman. I think it’ll be one less thing to think about – i.e. I won’t need to ask if am I dehydrated from the two glasses of wine I had the night before, or because I didn’t take on enough fluids on the bike? If I’m not boozing, I’ll know. I think it’s just easier to get it out of the picture whilst I focus on IM training. I’m not expecting to feel massively different because at the moment I don’t drink enough for it to be noticed when it’s gone, but I do think it takes away an excuse to not perform so well.

The Random Race Stuff

The reason for writing now is to capture where I’m at before I take on my first proper half ironman on Sunday, the Swashbuckler, in the New Forest. When it gets to writing up on Sunday this will be all-consuming, and my mind will be full of the race, analysis and what’s coming next . This is, strictly speaking, my second middle distance triathlon as I did Braveheart Ben Nevis Triathlon in September 2016 but I’m not sure that can compare to other 70.3’s as the run was a long hike up Ben Nevis, so I feel like a 70.3 virgin.  My coach has said don’t go mad this week, but don’t taper as this race is part of the bigger picture –it really is just training for Ironman Barcelona. He’s away for a few days so I’m not sure what he’ll make of me doing a 8.5 mile run this am (albeit very slow and comfortable at 115 HR)… but I just felt good and the sun was shining.

I don’t have great expectations timewise on Sunday. I’m guessing the swim could be anywhere between 2.00 and 2.15 per 100m, I’m expecting to the bike to be between 13 and 15 mph and the run between 8.00 and 8.45 min mile pace. Transition is not a strong point. On that basis I’ll be aiming for around 6.5 hours plus.

As for the rest of the week, I’ve got a swim tonight and a club turbo/My Ride session tomorrow – then it’s all about a weekend of getting ready for, travelling to, and then being in the water for the painfully early 5.15am start for racing.  I’d of course like to surprise myself with faster times but we’ll just have to see – and importantly I’ve got to pick up the training again on Tuesday. Watch this space…

Bump, Bike & Baby: Endurance Woman Author

Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary

Mum to Aran four, and Cahal two, Moire O’Sullivan, 42 is author of Bump, Bike & Baby. She lives in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland and is married to Pete Power, 48. Fiona Bugler met her to talk about being an endurance woman, an author and mum of two.

Tell us about youR life pre kids?

‘I’ve always been an advendurer. Before having children, I worked in the charity sector, and lived and worked full-time in Kenya for seven years before picking up employment in Vietnam, Nepal, and Cambodia. Even when I was technically living at home in Ireland, I ended up travelling on assignment to places as far flung as Afghanistan, Rwanda, Bangladesh, and East Timor.

‘I took up mountain running at the age of 30. As well as winning Ireland’s Mountain Running Championship in 2007 and 2008, in 2009 I became the first person to complete the Wicklow Round (after a failed attempt in 2008), a 100K circuit of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains covering twenty-six summits to be completed within 24 hours. I subsequently wrote about my Wicklow Round battles in the book, ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears – An Irish Woman’s Journey of Self-Discovery.’

And then you had kids… how does the story progress?

‘When Pete, my husband, and I suggested to others that we wanted to start a family, everyone was sceptical that we could pull it off. We had such busy lives already that no one could figure out how we would find the time to fit in kids also.

‘Having children changed life. In three small words – an awful lot.  Though initially I thought I would go back to work, I didn’t in the end. My husband and I did the sums, we discussed how we ultimately wanted to raise our two children, and in the end we decided that I would stay at home to mind our two boys. I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mum, but I must admit it’s worked out well in the end.

‘Because I have a lot less free time on my hands now with two boys to take care of, I am much more focused when it comes to training and racing. Before I might hear about a Saturday event during the week and decide spontaneously to do it. Now I plan all my races at the beginning of the year for the coming 12 months.

‘Straight after my first child, Aran, was born, I also started working with a coach, Eamonn Tilley, to help me get back in shape. Having a coach means that all my training now has a specific purpose and is designed to reach my racing goals. Gone are the days when I go for a run or a bike just for a bit of fun and a wander.’

How did you manage sport through pregnancy?

‘During my first pregnancy, I forced myself to keep going as long as I could. I bought a new road bike when I was 12 weeks pregnant and joined a new cycling club. I competed in a five-hour adventure race when I was nearly five months gone. I kept running until my third trimester when I got a horrible stitch and gave myself a scare. I even went orienteering when I had only a month left. I was effectively in denial, desperate to do as much as I could before the baby came along.

‘Second time around I was much more sensible. I listened to my coach Eamonn and did the gentler sessions he suggested. The most racing I did this time around was a 5k at 25  weeks. I was also far too tired to be doing any crazy training or racing. I was too busy running after Aran, who was by then an active toddler. Having a toddler in the house while pregnant can sometimes feel like competing in an arduous endurance race!’

You clearly love the great outdoors – what is it you most enjoy?

‘I love the solitude that I only seem to find in the mountains, the fact that I can have the whole place to myself within a few minutes of leaving the nearest car park. I love the challenge of being in the wilderness, of finding my way using just a map and compass so that I end up in places few frequent. I also enjoy the chance to learn humility when the great outdoors decide that they don’t want me around, chasing me away with bad weather or inclement terrain.’

What are your sporting-career highlights?

‘I am really proud of winning Ireland’s National Adventure Race Series three times. My two children, Aran and Cahal, were born in 2013 and 2015, and I won the series in the intervening years, in 2014 and 2016, while I was still breastfeeding both of them. Curious to see how fast I could go when not breastfeeding, I lined up again in 2017 and managed to retain the title, winning four races out of four in the process.’

What’s been your biggest challenge in sport?

‘Self-belief was an issue for years. When I saw how long a race was, or the type of elite athletes who had registered, I often told myself that I wasn’t good enough to participate. I was very lucky, however, in that I had friends who, at critical junctures, told me to stop being ridiculous and encouraged me to at least have a go. Of course, there were times I crashed and burned, but I learned a lot from turning up and giving it my best.

‘I’ve been mountain running now for over a decade, so self-belief is less of an issue. Now it’s more a case of battling with the fact that I know how much a race is going to hurt. I realize that, back when I started mountain running, ignorance was actually bliss.’

Tell us about writing and your inspiration?

‘My first book, Mud, Sweat and Tearswas written in 2009, the same year that I did the Wicklow Round. Completing the Round taught so much about myself that I wanted others to know how amazing mountain running is and how much you can grow personally through the sport. As I said in the book, ‘I’m proud that I’m not someone who says, “I can’t do that.” I’m someone who says, “I won’t know until I try”… I hope that more women learn to believe in themselves, because when we dig deep, it’s amazing what lies inside.’ I looked for publishers for two years before finally deciding to self-publish in 2011.’

‘Six years on, when I decided to write Bump, Bike and Baby, I sent a submission to the Scottish publisher, Sandstone Press. By then, I had only written the first two chapters. On the basis of these six-thousand words, they gave me a contract and I finished the book within three months. Bump, Bike and Baby is the book I’d have liked to have read before becoming pregnant. It is a warts and all account of pregnancy and becoming a mum. In it, I admit that, though indeed becoming a parent is an incredible experience, the whole process can really test you to the core. For example, there is a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique. Neither of my kids slept through the night until they were eighteen months old. Women athletes also need to know that they may suffer from various childbirth-related side effects such as stress incontinence and mastitis, both of which hit me hard while racing post-childbirth.’

Do you always have a goaL?

‘I’ve always got something I’m aiming for, whether it is to race or write a book or raise a family. Training-wise, I’m preparing to do the Denis Rankin Round this summer. This is a mountain running challenge like the Bob Graham Round or Wicklow Round but is set in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. It is a ninety-kilometer course with 6,500 metres of ascent covering 39 peaks that must be completed within 24 hours.

‘I’ve also written another book entitled the Asian Adventures of Tom the Dog that I’m currently submitting to publishers. It’s about our dog, Tom, who we rescued from certain death in Hanoi, Vietnam while my husband and I were working there. Tom then joined us on a whirlwind tour of Asia, where he dodged rabid street-dogs in Cambodia, blood sucking leeches in Nepal, and corrupt customs officials at various borders before finally returning home with us to Ireland in 2012.’

When do you find time to write/train – what’s a typical day like for Moire?

‘I get up when my youngest Cahal decides to get up, which can be anything from a 4am to a lie-in at 7am. Household duties fill my time until I drop Aran to playgroup and Cahal to a wonderful local childminder at 9am. I then have the rest of the morning to do my training, whether that is a bike ride, run, or time on the rowing machine. I collect the kids around noon and bring them home for lunch. By 2pm, we’re out again, this time to the beautiful nearby Kilbroney Park, which was the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’s Narnia in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There we walk Tom our dog while the boys ride their bikes. If there is time, we’ll pop into the playground for a while.

‘When we get home, Cahal might have dropped off to sleep, which gives me an hour or two to do some writing or marketing for my current book. Before I know it, it’s time to cook dinner and do the usual bath, book, and bed routine before we’re all in bed by 9 pm.’

Do you focus on nutrition/health in general – if so what do you do? 

‘It’s really important for me to eat properly if I want to train and race competitively. Occasionally my coach gets me to keep a full week’s food diary to make sure I’m getting enough calories, consuming the right kinds of food, and that I’m eating frequently (at least every three hours) throughout the day. I also make sure that I cook everything from scratch so I know exactly what I’m eating.

‘My other agenda is to create good healthy eating habits in the house so that my two boys eat well too. I don’t think there is a parent who isn’t worried about the current obesity crisis. I know, however, that if I want the boys to enjoy broccoli, sweet potatoes, and chicken, then they have to see me eating them as well. Of course, there is room for the occasional ice-cream, but that is definitely only an occasional treat!

Do you use any mental tricks for endurance?

‘For challenges like the 24 hour Rounds, it would wreck your head if you thought about the enormity of the course. Such a thought would probably prevent me from even attempting! It therefore becomes a case of breaking it down to each mountain top and getting into a rhythm of: one, go uphill; two, eat something while ascending; three, check the map and compass before the summit; four, hit the summit; five, run down other side in the right direction, and doing this over and over again until you’re finished.

‘If things get tough I just think that, if I keep going, at least I’ll be closer to the finish and one step closer to home. The idea of going home, having a cup of tea and hanging out with the family is enough to keep me going.

What does a typical training week look like?

‘My coach thankfully takes all the thinking out of my training. He develops plans based on my suggested races and then uploads them to a shared spreadsheet that I fill in on a daily basis. I typically train two hours in the morning with fifteen to thirty minutes of strength and conditioning in the evening. I rest on Saturdays, and on Sundays I’ll do a maximum of three hours. I very rarely skip training unless I have an injury or no one to mind the kids. Having a coach who’s checking up on my Garmin data means I daren’t skip a session!’

Ironman Triathlete Lucy Charles shares her top training tips

Red Bull athlete & double-world champion Lucy Charles shares her bike/run triathlon tips.

The bike

No one discipline in triathlon is more important than the other. But out of swimming, cycling and running, it’s on the bike where competitors really have to put in the long hours. In an Ironman-distance triathlon, the sport’s most extreme format, competitors swim 3.8km, run 42km… but bike a massive 180km.

Cycling requires skill, balance, strength and determination in order to power through and get it done well.

PREPARATION Knowing and trusting your kit is important especially when you have fast descents and tough climbs. One of the things I swear by is a power meter in my cranks which gives me feedback on power. It means I can make sure I am not going too hard on the climbs or free wheeling too much on the descents.

For long rides, you need to make sure you are comfortable and aerodynamic. I use pads on my handlebars which help me with both of those things. Padding in your shorts is crucial… otherwise you are in for uncomfortable ride.

TECHNIQUE You want the bike to be an extension of yourself so that you can control the power you are putting through the bike. If you are new to cycling, like I was in 2014, it may take a lot of hours in the saddle to feel comfortable. Every week I will do at least one long ride which is a minimum of three hours but it is good to mix up your training with a spin class and a group ride as well. I absolutely love group rides, they make a really long session go a lot quicker.

Using turbo trainers – a stationary bike – can help with your cycling strength and if you throw in things like Zwift to the mix, you can make training more exciting by racing in a virtual world. Time spent in the gym is time shaved off your bike split.

BIKE FITNESS You want to make sure you are supplementing your riding with specific gym work that will help you see improvements when you are out on the bike. I typically spend one to two hours in the gym solely dedicated to cycling. These exercises include leg extensions, hamstring curls, squats. The other key is single leg work because you need to have a good left-right balance.

OPTIMISING PERFORMANCE

In order to get the right output, you need to get the right input. Nutrition is key – and entirely unique to each person. It is a case of trying something, seeing if it works for you and then sticking to that formula. I typically have 60-90g of carbs per hour during a ride which makes sure m energy levels are topped up and I don’t have any flat points at any stage during a ride. If I do feel like I need that little bit extra then I top up with caffeine.

Once you have found that perfect balance of what works for you nutritionally, it is great to focus on other parts of your training like max interval training between 10-60 seconds. It is also good to find a nice loop and really perfect your cornering skills, doing time trial races can really see what you are capable of and put down your max power output. There is always a  percentage to be gained.

RECOVERY Riding on the road is really gruelling, particularly if you out on the saddle for up to six hours exposed to the elements. It is really important to get that relaxation and recovery going straight away after a ride. You need to stretch out the leg muscles and your back so that you do not stiffen up. Get your nutrition on board within the magic 30-minute window to replace all that you have spent on the bike.

It is not enough to go out and ust train, you need to reflect on the data that you have collected and review what you have done to learn from it for the next session

THE RUN

PREPARATION Ensure you are wearing the correct shoes for your run. If you are running of- road, trail shoes will give you that stability and grip that you need on the more uneven terrain.



The other shoes that I have are race flats. They have not got as much support in them or as much cushioning but they are a lot faster, so when I am racing, road running or on the track, I wear the flats. You don’t have too much other kit to think about in running but you might as well be comfortable. So make sure you are wearing breathable layers, you don’t want to be damp when you are running.

A heart rate monitor will link up to your watch and let you see your pace as well as your heart rate. This is crucial to make sure that you are not surging on climbs or slowing down but keeping a nice, even pace.

REFINING TECHNIQUE Running is really pure and simple – but when you start to explore it there is a lot going on.

Working on things like stride length (EW says: improve stride length and frequency by running on the hills), cadence, body position and breathing will make your running easier and more efficient.

Stay relaxed by focusing on breathing properly, don’t exhaust yourself by taking shallow breaths. Stay nice a relaxed and get the oxygen.

Build up your running mileage gradually by setting goals and targets and ticking them off – this keeps you motivated to keep getting better.

Mix up the terrain – choose from road, trail or treadmill, I find this changes things up nicely and also helps to keep me motivated.

 STRENGTH TRAINING There are loads of things you can do in the gym that are going to complement your running without having to go and smashout loads of miles. But, don’t worry a gym membership isn’t required, bodyweight squats and lunges are all going to help with your running.

The key things that will see you notice improvements when you are running are core strength, stability, leg strength and plyometrics (aka explosive movement).

Working on box jumps, planks, side planks and flutter kicks will help you build your core strength. Make sure you do not neglect your glutes, they’re the key to stability while running.

ACCELERATE PERFORMANCE GAINS The key thing is to stay dedicated to your plan, work up your training gradually and you’ll begin to notice the gains. If you get sued to a regular routine of runs, try adding in extra workouts that can give you a performance boost. Incorporating a tempo run – running at near-race pace – into your training can also help get the competitive juices flowing.

Doing at least one long run a week helps build endurance. This might be the run where you are likely to be bored, try running with music or with a friend to give you some distractions and extra motivation. But if you are struggling with the regularity of your breathing, forget the music and focus on the rhythm of your breathing.If you’re running for more than an hour, carry water with you, ideally in something like a Camelbak to spread the weight around evenly.

RECOVERY As soon as your run is finished, focus on rehydrating, stretching, controlling your heart rate with proper breathing and getting warm.

Stretch for 10-15 minutes at the end of the run, holding the stretches for 15-30 seconds for each muscle group.

If you’ve got a heart rate monitor, use the stretching time to begin analysing your running data. Get some protein on board within 30 minutes of the run – ideally, prep what you’ll need for your post-run meal before you head out.



Week 18 and 19 of 40: Pacing myself and managing fatigue

The last two weeks have been about pacing myself and managing fatigue, so I can adapt to training for an Ironman, managing workloads as a self-employed business owner, a volunteer, a mum – and it’s about appreciating life’s pace isn’t always predictable.

In the last two weeks there’s been more work, which I’m always grateful for, a few committee meetings for my voluntary comms roles –and a big loss in my extended family, which puts time, and stress, and work and training in perspective. A trip to Ireland this week reminded me how lucky I am, being part of this connected group of people, but sadly it included saying goodbye to two very special people.

But there has always been a determination to stick to the routine of training. I love training. It gives me energy, as well as taking it away, it gets me outside (I  love being outside) and it keeps me on health straight and narrow (most of the time).

In week one there was a  conscious decision to ease back a little after the events of the pervious week. I was feeling tired. Work was demanding so I had to find that sweet spot between doing it and being consistent – and not being exhausted (managing tiredness is a key part of IM training) . The easiest way to do this was to take out intensity, so most of the sessions were done at an easy /steady intensity.

 

Week one

To keep running interesting but not exhausting I added in some strides to an easy run on Tuesday, including  7 x 30 secs and 3 x 1 min. An easy 2K swim and 35 mile evening bike ride on Wednesday were tiring, but again not flat out. But I did feel tired the following day, and even though it should be expected I did have a feeling of ‘oh dear will I ever run fast again?’ as I ran an easy paced hour. But experience reminded me that this is endurance training and on occasion that can mean feeling tired, and slow! On Friday energy levels were restored so that I managed an interval session on the bike in the Bri Tri Club My Ride session (2 x 10 x 40 secs) and I followed this up with a slow explore-jog. On Saturday I only had enough energy for an easy run to and from our club committee meeting and then on Sunday I really enjoyed a 3-hour off road, very easy, very hot – and very lost long run. It was hard at times but I have now worked out a great new route, and covered some more miles in preparation for South Downs Relay, coming in June.

Discovering bluebells on my long run

Week two

As the heatwave continued and tiredness kicked in, there was nothing for it but to hit the beach. I’m fortunate to own a thermal wetsuit and really enjoyed a 1100M swimming at a reasonable pace on Hove seafront. On Tuesday I ran. I used to run a session when marathon training (based on no sports science, just my own benchmark aerobic run) which was to keep 130 heart rate for 10 miles.  I decided to see where I was at 130 HR. It took ages to get my HR up. I didn’t quite manage the 8.00 min mile I used to run at this heart rate (moderate intensity), and had to settle for 8.20 and I’m guessing this is my top end of aerobic pace.  Wednesday demanded an early start as the trip to Ireland was planned or the afternoon, so I met Rachael for a 7am sea swim – it was cold! I was much slower than Monday partly due to the time of day, and partly due to a few extra waves. I made myself get out and run after the swim, feeling chilly in my Tri suit, but as always once I got going I felt good and enjoyed a 10K run. I decided to pack my running gear for my short visit to Ireland and got up reasonably early, and feeling very, very tired I managed an easy jog/explore around my mum’s home town.  On Friday I had no time to train – and was desk-bound for the day, so I was well-rested for Saturday’s half IM distance bike ride, followed by 40-minute run with the girls from Fitbitch – reminding me how great it is to train with like-minded athletes. And finally, a 33 mile bike ride has finished off the week. Next week it’s countdown to my second half Ironman – my first was Braveheart Ben Nevis – which was very different – so it kind of feels like a first! I have no idea what to expect time-wise – but I don’t think it’ll be fast.

Dream Team