Week five and six of 40: End of five-week spin block and this week being ‘ski fit’

Monday 12th February to Sunday 25th February: Ski Fit

Week six started the day after my first half marathon for two years. The good news is that I felt no fatigue at all from the race, no aches, no tiredness. The week started with an early morning My Ride Spin session and I was pleased to complete another week of three sessions, bringing to close a consistent block of five weeks of three times a week spinning classes since the accident.  Running was made up of three runs, two long slow runs and one treadmill session with steady intervals.

 

Getting Ski Fit

On Saturday I travelled and on Sunday I went skiing. I wore my Garmin but didn’t really give an exact record of what I did as I was too cold to run it on when we started! I did however record 25 miles worth of skiing and found my heart rate averaged 81 and maxed at 116pm – so for me it seemed it’s not an aerobic activity. (It’s worth noting it was day one and I  was skiing cautiously because of my recent collar-bone break), However, exercising at altitude, being outside all day, working out in the cold leaves me feeling, well, knackered. And according to Harvard Medical School, a  person who weighs 155 pounds burns 223 calories in half an hour of downhill skiing.  And three days in I’m feeling ski fit! I’ve noticed  the burn in the quads after a long day, and the satisfying tiredness from being cold and active at altitude. I did wonder if five weeks of spinning had helped me ski better, but I’ve read that quads are not worked eccentrically on a bike, as they are when you ski.

Strength, balance, agility

However, from my experience over the last few says I feel my body being challenged to be strong, to be flexible and to balance and be agile. I’ve focused on using my core muscles and am aware as I twist and turn downhill I’m working my legs as if I were doing repetitive squats at the gym. And once again I’ve been reminded that I must stay flexible as I get older (I want to be able to get up when I fall on or off the ski slopes!).

I’ve also hit very, very cold points (including getting so cold today I was reduced to tears)  and I’ve had some serious shivering episodes. However, I’m reassured that my shivering means I can scoff more tonight. As Outside Magazine reports, ‘A 2010 review of studies on shivering, published in Frontiers in Bioscience, found that 75-to-80 percent of the calories consumed by shivering came from muscle glycogen stores. So if you find your teeth chattering, you’ll want to increase your carb load’.  And as I know from experience of preparing to swim in cold temperatures for the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon, brown fat activation happens when you’re cold for an added calorie burn boost.

 

 

 

Bigging up the bag lady look

Week four of 40: My first half marathon for two years!

I’m so pleased that I’ve managed to get back out there and run a half marathon again. Last year was the first year in at least 10 that I hadn’t completed a half marathon. My dad died in January and when I lost him, I lost my running way, fracturing my ankle 45 seconds after the start of my only half marathon attempt at Paddock Wood.

Two years ago I was very disappointed to run 1.37 for the half marathon at Watford (I went on to run 1.35 at Worthing a few weeks later), but yesterday I felt delighted to finish the race in 1.39. Having no expectations and feeling totally relaxed helped. And with no pressure to run a time, I loved the experience: being on the start line; hearing the pounding feet as we headed off on the first fast mile (something I also noticed the first time I ran Watford, which was also my first half marathon ever, in February 2002) and enjoying the miles ticking by, the hills and the camaraderie of running.

It was a perfect running day, cold weather, but sun shining. As I ran along with the group I realised I’m lucky. I can run a  half marathon on a Sunday morning because I have the time, the resources, the fitness. I also noticed that being at the slightly slower end of my average half marathon time, there were more people around me.

I think, not thinking, is on my mind (I know the irony of that), as I’ve just completed my second meditation and mindfulness session and have started to fit in meditation. Running is the perfect partner to meditation and mindfulness what my friend Julia Chi Taylor calls Meditation on the Move.

Relaxed & Mindful Running

So as I raced a half marathon yesterday without focussing on numbers and a time, the experience felt more mindful. I did look at my watch to get a rough guide to where I was, but I wasn’t trying to stick to an end time. I  was guiding myself by what I felt in the here and now, not where I wanted to be at the end of the race. I left looking at the watch until I was three miles in as I knew that I’d kick off fast and would take a few miles to settle into a pace. So I played around with sub 7.30 as a guide, then as the hills arrived aimed not to go over 8. I didn’t go over 8 and I ran an average pace of 7.38.

I didn’t think about what overall time I was aiming for until around seven miles when the sub 1.40 pacer appeared, then I thought, okay, put your foot down, and don’t go over 1.40.

The Week’s Training

As for the week’s training. I once again managed to do three spin classes and ran more miles than I had for a several weeks, a total of 46.4. To get these miles ran, I had to fit in a 16 mile run on Wednesday. I looked back and discovered that it was my first long run in 11 weeks, but I ran at an easy 9.25 minute mile pace, and took myself off on a magical mystery tour, running up the hills to the Downs and back down again heading towards  the sea! The rest of the week’s running was easy apart from a treadmill session on Monday when I had a go at intervals because I can’t do anything else on a treadmill, managing 2 x 800 at 6.50 pace; 1 x 800 at 6.59; 1 x 1 Mile at 7.15 off 90 second recoveries.

Week four of 40: A week’s training in four days

My training blog for last week is brief! The training was crammed into four days, from Tuesday to Friday, due to a busy work week and family commitments.  I ran  33 miles over three slow runs with the longest being 12.5 miles, and I did three My Ride Spin Classes.

I feel very mileage-depleted and am a little worried about the lack of long runs for my ‘tempo’ marathon. But I am pleased with what I managed to fit in this week, as commitments on the off days just got in the way of training. It’s all about adaptability.

Friday’s brick session was challenging, a tough My Ride, followed by 12.5 miles of running – but very satisfying.

I also saw my physio at Studio 57, who gave me some great exercises to do for the recovery of my broken collar-bone*. She also taped me up as I may give a race a go and I want to avoid too much vibration and irritation to my broken bone.

I’ve done a little video of my exercises which I will share if the guys at Studio 57 are happy for me to so. You can see the ‘still’. And also how I was wrapped up should I choose to race.

*Note I am a little ahead and this might not be right for everyone at this stage.

Week three of 40: Getting back in the groove

Training last week got me feeling back in the groove. I’m taking baby steps back to Ironman training. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I feel fitter and I even managed to go for a run sling-free on Sunday!

So here’s the week of Ironman training… On Monday evening I headed off to My Ride (spin class). The instructor saw my sling and spent ages getting me set up and in place, but two minutes into the class I started to get the familiar flashing lights that show a migraine is on its way. For me my migraines are more about vision than the super intense headaches, starting with a few flecks, and flashes, then full-blown kaleidoscope after about 10 minutes. I tried sticking it out for two tracks, but the Toronto river walk on the screen was making me feel sick and I could barely see, so off I went!

Tuesday started much better, although the migraine had lingered on all night on Monday, so I still kept the pace easy and enjoyed a 10 mile sling-run along the seafront. On Wednesday I had a busy day in London so it was an early start at My Ride, then off! On Thursday I met Rachael Woolston for an FTP test. I’m not quite sure I mastered it, but the score was, as I expected very low,  but it was good to get a benchmark. After this session I ran and felt okay so decided to throw in some tempo running around 8 min mile pace and managed five miles at this pace, nearly nine in total (I’m conscious that marathons need mileage so it’s good to add in extra when I can). On Friday I joined Bri Tri Club for our early morning spin class. Using My Ride, we were training in colour zones (blue easy, red, hard – that’s very simplified) which was motivating and good fun. I followed this with a freezing cold sling-run, including one mile sling-free. I headed off to The National Running Show on the 7.09am train on Saturday morning and didn’t train, but on Sunday I met Rachael near the NEC and we had a chatty run around a small lake. I had intended to continue round the lake, but when I found myself jogging in the Hilton car park, I felt it was time for the treadmill.  headed inside and hopped on for a 10K run (I say hopped on, it takes all my mental strength to do a treadmill session). I managed the entire 11.5 miles without my sling. I was four miles short of a target of 41, but pleased to be back to basics.

Fiona Bugler's collar bone break X-ray showing six screws and plate

Clever surgeons have nailed it!

So-long sling

Week two of 40: New Goals

Week two of 40 weeks of Ironman Training with the focus still on recovery and building fitness for the first shorter term goal of getting fit enough to run the Brighton Marathon.

Week two was about getting started again, and getting some goals in place.  My collar-bone feels very stiff and I’m guessing it’s how should feel when the bone starts fusing back, but it’s making me feel a bit more cautious about  doing longer or faster running.

I didn’t quite manage the 10 hours plan! I did train for 5.5 hours. I think 10 is probably too lofty a goal at this stage.  The good things were the weight gain, dropped off and I’m not fast, but I’m not too unfit as I was able to get out and about and join My Ride classes and do some easy ‘sling-running’.

Sling Runner

Week two included getting my tooth fixed, and losing the top-dressing on my clavicle and I’m moving about and mostly normal! I went to the physio at Studio 57 too early (typical me –inpatient) but have booked another appointment for week three.

So what did I do? I ran four times, and got on the stationary bike three times. As always adjustments have been made. Midweek, I thought I might get a long run done at the weekend, but after seeing the physio and feeling more tired than I expected, I procrastinated my way out of it and just ran 10K easy on Sunday.

I was told that even though I feel fine, I have to wear the sling still to protect the healing I cannot see and avoid too much vibration. I was told by a friend who’s also a radiologist that when you break a bone and it’s in plaster you have to stop, but a collar-bone, with a plate that feels fine, still needs to be treated with care. I did listen.

It’s not brilliant going ‘sling-running’, but it’s not awful either. It’s annoying but I feel more confident on my feet now and I don’t think I’m compromising my running gait too much. To make myself feel I’m still moving forward I did however, set myself a goal. You can read about my Marathon Goal here.

Parkrun

Volunteering at park run was a real positive and something I would like to do more of, injured or not. Such a great event. All life unfolding in front of me as I stood at the boulders, watching the two per cent of the population who can be bothered to get up and get out on a Saturday morning – fastest and the slowest putting in the same amount effort, feeling the same pain – it was truly inspiring.

This is a quickly composed post (possibly riddled with typos)as work has suddenly got very busy – and as a self-employed content consultant I’m going with it and planning to run around 40 miles and do some My Ride Bike training sessions. I  will update next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon Goal

 & What it took me to run sub 3.30 and sub 3.15 for the marathon…

The drama of the broken bone is done. I need to get fixed and get fit. I feel like I’m starting all over again and have a blank sheet for 2018. For me the thing to do is to set some goals (realistic goals) – and given the time of the year, it’s time to set my marathon goal, which this year, is a stepping stone to the Ironman in October and I’m calling it my ‘tempo’ marathon.

My collar-bone has another four weeks to fully heal, and although I’m sling running and cycling this is pre-training, training. I have set the marathon goal and written it down (to be revealed later) but whether I do the marathon or not is still to be confirmed and full marathon commitment is on hold for five weeks. In five weeks I’ll know whether my collar-bone has healed properly and I’ll have either got the running started, or not! I’m certain that I do not want to put short-term gains ahead of the long-term and be left with an arthritic, achy shoulder.

I keep good records of training and know what results I can expect from the mileage I do. Based on the previous evidence, and my current fitness and time available, I know that the best mileage I can expect to accumulate for the Brighton Marathon in 14 weeks is a maximum of around 650, which is really only over 12 weeks as I have a week’s skiing and a week Tri training in this block. I’ve added to that 100 miles ran for the previous six weeks (when I had 2.5 weeks out due to injury and illness and ran less anyway!) and that’s a total of 750 for 20 weeks. This is roughly 75 per cent of past marathon mileage for 20 week blocks. However, I will also be re-introducing cycling on the road, and swimming from mid Feb onwards.

Come April it’ll be three and a half years since I last ran a marathon (although I did take part in the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon in September 2016). 2017 was my rest year. I didn’t do any distance racing, I had a few injuries that meant I took more than a month off. This wasn’t planned, but I do think I’ve benefited from having a rest year, a year where I ticked over with some triathlon and 5Ks.

I have set myself my Tempo marathon goal. It’s considerably slower than the past but it gives me a starting point to take me into the V50 category and beyond. I’ve written it down today and photographed it to be shared when/if I cross the finish line in April.

And as far as what I did to run sub 3.30 and sub 3.15 marathon, here’s the mileage I ran:

1190/ 2009 Nice

3.13.22

1114.4/ 2010 London

3.12.23

1095.5/ 2011 Brighton

3.16: hot day should have been quicker – ran a 320 off road in Richmond a few weeks later after a night out!

1023.5/ 2012 Berlin

3.09.08

899.3/ 2013 London

3.11.05

 

973.5/ 2014 London (had also done Himalayan 100 in 2013 so good for endurance)

3.12.40

926.3/ 2014 Amsterdam

3.27

909.4/ 2015 New York

3.29

Recovery: Week one of 40

I miscounted my weeks! I had to count in my iCal twice, but I’m pretty certain from Monday 1st Jan to October 8th 2018 is actually 40 weeks. And I like 40 as my new countdown, it’s kind of biblical – and it’s the start of my recovery period.

I’m writing this towards the end of week one of 40 on Saturday morning. Yesterday, I had my operation on my broken clavicle  (or more precisely, a ‘displaced multi-fragmental clavicle fracture with two thin butterfly fragments’) and now have a plate stabilised with six screws – making me an Ironman in the making!

My planned 10 hours training will start next week, but this week I’ve made sure I’ve got out and walked every day – albeit for just half a mile to two miles and I’ve done some squats, lunges etc. Today I’ve started my post op exercises including swinging my arm and bicep curls without the weight, and I’ve booked an appointment to have my nails done which means walking and coffee.

I do feel like I have my very own mountain to climb to get back to fitness. I’ve put on half a stone and feel very unfit. But the endurance journey happens one step at a time. My amateur athletic performance has dropped off since 2014, the last time I ran a sub 1.30 half, a sub 3.15 marathon and sub 20 5K. So it’s a new voyage of discovery with the hiccups of last year’s bilateral avulsion to the ankle and the multi-fragmental clavicle fracture – and a much lower base fitness.

But for now it’s all about recovery – and so far so good. My arm fixed , my face healing (I’ve almost lost my Hitler mousetache-scab!) and spin bike sessions booked up from tomorrow morning. I was very lucky to have a five-time Ironman surgeon, who told me I could start turbo immediately – no excuses then!

week two

week one

 

 

 

Adapting Training After A Cycling Accident: Heal, Recover, Regain Fitness

I’ve had a first this week, my first cycling accident.  Monday is the start of my training week and this week it was Xmas Day. I’d started well with a 10-mile run before lunch and was feeling determined and positive about the next 12-week training block.  I was raring to go as in the previous six weeks I’d had a bit of a lull with flu and a big party meaning training had ticked over and not progressed.

Winter Sun

After two good run sets, on Thursday I joined a gang of Brighton Tri Club members, many of whom had committed to the #RaphaFestive500, to complete an unofficial, social 100K ride. The sun was shining and as we cycled along the seafront I took a moment to take in the scene, a clear, crisp, winter’s day. I’m one of the slower cyclists in the group but was constantly helped along by a club-mate, allowing me to sit on their wheel to draft, or just chat and encourage.

Although it was cold, it didn’t seem too icy. But as we headed down a hill in a small village I saw club-mate Gill tumble to the ground, just as I was saying ‘Is Gill okay?’ I was down and as anyone who has been in an accident knows, it all happened very quickly, as it seemed we’d found that one patch of black ice.

Picking up the Pieces

I knew instantly my collar-bone hurt and could feel a broken off piece of tooth in my mouth. Blood was dripping down my face. A lovely woman living in a house nearby came out and started her car for us to sit in – stopping had made us all feel the effect of the elements (freezing). Amazingly, one of our crew, Scott, had packed a foil blanket, which was genius – and something I’ll pack for future rides.

I’m not the most experienced rider, but this was one of those freak things that just happened. When we went out the sun was shining, and the weather the day before mild. So how did I fare? Quick actions from club-mates meant I didn’t have to do anything. They sorted out the ambulance, got us to a safe place to keep warm and Gemma knew that I had to keep my arm raised. Gill was concussed, bruised and shaken. I have broken a collar-bone, and bashed in my face, with half my front tooth going through my lip, resulting in stitches above the lip, and a nice cut above my eye with more stitches there.

Time for Meditation

So… What now? I lay awake last night (propped up by pillows – ow!) thinking and trying to work out the best way to approach this new-found temporary glitch. For years I’ve  talked about doing mediation but realise this could be my opportunity to do it. I live in Brighton so won’t have a problem finding a meditation course/class to sign up to. One website describes it as the ‘mind settling effortlessly into silence, is the most powerful key to unlock your inner potential for self-healing’ That will do for me!

And I’ll use my training energy and hours well. When I was editor of Running Free Magazine, I was lucky enough to interview Jo Pavey, an athlete who’s experienced a number of injuries. And something I never forgot was when she told me how she kept her training routine and replaced her normal sessions with rehab training when injured. My routine has been a little erratic of late, but I had a rough plan to devote 10 hours a week to training from January.

Training to Heal

So, it’s simple, for 10 of the 168 hours in the week, I’ll plan to meditate, do strength work for my legs (single leg squats, calf raises, squats and lunges), aqua jogging/walking, spinning when I can, and leg raises for the core – and I might even add nutrition and reading into the mix, using my training energy for things I’ve been talking about doing but not doing. It’s new year, so a good time to feel resolve. The first six weeks is about healing, the second six about regaining lost fitness. The last week of the first block is skiing, and the last week of the second six-week block is a trip to Mallorca for a club Got To Tri Training Camp.

‘Training’ for healing will kick off once I know if I need surgery to fix the broken, or as one medic said, shattered bones. Either way I’ve been told that now I’ve broken my collar-bone, I’m a true cyclist (but, ssh, I haven’t had a puncture yet)!

I’m always interested to hear about your recovery stories – any tips or advice, share in the box below.

 

 

Week 12 of 52: Training at Xmas

Training at Xmas is challenging, and if you’re like me it’s the weeks building up with parties, shopping, and routines out the window which make it harder to stick to plans. So, for me, the best thing is not to plan too much and ‘just do it’ when I have the time.

Last week the plan for training at Xmas was to ‘get out most days, train by feel and keep things ticking over… and I added, ‘I want to also include a long run, a park run, a swim and a bike.’ I didn’t swim or park run, but I did get out on the bike after a long break and I managed a medium long run with some speedy bits.

Here’s the detail of my training at Xmas week: On Monday I finally got back to the club for a track session, but a frozen track stopped play and we set off for an easy 30-minute jog. On Tuesday I got bogged down in pre-Christmas work and then a long Xmas shop. On Wednesday I got out for a 12 mile run. I decided to run the seafront as a tempo run, but my stomach got involved and that ground to a halt. However, it eased so I then managed to run 10 x 30 second strides with 2 minute recoveries for the last third of the run (this is a regular marathon training session). On Thursday, I managed a pre-party interval session, of 6 x 1K. The intervals were slow, and felt more like tempo pace, than intervals, but it was what I could do on the day. On Friday  post-party sluggishness meant I missed my early morning slot and then got caught up in Xmas shopping and – preparations. On Saturday I chose to go for a bike ride with club mate Rachel instead of doing a parkrun. The roads were clear as it was the Saturday before Xmas Eve and the weather was just right. We had coffee and breakfast after the ride. And on Xmas Eve I was up at 6am but still didn’t have time to run with packing and tidying to organise, before heading off to visit friends and relations.

 

Week 11 of 52

The week started frustratingly as I missed my early morning run and then a closed road at night, left me driving around in circles and missing the FTP Cycle test.  It seems a very long time ago. Like the rest of the world I’m whirling around, working, shopping and partying.

With routine out the window, trips to London, shopping and decorating my house, it was easier to not think too much or worry about what I did, or didn’t do, and rather just try to get out consistently. So this week was an easy week, a just do it, but not just do so much week, a week of getting fresh air and fuelling my spirit not rigidly sticking to my schedule and I was happy to run almost 26 miles spread out over five runs.

Not every week can be like this if I want to achieve my Ironman goals, but partying and Xmas and friends visiting from far and wide has a place and can still be part of the plan.

The plan for week 12, the last before Xmas, will be similar – get out most days, train by feel and keep things ticking over. But this week I want to also include a long run, a park run, a swim and a bike… come back next week to see if I did it!