15 Weeks To Go – Some firsts: 3K in the sea and cycling 52 miles on a Time Trial Bike

This week was heatwave week… and I love it! It was also the week I got my Time Trial bike and rode it for the first time  and swam 3K in the sea. (Oh and ref the heatwave, here’s a piece I wrote for Women’s Running on hydration).

Back to my week! On Monday I ran a very easy seafront 10K  in the evening, on Tuesday I went out on my bike for a short but hilly loop (the Ditchling!) and on Wednesday I loved getting into the sea and swimming 3K, my goal for the week. I took Wednesday morning off as I went to the Tri Store in Eastbourne to pick up my new toy – a Cervelo P2 time trial bike. Yikes! Another ‘investment’ in triathlon and one I’m going to have to get used to quick!

Heart Rate Variability

On Thursday I was feeling tired. I measure my Heart Rate and it’s variability daily now, using the app, HRV for training. The very simplified explanation is that it gives a bit more feedback than heart rate alone as it measures the gaps between the beats, which is a better measure of how rested/stressed you are! Yesterday it was clear that I needed to take it easy, as my score was lower than other days and the suggestion was to lower the intensity. So that’s what I did. I worked from 8am to 630pm in my garden dressed in running gear (I had intended to do a long run – but really was just too tired) and I contemplated a day off as the day dragged on. But looking at my new investment in the hallway I decided to go across to the veoldrome in Preston Park and try out my bike.

First time on the Time Trial Bike

I chose the right time to get out on the bike, as the football was on and the roads were very quiet. So after the Velodrome I hit the roads, and spent an hour on the bike, getting used to the tuck position, gear changes, brakes and having a lot less power going up the hills. I’m not sure if it’ll make me ride faster just yet, I think I need to get a bit better at cycling on the thing, but it’s great to feel I have the right equipment for the flat course at Barcelona. On advice from a fellow Bri Tri member on our Facebook page, I entered two 100 mile time trials in July and August and I’m now feel panicky!

The rest of the week

On Friday I joined the Bri Tri My Ride session which was 2 sets of 12 x 60 seconds split as 40 seconds in the red (hard) and 20 easy. I followed this hard session with a 10 mile run through the woods. I felt good after my easier Thursday but was back to feeling tired again on Friday night! On Saturday Chris and I headed out for a long ride on the TT bikes. We had a vague idea of the route but as I haven’t worked out how to attach my Garmin Edge to the TT bike yet, we were using the phone and stopping – a lot. Luckily, Chris is much faster than me so he was able to check the phone whilst waiting for me to catch up. The unplanned route was great and I managed to get on the bars for most of it, but with an hour’s lunch thrown in we were out most of the day so there was no time for any other training as we’d been out (in the very hot sun) for five and a half hours (cycled for 3’40).

Being out on Saturday night meant not getting to bed until 2am, and so I had a bit of a lie in on Sunday. I headed to the beach where the sun was blazing and ordinary people (i.e. those who don’t spend their entire weekend training) were lazing about drinking beers, having bbqs and relaxing in the heatwave. I zipped on my wetsuit, left my gear with the lifeguard, strapped on my ‘Be safe. Be seen (by the million jet skiers)’ orange inflatable and headed out – annoyingly, without my Garmin! (GRRR) As I was about to get in a guy said to me the current is very strong. He wasn’t wrong. The tide was turning and it felt as if I was stationery for the first 30 minutes. I think I covered the same distance back in less than 10! But without a Garmin it was all guesswork. I guessed (possibly being generous) that I’d covered 1500M – I will go back to measure it!

So that’s another week done. I didn’t hit my new baseline for IM of 15 hours but did manage to clock 13’35 hours. And again another week has started… Training continues, one session at a time – each one gets me closer to achieving my goal of completing an Ironman at 50!

#HeatWave Crash when you can

 

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20 week countdown: week three, 17 weeks to go –– Best Laid Plans

Themes for week: Best Laid Plans (& Finding Your Tribe)

Another week done as I write this there’s 16 weeks to go, but now looking back to week three of 20.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The best laid plans of Fiona always change. But the key goals I set myself did stay intact – just some of the details went off course. I had written down last week that I had to hit double figures – that happened. I also had coach Dave remind me that I needed to get on my bike, and that happened, not quite for 10 hours, but I was happy with what I managed.

I was once again reminded of the importance of Finding My Tribe, i.e. of not giving myself any excuses to not train, this week I had a good week of training because I met Tori, Gill and Rachael and joined in sessions with Arena 80 AC and Bri Tri Club – and at the local gym for My Ride. In fact, I didn’t do any sessions by myself.

On Monday I swam in the sea with Tori – it was quite choppy.  Tori swam with no goggles or hat – she’s seriously hard! On Tuesday I ran with Gill (she was running to work)  who showed me a great new route over the Downs. I finally found my Downs loop (something I’ve been looking for since I moved to Brighton) and I felt great running 15 miles with relative ease (on a run that took in 1,673 ft elevation) but then immediately after, a 48-hour illness kicked in and I was on Lemsip for the rest of the day, and following two days!

On Wednesday I had planned to ride, but wasn’t sure about getting up early after feeling ill on Tuesday. So instead I met Tori for a lunchtime choppy swim (with lots of drinking of sea water and goggle fun!) and then persuaded by Rachael I made an impromptu decision to join in a club off-road run with Arena 80 AC (the run where a man asked the group of runners at Ditching if anyone had a light?).

My throat was red roar when I got home (not from smoking I might add). On Thursday I thought I’d need to take the day off but decided to try to do something as I hadn’t cycled yet and went to the gym’s My ride class. I thought a short sharp session might help me sweat out the lurgy. I managed to work hard but I don’t think flat out. I let myself just do that for Thursday.  On Friday I had planned to go to the Bri Tri My Ride and run after, but, another change of plan happened as I wasn’t up for the early morning start and felt I needed to shift the cold. But feeling better in the afternoon I arranged to meet Rachael and we ran off road on another great route, through the poppy fields. On Saturday, I finally felt ill-free.  Again I met Rachael and joined Arena 80 AC’s super series age-graded league at Worthing (we cycled there and back). It was great to be back at park run, especially as it was an anniversary run and Dame Kelly Holmes made an appearance.

On Sunday there had been a plan to do the London to Brighton Bike ride with my sister Clare, but we couldn’t quite sort the number situation, so I cycled with Bri Tri on the route without the hill and somehow got funnelled into the finish of the London to Brighton when I went to meet my sister. I promise I didn’t raise my hands as I crossed the finish line, or take a medal or even bottle of water! Well done to my sister, Clare, who conquered Ditchling and the race on very little sleep and long working hours.

I’m still off the booze. Not sure I’m feeling the benefits as I’ve had cold sores, sore throat, and migraines, but as I write this, I’m optimistic that I’ll stick with the no boozing and that I will start to see the benefits.

This week I was reminded by Coach Dave, that ‘It’s time to get back to basics with some consistent training over the coming weeks,’ as he reminded me ‘you’re still very much in the base building phase of your Ironman training.’

The scary base plan

Consistent training is scary! Here’s the rough plan which I’ll work with week by week. It’s hard core and if I manage to do it all, I’ll be clocking between 15 and 20 hours a week (like another job!).

Swimming – use the SwimSmooth Ironman plan which includes one technique session, one fresh and fruity and one longer swim. (three hours)

Cycling – as much as possible totalling around 10 hours per week. The longer this is delayed the harder it is going to be to do well in Barcelona.

Running – four or five runs a week including one long run, one medium run with some target pace and two or three recovery runs. (up to 6 hours)

I’ve got three full weeks, and one half a week before I head to Galway to the Tribesman Middle Distance Race. Can I do this sort of training? Watch this space!

 

 

 

 

Week 16 of 40: A good week’s tri training

Monday 16th April to Sunday 22nd April

Tri training this week has gone well. And as I sit here typing and trying to remember what I did in a pleasantly aching body, I’m reminded why I love training. I love pushing myself on tough hill climbs on the bike, and running in the heat for 21 miles. I like the feeling of doing the sessions, even if they’re not perfect. I love the heat of the unexpected April sunshine and I love the coldness of the sea (although I was very glad I had my thermal wetsuit, booties, thermal gloves and neoprene hat on and that the only cold I felt was on face, and in my teeth!).

So here’s how the week went. I had a day in London on Monday so used it as my day off, and I was recovering from my 30K (just short) run on Sunday. Recovery is important and  getting the training balance right is all about listening to my body – working hard but not too hard that I can’t train again the next day, and the day after, and for rest of the week.

By Tuesday I was feeling recovered, but not ready to go crazy! So I added in some faster work as part of a run in the park, 4 x 3-330 efforts at between 7.08 and 7.20 pace per mile with one min recovery. I met with coach Dave who reminded me the importance of protein in my diet – something that stayed with me for the rest of the week.

Tackling the Beacon with a migraine

Wednesday was a planned early start, and Tori turned up at my place at 550am. I put a familiar, ‘slightly not right feeling’ down to still being a little tired and the early start, and off we went. We climbed out of town on what felt like a summer’s morning, I felt pleased to be up early, but half an hour later, as we set off down Ditchling Beacon I realised that the sunlight flashing through the trees wasn’t the reason for the flashing lights I could see. And by the time we reached the bottom, I knew I was in the middle of a migraine, to be specific and ovocular migraine (distorted vision, a slightly sick out of it feeling, but not always the headache). I felt shaky and sick and the thought of going up the Beacon again made me think I’d need to get a cab. Not quite sure what to do, I said to Tori, we’ll keep going, but I felt very ropey. We stopped again. Then I rationalised that these migraines normally only last 30-40 minutes, and this could happen in the Ironman. A couple of nurofen, a Cliff Bar shot block and about 20 minutes of faffing and it started to clear… and I’m pleased to say I got up the Beacon (and Tori made up for the faffing by doing the Beacon twice!).

On Thursday I knew had to swim but still feeling a bit tired I  didn’t push it and focussed on  the catch and reminded myself to kick from the hips. Slow but sure. I followed this by a very easy seafront run of seven miles at nine-minute mile pace in the beautiful sunshine. It was just the right amount of training, as I knew My Ride (Spin class) on Friday morning needed energy!

Sure enough the Friday bike session was a good intense workout, with 10 x 40 secs  at 120 per cent of the FTP intensity. I ran there and followed this up with an easy run around the park – not even looking at my watch to register the pace, and being very conscious of again conserving energy for Saturday’s planned workout!

At  8am on Saturday morning I arrived at Tori’s and we drove to leg 11 of the South Down’s Relay which we’re running on June 3rd as members of the Bri Tri team. Leg 11 is my leg and there’s a lot of hills! I loved the run. We ran the two legs, 5.25 out, and back, adding up to 21 miles. After this we had a lot of food then met again for what was my first sea swim of the year. Just 800M but a good start. On Sunday I watched the London Marathon in bed, and tracked people I knew on the app… and I could see the heat was taking a lot of them down, well done everyone. After this it was a 30 mile easy bike ride with Ditchling Beacon at the end.  My training Peaks entry was this:

“Easy ride, on a bit of an unplanned route. Ended up doing a lot downhill but glad to get Ditchling Beacon climb in – was in a ‘I’m never going to like cycling’ mood but Ditchling changed that… don’t like cars, pot holes and time spent for what feels like not much reward, but hills make up for that! Do like hills.”