Week 17, done!

*WARNING* I talk about HR zones in the post, which is probably really boring to everyone but me.

*WARNING* There is also a video of me swimming which those of a sensitive disposition should avoid! 😀

It’s funny how quickly the days are ticking off the list, 30 weeks seems like ages when you start (and it is really) but there comes a point in your training when instead of thinking you have ages left, it flips around to ‘do I have have enough time left?!’. I think the answer is yes for a number of reasons:

1. My running has gone mental.

I love the running bit of this training – the HR training really seems to push me and at the same time it’s easy to remember and plan for. A typical example was my Tuesday run this week, which on the plan looked like ‘1hr. Z2 (at 0:10, insert 3 x 6 min Z4 @ 2 min jog)‘. This means I need to run for an hour at Z2 pace, but at 10 minutes into the run, I need to run at my z4 pace for 6 minutes and then return to a jog. I then repeat that 3 times in total, before doing the rest of the run at Z2. The different ‘Z’ zones are based around heart rate percentages but to try and simplify it Z2 is quiet a slow run and Z4 is a ‘oh dear god I can’t keep running at this speed for 6 minutes’. By the time I got to the end of the 3rd repeat I really was struggling, but a couple of minutes of slow running later and I’m feeling ok. Then because you have gone fast, the second half of the run you are really trying to slow yourself down and it feels like you are flying. I love it!

This training is then improving my endurance and my speed and my pace has improved hugely because of it. I started out on a horrid little run on Sunday after a night in the pub on Saturday (bit of mental toughness required). My first mile was 9:30ish and I felt terrible. Soon enough though it all started ticking along and for the last 4 miles my pace was 7:50 min/mile. This is a good minute a mile faster than I was doing my marathon training last year and it really feels like less effort. I seriously cannot wait to get some shorter runs in after this just to see if I can bag a few PBs!

2. I have new kit for my bike

Massive shock there then. I have a new helmet and new aero-bars. This is going to instantly turn me into Bradley Wiggins on the bike, I’m sure of it! I’m much more closely following the training routine on the bike now, where previously I was following a couple of Sufferfest videos, now I’m following the HR training that is working wonders with my running. I did a session last Thursday which left me shaking once I got off the bike.

3. I’m having some swimming lessons

My swimming has been pretty weird of late. I really thought I was making some progress before hitting some mental block or something which really messed up my rhythm.  I still don’t really know why, but I thought I’d try and get some professional training just to build back up again. I had a session with Dave Quartermain who runs the local open water swims in the quays and also the masters session I go to on a Sunday night. I really like Dave, he says great training things like ‘if you are not doing drills 100% right, you are doing them 100% wrong!’ and ‘you need to engage your powerful back muscles’. I love it. I’m not even sure I have back muscles, powerful or otherwise. If it wasn’t for the Sunday sessions my swimming would be nowhere near where it is now, so I’d highly recommend them.

The hour session was really interesting and he did some analysis on where he thought my problems were, which we then did some more drills on. I still have a lot to work on but by the end of the Sunday sessions I’m feeling sore in my back which is a good thing! On Sunday he also did some filming, which is below:

I’m still waiting for the official analysis, but even I can spot a few things wrong with it. I use my left hand to lift up my head, I really need more work on un-weighting it. My kick is too flouncy and not from the hip and I don’t lock my arm enough. I also go too far with my hand on the pull through. It’s pretty fun seeing it to confirm these things and it gives me some good stuff to work on!

So yeah, I’m definitely going to do this thing!  The gory details of the weeks training are here. What I completed this week was:

Tuesday,Running,1:00:00,”Z2 (at 0:10, insert 3 x 6 min Z4 @ 2 min jog)”
Wednesday,Cycling,0:45:00,Z2 (QC)
Thursday,Cycling,1:15:00,”Z2 (at 0:10, insert 6 x 5 min Z4 @ 3 min Spin)”
Saturday,Cycling,3:30:00,Z2 (QC)
Sunday,Running,1:15:00,Z1 to Z2