Despite the day before being the Outlton Park Duathlon the legs felt fine so that evening I went along to Sutton Lesiure Centre for the first attempt at track work. The session is run by Andy Rawley a BTA Level 3 coach and also the North West Regional Acadaemy coach for the junior Elites. Suffice to say, he's knows his onions and if you are looking for a coach you could do no worse than getting in touch with him http://www.sticktotricoaching.co.uk/
I had joined on what was week 2 of drill and technique work, the emphasis of the session not on running laps but lots of drills designed to re-programme our technique to shift from heel strikers to more efficient mid to fore foot runners. That first night was an interesting insight, though I can safely say I won't be worring Mo Farah or Ali Brownlee any time soon and it was fairly clear that balance and coordination were not two of my strong points.
Tuesday and Wednesday were a return to the normal patten of swims, turbos and a run. In fact I even threw in an unscheduled turbo on Wednesday, nothing hard but I just fancied doing something. Thursday evening was a chance for something else new, Circuits. Run out of school gym hall at Lymm Grammar. There is no equipment involved, it's lots of bounding around and traditional type squats, burpees, press up and all manner of other pain inducing exercises. I survived (just) but it's certainly an eye opener and a totally different type of fitness to the CV based work that I normally do. Swim on Friday, then Saturday I managed one of each with a short but testing turbo followed by a 5k run and then the club swim in the evening with the tri club. Sunday was an opportunity to get out on the road for a ride with the tri club, there were times where the pace was a little hard but its good to get out and just spin and chat.
Totals for the week - 11h05
Swim - 9000m - 3h40
Bike - 112km - 4h38
Run - 12.5km - 1h53
14th - 20th Oct
It was straight back into things on Monday evening with a return to the track and more drill/technique work. A swim Tuesday morning and then in the evening I started a 12 week sweet spot programme on the turbo with the 8 min FTP (functional threshold power) test to establish a baseline. It was down to 214 watts, but i'm not sure if that's as a result of tiredness or genuine. So I decided to leave my settings at 219 from the previous test.
Wednesday was just a short easy 5km run, Thursday was a swim and then circuits in the evening, which at least felt a little easier than before. A swim Friday morning and then the second of the turbo sessions in the afternoon before packing the car for a trip up to North Wales.
The Warrington Tri Club had organised an end of season weekend away staying in a great bunkhouse http://www.logcabinswales.co.uk/accommodation/rhiw-goch-bunkhouse/ a total of 9 of us plus a few of their kids arrived on a wet evening. The Hobson's had brought food including a hotpot and chilli and LOTS of salty snacks.
Saturday a group of four headed out onto the roads around North Wales, the rest of us headed just down the road to Coed Y Brenin, one of the UK's best mountain biking centres. http://www.mbwales.com/en/content/cms/Centres/Coed_y_Brenin/Coed_y_Brenin.aspx
There is a huge choices of routes you can ride or mix n match with varying degrees of difficulty. The first ride out all of us headed out on the blue rated Minotaur course, a generally sweeping and easy paced route, with a series of climbs, and descents on wide trails. After this I went back out on part of the blue route again whilst we waited for some of the others to catch up. The men of the group then headed off onto a more challenging red run Cyflym Coch (I have no idea what that means). It was a great ride, incorporating some of the easy wide trails to link sections of rocky and routed single track. It's been a while since I've ridden something like this, but it was great but tiring fun. A spot of lunch was consumed and the ladies of the group past the kids over to the dads and I was persuaded to go out on the red run again. I will now proceed to advise a cautionery note, if you are riding a bike, WEAR A HELMET.
The large split in the helmet is what happens when you get some air and don't get the landing right and your head hits the ground with a bang.
I'm grateful that I was wearing it and as a result I was able to remount the bike (after straightening the stem) and complete the ride. Though I wasn't unscathed.
Directly opposite the bunkhouse is an inn, and the evening was spent there partaking of some good beer and tasty food.
Sunday it was back down to Coed Y Brenin for a hilly 5 mile trail run, which despite the rain was a pleasant run through some really nice terrain and views.
Totals for the week - 14h09
Swim - 10650m - 4h14
Bike - 97km - 6h40
Run - 15.5km - 2h17
21st - 27th Oct
Despite being a little sore from my fall I still managed to get to the track Monday evening for further drill/technique work. Tuesday I jumped on the turbo continuing the work on improving my FTP. Wednesday I swam and also threw in an extra easy turbo session for good measure. I know many don't advocate "junk" mileage but when you want to shift a few more stone, the extra exercise doesn't seem like such a waste. Thursday was another of Carl's circuit classes, I'm definitely getting stronger as a result, but it's still a sweatfest and hard work. Swim and turbo on Friday went smoothly into Saturday's run. I decided to take Jasper with me along the Trans Pennine Trail for an easy 10k. It was easier than intended as he decided that stopping to sniff was more important than running, I don't think I will be taking him with me again. Sunday was a steady swim session and a long turbo in the afternoon to finish the week off.
Totals for the week - 11h30
Swim - 10200m - 4h15
Bike - 101km - 4h15
Run - 13.2km - 1h59
28th Oct - 3rd Nov
Back to the track again on Monday evening, though there was only a small amount of drill work, the rest of the time was easy laps whilst Andy and other assessed our forefoot technique and how we had improved over the weeks. The conclusion for me was whilst I had shown some improvement through strength gains he didn't want to focus on specific elements but just to continue building strength and maintain the gains I had made so far. Next week it's a time trial before we start the interval work. Tuesday morning I had planned to swim but I'd been battling a niggly cold so decided to stay in bed instead. I jumped on the turbo in the evening but it was noticeable that I was struggling to hold the desired power, I just didn't quite feel right. I was ok on Wednesday morning so swam and then did an east 5k in the evening, though it was wet and windy. Thursday morning I went on the turbo and again struggled to hold the power levels required, I can only assume that the cold was having an impact. It was certainly felt at the evening circuits session, I was a jibbering wreck afterwards. I felt OK in the morning though and this was reflected in the swim session, times were consistent. Saturday was the Hellrunner at Delamere Forest, a varied cross country adventure which had everything you could think of in terms of mud, trails, ditches, water (very cold water) bogs, tree roots, climbs, descents the list is extensive. It was a tiring event, and the longest run I have done since I started training, but a thoroughly enjoyable event and I will definitely be signing up for next year.
Saturday evening I went to the club swim, but I just didn't have the energy to swim the hard intervals so just kept the pace easy. Sunday I just did a long turbo session but at easy pace as the legs were still tired.
Totals for the week - 11h41
Swim - 8300m - 3h07
Bike - 79km - 3h30
Run - 28k - 4h08