Sunday, 29 January 2012

Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run

Would recommend anyone who is interested in triathlon or Ironman to have a read of 'Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run' by Andy Holgate. An honest book that's encouraging and inspiring in spades.

Anyone can be an Ironman if they want to be and this book is perfect example of how even the most unassuming people can make achieve the seemingly impossible.

38 miles on the bike

I've been having a great week so far and for each of my current sports: running, cycling and swimming, I've beat my longest distances. In some cases by twice as much.

Yesterday was a great day on the bike. It's the first time I've been out on it since a few weeks back where I damaged my ankle in a particularly stupid commuting ride home. It was freezing, pouring with rain and I was wearing summer based gear and no waterproof. All my own fault.

But yesterday was different. I had the right fear, waterproof 'booties', which incidentally I absolutely love that name, and I wasn't wearing a rucksack filled with work stuff.

I managed 38 miles and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Much like my recent run, I'm starting to find my limit of endurance without additional energy supplies. So in the next few weeks I'll be seeing what it's like to take on energy whilst running or riding.

So I'm happy with the ride and although I'll be away in the US for the next 2 weekends, I'm confident that I'll be able to keep up the fitness so that I can look forward to having another great week beating my longest distances.

Friday, 27 January 2012

This weeks training; 17.15 miles and a 1500 metre swim

It's been the first a great week for my training. I've recently signed up to the Timberman Ironman 70.3 triathlon and have been mentally committing and pushing myself to ensure I'm fit enough and tough enough to complete the challenge.

So this week I ran 17.15 miles in 140 minutes (2 hours and 20 minutes). It was a training run and I managed to keep an average of near 5 minute kilometres, although at times I did want to run much faster (and at times a slower pace would have been nice too). I've never ran as far before and I was actually a little elated when I got home.

But not as elated as I was when I swam 1500 metres. The furthest I've ever swum before today had been 750 metres at a triathlon. I was shattered by the end of it, recorded a terrible time of over 20 minutes and I was so exhausted and dizzy from the experience that I sat in transition for 3 or 4 minutes dazed and only just managing to put my helmet and shoes on to exit onto the bike leg.

So much to my amazement I was pretty chuffed when I swam 1500 metres in under 35 minutes. Still not a great pace, but it's a start. I'm happy with how my swim training in the last few months has gone, where I've been self-teaching myself the basics of breathing, catching and other techniques. I also have to confess that not wearing massive board shorts has probably helped considerably too!

And as a reward of sorts, I ordered myself a new set of Nike Pegasus trainers. I have a 27 already and they've been great. I hope the 28s are just as good. New socks too. Nothing beats the feeling of a new pair of socks!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I'm going to the 2012 70.3 Timberman triathlon

The flights and hotel are booked and now I just need to actually enter the competition. I do wonder whether I should have done that in reverse however.

Regardless, for 2012 I'm going to complete a 70.3 triathlon and become half an Ironman at the Timberman Ironman 70.3 triathlon.

It's a life goal to become a 'full' Ironman and this 70.3 is a major step towards achieving that goal. I can already run half marathons without trouble and I think I can get the cycle mileage in too. I'm coming on leaps and bounds on the swim too.

I also have an Olypmic triathlon to complete in June too, so that's another step in the training ladder towards my goals too.

Quite excited about it all really. More training updates and thoughts to come soon no doubt; for example, what the hell do I do next?

The importance of support

I was asked today to be part of a morning 5k. Nothing much, it was actually for a colleague who has just got into running and we wanted to support him. Personally I would have wanted to do a longer run and faster too, but I think it's important to support others and create sporting bonds with other athletes.

It would have meant a lot to him for us all to be there running and supporting him.

However, that didn't happen. The organiser of the event somehow managed to leave me behind. Maybe it was a mistake and maybe it was childish behaviour. I'll find that out and I'll have words either way. I guess the important part is that support comes in all shapes and sizes and being left out is one of the worst ways to not express it.

It means I'll be more hesitant the next time an offer comes around, which is pretty sad. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

4km extra a week

Maidenhead to Windsor and back half marathon
Here it is, the first half marathon of 2012 for me. After the ankle trouble I was a little hesitant, but thought it important to try and get back into the 'grind' of training as quickly as I could. Apart from the usual muscle aches and trying to manage my pace, it went very well.

I now need to start running an extra 4km a week to ramp up towards marathon distance. I've got 6 weeks left, so to go from 21km to 25 to 29 to 33 to 37 and then with a week to rest and to build energy reserves, to then hit the marathon a week later.

So long as I have no other injuries or troubles, I should be set for a 3:30 - 4:00 time. I did want to head towards 03:00, but it's clear I haven't the time to get that sort of training in. I'll be happy to finish it and set myself another challenge to beat it another day.

Other training thoughts (mainly shopping):

  • Need a new pair of trainers (same as current pair)
  • Test out drinking and eating on the run (find out what energy drinks and bars are being offered in Rome)
  • Buy a new set of elastic laces
  • Decide on what I'm going to where
  • New sunglasses or new nose piece
  • New running cap

Friday, 20 January 2012

My Fitness Pal

I've never been one for dieting as I've always done, or thought I've done, enough training to ensure that my sometimes excessive calorie intake has in some way been balanced out.

Training for the Rome marathon has changed my approach and has made me think a lot more about the foods I put in and the app, My Fitness Pal, has helped me to look at the calorie count too.

Although I haven't measured it, I think my calorie count on some weekends may well have been well over 4,000 a day. I could easily devour a family pack of sweets whilst watching a movie, 3 or 4 cans of coke and dinners big enough to satisfy a king.

But this app has changed that. I'm now looking at packets in shops for calorie information, I'm having one treat, not six and of course the best part is that I'm feeling good about it.

It's a little too early to see results, but I'll be weighing myself in once a week to chart my progress. Although I don't think I need to lose weight, I'm quite comfortable as I am, by my reckoning if I could shift some excess weight that will be less weight to shift around a 26.2 mile course.

The ankle held!

It's such a relief coming out of an injury that the affected part holds well. I didn't feel a single pain, it wasn't awkward and what's more my fitness doesn't appear to have been impacted that much either.

I'm now looking to get in a longer run within the next few days and hopefully put myself back on track for my marathon training within a week.

Fingers crossed I stay injury free until March 18!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Injury and illness

I've a marathon to run in around 60 days and for December I moved house and then went straight on holiday.

I came back from holiday, managed a single 10k run and then hurt my ankle on a silly 3 hour bike commute.

It's now been 3 weeks and the ankle is better, but not perfect and I'm itching to get back into running. However, I've now picked up a cold and by head and neck feel sore. And the rule is, if you have a bunged up nose or a cough, run gently, but any aches and pains, stop running. In this case I can't even start.

I may just push through it and use the weekend to recover ... if I wasn't going to a friends child's first birthday party thing.

I just want to run.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Those who do sports

There's something quite different about those who partake in sports. Well maybe there is.

There's a bond that can transcend gender, ability and sport; it's knowing that someone else is going through the same feelings or experiences that you have. For most people ins ports at some point you will have shared a bond with someone else. Maybe on a jog around the block, a marathon or whilst our on your bike on a Sunday afternoon.

I love this bond and I automatically associate myself with someone else trying to better themselves in their chosen sport. I will them to succeed.

And this in turn encourages me. My competitive edge makes me want to better myself to try and beat them and for them to challenge me, my loyal side wants to support them and offer advice to see them better themselves and my fun side wants new play mates, because after all sports are fun.

Others have probably written books on this feeling and shared bond, and I'm sure I have nothing to add, other than to say that I've felt this bond, I know and embrace it and it betters me in my training and personal outlook too.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

67 days until the Rome marathon

It's not a life goal, but it's certainly something I'd really like to do. Run a marathon. I'll be honest, it might be because everyone I know has run a marathon. A lot of my colleagues have and it seems almost normal. So if they can do it, surely I can too? Actually no, it probably is a life goal.

Rome looks to be a perfect venue for a first marathon. Flat, suitable temperature and the roads are quite good too (I've read). I'll also be going with my friend Mark too, which is a bonus.

I've just come back from holiday and within days managed to pick up an ankle injury too. I did a manage to get in a 10k before the ankle incident and it appears I haven't completely lost my fitness whilst I've been away. I was away for 17 days as well, which did make me wonder how bad it would be.

The ankle too has added to the annoyance of not being able to train and ensure I've still got some fitness in me. Although it has led me to go swimming more, which is a pleasant, if not effective fitness alternative to swimming.

My goals for this week are to run 5k on the ankle with no trouble and plan the next 1:45 minute run.

Monday, 9 January 2012

To say 'I can swim'

I can swim in fact and I can ensure I do not drown either, even in the open sea or a lake. I've swam a triathlon in a lake and I've snorkelled and swam around in seas around the world. Neither were much of a problem.

I have no trouble swimming and I can paddle around without looking like an idiot more than most of the time.

But what I really want is to be able to tell others with truth in my words that 'I can swim'. I want to feel sure that I'm a good swimmer. How can I judge that I am a good swimmer? Perhaps when someone else tells me I am or perhaps when a ticker goes off in my head and says, yeah you're good enough.

I swam early this morning and loved every second. The bi-lateral breathing is coming along nicely and I longer have the slight of fear, no, awkwardness that happens when I put my face in the water and gargle or snort the local municipals finest.

So that's another life goal, to say to myself and others that I can swim and really mean it.