Saturday, 4 January 2014

New blog location

As with previous years I am going to move to a new blog for the new year. 

New blog location is

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013 Training by Numbers

The 2012 version of this post can be found here.
And the 2011 version is here.

As much as possible I try to keep this one as just a numerical analysis with explanations of the raw data but some additional information always seeps in. More this year than normally.

Swimming [Target - 
75 miles. And learn to tumble turn.]

I have managed that and a good bit more, but with a lot of the miles crammed into the last few weeks. Two 5-mile weeks in December skew the figures quite a lot. It also took a lot more swims than I had planned to get to my total. I had expected to maybe do about 55 in the pool and another 12 or so at Knockburn. Instead I have done 77 pool swims and another 17 at Knockburn for 94 swim sessions this year. This actually means averaging out each session under 1-mile.

I still need to sort out my turns as I am losing a body-length on every turn against the tumble-turners. That is about 8% each length on a short course swim. I am managing to turn sometimes, but not consistently, and not any quicker than my touch turns. 

For speed, I have set new best times at every distance I raced.
400m - 6:58
750m - 13:20
1,500m - 27:22
5,000m - 1:38:03

Way over my target miles, so despite the turns still needing work, I am really happy with my year of swimming.

Biking [Target - 1612 miles]

Another huge improvement on the bike this year. Actual miles were 2130 so I was averaging over 40 miles a week. Only 500 of those were on the exercise bike this year. If you remove them and just count outdoor miles I have still hit my target for the year.

Really happy with the numbers, but also happy about how they are spread out. Regular rides at 40-50 miles, and a few crazy long ones just to prove I could go further.

Running [Target - 520 miles. And get back to regularly running outside]

Last year I covered running first in order to get the worst section out of the way. This year I have left it till last. Not on the same logic, but instead because it is the hardest one to explain.

687miles in total. 122 of those were indoors on treadmills. As with the cycling this means that even if you strip out all the time I spent in the gym I still hit my target for the year.

Session totals [Target - 
Do 250 Sessions.]

I actually did 315 (or so, not entirely convinced that my counter is consistent about double sessions and I know it doesn't count any of the 'short weights' sessions)

2,902 miles total. Another huge step from the 1,902 in 2012, which was a big step itself from 1,068 of 2011. I am definitely not going to add another 1,000 miles next year.

Racing [Targets - Do a Half Ironman. Run a race.]

These were both set as fairly tough targets. But I managed to get the running race in fairly early in the year by going North to do a local Cross-Country race. It was easier than I had feared it might be, but I still didn't manage to do a second one till nearly the end of the year. Hopefully I can get a few more into 2014.
Race review is here.

The Half Ironman took such a huge chunk of my year that this is why I am struggling to set a single race target for 2014. I don't want to spend another 8-9 months where everything revolves around one day. But I might be tempted to do another one, or even the same one again, if there was likely to be better weather conditions for the race.
Race review comes in 4 parts and starts here.


Started 2013 at 76 kg, and aimed to increase that towards 80 / 81 kg. Having spent the last 4 months at 81kg, I have decided I need to be back down at 76. I am carrying more swimming muscle in my 81kg, but I am also carrying a bit of a belly that I could do without when trying to bike up hills. I am missing some lower body muscle that might come back when I try and speed up for racing next year and my core needs a bit of work that could come with a similar weight penalty. So 81kg still might eventually turn out to be the right number, it maybe just needs a little bit of rearranging where it is.

Other numbers

37 trips to the cinema this year. 10 up on last year. Not as much of a spread in quality as last year. The good ones were solid but not great, the bad ones were poor, but there was nothing I hated enough to want to get up and walk out of. [Edit, I did a quick check and reminded myself of Movie 43! I probably hadn't forgotten it as much as I had tried to wipe every second of it from my mind. A serious contender for the worst movie ever made.] 

On the positive sides the Marvel series continued to deliver, and the second new Star Trek did live up to the hype. Arnie and Stallone did what you expect of them, but no more. Cruise and Pitt continued to put their pay cheques ahead of their talent. Matt Damon did a slightly better job of balancing the cash cow of Elysium against a some stronger work in Behind the Candelabra, but both of those felt like they were sold slightly short of their potential. Jesse Eisenberg seems to be sticking a bit better to doing jobs where he still has to put some effort in, but not looking forward to him playing twins in his next outing.

As a basic rule the comedies did more for me than expected, and the rest underwhelmed.

Training Review - Week 52 (and a half) - Dec 23 to 31

Last week of the year. Started with a horrible run in a storm. I had my full set of waterproofs on and still got soaked through. But I did force myself to go out in it and get some miles in. They were slow and uncomfortable, but I did them. I may have to grab a few more like this if the weather forecasters are right and I still want to get my 33 miles to finish the Strava challenge.

I went to swimming with the intention of coasting through the session to try and ease off my back. But the session turned out to be full of short reps, and once I was moving my back was fine. So I decided to start a couple of weeks early on next years plan to go shorter and faster. Didn't pace it quite right though. Was working really hard for the first 1500m, and putting in some really good times. But by then I was pretty much knackered, and I knew I had to get home for Dexter getting dropped off, so called it a day early. This leaves me looking for 2,100m next Monday in order to make 85 miles for the year.

Tuesday the weather was a bit nicer, so Dex and I went for a wee jog at Kirkhill. About half way up the hill a blizzard appeared out of nowhere. We had a quick think about turning back but it was going to be as easy just to get the miles in while we were there, so we pushed on to the top. It was pretty slow fighting the weather but we kept going. Did 4.7 miles. So made up some of Sunday's missed miles and got back on track for the 33 mile challenge.

Xmas day! 

I took Dexter out for a run around Elgin. We did the Xmas Sprint route, or as much of it as we could as a lot of areas are fenced off for the flood alleviation scheme that seems to have taken over the town. Technically I won the Xmas Sprint for a second year in a row, but since no-one else was there it was a hollow victory. A huge headwind also means it was probably the slowest time ever recorded. I clocked 3.3 miles which is the ordinary day plan to hit the Strava target. I am still a mile and a half behind from not running on Sunday but should make that up (and hopefully more) tomorrow.

Also Santa brought me some new biking bits and pieces that will all need to get fitted and tested before I go back to work. And plenty of warm socks so I can be even more comfy as I sit at home avoiding training and failing to do any of my core or stretching work. 

Boxing Day. 

Dexter and I went for a slightly longer lap at Kirkhill. Garmin took it's time to find some satellites so it is half a mile short. This is going to mean I have to get the extra half mile somewhere else in order to complete my Strava challenge. I had also planned to improve my KoM run time on one of the routes to the top, but I hadn't allowed enough for the cold weather and dog allergy affecting my breathing. I was struggling a bit and wasn't helped by it being a south-facing climb at lunchtime, so I was pretty much blinded by the sun for the whole climb. I have caught up the miles for missing Sunday now, so 'all' I need to do is 3.3 miles each day from now. If I want to bike instead on Sunday I will need to stick in another couple of 5's somewhere.

Friday was a fairly terrible weather day when we got up, but it cleared before lunch so we went out for a longer run. To get to 33 I need to do 11 miles every 3 days but I want to skip a run in favour of a ride on Sunday so I decided to squeeze 11 miles into 2 days. Did 6.1 today, but it felt more like 8 as I was dragging and anchor the whole way. Dexter was not in the mood till about 3 miles in, and he was fed up again by the time we got to 4. But we got round, and are looking at doing a similarly slow 5 miler tomorrow. 

Also since it was a quiet day I did my weights session, some stretching, and 40mins of yoga.

Saturday I was a bit confused by it being the weekend. Having been on holiday for so long I am pretty much lost with what day of the week it is. I took Dexter out for a planned 5-miler. But he was being a total pain in the ass. I was having to stop and walk while he dawdled along. I planned to cut back at 3 but just before that turn he suddenly decided he was in the mood after all and picked up to my pace so I threw in an extra loop and we went on for just over 4. We did manage to recce a wee hill for hill reps next year. I then had to give Dexter back.

I have run enough miles for a marathon this week. For only the second time this year. This leaves me looking for 7 more for my Strava challenge. I am going to try and grab them all on Monday, so I can just mountain bike on Tuesday, but will see how I feel on the day.

I am now ahead on run miles so I can take a bike day. The Kintore Sunday guys want to go 57miles, starting at 9:30, which is too far and too late for me. But they plan to ride pretty much past my house. So I have decided to roll out to meet them at the start, and then group back with them, past Dyce and on for a little bit, and then finish off with a short solo back home. 40 mile target, but weather dependent, if I have to solo into the wind it might get shortened as I won't make it to the start and will jump on the back as they pass.

It turned out to be a lovely day, a bit chilly maybe, but I pedalled out to the start in plenty of time. Then rolled along in the pack for 20miles, before turning for home again for my planned 40. I was doing plenty of turns at the front and feeling fine this week. Just every time we hit any sort of climb I go straight out the back. Need to find a hill somewhere for doing cycle reps to try and sort that out next year.  

Monday I planned to do 7 miles to finish off the Strava challenge. The weather was terrible and I was tempted to slip the run to Tuesday, but got an offer for a run at Kirkhill so I dragged myself out in the rain. Was a good day out, chased a few Strava segments and picked up one more KoM as well. 

Obviously having done a fairly hard hill run, my swim coach's telepathic ability to punish me was as effective as always and this then meant it would turn out to be a heavy kick session at swim training. It was a nice quiet day in the pool though, so we adapted it a little to fit. 

Was meant to be mountain biking at Kirkhill but the people I was going with all bailed because of the weather. I knew I was going to miss at least 2 of the next 3 days so I didn't want to miss this one. I went for a solo ride from my house just to test out the new shoes that Santa brought me and to check if the fiddling I had done to the rear suspension had helped. Both were great and I managed to roll in another 9.5 miles for the year taking me to 2,130 total. I also snuck in my first core session for a while. 

Great end to the year. Full year review is mostly written and should be published about an hour after this one if I have set the timers properly.

Target totals - Swim >2 miles. Bike >40 miles. Run >33 miles. 1 short core, 1 short light weights and 2 short stretching sessions. 60mins of wii yoga.

Keep weight under 80kg.

Monday - Run 3.3 miles, 31 mins. 

Swim with TPT, 1,500m in 33mins.

Tuesday - Run 4.7 miles, 47 mins.

Wednesday - Run 3.3 miles, 36mins. Xmas Sprint.

Thursday -  Run 5.0 miles, 54mins.

Friday - Run 6.1 miles, 1 hour. 

Light weights. Stretching. 40mins of wii yoga.

Saturday - Run 4.3 miles, 44mins.

Sunday - Bike 42.3 miles, 3hrs 14mins.

Monday - Run 7.0 miles, 70mins. 

Swim with TPT 2,150m, 52mins.

Tuesday - MTB 9.5, in 54mins.

Actual totals - Swim 2.3 miles (3,650m). Bike 51.8 miles. Run 33.7 miles. 1 short core, 1 short light weights and 1 short stretching sessions. 40 mins of wii yoga.

Weight 78.5 kg.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Race Review - 5k swim race

This was going to be my first swim-only race since I was about 12. Nothing like pushing the boundaries of common sense and starting with a 5,000m race. 200 lengths of the Cults Academy 25m pool. I did a couple of long swim tests last week and I figured if everything went well I would do somewhere around 1hr 42 mins.

I turned up in plenty of time and was helping out with lap counting for the first (faster) heat. It was great watching the 'fish' coast up and down the pool, seeming fairly effortless. As the 2 leaders passed through the 1-mile mark in just outside 20 minutes I realised that this was about the time I expected to be going through the 1km mark. As I followed their race, and got occasionally splashed, it was interesting to see the variation in their times. I expected them to tick out every one the same but they were pretty inconsistent. They all started much too quick, and even when they settled it was into a bit of a surge and relax pattern. It didn't look to be intentional, and I didn't get a chance to ask any of them afterwards if it had been planned or was just by feel, or if they didn't even notice. I had been consciously taking on fluids throughout the first heat and as the leaders approached the hour mark I made sure I was took in the two gels that I had brought with me.

For the second heat there were 8 of us to fit in the 6 lanes, so the two outside lanes were paired up. As the outside lanes were slightly wider we had plenty of space to go up and down without impeding each other, and I was drawn in with another triathlete that I knew well. I knew he would go a bit quicker than me, but I didn't think by much too so I expected I would be able to pace myself off him a little bit.

Everyone started quickly. I lost a body length or more to everyone else within the first length, and another body length coming out of the first turn. I want to sit here smugly and claim that I had paced it right and sensibly and that everyone else went much too fast, but the truth is I was going much too fast as well. I took my first 100m inside my 400m race pace, but I felt comfortable, and I knew to back off to something more comfortable. 

So I backed off a bit, but no-one else seemed to. And the gaps got big, fast. My lane buddy should have been (and turned out was to be) the next slowest person in the race, and he was taking lengths out of me long before we got to 1,000m. 

I was through 2,000m in under 39minutes. this is a bit quicker than I had planned but I still felt quite good so I kept ticking it over. I had a thought in the back of my mind that I might struggle later if I kept that pace, but going by feel I decided I was ok and stuck with it. This as the toughest part. From 2k through half way seemed to take forever, and then to 3k took even longer. I had a couple of shots at upping the pace to get a bit of a draft whenever someone on either side passed me, but wasn't making much and didn't want to push too hard.

Then 3k-4k seemed to disappear. I think I was daydreaming a bit but I couldn't tell you what about. And it seemed to make no difference to my pace. (Still waiting for the official breakdown rather than just my garmin track to be sure).

At 4k I was still feeling ok and I knew I had a bit left in the tank I tried to turn up the pace as much as I could. As the faster swimmers were finishing I was able to see more of the pool and in the farthest lane I could see that my two other main rivals were still ticking along. Now that I had turned up the pace I was just about holding them level. I couldn't tell how much I had lost to them earlier on in the race though.

Turned out to be less than 300m. As I came through the 4,700m mark I had a look round and I think from that point I was the last one swimming. I knew I still had a little bit more to give, despite my calves starting to cramp a bit so I turned up as much of the pace as I felt I still could. With 50m to go I was really suffering and the last sprint was a real struggle. But I finished in 1:38:03. Almost 4 minutes under what I had hoped to do.

Despite being dead last I am really pleased with my race. I think I paced it about as well as I could. If I had gone harder earlier, I think I would have cramped earlier and suffered too much towards the end. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Training Review - Week 51 - December 16 to 22

Another fairly easy start to the week. Still suffering a bit from the long Sunday ride. Went for a lunchtime run with a friend, and then completely rewrote my plan based on her plans for the week. Looks like I am going to double up on sessions for the Mon-Wed and lose my rest day to an easy pedal, also the lengths on runs are going to go up as I jog to her work and back on top of my already planned runs. So the planned easy 3 mile run on Monday turned into a slightly less easy 6.5. Then doubled up with a swim session. Was a split drills and pace session, totalled out at 2,100m. 

Tuesday I planned to bike in the morning and then run with a friend at lunchtime. But the morning got filled up with christmas shopping and then my friend couldn't make it at lunchtime. I had already set off for my run planning to meet her half way, so I carried on and managed a steady 5 miles. Another uninspiring, but solid session. The weather was too cold and windy to go out on the bike so I skipped it. 

Wednesday was meant to be another double session but really struggled with my swim. Cut it to just a 1,000m at 5k pace. Shoulders and back were really stiff, so just ticked through it to try and ease them off. Again it was much too windy to ride, so stuck to the single session again.

Holiday boredom finally reached a serious level today. Was awake at 8, then went back to sleep till after 10. There is just no point in getting up, as I have nothing to do. I am still short of one Xmas present, but not particularly bothered about it. This is all a recipe for depression. I have managed to fill out the time till now by doing little jobs for other people. I have some DIY jobs that I could do to fill in bits of time, but I can't find the motivation to start any of them. I have now been awake for less than 8 hours and all I want to do now is go back to bed. 

Thursday, as predicted things are continuing to slide. My body clock is now way out of line. I didn't get to sleep till after 3 and then slept through till 10. When I did get up I couldn't find any motivation to go for today's run. I tried to convinced myself it was better to have two rest days going into saturdays swim race. And that the weather was too nasty to go out in. And that my knee could use the rest. None of those are true, they are all just lame excuses to cover my lack of motivation.

Friday I was being equally lazy. But this time resting up for racing is a more valid reason. I did manage to get up in the morning and get on with some other small things. And I did a bit of stretching in the evening to try and loosen off some of the worst bits before racing tomorrow.

Saturday. Race day. Still struggled to get out of bed in the morning. But by 11am I was in gear and having to manage my time. I decided to sacrifice my lag hair in the chase for a few seconds of swim time, and my chest hair since tri-suits were not allowed. I started with the razor, but took a chunk out of my shin on the first stroke, and decided to switch to the magic cream instead. Note to self; do not get Veet cream anywhere near your nipples in future! After that it was lunch and then off to the venue. Separate blog for that coming on Tuesday.

Sunday I decided I wasn't going to manage the long ride so went for a short mtb ride instead. Not short enough as it turns out. About 6 miles in I thought I had a mechanical on an uphill section. Felt like the brakes had jammed on and I assumed the QR on the rear wheel had slipped. I stepped off the bike, gave everything a check, seemed ok, got back on, and then fell off in a heap of exhaustion. I tried a couple of times to get up and walk, but had to sit and wait for about 8 minutes till I was able to get up and pedal on, slowly. I might just have been out of energy from the race on Saturday, but it certainly didn't feel like that. Will see how things go the next couple of days.

Overall it looks like a terrible week against plan, but the 5k swim race covers everything. Second huge swim week in a row, and a much better time than I had hoped for.

Snuck my weight in just under the 80kg mark.

Target totals - Swim >4 miles. Bike >50 miles. Run >12 >18 miles. 2 short core, 2 short light weights and 2 short stretching sessions. 90mins of wii yoga. 

Keep weight under 80kg.

Monday - Run round Dyce 6.5 miles, in 59 mins. 

Swim with TPT, 2,100m in 48 mins. Stretching session.

Tuesday - Run around Dyce 5.0 miles, in 45 mins.

Wednesday - Easy swim 1,000m in 20 mins.

Thursday -  Nothing.

Friday - Rest day.

Saturday - 5k swim race. 1hr 38:03. Separate blog to follow.

Sunday - MTB, 8miles in 1hr 20mins.

Actual totals - Swim 5.1 miles (8,150m). Bike 8.0 miles. Run 11.5 miles. 0 short core, 0 short light weights and 2 short stretching sessions. 0 mins of wii yoga.

Weight 79.8kg.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Training Plan - Week 52 - December 23 to 31

A nine-day week, just to confuse things. The last two days will drift into next year's first blog, but they are in here for now.

I have signed up to a Strava challenge to run 33 miles in the last 10 days of the year, so it is a short run eery day to try and claim all of them. Plenty of other things to fit in as well. I have Dexter to keep me company for most of the week, so there will be plenty of hill runs at Kirkhill

Monday - Easy run. Swim with TPT.

Tuesday -  E
asy hill run with Dex. And maybe a quick pedal somewhere.

Wednesday - Easy run. Xmas Sprint. (Ok it will just be me and Dexter so it won't really be the Xmas sprint in anything more than basic spirit).

Thursday -  Hill run with Dex.

Friday - Hill run with Dex. Stretching.

Saturday - 
 Hill run with Dex.

Sunday - Long ride. Very short easy run.

Monday - Easy run. Swim with TPT.

Tuesday -  Easy
run. Maybe a Hogmanay trip on the mountain bike like the last 2 years.

Target totals - Swim >2 miles. Bike >40 miles. Run >33 miles. 1 short core, 1 short light weights and 2 short stretching sessions. 60mins of wii yoga.

Keep weight under 80kg.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Training Review - Week 50 - Dec 9 to 15

Should get nearly 4 weeks of heavy training in from here before I go back to work in January. 

Plan was to start fairly easy on Monday with a short run in the morning. First mile was good, second mile was ok, third mile was a horrible staggering mess. But I got round, which was the target for the day. Swimming, I expected to struggle with the session as it was very shoulder biased, including pushups between sets. 

Tuesday was meant to be an easy short bike ride. 10 miles, no problem. But plans change. After a puncture and a tube change at 4 miles I thought I was sorted. Tyres didn't look in the best shape as I was doing the change but they weren't going to fail any time soon. So on I went only to snap my rear gear cable at mile 9. Fortunately stuck in a ride-able gear and was able to roll home. A trip to Halfords later and I had the cable replaced, and new tyres waiting to go on before my next wet ride. So just clicking through the gears to check everything and decide to check the brakes as well. Brakes on, stops dead, brakes off… not happening. The spring that is meant to release them is jammed. Looks like a whole new set of callipers needed. 

Wednesday I went for a wee swim. Plan was to see how far I could swim in the 12-1:30 lunchtime lane session, with a view to deciding about doing the 5k swim race next weekend.  First into the pool, I avoided the really fast lane on the assumption that some fish would want to come in and do a sprint session. Jumped in the next lane and started ticking away. Was right about the fish, about 6 of them turned up and started churning up the fast lane, causing a lot of wash for me to deal with. But I just ignored it and ticked on, and on, and on. Turns out that in the 81mins from getting in the water to being thrown out I can cover 4,000m. That puts me on course for 1:42 for 5k. That is my longest ever single swim session, in time and distance. Also makes this my longest ever swim week, with still another planned session on Friday. I am going to try the same, but without my tri-suit this time to test the difference, since I am not allowed to race in it. Also realised I couldn't fit my light weights session into anywhere else in the week so did them late in the afternoon.

Thursday was out for another Xmas lunch, but managed to squeeze a run in to the morning. Started with my normal 3 mile loop but then half way round I realised that was going to leave me looking for 9 on Saturday and then trying to bike 56 on Sunday, which might be a bit much. So I slowed it down a little and stretched it to just over 4.7 miles. 

Friday I went for another wee swim. Only 2,500m this time. Was suffering a bit from Tuesday's long effort. It is definitely slower without the tri-suit as well. Think my pacing is going to be about right for 5k though. I can steadily tick along at 21mins per km comfortably, 20mins/km at a push and 19mins/km starts to cause problems. Just have to make sure that I go at my pace and try not to get sucked into someone else's.

Saturday I planned a longer run but wasn't really in the mood for it and a nasty headwind wasn't helping. Did my short loop instead. 

Sunday was a ride with the Kintore Sunday group. Was a really nasty day. Very windy and cold. I purposefully got myself into the slow group, which didn't really help. The fast group rolled past us within the first 10 miles and they kept stopping to wait for us, but every time we arrived at their rest spot they rolled on so I never got a proper recovery stop or change to eat. This eventually resulted in me running too low on energy and really struggling. The last 20 miles I would go fine for 5 minutes then run out of gas and get spat out the back again. I tried to eat a cereal bar on the move and ended up dropping it because my fingers were too cold. it was not an enjoyable day. even the few bits where I was enjoying ticking along at a decent pace, that meant more cold.

For the week as a whole it has been pretty good. Got back under my current weight target, back to 79.5kg. Managed to get out and do something every day. Managed a massive swim total, by far my longest week in the pool ever. Could have done to stretch each of my runs a little but they were all tough as they were, maybe a case for going a little slower and further next week. 

Target totals - Swim >2.5 miles. Bike >60 miles. Run >15 miles. 2 short core, 2 short light weights and 2 short stretching sessions. 90mins of wii yoga. 

Get weight back under 80kg!

Monday - Run round Dyce 3.1 miles 27mins. Swim with TPT, 2,100m in 56 mins.

Tuesday -  Easy road bike 10 miles in 66 mins.

Wednesday - Long swim. 4,000m in 1hr 21. Light weights.

Thursday -  Short run 4.7 miles in 40mins. Works Xmas lunch (Another one of many). 
Date night - Frozen, yet another solid Disney film that won't win best animation.

Friday - Long swim. 2,500m in 51mins.

Saturday - Short run 3.5 miles in 29 mins. Xmas Jumper Party. Stretching.

Sunday - Long ride 56.1 miles in 4 hrs 15. Light weights.

Actual totals - Swim 5.3 miles. Bike 66.1 miles. Run 11.3 miles. 0 short core, 2 short light weights and 1 short stretching sessions. 0 mins of wii yoga.

Weight 79.5kg.