End of week 22

This week has kind of felt like a bridging week. Last week was a good one and next week is a training block, so I have been keen not to injure myself or overload myself in advance.  That said I wanted to ride 300km+ and do my biggest week of swimming ever, I think last week holds the record, so anything more than 7.2km would do it.

On Monday I did a little cycling loop, just 36km. It was incredibly windy and I decided to target a Strava segment near me.  I looked at what my best 5m power was – 376w, and went off at about that power for the 5 min climb.  Even up a 4-7% gradient it felt easy with the wind on my back, I really flew up the climb.  I was amazed to see later that I had taken the steepest segment in the middle, but not the whole climb segment, someone was a bit faster still!  I knocked out a short brick after the cycle, just 5km but at a decent clip.

On Tuesday I went to Taubertbergsbad Freibad straight after work.  It was empty again which was great, so I picked my lane and got going.  I have kind of started doing a standard set, it goes 100 warm up crawl, 50 breast, 50 crawl, 50 back 50 crawl. A few 200,300,400m intervals all crawl up until I have done 1500m or so.  Then 200m paddles with pull buoy, followed by 300m just pull buoy, repeated until I am done.  I did that and swam 2700m total.

On Wednesday I got up before work to run, as I should have run on Tuesday evening but was too lazy.  As I was alone I thought I could push the pace a bit so ran my 11.7km loop at 4:30/km pace.  It didn't feel too hard, but I didn't wear my HR belt either, so I don't know my HR.  After work I cycled a 62km loop. It was a standard loop to Alsheim and back around.  I averaged 32km/h and 264w it was quite good, but nothing special.

Thursday was another swim day.  Again at TBB freibad.  This time the water temperature was only 20.5 degrees, which is a bit chilly for my liking.  The lifeguard at the pool decided to give me a coaching session, which I really appreciated.  Essentially he said that when I breathe I move my head too much.  He also said that I should pull straighter and that I possibly breathe too early.  I am trying to work on them but changing my breathing is hard! I did 2700m with longer pauses than normal to talk to the lifeguard. I had planned on doing 3km+, but it was still better to get tips.

On Friday I went for another 60km ride.  I had moved my bars down 2cm by slamming the stem, which doesn't sound like much, but it feels like a lot!

I did a Alzey and back loop, through Gau-Odersheim then back over Elsheim.  I was happy with my 33.4km/h average speed, and my power was down too as I wasn't really hammering it (248w NP). It was another good ride, I like the 2h rides, they are short enough that I don't need to plan much, but long enough to tick off a good few KM.

On Saturday I got up and ran quite early with Katja, just the normal 11.4km loop.  It was quite slow but fine.  After watching Stuttgart fluke staying in the Bundesliga I went for another shortish ride. It was very similar to Wednesday's ride, but in the other direction. It was fast again though at 33.6km/h. I was averaging 35km/h or so until I got to Laubenheim hill, it makes me think that in Wasserstadt I should be god for a fast time.

Finally, yesterday on Sunday I finished my 300km cycling for the week with a 75km ride in Hessen.  I remembered Hessen's flat roads with nice cycle lanes. I had apparently forgotten that they have traffic lights every 500m instead of roundabouts.  I must have caught every red light all day, I was getting really pissed off after a while!  I wanted to ride between 70 and 90km, so when I got back home with 75km on the clock, I was happy enough.  I still wanted to go swimming, so I cycled to Nieder-Olm pool.  The biggest mistake of the week, I decided to cycle through the fields not knowing the fly ladened hell I was about to go through.  I cycled head down, but could feel my head being peppered as I rode.  My arms and legs were quickly becoming covered in little black flecks, it was just dreadful.  after a few km it was over and I got to the pool.  The water temperature is always higher at Nieder-Olm, 25.5degrees yesterday.  I did my routine again and after 2500m decided another 500m couldn't hurt.  I got to 3000m but still felt really good. I decided to leave it at that for now, but it looks good for being able to go 3km+ in the near future.

Running 28km (1013.2km YTD)
Cycling 317.7km (3304,6km YTD)
Swimming 8.4km (54,95km YTD)

End of week 21 – a big week

As part of my self assigned 1800k in May challenge, I wanted to cycle 400k this week to get me up to about 1000k for the month so far.  There was a bank holiday on Thursday so I knew I would use that for a longer ride, then the weekend would have to be fully utilised too!  I have had lots of running races recently and last week in Mannheim I felt a bit burned out, so I wanted an easier running week too.

So on Monday I went to the outdoor pool for the first time in 2015 (it only opened 1 day beforehand!).  It was really nice to have something to see when swimming instead of black line, wall, black line, wall!  The pool was pretty empty too, but so were my legs!  I swam 2.2km and called it a day. It wasn't too bad, but when I felt that my stroke was falling apart, I thought it was time to leave.

On Tuesday I got a load of stress at work and couldn't really be bothered then to work out, I also wanted to have an evening out and had to get up very early on Wednesday, so I had a rare full rest day!

Wednesday was the real start of the training week.  I cycled 62.5km quite quickly, with 2 king of the mountains on Strava to boot.  I decided to try out my new Skechers GoRun shoes that had just arrived, so I bricked in a short run afterwards, only 3.3km at marathon pace but I think I should be doing more brick workouts in the next few weeks.

On Thursday I met up with Jochen and went for a long ride.  We cycled to Bingen, along the Rhein, then over the big hill at Bacharach and then back to Bingen and to Mainz.  It was a really good route and we were going over 33km/h without too much effort until we got back to Bingen.  Then Jochen suggested the cycle path back to Mainz.  Cycle paths on bank holidays are not a good place to actually cycle, if you want to go 10km/h and have a bell on your bike, they are ok, but for faster riding they are no good.  So we got constantly stuck in traffic and only averaged about 28km/h back to Mainz.  It was fine though, I had felt good all day.  It was a fairly typical ride, to start with Jochen pushed the pace constantly making me work just to keep up, then in the middle we ride well together, then on the way back he is struggling!  Final stats were 129km at 31.4km/h and 253w NP.
In the evening I ran with Katja, our normal 11.3km loop at a quite slow pace. Just keeping the legs ticking over. 5:27/km HR ave 126.

On Friday I went swimming again.  I had worried that it would be full as the school holidays had started, but there were only 2 other people in a full olympic sized pool, so I needn't have worried!  I felt good and was using my new found 'breathing out through the mouth' tactic well.  I did more 300m and 400m intervals on my way to 2800m, my longest swim of the year.

Saturday was the big day.  Katja was away working, but had to get up early.  I knew that gave me the full day to ride if I wanted, and the weather was set fair.  I had found a route online that was 150km from Stadecken Elsheim, which is 15km away, so I thought it would be 180km total for me.  It was a big loop in the middle of nowhere, but quite hilly.  It also started against the wind and came home with it, which is what I like to do when possible.  So off I went, I found the route easily enough and soon enough had no idea where I was!  The wind wasn't strong but was noticeable.  I decided early on that if I was going to survive and enjoy the ride, I would have to keep power spikes to a minimum, i.e. go gently on the hills and no sprints over little inclines.  After 55km I stopped for a drink and a cereal bar, it was warming up and the views were great.  After 85km or so I went through a town that wasn't tiny, so stopped for a coke and a coffee, and filled my bidon.


For a while in the middle of the ride it was just climb, descent, climb again, which was quite hard work.  I was controlling my effort well though.  I eventually made the turn back home after maybe 100km and the wind started to help instead of hinder. I started to doubt if I would make it home by 180k, so after 150km or so I stopped at a bakery for a bite to eat and a bottle of coke.  That really helped and I managed the route home easily.  When I got back to Hechtsheim I saw that I was very close to 200k ridden.  If I went straight home it would probably be 198km, so I extended it a little to manage a final 200.3km at 29.4km/h 248w NP with 2740 metres of climbing.

That was it for Saturday, even though it was only mid-afternoon, I was a bit tired!  On Sunday I rode to the outdoor pool in Nieder Olm, swam 2.2km then cycled home.  That was another 20km cycled.  I then ran an easy loop with Katja again.

Running 25.9km (985.2km YTD)
Cycling 411km (2986.9km YTD)
Swimming 7.2km (46.55km YTD)

All round a great week, especially after a slow start!  That is a record swimming week for me and I reached the 400km cycling total and even clawed back some of the few I lost last week.

June Race Calender – It’s busy!

Just as a note for me, and so that I can grade their importance, here is my upcoming race schedule.
June is pretty packed to be honest, but most are quite small races so I should be able to train through them.

31st May –  Rheinhessen Time Trial           – 43.5km – C – Ride to power and stay sub 1:10

7th June –   Wasserstadt half Iron distance – 1.9km-90km-21.1km – A – Sub5 is a must, sub 4:45 would be great

13th June – Wallertheim 10km                     – 10km! – C – as high a position as possible, more a test to see if my running is still there.

17th June  – JP Morge corporate Challenge 5.6km – C – Run a fast time get a free t shirt!

21th June – Wiesbaden Duathlon – 5km-25km-5km – B – Interesting one, no weak swim = no excuses!

28th June – Worms Sprint Tri – 750m – 22km- 5km – A – TCEC league debut, don't want to embarrass myself!

First 4iiii Long Ride – New FTP test (kind of)

Yesterday was a bank holiday here in Germany, so I could finally go for a bit of a longer ride with the power meter on.  I have stopped putting it between the bars at the moment, so I am just wearing my Suunto Ambit 2 as a watch and recording my data, and occasionally checking what I am doing, rather than fixating on it all the time!

So I have been informed that my last FTP test was probably unrealistically high (325w FTP).  Lots of suggestions were made, and one that was worth testing was if the head unit being used affected the results. I did a ride with my Garmin 705 in my back pocket whilst wearing my Suunto Ambit 2.  I rode normally for a couple of hours or so, and uploaded both of the rides.  The result was that they were essentially exactly the same, with the Garmin showing 1w less. I saw that on one occasion the Garmin had lost the signal from the 4iiii Precision, whereas the Suunto hadn’t so that even explained that small difference.  My watts were just as high as before. Continue reading “First 4iiii Long Ride – New FTP test (kind of)”

End of week 20 – Mannheim relay marathon and 4iiii FTP questions!

On Monday me and Katja went for a 11.2km run.  It was really humid and there were so many bloody flies, it wasn’t a very enjoyable run but was 11.2km at 5:27/km at 122HR.  A quite easy start to the week.

Tuesday I rode with my new powermeter for the first time.  I had written a bit about that already, so won’t go over it again.  It was blowing a gale though, as it always seems to be at the moment!

On Wednesday I ran with Katja again, it wasn’t so horrible weather, but hella windy, which also wasn’t ideal.  When we were done with the 11.5km loop, I cycled to the swimming pool for a swim.  More accurately, I cycled 8km towards the swimming pool, before realising that I didn’t have my goggles.  I know already from experience that without goggle, I am screwed as no one brings 2 pairs, and the pool doesn’t sell/rent or lend any out, so pretty pissed off with myself, I cycled home. Continue reading “End of week 20 – Mannheim relay marathon and 4iiii FTP questions!”

Start of week 20 – 4iiii Precision powermeter is here!!!

My powermeter has arrived! Woohoo!  I ordered a torque wrench too which should be here tomorrow, so then I can make sure I have it 100% properly installed.  I plan just to ride with it over normal routes this week, and then maybe next week try an FTP test to set my zones.  I really hope I don’t mess up the installation, as long as it is as easy as described, it should be all good!

To normal business, today I’m going to run with Katja straight after work, then eat and head straight to swim training. I might swim with the group tonight, as long as they don’t have too much crap planned! Continue reading “Start of week 20 – 4iiii Precision powermeter is here!!!”

End of week 19 – 1800K in May begins!

On Monday I decided to go for a bit longer easy run, I want to keep the quantity up at reasonable levels, but with races every weekend at the moment, I don't want to do too much quality during the week.  So I ran 15.5km in the wind and rain at 5:18/km pace.  It felt like hard work, even if my heart rate didn't really agree with me (ave 129). Job done.

On Tuesday I went swimming, it went really well, I stuck with the longer 200m intervals, usually in about 3:40.  I wanted to swim at least 2k, but continued on to 2600m before deciding that was enough and heading home.  I used the pull board for quite a bit to practice my body position, it felt good, but made it very noticeable that my normal body position isn't great!  I was concentrating on my high elbows swimming still, I will keep that up from now on.

Wednesday was my midweek cycle.  I got a bit lost and ended up doing 71km, but it was pretty fast at 32.xkm/h.  I did try to keep the pace up, but I wasn't at 100%, so hopefully I'll be faster come wasserstadt in a month.

Thursday me and Katja went running together.  It was 9km in the wind and rain at about 5:40/km pace.  My HR was 120 average, which isn't much lower than when I run 5:00/km interestingly. I don't know if that means I need to runs slower more often of not, but it was a nice recovery run, even in awful weather!

Friday was the first day of my 1800KinMay challenge.  It was also a bank holiday so I had the day off.  As is customary, the weather was crappy so I aimed to hit a gap in the rain.  I got hit further south from mainz in the hills near Rockenhausen.  I started to get low on sugar on the way home too, so had to stop for a drink and a chocolate bar in Alzey, before doing the last hour home.  It was 130km with 1500m climbing at just under 30km/h.  It wasn't the most fun ride ever with crappy weather, cold and not eating enough, but as I like to say, it's in the bank now.

Saturday was Backeslauf day.  I cycled the 28km to and from Framersheim quite easy, but somehow it was over 30km/h each way.

Today it was raining all day and the wind is still a blowing.  (Un)accuweather said it would get better later on, so I waited until 2pm, then had to go.  It rained for about 95% of the ride, and it was windy too.  It was al least a bit warmer and I took some food with me to avoid Friday's 'situation' repeating itself.  I never really felt like cutting it short which is a good thing, but I didn't really go for it either, especially on the downhills or any corners, so my 28.5km/h wasn't too surprising.  My front derailleur somehow undid itself with about 15km to ride, so I was stuck in the 39 cog for the last part, but it was pretty much done by them, and I got home with 118km on the odometer, completing my 300km for the long weekend and leaving me only 1500km for May to ride!

Running: 40km (913.6km YTD)
Cycling: 396km (2318km YTD)
Swimming: 2.6km (36.85km YTD)

Backeslauf – Wingerts Cup

So today was Backeslauf day, my first run in the Wingertscup this year.
It's a 14.3km run, with an advertised 274m of climbing, meaning it is hella hilly in my book!

Framersheim is 26km away from where I live, so I decided to cycle to and from the race. Katja kindly joined me as support, but had to take the bus there.

When I arrived I was bit bit taken aback. The first few km were supposed to be flat to slightly uphill, but I could see that from metre 1 it started climbing at about 2-3%. I quickly started to reassess my goal and decided that 1h would actually be a good achievement!

When the race was about to start, I realised that we started in the other direction, so in fact it was flat then slightly uphill, phew! I ran with about 7 people in front of me, but the leader was well ahead after not very long. I felt like it was going to be a hard day. After about 4km, it was going ok, but I knew the steep stuff was yet to come. I had passed a couple of people by the time we hit the hill, but although it wasn't easy, it wasn't too bad really. It was maybe 4% for 2km, then flattened out before descending, also not so steep to start with, then finally getting steeper near the end.

The route wasn't the smoothest in the world, with lots of gravel and dirt tracks, but that didn't seem to cost too much time, and no ankles were turned, not by me anyway! After the first loop, which didn't go right back to the start, rather about half way down the hill before re-climbing it, I was feeling in the zone. Knowing that the last 4km were pretty much downhill meant I was looking at the 8km marker thinking I was nearly finished! A guy had been less than 50m behind me on the decent of the first loop, but seemed to burn out on the 2nd climb. I went up it at my pace, then knew I could just roll down the hill to the end. There was one small shock, which was the steepest section of the day with about 1km to go, but it was only 100m at most. Then straight back to descending.

I had hoped 58m would be possible, with 2.3km to run I had 8:20 in hand, with 0.6km to go I had 2m, which seemed like it would be hard to do to me, given that a 90s 400m is going some for me, but the downhill helped all the way to the end and I skipped over the line in 57:40.

I thought I had counted 5 ahead of me, but as there was also a 1 loop race at the same time, I couldn't be too sure. Katja thought I was either 3rd or 4th. I waited an age to find out the results, but eventually found that I was 4th, so didn't win any bread and wine 🙁

I really enjoyed the race, a long downhill to end the race meant that I felt ok as I crossed the line, even if my heart rate was 184! My average HR was 176, which is a hard day at the office for me, so I think I paced it pretty well.

I happened to run into a colleague of mine Ronald just before the start who was running too, he also beat his goal time, so it was a successful day all-round!