HPS San Silvestre 6km

New Years Eve Run in Gran Canaria

We were on holiday in Gran Canaria and I saw that on the 31st of December they had a New Years run. I know that I am not running very much at the moment, and I won’t do very well, but I wanted to run it anyway!  It would be 6km, starting at 5pm.

I had tried and failed to sign up online, so when we saw a sign up stall in the shopping centre, I took the plunge and signed up. It only cost 7€ and you get a T shirt, bargain! Apparently if you expect to run faster than 24 mins, you are classed as a professional and start at the front, fine by me.

Preparation/Holiday

Our holiday in Gran Canaria was really good, but I only ran once, meaning I’d only run 4 times in December going into the race! We also generally spend our days walking around in the sunshine and we climbed a local hill the day before. That’s all to say that my legs weren’t as fresh as you might imagine, given that I’d walked over 30,000 steps a day for a few days in a row.

Excuses out of the way (for now), we walked over to the start area and were there by 2pm. We found somewhere to eat and get coffee (coffee and cake is a big part of our holidays) then we headed to the start area again. We were still too early, but at least it gave me time to get my prerace stuff sorted out. That would normally be the case, but there were only about 10 toilets for 12k runners, and they didn’t have any toilet roll in them!

Starting Pro

After finally sorting that out, I was pretty thirsty, but there wasn’t anything to drink, so I would just have to deal with it.  I went into the front pen with about 45 mins left before the start. Everyone seemed to be taking it very seriously, I felt like I was the only one not doing a big warm up.  Everyone suddenly stopped warming up at 16:45, so I thought I might start, but then the mass starters were released, so to stay near the front, I’d have to line up now.

Racing Amateur

The race started on time and I felt pretty good. Lots of people started very fast, but I just wanted some wind protection. It was very windy with the first 2.5km into the wind, and the last 2.5 with the wind.  I felt like I was moving well whilst holiding enough back to finish well. After 3km my time was 11:25, almost exactly as I had expected (23:00 for 6km). The 2nd half started to bite though.

Even though the wind was on my back, I started to fade. A fast woman passed me after about 4km and a few others did too. I mean I was still passing more than I was being passed, but it still wasn’t well paced.

The time passed pretty quickly and soon enough I was on the home straight. I didn’t really sprint too much as I felt like my legs were dead, and I crossed the line in 23:07 for 103rd place.

TrainerRoad SweetSpot

At the end of 2016 I bought myself a Wahoo Kickr Snap so that I could train in winter for Roth. I used it occasionally, but pretty soon the weather got better and the trainer started collecting dust.

Winter Training

As this season was such a nightmare, I think I could do with laying some base for next year nice and early. My cycling was realy weak this year, it used to be my strength, but I would frequently lose minutes to Michael, Basti and Christoph this season.

TrainerRoad

So I decided to start on the Trainer Road SweetSpot base plan. There are three levels- low, mid and high. The low only has 3 workouts per week, which seems like it would be too little for me. The mid has 5 which might be a little too much and the high has 6, definitely too much.

I decided on the mid, thinking that I could always skip the easy ride if I want. The next step is the FTP test. I know that there is an 8 minute test and a 20 minute test, both of which aren’t much fun, but now TrainerRoad has a Ramp Test which it uses to quickly find your FTP.  The Ramp Test kicks up quite a few watts every minute until you can’t go on anymore. My FTP was set at 325 from last time I had used Trainer Road, so I left it there. After not very long I was done, and my FTP was said to be 282w, a bit disappointing but not too surprising.

One weird thing was how the test showed up on Strava

It showed me not hitting the blue bar watts, although I was in Erg mode with powermatch. I decided to switch off powermatch after that so that I could rely on the Kickr Snap, even if it is wrong it should be consistent.

The Workouts

The first workouts didn’t feel too taxing, so much so that I decided to start eeking up my percentage for each ride until I found my level. After really struggling with a weekend 90 minute over/under ride at 105%, I was happy to set my FTP at 292w.

I’m not finding riding on the trainer too bad surprisingly. I thought it’d be too boring, but even the 90min rides are ok if you always have something to do. During the easy parts I do 2-3 minutes in aero with 1 minute rests, whereas when it’s more difficult, I just try to survive, or do the cadence drills that the software suggests.

Illness strikes

After 4 weeks of the plan I was going to Nice for the weekend, I had rearranged the plan so that I would ride before leaving on Thursday, and do the hardest workout of the week (the over/unders of McAdie +1) on Sunday. I’d increased my FTP to 301w after feeling like the workouts were getting a bit too easy. But when I got home on Sunday, I suddenly felt really ill, so training was called off.

I was ill until Thursday, but on Friday my Dad came to town for the weekend, so I decided to take off until Monday, meaning I had 10 days off the bike.  I jumped back into the final hard week of the plan and though the first couple weren’t great, I managed everything with my 301FTP.

This is the last scheduled workout of the plan, it’s called Galena and it sucks! it’s not that hard, but it is 90mins long and has 3×20 minutes at sweet spot. It is mentally draining, normally I have breaks or some change in effort to make it more interesting, but damn Galena is boring!

Strangely the 2nd last hard workout was this one: Palisade. It’s also 90 mins long, but it wasn’t too bad at all! The intensity is higher than Galena, but you can split it up into sections and something is happening quite often. I’m starting to think that indoor training is 90% pyschological!

Anyway, I should have had 1 easy week left in the plan, but due to me missing a week, and the easy week looking incredibly boring, I switched in a sweetspot week, along with McAdie that I had missed after Nice

McAdie was tough, 4×12 mins with 1 minute under FTP, followed by 2 minute over FTP, 4 times in a row. I managed it ok though. The next day, and the final day of my amended plan, I decided to do Carson +2.

The final workouts

I have done Carson a few times, it is 6×5-7-minute intervals between 88-94% FTP totaling 36 minutes of Sweet Spot work. Carson +2 is 90 minutes long though instead of 60 and had 9×5-7 minutes instead of 6.  With tired legs from McAdie, it was a real fight to finish it, I was even ready to bail out after 1h, but managed to talk myself out of it!

So that was Sweet Spot Base I Mid. It’s 80% fairly easy/manageable, with the over/unders sometimes being hard as hell. I’ll start on Sweet Spot Base II Mid after Christmas, that looks like it starts sprinkling of VO2max stuff, which should be interesting!

So the only thing left to do now is the Ramp Test again. I had a 282w FTP before the training plan, and afterwards… 330w! I think that’s a bit high, but wow!

 

Swim Block 2018

So yesterday we had our swim test to decide the teams for the season in TCEC. Basti and Peter swam about 11:45 for 800m. Michael and Christoph swam about 12:50. I swam 13:30.

Now that is pretty much what I expected I would swim, ideally it would have been 15 seconds quicker, but 1:41 per 100m in a 50m pool is about my standard at the moment. Actually looking at it, it was slightly faster my best 1000m pace from last year, so really good for me historically.

The thing is though, it isn’t good enough! I need to be getting out of the water with Christoph and Michael at least, otherwise I’ll have to fight like a dog on the bike to be near the front for the run.

I am considering doing a swim block to try to knock off my 5 seconds/100m deficit in quick time. It fits well too as the tri season starts in 10 days, but the Freibad (outdoor pool) season starts on Saturday 19th of May. That means I have much better access to a 50m pool during the week.

So what would a swim block for me entail? Well Monday and Thursday are the team swims, so they would stay. If I could swim at least 5 days a week, for 16km or more total, that should be a pretty good kick in the right direction, shouldn’t it?

I’m going to see if I actually get my ass in gear and do this, if I do, this will be published along with some results. I have my baseline of 13:30 for 800m. I want to be able to swim at least 12:30 for 800m, that is 1:34/100m. I seem to benefit more than most from wearing a wetsuit, so I think if I swim 12:30 in the pool, I’d be getting out of the water with or ahead of the main RTV group in open water.

Week 1: 14-20 May

It’s kind of week zero, but whatever. My weeks total was about 15km over 4.5 swims, easily my biggest swim week ever.

Week 2: 21-27 May

Swam 750m in 13 minutes in openwater in Hachenberg, it seems like it was long though.

Longest swim ever, 3900m, miscounted or I would have done 4k! So I did just over 16k in 6 swims this week, not bad with a race in the middle.

Week 3: 28 May – 03 June

5 swims for a total of 16km again.

Week 4: 04 June – 10 June

5 swims for a total of 17km! Was a good swimming week.

Week 5: 11 June – 17 June

Just 2 swims – one shorter one before my seminar and one longer one on Thursday evening after work at TBB. Lets call it a down week!

Week 6: 18 June – 24 June

800m test in 12:58 on the Monday. 5 swims this week.

Epilogue

Writing 6 months later, I have decided to publish this after all! I kept swimming for a while after stopping writing here. In week 7 (25 June- 01 July) I swam 4 times, week 8 (02 July – 08 July) only twice but good long swims, week 9 (09 July – 15 July) 3 long swims. I was definitely starting to slack off on the swimming in week 10 (16 – 22 July) where I only swam once.

Then I got ill with my stomach bleed again, so I swam once, twice and once in the next 3 weeks, all for less than 1h. I actually remember the swim where in retrospect, I noticed that I was ill.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1724103086

I felt really weak in Mombach in the Freibad, I thought that I’d overdone it in the gym the day before. Then on the 24th, I felt like shit and went home early from work. I took the 25th off and that was that, I had had another stomach bleed.

So here I am in January, 12 pools swims done since the 23rd of July! It’s time to get started again, 6mins for 400m is a goal I’d love to hit in 2019, lets hope it works out better than my swim block in 2018.

I did swim 78 times in the pool in 2018, only down from 84 times in 2017 when I was actually fit and training for Roth.