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!

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)

1800k in May challenge

I have just looked at my calendar and have seen that in May there are 3 bank holidays and I have 4 extra days off work.  There are also 10 days of weekend, meaning I have 17 full days off work.

That seems like a lot to me, so I started thinking about how much I can cycle in May.  I remember when I was training for la Marmotte in 2013 I had a big month in May, including a week in Mallorca.  I checked on Strava and found that I cycled 1600km that month, not bad, but also beatable!

So I decided to set myself a little challenge, I am going to aim to cycle 1800km in May 2015.

1) Cycling to work does not count (5km each way)
2) Cycling to the pool does count (11km each way)
3) Cycling into town or to the football etc does not count.
4) For it to count, it has to go on Strava.

I liked the sound of 1800k in May, so that will be my challenge name.  May 1st is a holiday here, so I will be after a flying start to the challenge!
I am off work for the week of the 25th of May, so will be able to pick up a lot of Ks in the last week.
To end the month I have a 43.5km TT in Wörrstadt.  It would be good if I could arrange it that I break through 1800km on that day, without having to do too much the day before to allow me a better chance of doing a good time!

Start of week 19 – Let the cycling begin!

May Day or Tag der Arbeit is this week on Friday, so I have a 3 day weekend.  I aim to cycle 300km over those 3 days and 400km this week total.
I will be running my first leg of the Wingertscup running series on Saturday in Framersheim.  It's a hilly 14.3km route with the winning time usually being 55m or so.  I should be quite close to the front.  I will cycle there and back, so that will be 70km, so Friday and Sunday will have to be 230km at least, not too crazy.

I will swim at least twice, three times would be better.  Running is slightly less important at the moment as I have the running fitness and need to improve my cycling and swimming.  I will run this evening (monday), probably 15km or so, as the weather forecast looks a bit crappy, so it's not ideal for cycling.

Possible week plan:
Monday – run 15km
Tuesday – Cycle 30km (+22km) and swim 2km
Wednesday – Cycle 60km
Thursday – Run 11.6km before work, Swim after work (22km cycle)
Friday – Cycle 130km
Saturday – Cycle 70km, run 14.3km
Sunday – 100km, maybe swim

My powermeter should arrive this week – I'm excited!  I plan to just cycle with it to start with and see what numbers it spits out, then next week I can look at setting some zones!

End of week 18 – Post marathon

Strangely enough the week started out for me with me having pretty heavy legs, possibly something to do with the Marathon on Sunday.  I wanted to get things moving though so I cycled 30km on Monday evening.  Pretty much everything hurt, I couldn't hold aero position, my legs wouldn't really push the pedals, and slight inclines were like mountains, but I did my 30km and it probably helped the recovery a bit too.

On Tuesday I went swimming in Mombach.  There was only me and one other in the lane, so it was pretty clear water to swim in.  I did my 2000m, with more 200m intervals than normal.  I actually quite enjoyed the longer intervals, I have pretty much been doing 100m intervals all the time this year, I need to get into a rhythm more and improve endurance too.  I cycled there and back too, so chalk on another 22km cycling.

Wednesday I cycled again.  This time my legs were in much better shape and I did just over 60km at about 31km/h.  The wind was a bit weird, I guess it was a cross wind most of the time, but I felt like it was a head wind both south and north!  That's usually a bad sign, but it was still a decent speed for me, so no complaints.

On Thursday I wanted to try my first run after the marathon.  I went out with Katja to run, but she had picked up an injury running in Bonn, so had to turn back after less than 1km.  I ran off feel, but that feel was probably too fast, so I was at 4:45 pace.  My quads weren't feeling too happy, but the 10.7km run was still nice, and my 3km loop near Marienborn now has 3 portaloos on the route, perfect, even though they weren't needed.

I was feeling tired on Friday.  I hadn't slept too well and was a bit worn out, so I took it as a rest day.  I had planned to swim, but couldn't be bothered to go to the pool!

On Saturday I had to get to Köln for Sunday's Bike and Run.  I decided to cycle to Koblenz, which is 100km away, then get the train the other 100km or so.  The weather forecast had said that the northerly head wind would flip and become a friendly southerly blowing me towards Koblenz.  I thought that if that was the case, I might go further than Koblenz, but it wasn't so 100km was enough for me, especially with a rucksack on.  Again my average was 31km/h, but along the flat Rhein without  much wind, I was nearer 33km/h, which is good for me.

Sunday was the Bike and Run.  I did't do any run warm up, but I did cycle for 20 mins, so I will give myself 50km cycling and 10km running.
I was feeling pretty good in the evening, so I cycled to Nieder-Olm on the mountain bike and swam 2km.  It started off pretty badly, but ended well.  I noticed the pool was closing soon, so started doing longer intervals, and ended with a 5:30 300m.  It's not really fast or anything, but as my last 300m from 1700-2000m, it is fast enough.  That would give me a 35min split in a half iron-distance race, which would be awesome!  The cycle to and from the pool counts as another 20km, so 70km for the day.

Running: 20.7km (873.6km YTD)
Cycling: 283km (1922km YTD)
Swimming: 4km (34.25km YTD)

Pretty good week all-round.

End of week 17

Ok I'll make this quick just to keep everything up to date.

Monday: 2km swim, went quite well, no cramps, not as bad as I had feared swimming in the bigger TCEC group.
Tuesday: Ran straight after work 11.6km at 4:34/km felt very easy and nice in the sun, probably too fast though.  Ate then rode 30km at about 31km/h also quite easy.
Wednesday: I did a 60km evening ride.  The wind was blowing from the south, so I attacked the strava segments on the way home. 2 new segment PBs blowing my old 2013 PBs away, still more to do though to get nearer the KOMs!
Thursday: Another 11.6km at 70% HR 4:58/km, could almost sleep but it was a nice run.

Friday and Saturday I took off before Bonn Marathon
Sunday: 42.2km in 3:00:15!

Running 65.8km (852.9km YTD)
Cycling 112km (1639km YTD)
Swimming: 2km (30.25km YTD)

Week 17 – Bonn Marathon Week

The first really big race of the year is only 6 days away now, and I am nervous, but quietly confident too!
I have run 2 marathons before, the first was in Istanbul only 16 weeks or so after I started running for the first time.  I thought everything went well in training and I aimed for a 3:30, but I blew in completely and ended up limping in a painful 3:57.  My second marathon was Frankfurt in October 2014.  Training was more consistent, but plagued by my iron problems leading to low haemoglobin in the late summer.  I never really got on track to reach my original goal of sub3, on race day I was aiming for 3:15 and I ran in a not dreadful 3:18:xx.  It was definitely better than Istanbul, but still not ideal.

I think that my under-performance in my marathons is down to my tapering.  I had done long runs that were faster than my marathon pace last year, and with a much lower heart rate, but come race day I couldn't do any more.  That's why I have decided to keep Bonn as close to being the end of a normal running week as possible.  I'm not going to be stupid, but I am going to train fairly normally thins week up until Thursday.  I don't want to have heavy legs on Sunday, but unless I go crazy or do short intervals on Thursday (I won't), I expect my legs will have recovered by Sunday.

The weather is looking a bit warm and sunny for my liking, though 15 is better than the 22 they were predicting last week.  If it clouds over then 15 would be pretty much perfect.  I start at 10:30am, which is a bit late for my liking, it means that I will be running until 13:30 or so, which will be the warmest part of the day.  I can't do anything about it though, so I will just run and see what happens.

I plan to run with the 3h pace group, and this time I will forget my HR and just run with them (I ran to HR in Frankfurt).  It is a "do it or go out in a ball of flames" tactic, so if my HR is 170 after 15km, it could be a painful day, but that shouldn't be the case.  The way I see it, I have 23s/km spare from my HM pace to my marathon goal pace, that's quite a lot!  Hopefully I can cruise the first half, then after 30km or so start to move ahead of the pace group.  My prediction is a 2:57:30.  I'll write a race report, hopefully titled Bonn Marathon – Sub3 – Goal Achieved!

End of week 16 – Duathlon training

As it was Easter, I had Monday off work.  I wanted to really utilise this extra free day, especially as the weather was great, but my legs weren't playing ball.  I ended up going for an evening spin of 57km, so it was better than nothing, but not really the best use of a bank holiday.  It was a fairly good example of going too hard the day before meaning I couldn't train the day after, I won't make the same mistake again in a hurry.

On Tuesday I was really tired, I went to the gym and did some strength work, then went onto the treadmill thinking I would do a hilly run, but it wasn't worth it with my legs feeling so heavy, so I ran about 3km easy and left it at that.
Wednesday was a lovely evening after work, so in shorts and t-shirt I went for an outdoor 11.6km loop.  It was really nice, and felt easy but ended up being 4:44 pace which was faster than expected.  I definitely sweat more than I have been, I'll have to be careful with nutrition in Bonn if it is warm for my marathon.
Thursday was a good one.  I worked until about 17:45, but instead of binning training as I may have felt like doing, I ate quickly then headed out for a cycle.  I did give a little bit more effort, but not 100%.  I was very happy to see that I had averaged 31.9km/h at the end of the 53km ride.  It was my first ride of the year in shorts and short arms, I really enjoyed it, even if I could have picked a better route.
Friday was another lovely evening, so I ran my extended 15.5km route at easy tempo.  I didn't push at any point but I ran a 4:48 pace with a 144bpm average (75% of max HR).  That is a pretty good pace for me whilst running easy and in the warm, so I was happy with that.  On Saturday I was a bit time crunched and wasn't too sure of what to do.  I decided on an intervals session at Willy Wacker running track.  I don't want to over do it and injure myself a week before Bonn, so I ran at 3:45/km for my km repeats.  That would have been crazy fast not too long ago, but the first 6 repeats all felt quite easy.  The last 2 were a bit tougher, but still fine, I ended with 8x1km all between 3:39 and 3:44, the run was 13km total in just under an hour, it's possibly my last intervals before Bonn, not sure yet though.

On Sunday I went for a solo bike ride.  I freestyled the route a bit, and it ended up being pretty flat, but it was 118km at 31.2km/h and 800m of climbing at the end of the day.  I am getting used to my TT bike a bit more now and feel like my position is pretty good.  My shoulders/neck do get quite tight though.  I have decided to try to power through and get used to the aero-position, hopefully it will pay dividends later in the season.  Last year in Wasserstadt I was out of aero-position a lot of the time due to my neck/shoulders, I don't want that to happen again.

And that was that, a good week of training no doubt, but again no swimming.  I was thinking about it yesterday on the bike, I will swim 2+ times a week after Bonn.  That is not a promise, but I will really try to do it.  Freibad season starts soon which will make it easier for me to get to a good swimming pool, I can also swim before work in Nieder-Olm if I ever feel obliged.  It is getting a bit ridiculous with my lack of swimming at the moment though, I will be happy with another 38m swim in Wasserstadt, but I don't want to convert that to a 90m swim in Köln like Jochen did.

Running: 43.1km (787.1kmYTD)
Cycling: 228km (1527km YTD)
Swimming: 0km (28.25km YTD)