Start of week 7

On to week 7 then, and it is looking busy, not great for training. On Tuesday I have poker in the evening, Thursday is swim training and Friday I travel to Berlin, Saturday is my birthday in Berlin and Sunday I am still in Berlin…

For Jantastic I need to get a 32km run in, ideally that will be on an evening this week. I think I will try the long run tomorrow, Tuesday swimming before poker, Wednesday 7x1km intervals, Thursday swimming followed by cycle. Friday pre-breakfast easy run, Saturday either nothing or gym intervals or swimming in Berlin. Sunday could be an outdoor run or the gym, hard to say.

I am away for 9 days total, I want to keep it ticking over in that time though. Next week will be an easier week anyway. Not much more to report, lets see how it goes!

End of week 6

So week 6 comes to an end, and it was a good one.
On Thursday I did what ended up being a quite fast 11km run in the cold and wind.  I had to work late and couldn't really bring myself to do a longer run, especially not when it hurt to run against the icy wind. The last few km were at marathon pace or faster, so the end pace was 4:40.
On Friday I went to the gym and did some general strength work and a tediously slow 30min 5.5km treadmill run. Saturday was race day, look to the last post for details but it was a big PB in a 10km race. With warm-up and warm down I'll claim 12.5km for the day. Afterwards me and Jochen went swimming. I did a few different sets to keep it interesting, my fastest 100m being 1:39… nice! I swam, as usual, until I got cramp. 1.6km at the end.
Today I did my dreaded 125km cycle. Luckily it was not snowy, as had been predicted. I cycled to Oberdiebach, which is a 360m climb over 6km. I took it easy on the climb and the first few km were ok. Soon though there were a few slushy patches to be avoided, then the whole road was covered and the slushy bits were the best bits. A few hundred metres later I was spinning my back wheel out on the snow, and couldn't go on any further, so did a 180 and slowly descended the first part. That left me a few km short of the required 125, so by the time I got back home, I had 15km still to go, so I looped around a bit until the kms eventually ticked down and I could go home. It felt hard, mainly because I just haven't done any long rides, but the strong northerly wind wasn't too pleasant either.  Anyway it's in the bank now.

https://www.strava.com/activities/252200193
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Running: 38.5km (293.5km YTD)
Cycling: 175km (517km YTD)
Swimming: 5.1km (15.75km YTD)
A good week for swimming, a good winter cycling week too. Running was successful but it's a bit light on Km, something to keep an eye on.
Weight-wise, like I said I was 76.4kg on Wednesday and Thursday, but was 78kg today, so I expect to be peeing lots tomorrow!

Rodgau 10km Race Report – Year goal number 1 completed!

Race day = Race report!

Build up was just a normal day, slept well, ate omelette and porridge (not together) for breakfast, then went into town for a bagel and Kona coffee (cue jokes about that being the closest I will ever get to Kona) before meeting Jochen to go to Rodgau.  Judith kindly came with us today as support.  I knew that there are lots of fast runners who do Rodgau 10km, so my PB wouldn't get me near the top 20, but that meant there would always be people to run with, which is a good thing.

It was really cold, so I put off getting ready until 25 mins before the start, then 'prepared myself' for the race adequately, and warmed up.  We were quite a few people back from the start line, the usual idiots were pushing to the front, even though they will quickly fall to the back.  That made the first 400m a bit annoying as I tried to overtake the rolling roadblocks.  After 600m or so I was pretty much free, with Jochen behind me I couldn't see how he had negotiated the traffic.  The course seemed to have occasional slight downhills, but never any uphills, I know that is impossible but that is how it was!

The first 4km felt pretty easy, I didn't have HR and ave pace showing on my watch, as it was all in a forest, so I expected that to be wrong anyway.  Looking at the time and the KM markers, I saw that I was at about 3:50/km pace, which is faster than PB pace, but slower than 38min pace.  In Rüsselsheim, I felt like it would be hard to keep my pace up after 4km, in Rodgau it felt easy.  After 5km my time was exactly 19 mins, and I mean exactly! I had noticed though that the slight breeze had been against us in the first half, and should, thus, be behind us in the second half, bonus!

I continued passing people, whilst not once being overtaken myself.  The next km was in 3:46, wow, that means I am faster than 38 min pace by quite a bit, and still feeling good!  the same happened in the next km and the next, all of a sudden 37:30 seemed on the cards, if a stretch. After 8km I saw 30:04 on my watch, I could run almost 4min/km for the last 2 and still break 38!  At this point I was aware that there were some gastro-intestinal issues on the horizon, but I had seriously decided that with my black running tights on, I wasn't going to miss my PB for anything, and I mean anything! Luckily it didn't come to that, but it was a serious fear for a few minutes there!

Finally in the last km I caught a small group of guys and a girl ahead of them.  It crossed my mind that I could just follow them for the last few hundred metres and be happy with my time, but memories of missing 3rd in my age group in Rüsselsheim spurred me on, so I sprinted on by.  With 100m to go I passed the woman in front of them, maybe she was the first woman I thought, that would be good, not to be chicked in a good field.  I sprinted in and stopped my watch at 37:22, unbelievable!  A 3:30 last km and my first goal of the year not only reached, but destroyed! I gasped for air but got it together enough to watch Jochen run in a 38:45, a good run and a big PB for him (it's only his 2nd 10km and the first went far worse than it should have).

The one slight disappointment was when the results came out.  I had seen that they had little silver running shoes as prizes in the age groups, after my race I had thought I had a chance of one of the 5 in my age group, but I soon saw that I was 9th and would have needed a 34:48 to get 5th!
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I was 48th overall, but bugger it, I can't help others being dead fast!  I saw that the woman I passed at the end was the 2nd woman, only 20 seconds behind the 1st woman, so close.

A 50cent honey waffle and coffee were perfect after-race nourishment before heading back to Mainz for a swim.

With no more 10km races on the horizon, this PB might stand for a while.  The next planned race is Frankfurt half in 4 weeks, sub-1:25 looks very likely now along with ticking goal 2 off the list 🙂

https://www.strava.com/activities/251639160
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Midweek update

It’s Thursday and I have a little bit of free time in lab, so here is a midweek update!
On Monday I cycled to Mombach and had the 4th swimming lesson with Max. I don’t think I learned so much, but the drills were good. We had 5x50m races again, I won them all but we had to do press ups between each race. The first 50m was in 40s, but that quickly fell to 50s for the last set. Embarrassingly, I struggled to do the 5 sets of press ups, something to work on me thinks.
One good new thing I learned was how to breaststroke properly, I have been pushing back, when I should be bringing my hands inwards.
So to and from the pool was 20km on the mtb and I reckon I swam 2km or so.

Tuesday is 7x1km intervals day, so I did 7x1km intervals! It went pretty well, I am feeling healthy again, I was running the last km at 16km/h when with 350m to go all of the treadmills turned off at the same time! Apparently the circuit breaker was tripped. I ran another km or so at mid tempo and called it a day. I did some leg strength stuff beforehand but saved the upper body so that I could swim again on Wednesday.
On Wednesday I cycled an extended route to Nieder-Olm through Hahnheim making it a 1 hour ride, and more importantly, it counts as a ride rather than a commute! Swimming was going as badly as last week in Nieder-Olm, when I decided to do some backstroke. What a difference that made! I felt like my arms were free and I started swimming 10s/100m faster! I did lots of sets of 25m crawl, 25m back or breast, then 50m crawl. Unfortunately I started cramping again after 1.7km so I called it a night. 90mins of mtb cycling for 31km and 1.7km swimming for the day.

Ok, to the good news, my weight was 76.7kg this morning. After Sunday where I was 79kg, I must have peed about 20 times on Monday. On Tuesday and this morning I have been under 77kg, so that counts as more than a blip :-).

The rest of the week is in limbo a bit, tonight I will run a middle distance run, ie 15-20km, I am thinking of throwing in a Mona Fartlek in the middle. Tomorrow I need to run, but just a slow recovery run, swimming isn’t out of the question either. Saturday is either race day if Jochen is doing it too (thus giving me a lift to Hanau), or a long run with some marathon pace mixed in. For Jantastic I said I would do a long cycle of 125km this week, I now see that that was foolhardy! It’s going to be zero degrees with possible snow on Sunday. I am going to have to do my man-suit up very tight and get out and do it.  Should be fun!

Next up will either be the 10km race report or my end of week post. For the record, if I race, I will be happy with a PB, but I have a feeling a that sub 38 might just be possible!

Start of week 6

So with more sleep and less illness, lets hope for a better week ahead!

Tomorrow at least swimming with Max, maybe cycling or running beforehand.
Tuesday 7x1km intervals,
Wednesday easy run or cycle.
Thursday outdoor 15-20km run.
Friday swim.
Saturday 10km race in Rodgau and
Sunday long cycle.

Looking back at last month, I think running has gone well, cycling pretty badly, but it is the middle of winter, and swimming was quite bad too. I need to regularly swim twice a week and every now and again swim 3 times a week.  I can't see it happening at the moment, but I need to combine swims with runs and cycles so I can fit them in easier.

End of week 5

It hasn’t been good, oh no, it hasn’t been good.  I’ve been feeling under the weather for a few days now and not sleeping well. On Thursday even though I felt like crap, i did my 7x1km intervals, they were ok but the last 2 felt hard. Followed by another bad nights sleep Friday wasn’t great.
I wanted to go swimming but my muscles still ached from Tuesday (!!) So I thought an easy run would do, but after getting ready I chose against it after a big head-rush when getting up to go, and feeling a twinge in my leg, so I stayed at home and ate lots, hoping it would give me energy for Saturday.
On Saturday I woke up and went for my long run, but felt crappy so did the 10,7km loop instead and bailed out.
Today heavy snow stopped our group ride, so I did a not hard hour on the bikes at the gym, some core and leg strength work, and an easy 5km run.
I have the feeling that I am over the hump of this illness, today hasn’t been so bad and I slept a good 10h last night.
That brings me to my weight. On Friday I was 77.0kg amazing! Yesterday 78.5kg and today 79.0kg. Its obviously water weight but I have almost no idea what my real weight is now! I think between 77-78kg is right, I feel skinny but 77.0 might be a bit much.

Running 35km (255 YTD)
Cycling 70km (342YTD)
Swimming 1.5km (10.65km YTD)

All bad! I did manage my running workouts at least and did my Jantastic so it could have been worse!

Midweek update – Week 5

So it’s been eventful if not very successful so far this week!
On Monday, I did my hilly intervals, they were ok, nothing special. I did a bit of upper body and core stuff too. I think I am going to change up this intervals set next week, maybe 2x5km at half marathon pace, or about 4:05/km.
On Tuesday I got home and thought I would go swimming, but couldn’t find my goggles. I searched the entire flat but couldn’t find them, after 45 minutes I was pissed off, so decided to cycle to the swimming pool 11km away in Mombach, hoping to buy a new pair there. Well for some unknown reason they don’t sell or lend out goggles, so I ended up leaving un-worked out and not in a good mood. I figured that I probably left my goggles in Nieder-Olm swimming pool on Friday last week, so I emailed them. They had some matching the description, so I decided on Wednesday to cycle to Nieder-Olm in the snow and wind, to get my goggles back. It seemed stupid to cycle to a pool and now swim so I would swim too. Well the cycle there wasn’t very pleasant! It was freezing and against a headwind all the way. I got my goggles and swam badly for 1500m before starting to feel a cramp coming, so I cycled home, nice and easy with the wind, the only problem was navigation.

Now I don’t usually count cycling to and from places as training, because it is more like commuting. I mean, I cycle 15-20 minutes twice a day to and from work, but it isn’t a workout. So I decided that Tuesday’s 22km ride didn’t count. Then yesterday I did another 21km to and from the pool, and screw it, I am counting it. I can’t let a total of 43km on my mountain bike not count for anything! That’s like 60km on my road bike! So the 43km are being counted in my total and as 1 workout for Jantastic. I think when the weather is better (it can’t get much worse) the cycle to Nieder-Olm pool will be quite nice. I could extend the ride back too so that it is a 30-40km total, making it a nice little brick session.

So I plan to run my intervals this evening, 7x1km as always! I would like to tag on a few extra K if there isn’t a queue at the treadmills. Jochen has hurt his foot, so didn’t fancy doing outdoor intervals yesterday. Tomorrow I will definitely run, and maybe swim too. 1.5km isn’t exactly a full weeks swim training, so I will either fit in another swim on Friday or Sunday.
Saturday will be an early long run, followed by the weekly coffee and bagel in town, then I’ll be watching Mainz beat Paderborn. 30km+ should be fine, no need to go mental with 35km+ routes yet.
Sunday could be the group ride, but might not be. The current forecast is for -4 degrees. If it is that cold it will be difficult, but I will probably go for the previously mentioned Nieder-Olm swimming pool loop, though thinking about it, that would mean I would swim 2 days in a row, as I have a training session on Monday, maybe Friday would be better after all…

Just as general notes, the diet is going well but I am not sleeping well. I keep waking up at 4am and dosing until the alarm goes off (or not as was the case on Monday!). I’m going to try to reduce my caffeine intake late at night, I can hope for a sleep in on Sunday too 🙂

Start of week 5

The week ahead.
I said I would do intervals with Jochen on Wednesday, that kind of screws up my plans a bit, but should be ok. We will do 7x1km probably at around 3:45 pace.
I will do my hilly intervals tomorrow so that I fit in the key run workouts. On Tuesday I think I will go swimming and maybe run home after (I always say I will and never do!) That will leave a cycle on Thursday and either a swim or run on Friday.
I want to do another good long run on Saturday, before another 10k race the weekend after. 32km+ would be good. Hills seem to be my friends nowadays, so I will probably head south again through the Weinberge.
On Sunday it looks like there might be a little chaingang going on. Our Cologne Bike and Run team is planning a ride, even though it might be 0 degrees out. It’ll be good to get a decent length ride in and hopefully they don’t want too many explosives on the climbs, I don’t think I am quite ready for that yet!

End of week 4

With no midweek update this week, it'll be a bit more about the workouts this week.
Monday was a rest day, it was partially planned as this week was an easy week, but work went late and my MTB was at the train station, so I didn't get home until 7pm, so I just took a rest day.
Tuesday I did a 15.6km run outdoors. It was a base run, with my HR somewhere in the 130s and the pace at 5:20 per KM. It was nice though.
Wednesday I did some upper body work in the gym, followed by a boring 1h on the bikes in the gym. They are obviously better than nothing, but I can't say I look forward to them. I might start to do some midweek rides outside in the dark. I have bright lights, it should be ok.
Thursday was my one intervals session of the week. 7x1km on the treadmill (1% incline) at 15.6km with 250m rest at 8km/h. I was a little apprehensive as it was the 0.6km/h faster than normal, but it was pretty easy to be honest. The last one was a little more difficult, but there was always some left in the tank.

Friday I had Swim training session 3 with Max at Nieder-Olm swimming pool. Me and Jochen decided to get some private swim coaching as we are both a bit rubbish. We had the first 2 sessions in December, but due to illnesses and holidays we haven't managed to get the last 3 arranged until now. Max is still ill so sat on the edge of the pool to watch our techniques. Apparently my technique is quite good, I turn my head too much to breathe and my kick gets a bit wonky, but otherwise it's not bad. We had quite a lot of fast intervals in this session, the hardest part being 5x50m races between me and Jochen. I managed to win them all, but they were close for the first 25-35m then I moved clear. I think the gym upper body work might be helping out there. Anyway, it was a hard session but it gives me hope of doing a decent swim split in a half later this year, and surviving the full distance swim!

Yesterday was snowy, cold and windy, but it was long run day, so I did a long run. Running against the wind was horrible as the snow went in my eyes about every 0.3 seconds, but after the first few km it was almost always a cross wind or tail wind. I tried out a new route to Klein Wintersheim – Nieder-Olm – Zornheim – Ebersheim – Home. It was going to be too short, so I went for a loop in the industrial park in Hechtsheim to get it over 30km. It ended up being 31.4km at 4:57/km. A decent pace but my HR was only high 140s average. I was still feeling pretty tired at the end though.
Today was still cold, but dry and not too much wind, so I decided against dying of boredom in the gym doing a 2h session, and went out for a ride. It was surprisingly good! Only 63km in 2:20, but its a start. I felt like I could keep pushing a little even at the end. 250km is still a long ways away, but I have time on my side.

https://www.strava.com/activities/245406094
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Weight 78.2kg (+0.3kg)
Running 58km (220km YTD)
Cycling 91km (272km YTD)
Swimming 2.2km (9.15km YTD)

I am not surprised that my weight is up, it was a good week for my diet, it's just that last weeks weight seemed like a low blip. This weeks weight still puts me down 0.8kg in the last 2 week, so I am still pretty happy with how it's going.

Things I might buy for Köln226

I can’t really do a midweek update, as that would just be a review of one easy run so far, so I will write about what has been on my mind.

In order to get the best time possible, I will need a few things before doing Köln226 in September. I will put them in groups: “Essential”, “Would be nice” and “a luxury”:

So number 1, essential, a Trisuit. Luckily I have already ordered one from TCEC, it should get here in spring. It will be especially helpful for the shorter races, but I need one for the long distance too.

Number 2: A Triathlon Bike. I have my 2 road bikes, and they could be used if necessary, but Köln is a flat course and the angles of the bikes aren’t optimal to let me run after the 180km cycle. A tri-bike is essential, but which one? Well a Cervelo seems to be the obvious choice.

Something like that would be ideal. The problem is that it costs 2900€ new. I will sell my other road bike, I have no space for 3, but that will only get me 500€. I don’t think I can justify 2500€ on a triathlon bike. I will keep my eyes open for a good second hand one, otherwise I will have to settle for something else.

Number 3: An aero-helmet, that is between “essential” and “would be nice”. They aren’t crazy expensive, I have seen a decent looking lid, the Casco SPEEDster, for 150€, or a Bell Javelin like this one
I will almost certainly get one before Köln, I just have to decide which one.

Number 4: Aero-wheels. Zipps seem like they will be too expensive. RS81 C50s look like a good option for 700€ or so.

I will keep my eyes open for PlanetX offers, or I might go for a Chinese set of wheels for about 500€. Aero-wheels would definitely be “nice to have”

Number 5: A power-meter. Stages would do, the new 4iii would also be good.

I could imagine getting a Powertap too, but that could interfere with my aero-wheel selection. One idea would be to get a powertap and a carbon clip-on disc for the rear wheel. I think a power meter would be a luxury for me, it’d be great to know that I am not over-biking, as I am sure that the marathon will be hard enough anyway, but with all of the above to buy, I don’t know if I will manage it.

The dream is to find an eBay triathlon bike with aerowheels for just over a grand, then I could get a crank based power meter like a stages power meter and a decent aero lid and I will be good to go. Importantly, I don’t really need any of this stuff until Köln. I would want some training time with it, and it would be nice to have for a middle distance, but for Wiesbaden it isn’t so important with it being hilly.

As long as I have a trisuit and a triathlon bike, it will be ok. Maybe the rest is all just to look more professional than I really am… I guess it would cost thousands to save maybe 5 minutes.. hmmm