Wednesday 30 March 2016

January 2016 Week 9 Session 3

It's still vacation time for the undergraduates so the Cofield pool was quiet late afternoon. Today's session was a combination of 400m at a good aerobic pace followed by alternate easy/fast 66m subsets. In the first 400m I managed to gradually increase the effort and achieved a full 100m at a consistent 2:05min/100m pace.

I did get the impression that this set was going well, I was steady with good long strokes and could really feel the water. I averaged 20 strokes/length. After this highlight I progressively slowed down! I managed to achieve a few seconds distinction between easy/fast 66m subsets all the way to the end of the session although my pace faded. The pattern was now where near as clear as in week 6 but overall I was faster, possibly due to being a little faster on the easy lengths.

I knew I'd worked hard as my arms felt distinctly tired on completion, so regardless of the time, I've had a good training session.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Review of Alcatel Pop D1 for navigation: 0. History

The day that President Clinton announced that the civilian GPS signal would not be limited by selective availability I ordered a Garmin 12XL.

Image from Smithsonian Institution
In common with many civilian users the previous potential inaccuracy made the concept of GPS very poor value to me. I could use a map well so I didn't see much point in spending a  few hundred pounds for rough data. Without SA though a 12 channel device such as this could achieve real world 10m accuracy which is enough to indicate, for example, which side of a farm a path arises from.

In reality, the navigation facilities of the 12XL made it hard to pre-programme routes due to a limitation of 20 waypoints per route. Mapping software was also costly pre-2000 and it wasn't feasible for me to carry a laptop to review maps on a trip. Thus I tended to use the 12XL as a logger and input a few key waypoints where I anticipated problems. Of course, I also referred to it to get a grid reference when I needed a little encouragement. I also found that I could usually relate it to a map bought overseas either via an official datum/reference system or by a combination of trial and error and use of an unofficial reference formula inputted to the 'user grid'.

Three years ago I moved to using a Holux logger which despite my reservations has been a good workhorse, although recovering the data isn't intuitive. As a pure logger this has no utility in navigation. I also consider that the storage format is excessively 'lossy' resulting in poor detail of recorded tracks.

From the review by DC Rainmaker
Finally, I often run with a Garmin 110, another less-than-cutting-edge piece of kit, which has shown itself to be reliable in all weathers. It can be an aid to navigation by revealing distance travelled which is helpful, where permitted, in orienteering events. It is more reliable than my pacing over rough terrain, that's for sure.

Monday 28 March 2016

Easter 2016

We managed to get to Cornwall as my work duties have been postponed until later this week. Unfortunately the weather was poor. Perhaps not as bad as forecast but none to pleasant. Good Friday wa the best day and we chose to walk to Zennor given a chance of dry weather. The path was the busiest we've seen it so I think many others must have had the same idea.

For most of the remaining days there were periods of foul weather and we did more 'tourist' things and moving in trains and cars than we usually do. A spin out of that is that we've found some new things to do during a future visit.

I've not felt all that well so, in combination with the weather, I've neither run nor swum whilst in Cornwall.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

January 2016 Week 9 Session 1

This afternoon I started on week 9 and completed my longest ever swim at 3200m. It was relatively slow from the warm-up to the end. I think the 'central governor' must have kicked in from the outset knowing what was to come.

I was clearly tired by the end of the session needing 25 strokes per length!

Thursday 17 March 2016

January 2016 Week 8 Session 2

It was progressive pace again today, the aspect I find most troublesome in my current programme. However I was a few seconds faster than in Week 6 in both first and fourth 100m 'fast' sets; achieving 2:06min/100m across 100m.  This is quite an important observation as it shows that I was maintaining pace rather then merely burning myself out in the first set; even my final 100m was at 2:19min/100m pace when I was making an effort to be steady, but firm.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

January 2016 Week 8 Session 1

This afternoon I didn't achieve any PBs but it was a fabulous session. The warm-up was only 0.5s slower than my PB and I thought I went leisurely.  Then the 8 'easy' sets of 400m were done gently and I didn't have much desire to finish; more wouldn't have been a problem. Better still, my pace faded less than it did last week giving a good result from an apparently lazy first few sets.

In terms of technique I was trying to reach well and also move my shoulders on each reach, all part of being relaxed, and not board-like, I suppose. Importantly I was thinking about not lifting my head and thus avoiding a 'slap' from the water after each breath. With good positioning and a long stroke it all felt more comfortable, even towards the end. It is very clear that the more 'effort' I make the less efficient I become.  For one or 2 lengths working hard makes me faster but after those I'm simply splashing.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Sunset at Oxstones

As if an hour of swimming wasn't enough, I felt that I had to get out in the evening for a run. The weather was lovely and my guts seem OK for running at that time. Over the last few weeks I've gradually increased the distance and so today I felt able to reach Oxytone, hopefully in time for the sunset.

I think that I was a little late for the strongest effect but it was a great 14km nonetheless.

I kept the pace easy on the ascent and took a few photos. At the stones the light was fading and I was gentle on the path down to the byway for fear of falling. Actually I was gentle all the way home and knees, ankles and gut seem to be happy with that. It was exhilarating to be on the edge of fells in the pink glow of evening and worth the knowledge that I had ironing to do a soon as I got home.

January 2016 Week 7 Session 3

Perhaps it wasn't a a good idea to do my week's worth of 3 sessions on consecutive days but at least I can say I've experienced some physiological overloading of my arms!

The session got off to a bad start with the warm-up just over 5:30 minutes but I managed to complete the task! I was even able to achieve success in the alternate 66m fast/slow sets until the lane became congested. By then it was nearly time to go anyway!  All of the pacing was slower than in week 6, presumably due to the density of the sessions this week, but even so I achieved a pace of 2:10min/100m for 2 of the 66m sections.

Saturday 12 March 2016

January 2016 Week 7 Session 2

It's quite simple, I was tired. For each set today I was a few seconds slower than for Week 6 Session 2. Today was back to back with a long (actually my furthest ever) session yesterday evening whereas last time I had 2 rest days in between.

In that background it was OK with the warm-up in under 5:30 and a grand average under 2:30min/100m. My 'fast' 100m were also a few seconds down on last time so my hopes of 5% improvement across 5 weeks have taken a small step backwards.

Friday 11 March 2016

January 2016 Week 7 Session 1

I've been busy at work except for Tuesday evening when we went to a concert (and of course the Wednesday circuit!) and so I've not been able to go for a swim until today. That means I've had a good rest and went into today's swim feeling relatively fresh.

The warm-up went well with a total time under 5:30 and a good increase  in pace towards the end. The 7 sets of 400m didn't feel as far as they have the previous weeks, but still enough to feel tiring! I knew I was losing power and form during the swim and the figures show a clear reduction in pace and an increase in strokes/length. In fairness the first 4 sets were moderately consistent but it was in the last 3 that power really went down. That's after about 40 minutes, this is intended to be an endurance session.

Furthest ever, which felt uphill some of the time
The overall pace has improved by a few seconds each week since week 5 and the distance today was another PB at 3066m, so there is distinct progress.

Saturday 5 March 2016

January 2016 Week 6 Session 3

I managed to get the routine done today before the pool was reduced for the children's classes. That's partly because I shortened the pauses but partly because I did the sequence correctly without extra lengths.

Warm-up to the left and first slow/fast set
I can't claim to have done the routine well though as the slowing during the warm-up shows that I started off far too fast. The first 2 lengths are a fair pace though!  After 400m with the pull buoy I completed alternate 66m slow/fast sets and the pacing went well. For the first 2 sets I managed 2:04min/100m average across the 66m.

As is always the case there was a terrible drop across the session such that I was 20s/100m slower by the end.

It is clear that working to a faster pace takes a lot out of me and affects subsequent lengths. I think that I am managing to achieve a faster pace for more of the time.

Thursday 3 March 2016

January 2016 Week 6 Session 2

Really the weather was too sunny and crisp to go to an enclosed pool but with the current state of my guts and ankle (both improving incidentally) I was swimming rather than running.

The core of todays sets was 300m with progressive pace increase for each 100m. In the first set I managed this well achieving a final 100m at a pace of 2:07min/100m. As usual I lost power across the session and could only achieve 2:17min/100m for the fourth 'fast' set.

A lovely increase in pace, even allowing for the pool's current
The key thing though is looking back to the start of this plan, over 5 weeks, I've managed to drop the warm-up time well below 5:30min and there's clear trend for the net 'real pace' to become a few seconds faster every week. My best 'fast' block in week 1 was at 2:15min/100m pace so I'm improved 5% over 5 weeks. If I can achieve that rate I will have achieved my next goal of 2:00min/100m with this programme.