Saturday 25 June 2016

To Oxstones

As my ankle started to be irritated after 20km last week, it seemed wise to stay below that threshold. Today's run was 16km up to Oxstones and back. Actually I think it's harder than some routes of similar length as it is very much up and then down. This does give quite a strong training effect as the ascent is slight, but basically continuous for over 50 minutes. Then there's the eccentric loading all the way back.

As it's a slow run day I watched my heart rate closely and the chart shows that I did a good job of staying in the zone.

The good news is that my ankle is fine; this might have been helped by the change of shoes too. Time will, or might, tell.

Thursday 23 June 2016

First open water swim

I was already booked on an introductory open water swimming session in July, but the promotion of the Great North Swim and ongoing mild weather made me itch to have a go. Luckily a local organisation, SwimYourSwim, had a session today and I was able to get time off work to leave early.

The traffic to Doncaster was terrible, to my inexperienced eye, and made the journey rather stressful. At least this confirmed to me why I live within walking distance of work. There was a bit of a delay in starting the session even after we'd filled in the usual forms and disclaimers. This made sense as  it enabled the regular swimmers to get in the water as quickly as possible but really there was no need to arrive 30minutes early, as advertised.

Alistair got us to think about his 'pool' and how it differed from the local tiled, chlorinated swimming spot. This useful exercise highlighted the dangers and opportunities as well as the chance to relish the deceptively rural location of this 24m deep gravel path. After instructions on the wetsuits we were told about cold water immersion and how to acclimatise to the water. Actually, at just below 20°C the water was pretty mild.

Initially I certainly felt the reflex and could appreciate the danger but the process (and wet suit) were effective and eventually submerging my face didn't seem so bad. Gradually we made our way into the water with a few easy strokes to a buoy and then the next until I felt confident enough to get a good rhythm of freestyle. We'd been told to try lying on our backs, using the buoyancy of the wetsuit, to have a rest, or call for help if need be, and I was surprised at how easily I floated.

The water was reasonably clear and certainly in the shallows it was possible to see pond weed and the sandy floor of that part of the lake. Naturally along the way I had a mouthful and although I endeavoured to spit it out it tasted fine.

After completing 1 lap of the 200m course in sections we set off to do a second lap. Straightaway I went face-in for freestyle and only stopped at the halfway point whilst we regrouped. Sighting was a bit of an effort as it broke my rhythm. It wasn't clear that my unilateral breathing made me veer off in any particular direction as sometimes I was tending to the left, others to the right.

The session came to an end all too soon, really I could have gone around again, and that's a great way for a training session to end. Far better than to feel you've been pushed too much. Alistair and the club swimmers were very supportive and made us newcomers feel at home. I'd recommend the course but do remember to take some flip-flops along.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Back to old shoes

As last Saturday's run seemed to fatigue my peroneus muscles to the point of pain; I've decided that this week I shouldn't do a long run but aim to do equivalent distance over several runs. I've also been reading about the importance of tempo runs to develop VO2max an thus work towards a faster pacing. Those things suggested that 7km around the woods would be a good idea the evening.

I've also been thinking that some of my ankle pain is due to shoes with low heel drop and so I rescued my Ultra290s  from the loft. My suspicion is that a year ago their claimed 8mm drop was to extreme for me on the Canalathon and initiated the problem. Then for the Peak District Ultra I trained in shoes with 6mm drop, as noted here, and that set things off more. I'm using those shoes now as my regular trail shoes. So, if I return to 8mm will I help recovery?

I don't know, but the Ultras certainly felt easy on my feet this evening. Importantly the heel counter didn't rub either. My legs had a number of tight spots that the roller helped and now I need to massage my ankle and then get some recovery done.

Monday 20 June 2016

April 2016 Week 7 Session 1

The data from today's session are much the same as those from last week although psychologically I feel these long sessions are getting easier.

I'd hoped that by being laid back in the first set and making effort towards the end that the pace would be a little more uniform. In fact, I faded from an average of 2:14min/100m for the first 800m to  2:23min/100m for the last. As before, the power I exerted per stroke reduced to as the strokes/length increased by 1 or 2.

Saturday 18 June 2016

Even slower...

I thought  that last Saturday's run was slow, but today I was even slower! I mentally constructed a 25km loop, setting off through Endcliffe Park. After Rustling's Road I met one of the Saturday morning group who was moving quite slowly. I stayed with him and chatted until the Norfolk Arms, content to have a companion and an excuse to take a sensible pace.

Just above the pub I found a unofficial path leading into Lady Canning Plantation that joined the bridleway up to Oxstones.

I suspect that this route is used by bike riders and preceded the development of the Blue Route.  In any event it served well to keep me off the road. After Oxstones I continued along Houndkirk Road and then turned for home over Totley Moor. This was easy going until the steep descent on the Byway.

Just before the 20km point my right ankle/calf started to cramp and this was irritating on even gentle ascents. I tired to massage it but it wasn't effective and with a general feeling of fatigue I had a slow last few km home.

 I'm not sure why I'd found the run so hard and excessively slow. Perhaps I was generally fatigued as I'd woken with a 5% increase in my heart rate or perhaps the sore calf was affecting my gait?

Thursday 16 June 2016

April 2016 Week 6 session 3

The spike set data this week are very similar to those from last week although there is a hint of greater distinction between 'fast' and 'slow' lengths. It is very slight though as the average and peak paces from both weeks aren't significantly different.

If anything the SWOLF data are a little worse which might be explained by fatigue from yesterday's circuit class. A few lengths were at 2:00min/100m or better so overcoming that threshold is an ongoing goal.
A number of lengths around 2:00min/100m pacing

Wednesday 15 June 2016

A wet trip to circuits

This June has been terribly wet, and although I believe that it always rains on Wednesday evenings, tonight was unusually wet. I think the cold air and rain encouraged me to go a bit faster as I even managed a PB on the fast straight of Psalter lane.

I knocked 5 seconds off my previous time even though I took care to slow down to check crossings. The return journey home wasn't so speedy as the circuits session was reasonably tough.

Monday 13 June 2016

April 2015 Week 6 Session 2

I've settled into the routine fairly well and managed to put some power into the water. I'm also developing a 'feel' for the water and know when I'm pulling effectively. On the first set of 'fast' lengths I achieved a long term goal of a clear sub 2:00min/100m.

As usual I fatigued during the hour but the overall average was fine, and better than last week.

Saturday 11 June 2016

Slowly through the mist

This week I'm starting to increase the distance a little after a step back last week. The basic half marathon distance felt to be the right point so long as it was done gently. I made a great effort to start very gently (not all that difficult as all my joints were stiff) and to aim for an even pace. I did very well on the effort aspect as illustrated by my heart rate.

Pacing was fairly consistent but I should have been a bit faster in the second half to match the downhill gradient and give an even GAP. I was held back a bit by discomfort related to my right ankle, I feel it was tightness, or even mild cramping, of the peroneus muscles as it was a few inches above the level of my shoes. I'm going to the physic on Monday so I can hear her opinion.

I'm gradually coming to the decision my right ankle is irritated by lengthening of the muscles as much as the edge of the shoe. That is a low heel drop shoe is part of the problem.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

April 2016 Week 5 Session 3

Today' swim got off to a good start as the warm-up was another personal best at 5:02 minutes, and I could have been faster as I had to pause to pull past a slower swimmer!

The spike set was as tough as usual with a loss of pace. I only managed 1 length at a pace of 2:00min/100m but lots around 2:05min/100m. The general pace was very similar to last week but clearly better than 2 weeks ago when I took more rests too. Importantly I managed a pace of 2:10min/100m average for the final 8 'fast' lengths with fairly consistent  SWOLF through the session.

Tuesday 7 June 2016

April 2016 Week 5 Session 2

Another new session today. The routine called of 7 slow lengths followed by 3 fast, all repeated 8 times. Of course this meant thatI had to reserve a bit of pace for the whole session! Three lengths is a real 100m and my best fastest was at a pace of 2:01.4min/100m. I'd really hoped to have done at least one of these sets faster than 2:00min/100m but it wasn't to be today.

On the whole I managed to show an increase for the  'fast' lengths but on the thirst all I did was increase my cadence. Overall I need to focus on catch and not accept lazy technique.

Sunday 5 June 2016

April 2016 Week 5 Session 1

I was in Manchester today and did my swim in the 'new' Aquatics Centre.  I'd hoped to experience a 50m pool again but the timetable showed that it would be 25m. That means that I had to be fast!

The warm up was done in 5:02min which is a personal best but I don't think it counts in a short pool. Today's session was 4x800m, so a bit shorter than previously but in longer sets. Really the set length isn't an issue for me at all. My pacing was fairly consistent but building fatigue was evident from an increase in strokes per length through the session.

Importantly I did manage a few lengths at a pace faster than the 'magical' 2:00min/100m but not in a distinct block. The moving average of 2:15min/100m was pretty good.

The Centre itself was fine. The pool and changing rooms were cleaner than is often the case. The only oversight was the absence of shower gel in the shower area.

Saturday 4 June 2016

April 2016 Week 4 Session 3

At the Goodwin pool I accepted that today's Spike Set would be disrupted before 09:00 as the pool is reconfigured for swimming classes. I managed to get most of the session completed at the full 33.3m and then worked as best as I could in the 25m section. The shortened section doesn't have a wall at one end so it can be a struggle to get a good start. At least I put the effort in even if the data is poor.

I only managed 2 lengths at better than 2:00min/100m which is a little disappointing. This might have happened because I didn't take any significant breaks and kept up a firm pace throughout the session as I was trying to get as much as possible done before the reorganisation. Nonetheless the SWOLF was low as I did keep good long strokes.

Thursday 2 June 2016

April 2016 Week 4 Session 2

Once again I've had an enforced break of a few days due to general busy-ness at work. Today's swim went well though with a PB in the 200m warm-up of 5:05min. Today's routine was the 6 slow lengths plus 2 fast lengths and I did mange to demonstrate an increase in pace of at least 12s/100m in each set.

I managed to do the fast lengths at a few seconds better pace than last week including a few at 2:00min/100m or better. As usual I became fatigued during the session which was reflected my peformance data.