Friday, 29 July 2016

April 2016 Week 11 Session 3

The pump at the pool seems to be on '11' this evening! The swimming felt tough and the chart shows how much of an effect it had on my pacing.

Just look at those castellations. A pool with a current.

I did get off to a good start with the first 200m (with legs) in a PB of 4:52 minutes. Perhaps that was too much effort as after that things weren't great. I only managed 1 length at a pace better than 2:00min/100m and the effect of the current was more potent than my attempts to pick up the pace. Overall I think I was tired, as in the past, fast lengths were simply more splashy.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

April 2016 Week 11 Session 2

This session showed a data error on the Garmin Swim which makes me wonder about the  accuracy of all of my previous swims! One set was recorded with a total time of just under 15 minutes and yet adding up the individual lengths it was closer to 18 minutes. Oddly, the watch knows that this is the case as the average pace of that set is shown correctly. The 'missing' time seems to have been allocated excessively to a 'rest' as there is now way that I stopped for over 2 minutes, in the same way that  800m in less than 15 minutes isn't going to happen in the next day or so.

On a more positive note I did manage 6 lengths at a pace better than 2:00min/100m and I didn't fade as much as I have previously at the end of the session.

Looking back it's great that today I managed all three 800m sets in under 18 minutes, corresponding to less than 9 minutes for 400m. This is distance for the time trials I've been doing and 1 year ago in August 2015 my time was 9:07 minutes. Today, in my final set, I beat that having already swum 2000m.

Monday, 25 July 2016

April 2016 Week 11 Session 1

Today's swim is aimed at endurance. I'm getting very slightly faster and finding it a spot easier each week. I am pleased that today my average pace was a few seconds better and my pacing pretty consistent.

Of course there's a slight fatigue but not much. The warm-up was rather badly paced, partly due to lots of people in the lane.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Review of Alcatel Pop D1 for navigation: 3. ViewRanger further testing

In part 2 of this review I reviewed ViewRanger on a basic Android 4 phone.  I've used it on and off frequently now and have found that it even works well as a 3G modem as a tether to a tablet on a budget £5 Virgin SIM.

This post is just as a brief update to comment on today's use. This is the first time that I've used the GPS all day as my principle mapping and GPS device. We walked for a little under 18 miles in around 8 hours. The battery was freshly charged before setting off and at the end of the hike it was down to 69% charge. That implies it might mange 24 hours. I checked the route occasionally but I must confess that I know much of the route from memory and so the screen wasn't activated very often.  The GPS was being repeatedly activated by a helper app but the phone was in 'airplane mode' to disable 3G and WiFi sections.

Note that this is a 1:25 000 OS map

 The screenshot gives an indication of the GPS accuracy. The wooded section in the Haddon Hall estate just east of Bakewell has substantial tree cover and the contours are such that it is in a gulley. This is as good as one could expect from a retail GPS unit.

The sun was mostly screened by mist although I'd classify the day as 'bright'. The screen was readable throughout.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Blacka half marathon

It was a hot, humid morning. I didn't want to irritate my ankle so went slowly!

At least my heart rate reflected my lazy approach! I did get tired and once home I was aware of my right ankle and left knee, but just niggles.

Friday, 22 July 2016

April 2016 Week 10 Session 3

Today's swim has at least 1 PB in it. The warm-up was a best time, I think, in 4:54 minutes which is 2 seconds faster than previously.

The spike set was as tough as usual but I got some good times. In the first set I managed 3 out of 4 fast sections in 2:00min/100m or better which isn't bad going as that included the last length after over 1000m of swimming. I'm putting that down as a second personal best.

Above, or touching, the 2:00min/100m pace a few times

In the second and third sets  I showed a distinct speed-up for the fast lengths but couldn't manage to beat 2:00min/100m pace again. By the 4th set, which are all supposed to be fast lengths, I was clearly fatigued as my pace had dropped to average despite my faster arm turnover. Even so this last set was faster than last week.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

April 2016 Week 10 Session 2

I was on 4:56min for the warm up today which is great having swum yesterday. The main sets of 8 slow and 4 fast were indifferent though in that I managed only 1 length at a pace better than 2:00min/100m. Perhaps I was trying too hard on the easy sections as my total average pace was fairly good and the last set was markedly faster than last week.

I'm still struggling with how best to apply the power. I'm currently thinking about swimming 'tall' with good reach and I think this is making me a bit smoother but also a bit slower.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

April 2016 Week 10 Session 1

A fair session today. The warm-up came in 1 second under 5 minutes and the 3km long slow swim felt fairly easy to finish. Unfortunately my average pace was little slower than in Week 9.

The pacing is a bit scatty as the lane was quite busy so I was slowed, and passing, fairly often. The pump was also running so there was a distinct current to add to the mix. Clearly I faded during the session, managing some fast lengths even with no pull-buoy, and then slow near the end despite trying to keep good form.

The stroke data showed that I managed some very good powerful lengths in the first set with a low SWOLF score. Not that this is everything, an increase in stroke rate is a good option if it helps a net increase in pace.

I would have done a bit more distance but the pool had become busy and I didn't have the appetite to be tired and fitting in around others!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Second time on an introductory open water course

Some months ago I booked with Swim The Lakes  on an open water intro course as my first foray into lake swimming. In the meantime I fitted in a course in Hatfield which made the Lake District seem a little less threatening.

Pete and Tori welcomed our group of 13 to the Ambleside shop and after taking orders for teas and coffees we introduced each other. As I found last time, there were aspirant triathletes, those up for a new challenge and some of us wanting to broaden their swimming horizons. Pete did a short presentation covering key safety matters, cold water immersion and a finally a good demo of how to put on a wetsuit.

Around half of us were hiring wetsuits and I was allocated a Blueseventy Fusion in Small/Tall sizing which made perfect sense. Then we dispersed to our cars to travel to The Badger Inn on Rydal Water; everyone had transport but it is a pity that a minibus isn't organised to facilitate the use of public transport. Perhaps no-one would use it?

It was a lovely countryside walk from the carpark (well once the road was crossed) to the beach area on the lake. The southern bank appeared to offer several bathing spots and two other groups of swimmers were making their way into the lake as we arrived. Some time was spent getting changed but the day was fairly warm and so this was fine. For once I wasn't the last one to be ready and so started to acclimatise by standing in the shallows. My recently bought Zone 3 socks did a good job of buffering the cold on my feet although I wonder if the top fastening is a bit tight.

The swim started with a few laps of some buoys, around a 80m loop, with Pete in a canoe and Tori leading in the water. After each lap we were given a few coaching tips, mostly a need to relax, reach and not gasp for air! Then Tori demonstrated two ways of sighting so that we had a chance of staying online. After a 'race' around the buoys, which resulted in a bit of a scramble around the first turn, the main swim was explained to us. We were to swim to the next beach, to the island, then around it and then choose a route back to 'our' beach. Pete outlined the approximate distance of each leg and options for stopping if anyone didn't feel they could do it and off we went. I was very much mid pack and at my steady pace found that I was warm enough, not tiring, but veering to the left a little.

After the loop of the island I set off across the lake at which point I got cramp in my left calf. I stopped to massage it a little, Tori noticed that I'd stopped and came over to check up which showed that the leaders were looking out for us. After a few seconds I was Ok to set off, although the cramp moved to the left. Of course the wetsuit gave a lot of buoyancy so I tried to ignore my legs and just got on with the swim.  My tendency to the swim to the left was very apparent in the open part of the lake and I had to repeatedly sight and correct to keep a good line. I'm going have to relearn non-dominant side breathing to help to keep me straight.

Back on shore everyone struggled to get the wetsuits off and clothes back on whilst feeling slightly dizzy and hoping not to get a chill. The sun was warm but I was very happy to walk back to the pub in my Dry Robe. Tori reckoned that open water swimmers are often recognisable by the vast amount of clothes being worn.

Despite Pete's planning we were running a little late and so the group started to break up during coffee at the hotel. Everyone seemed to have big smiles and to have had a good time, I was certainly very happy to have been in the water again and achieved a 'proper' swim beyond the edge of the lake.

I wasn't very keen on the wetsuit even though the Fusion is a well regarded model and the sizing right by the manufacturer's guidance. I found the shoulders tight and thought the legs could have had bit more buoyancy. Perhaps I was merely more aware of these aspects on this swim than I was on my very first time out? On the positive side, I noted little ingress of cold water during the morning.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

April 2016 Week 9 Session 3

Today's Spike set felt to go OK but the data aren't so positive.

Clearly I faded through the session and only managed to touch 2:00min/100 once. There's a good distinction between fast and slow lengths which is good. On the fast lengths I'm trying to reach a bit further and although this is a spot slower it feels far more sustainable and less grabby.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016


My legs have felt tired today after yesterday evening's interval runs. To make matters worse I've managed to tweak my 'delicate' right ankle whilst watering hanging baskets in the garden. I hope it settles quickly and is barely a sprain. I've got ice on it.

April 2016 Week 9 Session 2

Again there's a change of routine with the new session requiring 4 fast lengths after 8 slow. This is both a longer duration of effort and an increased ratio of fast to slow. The data show that I didn't do well and achieved 2:00min/100m or better pace on just two lengths.

Perhaps I worked too hard on the warm-up in which I broke my 5:00min threshold (4:56.3). Hooray! My best kicking pace is now similar to my lazy pace with the pull buoy.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

April 2016 Week 9 Session 1

The warm-up went well and, once again, I feel I could have beaten the 5:00 threshold if I'd not got behind some one slower. Oh well, it's supposed to be a warm-up!

This is the start of a new block and so that gives me a new challenge. The long swim has now gone to 3 sets of 1000m which automatically reduces the rests. At the beginning I thought that I could do the 100 lengths non-stop and wondered why I had to bother with sets but by the end of the first one I was pleased to take a few seconds breather.

I took each set fairly gently but tried to keep focus on length and power as I tired. Even so there was a loss of pace. Even though I slowed my strokes per length only increased a little which as supportive of maintaining good form.

One thing I'm very pleased to see is that my early lengths with trailing, sinky legs can be at a pace close to that with the pull buoy. Of course I found the pace a lot harder with my legs working as an anchor but 4 of my 6 lengths were faster than 2:30min/100m.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Wet on Blacka Moor

The weather forecast was indifferent when I set off on my Blacka Moor loop and for the first 40 minutes or so a T-shirt was fine. As I came out of the trees rain started which became progressively heavier as I approached the summit of the moor. It was clear that I'd have to put on a jacket if I wasn't going to become cold.

On Houndkirk Road the rain was at least on my back but the wind had got up and I couldn't face doing the short exposed section to Oxstones. Dropping through the plantation the ground was wet and slippery and I half wished I'd chosen shoes with a bit more tread.

My right ankle/calf coped until after 19km, so perhaps the slightly greater drop of the Ultra 290s is important? My left knee was fine although I set off with a little shin tenderness (where did that come from) and now it's a bit more noticable.

Friday, 8 July 2016

April 2016 Week 8 Sessions 2 and 3

I've been away from hone for a few days and that as slightly messed up both running and swimming routines. The hotel had a 12m pool so over 2 days I did the Spike Set without a pull buoy. Basically it totalled over an hour of swimming with some intense intervals; that'll do.

After finishing my key job for today I went over to Goodwin to catch up on Session 2.

For the second block I managed very clear distinction between 7 easy lengths and 3 fast ones. This was my fastest block in this session so I can't have been too lazy on the slow lengths. The fast ones were just below the 2:00min/100m pace, so this is still being a barrier.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

April 2016 Week 8 Session 1 and fatigue

This morning my resting heart rate was raised by 10% and I did feel fairly tired. I committed to a swim and luckily on my programme I was timetabled for my steady endurance swim with no intense lengths at all. The warm-up 200m was the slowest I've done for many weeks (although still within 5:30min) and as I started the first of four 800m sets I wondered if I would finish.

Of course I did see it through although my average pace was slow. Naturally I fatigued during the session and the current in the pool is evident in the castellations of the charts. My weakening strokes are clear but actually at the beginning my stroke count per length was pretty good; I was making an effort to push off!

I'm sure that I'm just generally tired due to the longest running week I've had for around 10 months. Interestingly in Week 4  I did a similar swim after a long run and performed better than I did today, but I didn't have as much tiredness accrued from the week's activity.

It now seems important to start next week with a rest.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A tiring week - too much rain too!

I've been on leave from work for the last week. The plan was to start the week with jobs and finish with a camping trip. In the end though  the weather as too grim to bother going to a wet field and the jobs, in this case a DIY project, progressed more slowly than hoped.

Even so I have done some runs and a swim inbetween things. I've felt tired for much of this activity which I put down to being busy! The spike set swim was a little slower than last week and felt tough. I put some effort in for the circuit class and that maybe made me tired for Thursday's run. I only did one swim during the week as I didn't want to spend the time travelling to and from the pool.

Today's long run was planned to be 20km as that's the point at which my right ankle has started niggling over the last few weeks. Today it started at around 12km which I'm putting down to cumulative distance during the week (or the lower drop shoes, there's a quandary). On the way home I skipped Oxstones as it had started to rain and so took some tracks through the plantation.

These were a combination of forestry tracks and the track of a gas pipeline. After a km or so they returned me onto the main track for the final stretch home.