Tuesday 27 September 2016

September 2016 Week 2 Session 3

Last week I couldn't match a 38s length timer so set a 39s interval today. I just managed to keep below 2:00min/100m for four 100m sets but in the second half of the session my pace faded away markedly. My last fast 100m set was done at 2:12min/100m pace which wasn't great.

This chart from Swimming Watch Tools illustrates that I am managing a higher cadence now and as some lengths have a low stroke count at a high turnover there are some faster paced lengths in the session.

I could feel that my arms were tired by the end of the session and even striving to gain pace I made negligible headway. However this intensity is the goal of the session; I really need to keep up the frequency of the programme to maintain the overload.

Sunday 25 September 2016

September 2016 Week 2 Session 1

So, catching up with myself. My left knee is uncomfortable and the muscles stiff after yesterday's run. I don't know where that has come from as everything was fine on Monday when I saw the physio!

Anyway, today's swim included 16 fast lengths and I'm pleased that 14 of these were at or better than 2:00min/100m pace. I managed 1 length at 1:45min/100m, that's 35seconds. My timings are bound to be a spot out as I can't push off and press the watch button simultaneously from the deep end. As the routine called for 4 sets of 4 I alternated the blocks so that I worked in both directions along the pool as I know it's got a distinct current. This approach worked well.

I tried to finish off with a pair of lengths and whilst the first was fine the second had slowed considerably. With this data and that from Week 1 Session 3 it's clear that I can't stay on a substantially sub-40second pace as Julian wants. I think I'll set the TempoPro to 39s and see if that is achievable.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

September 2016 Week 2 Session 2

Somehow I missed doing Week 2 Session 1 as I misread my programme. Oh well, at least I did some swimming! The 200m warm-up went well, coming at at 5:00 min, assisted by a final effort to keep ahead of an adjacent swimmer. Today's main block comprised 4 sets of 400m with a progression in pace, all repeated. The first superset went Ok with a small but distinct step in pace between sets from 2:19 min/100 to 2:11min/100m. No length better than a 2:00min/100m pace though. The second superset was poor, even as I set off I knew that my arms had taken a beating and I struggled to maintain a pace of 2:23min/100m by increasing my stroke rate. I suppose that maintaining a negative split across 1600m is fairly good going and I've got room for improvement in coming weeks.

Saturday 10 September 2016

Back on the road

For a change I ran 12km on the road this morning. The route through Totley and Dore used to be my regular winter Tuesday evening run but for some reason I stopped. I think I felt it was too long to run fast and too short to run slowly. Either way it's quite a challenging route as although it's tarmac the whole way the central 2.5km has 100m of gradual ascent. It doesn't sound much written down but it is quite an effort.

I was pleased to complete in a shave under an hour which is benchmark for having made an effort on the route. I once managed 56 minutes but that was a chance event!

I've used the timings to reset my pace analysis on Strava as today's pace was in VO2 and anaerobic zones for an unfeasible time.

Thursday 8 September 2016

September 2016 Week 1 Session 3

Session 3 in this block focuses on pace and needs a Finis Tempo Trainer Pro to guide the time for each length. Julian set a goal of 1:54min/100m for 100m sets based on me being able to achieve 1:52min/100m with him. I set the metronome to 38seconds per length and left to beep all through today's session which was only slightly irritating. I didn't bother timing the rests as I aimed to set off on a fast set with the next beep.

I found that, once settled in, I could achieve the first length within the time, the second was tough and the third unachievable.

Thus in the middle of the routine I managed to beat 2:00min/100m for both individual lengths and 100m sets a number of times but couldn't do this at the end of the session when I'd covered 2000m. Of course there are timing errors as starting the watch and setting off at 'three beeps' takes time and indeed stopping the watch at the end too. Late in the session the lane was getting busy and I stopped to wait to focus on a single fast length rather than completing  a slow 100m set. This seemed the best approach as the goal was pace.

The first week in a block has always been the worst as I don't know how to adapt and I've not trained into it so I hope that I'll be able to achieve the 1:54min/100m goal so that I can move onto the next block feeling that I've succeeded.

It's a small point, but I found wearing a cap (to hold the metronome) rather unpleasant and tight around my head although perhaps it kept water out of my ears. It certainly dulled my hearing.

Saturday 3 September 2016

Miller's Dale

For some reason I didn't fancy a long run today, perhaps due to hard running intervals at Thursday's circuit or hard swim intervals yesterday. I also felt a bit bored at going to do a usual route yet again so turned to Peak District Trail Running.  Route 13 in Miller's Dale isn't too far from home and at 11km seemed a good plan. The book gave a bit of a warning about slipping in Monk's Dale but that didn't put me off..

The start of the route was easy along the Monsal Trail and it's really good that over the last few years a number of tunnels have been reopened.

Of course the GPS was upset a bit but it soon caught up. After a few km the route turned off to follow the Pennine Bridleway of which some bits were especially pretty, and would be tight on a bike.

I followed a combination of the map and the written instructions although I didn't find the latter very easy to follow. As is so often the case, things were mentioned that were obvious on the ground and some aspects didn't really match at all. The final leg was down Monk's Dale which started easily enough, then became pretty, or Tolkein-esque according to the description.

After this I couldn't be bothered taking any pictures as the terrain became, to me at least, unrunnable. The scattering of slimy limestone rocks separated by claggy mud was terrible, the rocks placed just to catch ankles and at an infinite array of orientations. I met a walker who said 'ankle breaking territory' and I had to agree.

This slow section really brought my average pace down and so my total time was 1:40 hours. The book said to allow 0:50 to 2:00, I'd like to see the 50 minute runner.

Anyway, I've had the book waiting to be used for a year and I'm glad it provided some inspiration. I'll be reading between the lines rather more next time!

Friday 2 September 2016

September 2016 Week 1 Session 1

So today we're off with a new focus on effort. Julian has asked that I focus on working hard, ignore technique and don't think of holding back. So here is the pace for the early part of the set, I messed up and lost the latter part...

Quite clearly I was working harder and going faster although only one length is 'fast'. I have to bear in mind that there's a second or so between pressing start on the watch and setting off and there's a delay at the end of the length as it determines whether I've turned or not.

It was obvious to me early on that I was able to catch people up readily when trying, more so than usual I'd say. I tried a final 100m sprint and that only came it at 2:04min/100m.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Push harder!

After 14 weeks I returned to Acton for my review with Julian.  He was pleased with my general style on the warm-up but we were both disappointed with my performance on the 400m time trial. I've been hoping got break 8:00minutes and only managed 8:02minutes although my pace was better than 2:00min/100m to begin with.

After  much discussion it was clear that I'm not working hard enough in either my training sets or on the time trials with him. Apparently some will feel nauseous after giving it everything. I don't think that' in my character!

Anyway we tried again with single lengths of 25m and I managed to get down to 23s. Ok, that was a one off and quite different to 400m but it showed that I can go faster if I make the effort.  So we tried a 100m timed set and I managed 1:52minutes on that and I suspect I could have done more...

I was concerned about a loss of technique, too much splashing and so on but looking back over the video my techniques isn't all that much worse and I'm going so much faster. Looking back at my sets it seems that my need to keep going means that I'm too fatigued to work on the speed and I'm also not putting enough effort in to get to the power. I've been here several times with running! Basically I do have good low level aerobic ability but shy away from anything approaching anaerobic effort if I think I've got more to do.

Now I've a new programme including some focus on effort and I must take the breaks and go slow between the hard work to allow for recovery. I'll have to get my Tempo-Trainer out as one routine has specific pacing that seems unachievable at 1:54min/100m even though I've just done 1:52min/100m.

Week 1 is bound to be tough and I might not achieve the goals but experience suggests that I'll get there.