Saturday 31 December 2016

Higger Tor

We'd not managed to go to Higger Tor on our Christmas Day walk as my hiking companion is awaiting a shoulder operation and didn't want to tackle the very short scramble needed to crest Higger Tor. So having set off today a plan formed to include it although I'd not thought of the way home.

The route included a bit more ascent and descent than I'm used to and also the rocky section on the lip of Burbage Edge. I could have done without that but it was preferable to running along the road on a busy holiday Saturday. The thought crossed my mind to go along Stanedge but that seemed that it would be too far although looking at the map I don't think it would've been more than a km or so extra. It would have involved a rocky path though, so not significantly easier.

That's the second time I've done this particular route, not really an achievement...
So, for me it was a hard 25km, my right ankle is fine so far but my left knee and thigh feel distinctly fatigued.

Friday 30 December 2016

September 2016 Week 11 Session 2

Today's long swim was a struggle with technology as much as being in the water for 90 minutes. Would my Garmin Swim work and could I manage to press the buttons on the TempoTrainer correctly. Well, the former appears to have worked but I failed at the latter!

My plan was to pace at 45, 44, 43 and 42 seconds for the first superset. I started fine and was a little ahead of the pace. For sets 2 and 3 I thought I was flying as I was keeping up with little more effort. Anyway when I checked prior to set 4 I was still on 45s! I set to 42s but couldn't keep up with the beeps, partly due to effort and partly due to occasional holdups in the lane. My average was 43.3s so not too bad and is a spot faster than last week. The progression wasn't good as I let myself get ahead, perhaps if I had done 45s initially I would have had the energy for the 4th set?

For the second superset I planned 47, 46, 45 and 44s but really I hovered around 46.5s for each set. Simply I'd run out of power. Nonetheless, faster than last week.

For week 12 I think I need to do the series from 46s and 48s, making sure that I start gently and then adjust the TempoTrainer correctly.

Thursday 29 December 2016

September 2016 Week 11 Session 1

Data lost again! A different fault. After studiously recording every interval (49 by my reckoning) and presumably saving the session as I've done for the last year I had a week total visible of 1933m. That sounded about right. However when I tried to view the session it wasn't visible and of course couldn't be downloaded. At that point I'd adjusted my weight on Garmin Connect and that couldn't upload to the watch. I tried another ANT+ stick and that was just the same.

So I went through the remove watch from system/reboot/reinstall ritual everyone will be familiar with and things seem OK. I even managed to transfer a swimming mime so it worked on dry land. I'll have to see how it goes next session, I've just checked and the watch is around 18 months old so out of guarantee.

It is a pity that the data was lost as I thought I'd done some pretty fast lengths and sustained the pace through the session. But as I said last time, it's the effort that counts, not the numbers. For this session that's what's written on my training plan by the coach too.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

September 2016 Week 10 Session 3

Today I went to Pond's Forge in the city as the University pool is closed. It was good to return to the 50m pool that had frightened me a few years ago. Now it posed no concerns and it was pleasant to be able to swim without thinking about the end of the lane.

I set the TempoTrainer for my 'fast lengths' and for the first set and perhaps the second, I managed to do 3x100m at a sub 2:00min/100m pace. I suspect that for sets 3 and 4 I didn't achieve this. Unfortunately I couldn't transfer the data when I came home.

Moreover today's swim didn't appear in the history. That's a little irritating but I know that I put in the training effort and ultimately that's more important than the data. The ANT+ only interface on the Garmin Swim seems to make it hard to do transfers manually, at least I couldn't find anything about it online. Having accepted that today's swim was lost I've done a hard reset on the watch in case something was 'confused', better to start afresh than risk the loss of new data.

Friday 23 December 2016

September 2016 Week 10 Session 2

Having used the TempoTrainer in novel situations whilst on holiday I decided that it would be worth using on this long routine to help me regulate pace. Ideally the pace would be intrinsic, something I can feel, but unfortunately I don't seem to be a very good judge currently. Using the TempoTrainer I get feedback on my pace for every length as it happens and can adapt accordingly. This might even show me how a faster pace feels.

So today's pacing was 47, 46, 44 and 43 seconds for the first super set followed by 49, 48, 47 and 46s. In both cases I failed to maintain the fastest pace by a small amount. I also swam further than intended, and possibly a record distance of 3866m because initially I targeted 16 lengths per set rather than 12! If I'd done a bit less early on perhaps I could have hit the pace? Although the slow pace was slower than previously, and sometimes I had to pause briefly to wait for the bleep, the fastest pace was better than I've managed previously. I wish I'd thought of this at the beginning of the programme. I wonder if Julian, my coach, thinks it's a good idea or not.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

September 2016 Week 10 Session 1

Intervals of one 33m length aren't too bad and I am able to do a reasonable pace. The first 3 sets went OK this evening including a few fast lengths at better than 1:50min/100m. For the fourth set I tried to keep going, alternating between fast and slow but really I was tired. The fast lengths weren't really any faster, just more strokes per length! Just before finishing I recorded 20 and 25 strokes per length for length times with less than half a second difference.

Sunday 18 December 2016

A busy week...

Costa Blanca swimming

Whilst on holiday I've swum twice, although I had hoped to manage a little more. Irritatingly the pool in the hotel closed before we left. I was told many times that the sea was too cold and although I didn't try it I didn't see anyone in it, which must mean something.

Anyway, the two swims that I did do went fairly well. I didn't take along my pull buoy so most of the distance was done with my legs anchoring me down. That should be good training, surely? The first session I worked on fast intervals and was initially disappointed that I struggled to repeat 30s for 25m lengths. Really that was hard work as that equates to 2:00min/100m which is my target pace with the pull buoy.

In my second session I focussed on increasing pace to give negative splits through 1600m, again without the aid of a pull buoy. I started at my warmup pace of 2:30min/100m and was able to speed up  fairly well. Unfortunately I can't remember the length timings I used (the final set was, I think set at 35s/25m and I couldn't sustain it). What was clear though was that the TempoTrainer was helpful in regulating the progression and should be used in future.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Southern Bernia Trail Run

I've been visiting the Costa Blanca for almost 30 years now and have always wanted to hike on, or up, the famous Bernia and Puig Campana. Until today I've not managed it due to them being 'too far to get to', 'too big to attempt alone' and other rather weak reasons. Having noted that hiking routes on Bernia are plentiful online I decided that I had to start to get a feel for the mountain, although avoid the scrambles for now; I've not got a head for heights.

Using the excellent ViewRanger app on my Android tablet I planned a loop of around 25km using a combination of IGN and open source mapping. A large proportion of the distance was on minor roads and forest trails but that fits with my running programme.

Bernia is prominent above the suburbs of Altea
From the hotel to the base Bernia was easy but the ascent through rather upmarket urbanisations was steep enough that I walked quite a lot. Gradually the building stopped and after a short, undeveloped section of road, a stone track led off steeply.

This track was restored in 2014 and is clear on ViewRanger's free mapping
For the path I assembled my poles and used them to help keep a good rate of ascent. It didn't take long to reach the wooded slopes and the small fincas hidden amongst the trees. I contemplated continuing uphill further but decided I didn't have enough time. Even though  I'd ascended over 600m the sharp ridge was much higher and not very welcoming unless you're a proper climber.

I passed two signs for the fort on my way to the tourist road down the hill and must return to visit the fort as it's reported to be pretty straightforward. Once on the road my descent wasn't rapid as it was too fast for my aged knees and it wasn't until I was on the flood plain that I could pick up speed again.

A very pleasant 24km circular route from Altea
I was very content with a pace of 7:20min/km over a trail with mixed terrain and would happily extend it by the few km needed to pass the fort.

Friday 9 December 2016

Week 9 Session 2 (half of it!)

I was short of time today so chose to do just one superset of today's routine and put some effort into it. I did mange a clear negative split across 1600m with the final 400m at an average pace of 2:11min/100m. That's not great but as good as I've done in a while. I'll make an excuse and say that for some reason the pool was rough, odd as there were only a few swimmers.

In terms of stroke rate I was around 28SPM without the pull buoy and a range from 23 to 30SPM as I upped the pace. Notably strokes per length increased markedly, 18 to 22SPL which is why the pace increase was only modest. I really need to work on keeping the power and distance covered per stroke as consistent as is feasible at these higher rates. At the slow arm turnover I'm covering as much distance as might be expected. Take a look at this.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

September 2016 Week 9 Session 1

It went well today with 22 of 23 fast lengths being at sub 2:00min/100m pace. I'm not sure where the 24th went! Importantly I felt comfortable throughout the session and gauged effort early on to have power left at the end. Through the session my strokes per length crept up for both fast and easy lengths which is usual.

I tried to finish with a fast 100m but only achieved 2:07min/100m which isn't great, Ok I suppose after 1600m

Sunday 4 December 2016

September 2016 Week 8 (again)

This week I've gone around on the Week 8 programme again in the hope of doing it a little bit better. Naturally I didn't succeed! Session 1, short intervals, wasn't too bad but trying to keep up negative splits across 3200m in Session 2 was poor. Today I adapted Session 3. The programme called for pairs of 100m fast sets but knowing that was unachievable I tried pairs of 66m.

This was a good idea and did allow me to work at a fair pace during the second 66m; after 100m the second has been too hard to be 'intense'. Even so, the supposedly fast lengths weren't at a good pace and by the end of the session I'd slowed to my medium-slow pace even though I was trying hard.

I've worked hard this week, managing 3 swims, and at least I know I've made an effort even if the numbers aren't exciting.