Thursday 28 September 2017

Dore Moor Road Loop

It's a few months since I ran my road loop through Dore and it showed in my rather slow pace. I didn't push and generally it felt within capacity which is amazingly illustrated by the heart rate data.

In the past I have run this closer to threshold throughout and managed a better overall pace. I think I've entered a plodding phase again and must restart my interval training runs. On this loop I have found that pushing the Millhouses 1km can give a good outcome as the step back in effort after the 'sprint' feels good but is still a bit above average. Of course, there is the risk of being too fast at the beginning.

Currently I can't see me re-achieving my record, let's aim for getting below an hour, that still needs a 10% improvement!

Saturday 23 September 2017

Gastritis and a swim

Last night I believe I had recurrence of the gastritis that troubled me 3 years ago. I had abdominal ache an hour or so after eating and during the night it became progressively worse. It wasn't as epigastric in location as I seem to remember that it was previously but it was eased by Omeprazole so I'll take that as diagnostic.

After a light breakfast I felt fit enough for a swim at Hatfield. The water had cooled to 15 degrees and after a break of a few weeks it felt cold. I managed 1800m (2 large laps and one small one) before stopping. The weather was a little better than forecast so I had a low angled sun in my eyes for a third  of the circuit. I find this very difficult and although it stands to sense that it makes sighting difficult I also unconsciously swim away from the brightness so have to look more often. My new-ish polarised ant-mist goggles don't help as they do mist up and there's still plenty of glare.

It must be 'end of season' as the lake was much quieter than usual, which was rather pleasant actually.

Recently I've been doing a run on Saturday afternoons but today I couldn't face bouncing my stomach around and stayed at home. I didn't have much of an excuse not to do some painting that's been due for a month or so.

Sunday 17 September 2017

Orca Two Piece Swimrun Wetsuit - first impressions review

I'm wanting a less warm wetsuit than my Alpkit Silvertip for some mild weather swimming as over summer the Silvertip has been  a touch too comfortable. Being fairly substantial it's also quite firm around the shoulders and the gains of buoyancy are offset by stiffness around my arms.

Although there are a myriad of high performance triathlon-focussed wetsuits out there I wondered if a Swimrun one might be more appropriate. First, I'm more likely to do a Swimrun event than need a marginal speed gain in a swimming race and secondly the features such as pockets and land-based ventilation seem pretty useful for general holiday swimming use.

From Orca's website
It seemed useful to be able to order the two parts in appropriate sizes too as I'm in the small-tall category which isn't very well catered for by the majority of manufacturers. I ordered an MT top and #5 bottom from MyTriathlon who delivered promptly. So what do I think of the product?

I must stay now that I haven't worn the wetsuit in action and intend to return it very soon. It is a pity that you can't send slightly used wetsuits back to the shop! On the positive side, the sizing table and the product seem to be accurate as both parts fitted as I'd expect. I was slightly disappointed by the 'features' or maybe quality of the wetsuit as both pieces are made of fairly thin neoprene lacking in a smooth skin. Perhaps this is to reduce the risk of damage but it gives the impression of a cheap beachwear shorty wetsuit rather than a midrange performance wetsuit. The bottom piece feels to be better quality material than the top and is stated to be Yamamoto 39 cell neoprene. Although the promotional material mentions 'buoyancy in the lower trunk' I can't imagine much of this deriving from the bottom as the material is only 3mm thick.

The pockets on both pieces are made from a light mesh and are 'closed' by virtue of the upper piece overlapping the lower. I can see that this would be adequate for a light, low value item such as a nutrition bar but I wouldn't trust the pockets with my house key or a GPS device. I understand that zips add complexity and areas of weakness but this design doesn't feel quite enough. The overlap closure also stops a large item, such as  hand paddle being fitted into the pocket.

These points are perhaps niggling but there were two aspects which are the ones that are causing me not to keep the wetsuit, although neither can be fully evaluated without going for a swim! The two pieces are designed to be joined by 3 substantial pieces of velcro that adhere to the lining of the top. I didn't want to take the protective cover from the velcro to test the link thoroughly but I got a very clear impression that due to my tall body I would tend to pull the sections apart on every stroke. Of course, a stretch along the body is common to all of us and a traditional wetsuit would stretch and gradually adapt to the swimmer's shape, but I wasn't convinced of the adequacy of the connection here and suspected that I'd end up with a lot of cooling water flow around my body.

The second problem was that the relatively thick neoprene of the top bunched under my armpit and didn't feel to be as elastic as even that of my fairly budget wetsuit. I really could imagine chaffing early in a swim.

I liked the jacket style of the top and can see the concept of a two piece working well especially in a warm climate with a significant proportion of running. Indeed the design is fine for the casual beach use I mentioned above.  However I don't think this product is for me at the moment as I'm wanting something that gives a greater impression of stopping waterflow and more focus on the swimming component. For me, the near £200 price is a little high for this product. For serious swimming I'd like to see some of the neoprene technology of the £300 Orca 'Openwater' two piece or, for general holiday use, a lower price.

Saturday 16 September 2017

Back-to-back in Derbyshire.

Yesterday I was on leave form work and we did a reasonable hike in Derbyshire. Today, with the swim session at Hatfield cancelled, I ran out of the city on a 20km loop. The run was nothing out of the ordinary, although my recent running training has been low. However the back-to-back sessions certainly made an impact as today's run was unusually hard going.

The weather was kind for both days, warmer and drier than forecast although a stiff breeze forced me into a jacket.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Bilateral breathing

In today's swim I did a few sets with bilateral breathing. As anticipated my pace was nothing like 1:44 min/100m as suggested from the last data. I don't know what happened there, but today I was around 2:10min/100m which is far more what I would expect. Inbetween a small proportion of the 66m intervals were at 2:00min/100m but I struggled to manage that.

I'm intrigued that as the session went on the bilateral pace was much like my 'fast' dominant side breathing. My chest felt tighter having to maintain the breath for 50% longer and I had perception of rushing but it didn't have much net effect on my pace. Perhaps there is a gain in swimming efficiency by keeping more streamlined which is offset by being closer to an aerobic threshold. This threshold might be centrally governed ('I must breath') rather than really physiological ('there isn't enough oxygen perfusion').

Saturday 2 September 2017

Woods Intervals

I didn't have very long for a run so long and slow wasn't an option. I often state that I need to work on speed so an interval session seemed to be a good idea. I completed my usual circuit around the local woods but with a 45 second 'sprint' every few minutes. It's quite an undulating circuit so I tried to do the intense part on ascents and have gentle descent. Fast downhill seems associated with injuries!

The post run data shows the interval pattern clearly when shown as Grade Adjusted Pace for each interval but the heart rate data had little relationship with my effort. Early in the session it was very high, later it was low. Optical heart rate recording isn't reputed to be good and in this circumstance it didn't work well.