This is the second of the four weekly training updates I will be posting on my journey through the 2019 triathlon season. I posted the WEEK 1 – 4 Update on the 7th January, please take a look through that one if you want to see where I was up to by week four.
The plan is to keep building month on month. The more swimming I do, the better my technique should get over the course of a few months. I am starting to get my bike fitness and strength back after not riding between August – December whilst I focused solely on running in preparation for the 2018 Chicago and New York Marathons.
Week 5 – 7th – 13th January
Last week I set a new Parkrun PB by running under 19 minutes for the third time ever over the 5k distance. This week I have my first race of 2019 at Tatton Park. I was hoping to run fast and have a go at my PB, which I managed to beat despite some really challenging weather conditions. You can read my TATTON PARK 10K RECAP for more info on how that went.
Leading up to that, I did a Hill Rep session on Tuesday, 2 hour long run on Wednesday and an interval session Friday. Not your typical pre-race prep but this isn’t an A race.I started the week off with a 2.8km swim but then missed my next two planned swims due to work.The bike was a interval set on Thursday and a recovery spin on the Sunday after the race. All in all a good successful easier week.
- Swim – 2,925yrds, 57mins
- Bike – 25.5miles, 1hr 36mins
- Run – 33.4miles, 4hr 28mins
Week 6 – 14th – 20th January
This was the first “hard” week in the three week cycle we are going through during this plan… Easy, Medium and Hard. The plan was for a 14 hour week with a long run Saturday and Long ride Sunday.Swimming was more successful this week, with three sessions covering 3 hours in the pool. A distance swim, speed swim and my first technique swim. The latter felt hard but mostly down to remember what drill I was on as there were 18 drills on this set. I did feel pretty silly sculling up and down the pool but who cares what others think if it helps to teach my body the correct catch and pull technique.
A bigger week on the bike, also with three sessions. One of the areas I pointed out for improvement based off the first four weeks was my general cycle strength. During most of the sessions my heart rate is well below what my coach is asking of me, so I have the fitness levels but its the legs which give up before I hit the really high watts. A new session Steve put in from this week is a muscle development ride. Basically riding at 90% FTP in 4 x 6 min blocks with short rest. As with the swimming, the more time I spend on the bike, the stronger I will get. On Thursday I did my first FTP test of this training block. My previous best was 260w and already I improved that up to 288w after just five weeks of training. The next target is to go past 300w in a month or two.
The run plan was hill reps Monday, medium distance run Wednesday and a long of 27km at marathon pace. This session didn’t go to plan. I was due to do it Saturday morning but I put it back to the afternoon as it was cold in the morning and I am trying to avoid catching a cold this winter. Then my wife wasn’t very well so I was on dad duty in the afternoon meaning the run got pushed back to Sunday, before I could get the 2:30 long bike ride in I had to fit in 27km run. I was up at 5am and out the door, and yes, it was cold so a waste of time not running Saturday in the cold. Lesson learned there.
This was my first ever time running in the dark with a head torch. I was quite looking forward to being able to run my daytime routes around the country lanes, in the dark. There are very few roads around here which have street lights, that makes those early long winter runs tricky but now I have a head torch I can go wherever. That was my plan but in reality, running with the head torch in the complete darkness gave me a head ache and tunnel vision, in the end I stopped at 16km I just couldn’t manage to run in the dark. I know excuses are not what are needed here but my eye sight is not very good, in fact, my brain ignores the right eye completely. Running with the head torch and narrow field of vision made this worse which caused the head ache. Next time I will just run later in the day when it is not so dark.
Another lesson learned. Things not going right or to plan is part and parcel of life. The key thing is to learn from it and adapt, make sure you don’t make the same mistakes twice, make sure you put things in place to give yourself a better chance of succeeding next time around.
- Swim – 8,749yrds, 2hr 55mins
- Bike – 93miles, 4hr 07mins
- Run – 28.3miles, 3hr 46mins
Week 7 – 21st – 27th January
Easier week started with a rest day, which was needed after a long(ish)run and long ride the day before.
Swimming went well again, three more swims including another technique set like last week.
The bike was a lot easier than last week, just an interval session and a power sweet spot ride. The only problem I am finding with the bike sessions is the cold in the garage. Most days it is colder in there than outside and with temperatures dropping well below freezing now, I am riding with 2 or 3 layers on.
The running was where I struggled most this week. The motivation levels just felt low, cutting last weeks long run short knocked me back and I am beginning to wonder just how ready I am going to be for Tokyo in five weeks time having just one real long run in the bag so far. Four runs this week, an easy hour, interval set, 5k run and hill reps. During the hill rep set I nearly gave up during the warm up, my legs just felt tired and with low motivation levels and a 20mph head wind I very nearly threw in the towel. I decided to run one rep and see how it went, then reset and did each rep “seeing how it goes”, that got me through the session.Not a great week at all motivation wise, on the flip side, I completed every session and got the miles done and in the bank. On to week 8.
- Swim – 7,409yrds, 2hr 27mins
- Bike – 40miles, 1hr 22mins
- Run – 25.6miles, 3hr 24mins
Week 8 – 28th January – 3rd February
Medium week to finish January off. Straight away it went wrong. The Monday swim was missed after being called out by work, I did have Thursday and Friday off work so I was going to move the longer ride from Sunday to Friday and then fit in the missed swim on the Sunday. Like I said earlier, you have to adapt and make things work for you.
Run wise, the plan was pretty easy, just a one hour easy run Tuesday and a two hour tempo run Saturday, both completed despite some very cold snowy conditions in the second half of the week. With being off on the Thursday I decided to sneak in an extra long run to try and lift the confidence and motivation levels. I went out with no pace goal, just to run for two hours and build up the time on my feet. The first 12 miles were sub 7:50 pace but the last three slowed to around 9 min pace but that was due to icy roads on that stretch where it was shady, I slipped four or five times, hence dialling the pace back. Nevertheless, two decent solid long runs. Not close to my marathon pace yet but its about building the distance and time running for now.
The bike plan was three rides, an interval session, FTP booster set and the long tempo ride which I moved to Friday. This did backfire on my slightly as my coach Steve saw the empty gap on Sunday before I had chance to move the swim from Monday so he sneaked in an extra run interval session and 1 hour easy ride, but that was fine with me. I am happier on the bike and running than in the swimming pool.
Now January is completed, I have had my biggest ever month of swimming in terms of yards swam. Running was back over the 100 mile mark after a slim month in December, in fact it was my sixth biggest month of running.
- Swim – 5,249yrds, 1hr 43mins
- Bike – 101.9miles, 5hr 9mins
- Run – 44.9miles, 6hr 8mins