Winter training

It’s felt like a right ol’ long winter. Don’t get me wrong, I love the seasonality we have in the UK and I embrace the changes throughout the year. But this winter has really dragged and it’s tested me. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m training for long course now (and thus training hours have increased) or because the weather has been so shite. I guess it’s a combination of both. Either way, I’m well and truly over it and for the first time in my life, wishing I lived somewhere warmer! Here’s a brief summary of training over the last few months >>>

December
After an enforced couple of months off in summer 2017 due to whooping cough, I was ready to crack on earlier than normal with the 2018 season’s training. It was early October when races were entered and Gareth and I started back on the bike training. I was loving it. There’s nothing better than enforced rest to show you how much you adore and crave activity and training. There wasn’t much need for turboing either, and I was loving my new Fizik saddle and shoes as the miles increased.

It all went swimmingly up to Christmas. Just good quality, consistent training. Nothing heroic, just week on week of build. I took a good 6 days off over Christmas and spent a couple of days in Marlow with Kezza over New Year. I find getting away over New Year, even if it’s just for a day or two, very cathartic. I like to look back on the year, appreciate what’s gone well, recognise what I’d like to change and plan for the next year. I was fresh and ready to hit 2018.

I’d also decided that 2018 would probably be my last year of giving it everything in triathlon. I don’t mean I’ll stop at the end of 2018, I just mean I’ve put so much into the last few years but both 2016 and 2017 were scuppered by events largely beyond my control. It’s hard committing the time and energy and making the necessary sacrifices to train hard when you’re not able to put this to the test in race situations. So, I’m praying and keeping everything crossed that in 2018 I’ll be able to test myself on some hard, honest races with decent field’s.

January
Another stormer of a month. A new FTP was set at ~345 which, despite being 10w lower than this time last year, I’m happy with. I’m recognising it’s not all about raw power. That’s just one element to being fast. Aerodynamics, bike fitness, swim and ru nfitness are all key to getting from Start to Finish as quick as possible.

Run consistency was good through the month, and I’d finally settled into a weekly mileage which suited me. I wonder if the run consistency has anything to do with these little chaps which have kept me injury free through winter?

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February
I went 36:01 at the DB Max Chilly 10k (officially 36:30 by the course is a tad long) which is very average when compared to those I want to race, but a solid result for me considering the focus on bike miles and the fact I’m a definite slow-twitcher. Plenty more in there, though, and I’m going to continue to push that 10k speed. I’m loving running in my On Cloudflyers. I’ve been switching between On and Brooks over the past few months but have settled on the Cloudflyers for now. There are lighter On shoes out there, but, having picked up running injuries in the past, I really appreciate the little extra cushion, support and comfort over an all out racer shoe. I know I can’t handle super-high run volume, and my bones appreciate a softer ride and these tick the box. As I’m quite flat footed, I also use a pair of Superfeet Orange insoles. Unless you’ve got serious foot issues, I’ve never understood why runners spend hundreds on custom insoles. Get the right shoe, and a good insole and you can’t go wrong. Check out the Superfeet range and chances are there’ll be some for you.

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Evidence of another indoor sweat-fest

February also saw my longest training ride to date – a 6 hour, 119 mile jaunt around Wiltshire and Somerset. This was preceded by a 4.8km swim the day before and followed by a 13.6 mile run the day after. A solid weekend.

March
It was only as we headed into March that Winter 17/8 became a grind. I’d amassed some good fatigue and Gareth and I had found a lovely sweetspot with my volume / intensity from week to week, but the turbo and treadmill were becoming too familiar for sure. The #BeastFromTheEast brought more cabin fever and I was counting down the days to a training camp / holiday in Majorca at the end of the month.

I really struggled through a few sessions in early March. A few turbos ended in tears as I just couldn’t do it. Power numbers are lower on the turbo, and I’d lost the mental edge after the months of indoor training. How the likes of Lionel Sanders does it year-round amazes me.

Summary
Majorca is now days away, so I’ll catch up after that.

Race season is fast approaching and 2018 will be my debut in long course racing. Credit card slammed, I’ve signed up for Lanzarote and Frankfurt. Why I thought I’d enter two Ironmans before having even done one, I’m not sure. But I have, so there we go. They’re 6 weeks apart, too, so I’ll be researching optimal recovery strategies to ensure I can be as fresh as possible for Frankurt.


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