Saturday, 14 June 2008

No rest, no recovery!

Pictured (courtesy of my GPS watch and Google Earth) is my route over the Scotswood Bridge for last Monday's Blaydon Race. More on that later, but I'd like to mention how things are going on the training front.

Training in 2008 has evolved into a nicely balanced mix of gym classes, running and cycling. It's a far cry from the 50 miles a week I was running last year in preparation for the big run but I actually feel fitter and definitely have more strength and far greater mobility.

At the start of the year, I had planned on just doing the usual lunchtime runs and longer runs in the Pennines on weekends. It hasn't worked out this way as I'm enjoying the other elements of training so much. What has gone to plan, however, is the requirement to run faster and make things tougher than last year. Almost every run is at a quicker pace than last year. Also, the strategy I've adopted in preparation for USA 2011 is "no rest, no recovery". I've got 3 years to get used to running myself into the ground and I've made a pleasing start on that front.

Double sessions are common place during most days of the week. It's by no means easy, but I'm learning to adapt to the day in, day out grind on top of work and family responsibilities. The last couple of weeks, for example, has consisted of the following:

Monday 2nd - Spinning (45 mins, lunchtime), Spinning (45 mins, evening)
Tuesday 3rd - Boxercise (45 mins, lunchtime), Spinning (45 mins, evening)
Wednesday 4th - Run (6 miles, lunchtime)
Thursday 5th - Run (5 miles, lunchtime)
Friday 6th - Spinning (45 mins, morning), Spinning (45 mins, lunchtime)
Monday 9th - Spinning (45 mins, lunchtime), The Blaydon Race (6.1 miles, evening)
Tuesday 10th - Cycling (17 miles, morning)
Wednesday 11th - Spinning (45 mins, lunchtime), Cycling (17 miles, evening)
Thursday 12th - Cycling (17 miles, morning), Boxercise (45 mins, evening)
Sunday 15th - Spinning (45 mins, morning)

It's taken almost 5 months to establish the current training schedule. I'm now ready to step things up a notch in an attempt to see just how far I can push myself and, more importantly, to try and be as well prepared as I can be to start USA 2011 training next Spring. I see the remainder of the year being split into 6 cycles. Each cycle will consist of 4 weeks of cross training. Week 1 will be 60% cycling, 20% gym, 20% running. Week 2 will be 60% running, 20% gym, 20% cycling. Week 3 will be 60% gym, 20% cycling, 20% running. Week 4 will be 80% running, 20% gym.

So that's the remainder of the year sorted out! Meanwhile, back to this week, where Monday saw me run my 3rd Blaydon Race. It was a good run for me and I managed a PB of 51:32 despite the course being lengthened this year. The fact that I'd had a spinning class (taken by Tracy (aka The Terminator!)) at lunchtime makes it all the more pleasing.  Remember - No rest, no recovery!  By some coincidence, I saw Tracy in my eyeline just before the 1st mile point on the Blaydon Race. She's recovering from a knee operation and was taking it easy. I managed to keep up with her until the final 1/4 mile and it really helped having a familiar face as a pace maker. I was over the moon with my final time when I got to the finish line in Blaydon. Katy treated me to a pizza on the way home and I was up again at 06:00 the next morning for my maiden voyage to work on my bike. 

Getting to work in 01:35:55 felt like an even bigger achievement than the Blaydon Race PB. Cycling home on Wednesday night in the rain and then back again on Thursday morning surpassed everything else. I should explain that each pound saved cycling (and given the economy of my car that is some saving!) is going towards what I'm calling the "2011 War Chest". This is the sum of my own money that I'll need to support the next big tour. I'll talk more on that in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, let's not get too confident and brings things back down to earth! Wednesday's bike journey home was not without incident! I stopped at mile 16 for a drink. Nothing too dangerous there you might think. Think again as I, for one moment, thought I was on a spinning bike in the gym and forgot to release my feet for the stirrups. Well you can imagine the result! TIMBEEERRRRRR!!!!!! Thankfully, all I had to show for my stupidity was a grazed knee and bruised hip. Oh and my pride took a bit of a dent too!