I've been up and down between the office and Manchester recently, putting the finishing touches to a series of TV ads I'm making. I've also been doing some radio commercials. Consequently, training has been a little fractured and I've needed to be light on my feet to fit in sessions. But I'm pleased with what I've done and staying at the Marriott has helped as they have complementary membership of a gym in Manchester.
Here's how the week went down:
Monday - Day off
Tuesday - 75 min swim, 10 x 400m off 7'30"
Weds - 45 min 2km swim, 45 min run, 30 mins core and stretch (gym)
Thurs - 45 min run, 30 mins core and stretch, 30 mins run, 15 mins weights (gym)
Friday - 1 hour 8 mile run
Saturday - 103 mile bike, 6 mile run (back to back)
Sunday - 45 min recovery bike, 30 min easy run
Total time training 14.6 hrs
Bike 118 miles
Run 27 miles (approx)
I'm still keeping up with my new year's resolution to see a film at the cinema once a week. Or, rather, to buy 52 cinema tickets throughout they year as sometimes it's not feasible to go every week. This week I took advantage of being away from home to go and see GREEN ZONE, which I wasn't to impressed with, and SHUTTER ISLAND which I really enjoyed. I also saw (not at the cinema) SURROGATES which was a little tiresome.
Must rush as time is pressing. I've got to finish up all my ads, travel to Manchester and continue re-drafting my book which I'm filleting down as an experiment to see what it feels like without too much verbiage.
I've been working on 'good form' recently. In swimming this is concentrating on steady, rhythmic cadence with a good catch of the water and keeping my arse in the air. In cycling it's my pedaling stroke, push and pull rather than up and down. In running it's concentrating on my foot strike and a correct roll thereafter, in addition to keeping my arms relaxed and my elbow angle at no more acute than 90 degrees.
I'm hoping it will give me a better balance when undertaking all three disciplines that will, in turn, lead to increased speed combined with a saving in energy. We'll see how it goes.
Yet there's another balance to be undertaken when we IM train. The balance of the disciplines themselves. I see and hear of a lot of folk spending hours in the pool and hammering away at the swim. Yet, in reality, swimming is (at least for me) less than 10% of my total IM time. Biking and running are by far the largest constituents, with biking being the most important.
Well Ironman isn't just about putting together a good bike time. It's about putting together a good bike time and being able to run a fast marathon off it. And there's a world of difference between the two. To achieve both, there is no other way than to get on the bike and ride.
Miles and miles.
I'm trying to get to a stage where I can reduce my bike time from the 5 hrs 20 mins I took in IMDE last year, yet expend less energy in doing so. I'm working on my core so I can be more productive in the aero postion and also be stronger when finally upright and on my feet. I'm also getting used to pushing a big gear and keeping my heart rate low. I think this is the key to Ironman biking. Low heartrate.
So I've decided to reduce my swim sets to, at most, three a week and focus more and more on bike and run. Even though I'm doing a fair amount of biking as it is. It's a question of balance in my training and I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.
Here's what last week looked like:
Mon 3.3km swim set
Tues 33 mile bike, 5.6 mile run
Weds 60 mile bike, 2.5 mile run
Thurs 5.6 mile run
Fri 2km swim, 30 mile bike, 5.6 mile run
Sat 63 mile bike
Sun 11.3 mile run
Bike 186 miles
Run 30.8 miles
Total training time 18.15 hours including a sports massage. That broke down into 11% swim, 61% bike and 21% run with the rest going to core and stretching.
I reckon that's a good balance.
Congratulations this week to Mark Kleanthous for completing the fabulously hard IM China in 12 hrs and 29 mins, a fantastically good time in the 36 degree heat. My Twitter friend Brian Payne had to quit after half the run but put up a great show until then. He'll live to race another day.
Erin is super excited about being selected for her school's World Challenge Expedition to Mongolia in Summer 2011. It's a huge challenge for which they have to raise £ 3,500 and will result in a month away in the land of Ghengis Khan. What an opportunity! I seem to remember we had a few trips to Chester Zoo!
Must rush as I've spent over an hour in the dentist's chair and now am off to London to record a voice over.
Train hard, play hard and make sure you get the life balance right.
I have to say I found myself wondering what the hell I was doing last week. Work had taken me up to Manchester and, whilst my achilles injury seems to have cleared up thanks to the work of my physio, JD, I'm still plagued with my long standing back injury. (Not complaining, it goes with the territory. Ironmen generally have something wrong with them - it's always a bonus to be operating at full tilt).
I stayed at a hotel that allowed me membership of the local Virgin gym, so took full advantage of their facilities to stay on top of training. But my back and, in particular, my glutes were giving me all sorts of gyp. So I popped down to the Arndale Centre and bought a hockey training ball for £ 1.99.
That's bloody cheap.
It's some kind of moulded resin material that stinks to high heaven. But all I knew was it was hard and that rolling around on a tennis ball, whilst moderately painful, had not solved my glutes problem.
And so it was that I found myself rolling around the floor of my 'junior suite' with a rock hard boulder of a ball beneath me. I combined the session with a core work out and so began to work up a healthy sheen of sweat. Now let me tell you, they may hoover those carpets every day, but when you're rolling around on them in your birthday suit you soon realise that there is a lifetime of other people's grime and dust lurking beneath the deceptively clean and luxurious looking shag pile.
Kind of nylony they are too, so I'm sure that were it not for said sweat layer, the static electricity would have caused me to spontaneously combust and burn my way through the floor like some kind China Syndrome meltdown.
Anyway, whilst all these thoughts were floating through my head in a desparate attempt to hold the agonising pain of the hockey ball at bay, another popped into my brain.
What the hell was I doing?
Whilst other businessmen were enjoying a glass of wine and a meal in the restaurant, I was grinding it out on this man made bed of dust, sweating and grunting in pain, before munching down a fruit salad from my fridge and getting an early night prior to the morning's 8 mile run. What kind of life is that for a boy?
For a moment I began to think the allure of Ironman might be wearing off.
This season seems to be more of an effort to keep to the levels of training I set myself to remain competitive. I don't know why this is; maybe it's familiarity with the sport breeding something of a little contempt? Whatever it is, I've lacked the vim and vigour of previous years.
That said, I'm doing things differently this year. I have no coach and I've deliberartely delayed the onset of training in an attempt to peak in late July rather than peaking in early June as I feel I've been doing in recent years. I still think this is the right strategy but it does leave one feeling a little 'rudderless' in these early stages. This, combined with my virus (from which I'm only recently recovered) I think has served to make things feel a little strange this time around.
But, things are changing. The sun is back in the sky, I feel like I'm recovering my energy reserves lost to the virus and, most importantly, for the first time in many months I seem to be running injury free. The last item is key, as running has always been a strength. My calf tear and achilles injury have served to leave me very short on run practice though and I've really not done that much since September time.
All that was put to bed last week though when, in true stupid-Jevon style I launched myself into a ridiculously demanding run schedule for someone returning from injury. I ran 6 miles on Monday, 8 miles on Wednesday, 8 miles on Thursday, 15 miles on Saturday and 2.5 miles on Sunday. Looking back on it - that was pretty stupid. If Coach K had been with me he'd have insisted I'd have run nothing like that and he would have been right. However, I seem to have got away with it.
The running was at the expense of the biking this week where I managed only one long-ish ride of 63 miles. But seeing I was away and that I'd ridden long and hard the previous week I'm not too concerned about that. My bike form is solid if not spectacular but I can't help thinking that things will become clearer when I get off my heavy winter bike with its slow wheels. I'll have a clearer idea of where I stand come May-time.
But I've been putting in the hours, with 28.5 hours training over the last couple of weeks.
I've been keeping up my cinema going and am back on track with my new year resolution to see a cinema film every week this year. Recent viewings have included FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, CRAZY HEART and SOLOMON KANE. Friday night saw a screening of THE HURT LOCKER at our Old Thatch Cinema Society. Pick of the bunch for me was CRAZY HEART, with Jeff Bridges' performance being a stand out.
I finally heard back from my agent about my book. The first literary agent he sent it too 'passed' on it (meaning they feel it's not for them) which, to be honest, is disappointing but not surprising. There isn't a writer alive who hasn't been 'passed' on, so it goes with the landscape. We move onwards and upwards and will send it out to another. If I get similar notes from this literary agent I'll take a look at the writing again.
Work is busy. So that's always a welcome distraction, even if it does take me away from home and my girls. I miss them a huge amount when I'm away and it's always a delight to be home and sharing the same living space with them (and I include Fiona, my wife, in that of course).
We have a French student, Pauline, staying with us for a week. She's here as part of a student exchange programme and Erin will be going to France in a couple of weeks to stay with her family. Erin has also applied for her school's World Challenge Programme in 2011 which will be a one month trip to Mongolia. It's a fantastic opportunity and we'll hear this week if she's been selected to go (a process of random selection). If so, more about it then.
I've rambled a long time.
Today's photo is my nasally offensive, visually repulsive, nerve shredding hockey ball.
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