Triathlon training week 4 – getting faster

This week was awesome. This seems to be a recurring theme, I am loving triathlon training at the moment. The motivation is there (although not always at 7am in the morning to be honest) and I am enjoying all my workouts. No injuries … yet … no niggling pains or anything slowing me down. And I am faster than last year which is making me really happy!

A total of 8 hours 40 min training looked like this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 18.12.41Yep – once again no red. Plus a yoga session and two strength sessions. Although if I am being honest, perhaps the brick run session should be in red as no brick workouts happened this week…

Swimming

Swim 1 was pretty much as it says on the tin, easy and relatively quick. A nice gentle session for a Wednesday morning. Swim 2 was harder – 15 x 100m?! It seems like a daunting amount of reps, but they weren’t sprints so I decided to aim for keeping every 100m above my CSS swim time of 2 min 14 secs. The first 5 were with a pull buoy, and of the last 10 I decided to sprint the 5th and the 10th. My sprint times were 1:57 and 1:53 (quite pleased with the 1:53 but I did manage 1:47 last year….) my standard 100m times were 2:10, 2:05, 2:11, 2:14, 2:10, 2:09, 2:09, 2:14. About half way through my swim a water aerobics class came into the pool (I was doing this around 11am on a Friday).The waves they were making from all of their kicking and jumping around was good open water practice, but I was occasionally scared I was going to get kicked in the face if I swam too close to the lane rope!

Cycling

Cycle 1 was a spin bike hard session. I propped my kindle up on the aerobars and was amazed at how much faster the workout went when I was reading a good book! I’ve never tried this before but think I will keep trying out reading rather than watching something. I set the words to be really big and as I was reading a good book (Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread) the time flew by. 80 minutes before work, ending up starving, legs slightly shaky, but feeling awesome.

Cycle 2 was meant to be a tempo 70 minute ride. Instead, as I was home for the weekend, I set out for Richmond Park with James and Jack. This basically means 40 minutes relatively easy warmup through traffic on the way to the park, just over an hour attacking the park, and then an easy 40 minutes spin home. We did three laps, the first with me tucked in behind James for most of the way, and then I was by myself for the second two. I was working on my bike handling and pushing it on the flats, still struggling slightly on the hills. The lap function on my garmin suggested each lap was around 24 minutes but the Strava segments showed it at 28 minutes (the loop is around 10.5km) …. Annoying as my PB from last year was 24 minutes! So either I am there already this year, or I am not…

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Running

Run 1 was a treadmill test run. I hate the thought of running 3km as fast as I can outside of a race and really had to gear myself up for the idea of this one. But I was ready. And I walked down to the gym at lunch time all fired up to go. Only to discover my sports bra was not in my bag. ARGGGGHHH. Being a woman is so annoying. So instead I did 15 minutes easy cycling on the spin bike and then a couple of easy stretches and body weight exercises that involved limited moving around. The test was put back to the next morning.

I read my book again which really helped the minutes to clock by, and I ran 3km in 16 minutes. I was really pleased with that as it still the start of the season and I haven’t been running fast until …. Run 2. I set out from home on my normal marathon training route – an out and back up through Battersea Park and along the Thames path. The plan was to run out for 35 minutes, see how far I got, and then turn around and run back.

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It was really lovely to run on this route again, after several months off – a route I had seen change into autumn and then winter, now in the sun with the trees in full bloom. It was just such an enjoyable run.

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This is how a different part of the same park looked a few months ago…

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I had really over-dressed for the temperature and I hadn’t bought any water with me. The forecast was for rain all day but my run coincided with the sun…. Very quickly I was far too hot and was rolling up my tights and tucking my top into my sports bra.

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The plan was for an easy run, building distance as I haven’t run for over an hour since my marathon in March. But I felt really good from the start, and knew I was running pretty fast. By the time I got to the turn-around I knew it was going to be a fast run and so decided not to let myself slow. That was all fine and fun until the final two kilometres where the lack of water had really gotten to me. I felt awful, really horrible, but I kept pushing myself as I knew it would soon be over! I ran a total of 12.6km in 1hr 8 minutes, with my fastest ever 10km at 53 mins 30 sec. That is over 2 minutes faster than my previous PB, ran in an actual race. And my pace for that 10km was only one second per km slower than my pace for the 3km time trial … Hmmm probably could have run faster!

I got home and immediately had to phone my mum and tell her. 53 minutes might not be objectively fast for a 10km but for me it was a fantastic achievement, all the more so because I hadn’t set out to really push myself and for most of the run had felt as if I was cruising along happily. It has given me the confidence to believe I can reach 50 minutes perhaps even by the end of this year … and maybe a sub-50 mins at some point in the future! It turns out training for a winter marathon did make me faster – it made me stronger, it gave me more running confidence, it made me love running, and now I am faster. It was such a good idea!

Something I was proud of this week: the above long, fast run. The best thing about fitness is seeing the tangible, very real improvements.

Something I need to work on: doing some brick workouts … I keep skipping these because they don’t fit in with the plan. It is hard to go out and ride for just an hour so I keep riding for much longer and then not doing the brick workout. I know I need to get some of them in at some point…….

Something fun that was nothing to do with triathlon: four days off work, back home in London with James and my kitty. We ate at Honest Burger, watched films, spent the afternoon in a pub drinking craft beers, and an evening with good friends, a fish & chips takeaway and lots of wine. It was lovely and relaxing! Now for a four day week 🙂

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Oh and also…this happened. Now I have to try and forget about it until October!

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4 comments

  1. On the bike, if you struggle in the hills, during spring when you’re warming up, practice attacking the hills – speed up going up them. Obviously there are limits here but just do the best you can and eventually you’ll hammer them. My wife, who can climb like a billy goat, says she loves climbing (the only time she can keep up really well with me) and she counts, either one thru twelve or twenty-four. She shifts on even numbers only. On top of that, she says it’s the sense of accomplishment that really drives her to kill the hills. Finally, her big tip was that she learned how to shift going into and climbing the hill (she’s right too – timely shifting is HUGE). Shift early and shift often.

    • Thank you! I do shift early and try to keep spinning as fast as possible but I find my heart rate maxes out and I feel like dying 🙂 there is a good hill of about 1.5km long on a closed road near me so will go and try some repeats at some point. The counting is a really big tip – thanks for the advice!

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