Last week’s triathlon training took just under 6 1/2 hours: 1 swim, 1 long cycle, 3 cycle commutes, 2 runs, 1 strength session and 1 yoga session. Both the yoga and the strength session were surprisingly hard, the side bends in yoga especially leaving my arms and abs sore for ages.
Five things I did last week:
My first long cycle in months – actually, it wasn’t all that long, just 10km or so longer than my usual route, but instead of doing laps around Richmond Park I set off out of London towards Guildford where I was due to meet my mum for dinner. I had a much more successful cycle through London than usual as the traffic wasn’t too bad and I found a nice little route along the river that avoided the worst traffic junction. It is a shared pedestrian/cycle path which means you have to sit up and take it slowly but so much better than taking on the huge junction at Kingston. After almost an hour I was in the country! It was a grey, humid day, and the English countryside seemed to me to be two colours – grey and green.
My cycle was going well until the 50km mark. I was coming into Guildford but had to take quite a bit of a detour due to a very busy motorway-style road that I didn’t want to cycle on. I had planned it all out on the map and it looked fine – until I turned the corner and was faced with a 15% hill. As I slowly pedalled up and the top came into view I realised that my detour was going to mean I had to climb this steep hill twice, with just a short downhill in between.
I pulled into a layby near the top with the aim of finding out where exactly my mum was and whether there was a different route I could take to get to her. As I did, a car also pulled into the layby so I couldn’t just stop and had to get out of its way – it turned out that was mum! I had been so focused on the hill and stopping that I hadn’t recognised her car. Perfect timing – I was more than happy to put my bike on the back, climb into the front seat, and head into town for dinner.
A fast tempo run – I have really embraced the concept recently of running slowly. I’ve been listening to all those podcasts and reading all those articles on how the majority of your runs should be done at conversational pace, I’ve put that into practice and I’ve been really enjoying that. That doesn’t mean every run is just plodding along – once or twice a week I will also do either an interval run or one with tempo miles in between a slow warm-up and cool-down, the pace for those miles set out on my watch.
It’s been working – I enjoy more of my runs and I’ve been getting faster as proved by my 3km time trial the other day. And it really is just about making my non-tempo, non-interval runs easier, not thinking about my pace in those runs. On Monday of last week I set out for a slow hilly run in the Northumberland countryside, deliberately not caring about pace and even purposefully slowing myself down to make sure it was easy.
And then yesterday I decided to go out without my watch, with no prescribed pace, and just run the whole thing at a tempo effort and see where that took me. Its been a long time since I did that! The weather was gorgeous for sitting in the park, slightly too hot for running, and I had to dodge every child in South London, all of whom, it seemed, had come out to Brockwell Park to ride their scooters or kick a football around. But I was really pleased at the end with my average pace (I tracked my run on my phone), much, much faster than I would have been able to run this time last year.
Missed a swim: on Friday night I missed out on an evening in the pub with my friends to come home, have a bowl of pasta and get into bed early, all so I could get up and go swimming in the lake early on Saturday morning. But when my alarm went off at 6am I just felt exhausted, still sound asleep and with absolutely no desire to get up. So I turned my alarm off and went back to sleep. On the one hand, I’m annoyed that I didn’t go as I would have enjoyed it and I do need the wetsuit practice. On the other, I’d had a very busy week at work and sometimes you do just need a bit of a lie-in!
Drank beers on my patio: summer came back to us on Sunday and so after my run Charlotte and Jack came over and we settled down on the patio with a beer / glasses of wine for a few lovely hours of chatting and relaxing outside.
Cooked dinner!!! I never cook dinner on a Sunday night mainly because James always likes doing something nice with a big hunk of meat. However this Sunday I came up with an idea entirely by myself (okay, with a bit of help from Ottolenghi) and it was pretty delicious if I say so myself. I marinated a lovely lamb shoulder in pomegranate molasses, anchovies, rosemary and spices before cooking it slowly for four hours until the meat was falling off the bone. While that was happening I also grilled some aubergines until the flesh was completely soft, roasted some baby tomatoes and carrots, and cooked some lentils. I mixed all the veg into the lentils, put the lamb on top, added a garlicky yoghurt dressing and then covered the whole thing in pomegranate seeds. Then we ate outside with a glass of red wine. Absolutely perfect 😀