Sunday, 22 February 2009

Where the heart is....

Evening All,

Is it Sunday evening already?!

This week has flown by, aided by a break-up to the usual weekly structure, which has resulted in a rather fractured weeks training. 

After last weekends long run (4 hours 22 mins), tiredness has been ever present this week. Combined with a hangover from the bigger volume weeks of late, the early signs of a potential cold and a couple of long days in the big smoke - i have been left feeling absolutely shattered all week!

A quick summary of the week gone by would include some decent (but not great) swimming, some resented running and zero biking - not the best weeks work! The highlight of the week was todays swim at Bath Uni. Swimming in a 50m pool is amazing and noticeably more challenging than a short-course pool. Coach Kev put on another excellent session and we all left feeling like we had done a good days work. 

I was due a low volume week, so in fact haven't been too far off plan but it has felt like a noticeable drop after the last few weeks of progressively strong training. This week will see more rest and focus on recovery ahead of the race on Sunday. 

As I sit here, I just want Sundays race done & dusted. I think this is just due to tiredness so hopefully as I get more refreshed the energy and vibe will return. 

I will re-visit my reasons for entering the race and remind myself of the goals I will achieve. Spookily enough, I did my run on Saturday along the race course back home in Ross on Wye. Whilst out, one of my oldest mates noticed me and called me over. It was great to see Dave after a few years away and I ended up going over to the soccer pitch with him. All the way we were remembering old times. 

Being at the pitch, seeing a couple more old mates brought back some great memories. It was an awesome day weather-wise and it reminded me that there really is no place like home. 

So next weeks race will be quite an emotional event for me. Why? Well some of the course takes us along where I began taking my first running steps back to gaining some health & fitness - following a few years of doing my best to break my body through various forms of abuse. 

Thats a tale for another day, but needless to say, completing a 30 mile Ultra on the roads I once struggled to run 5k will give me an enormous sense of achievement.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Train hard, 



Sunday, 15 February 2009

My Happiness

Good evening sports fans! 

Here we are, yet again, at the end (or start depending on your take) of another week. 

I'm pleased to say that another strong and productive weeks worth of training has been achieved. I've hit 15 hours in total, which is pretty big by my standards, so I'm pleased to have got this under the belt so early in the season. I was scheduled to hit 18.5 hours but decided to skip Friday's 90 min run due to excessive tiredness and then I missed yesterdays 2 hour bike due to having to sort some issues at my apartment. 

I'm usually gutted to miss sessions but my focus this week has been to train well in the pool, get in a couple of turbos and then hit todays big run. Swimming has been fantastic this week, with a new high reached on Thursday. It all came together for me in the pool, seeing me lead lane 2 and sending out sub 1.35 100s plus sub 45 sec 50s consistently. I really felt strong and it seemed like I had loads of time for my stroke. We're heading to the 50m pool at Bath Uni next Sunday where we'll look to smack out about 6k - so I'm keen to turn in a good show.

Onto todays run, it was a new milestone for me as I've never ran so far or for so long. I totalled 26.3 miles in 4 hours 23. Most of the run was off-road and included some decent inclines. This was my last big run ahead of the 30 mile Ultra on 1 March. I adopted the strategy of run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute. This worked really well and I was pleased with my pace throughout. The last few miles were tough but this was as much to do with the route I took as fatigue. 

I was also pleased with my nutrition. I drank water with effervescent vitamin C, and used a combination of peanut M&Ms and Clif Bar Blok Shots for my solids. These seemed to work well together - and I'll be taking these in the race. 

This was a complete contrast to last weeks run - which I loathed. I think this was due to the new challenge and achievement of this week - giving me a target to focus on. I'm hoping the same will get my through the Ultra and then ultimately Challenge Roth in July. I love achieving new goals!

The title for the post came from a moment during the run where I had just discovered some new trail at just past the halfway point. Instead of turning around and going back the way I came I decided to just head off down this new trail - it was awesome. 

As I was going down the trail, with a big grin on my face, feeling great - a track by the Aussie group Powderfinger came onto my iPod. The track is called My Happiness - and it just felt really appropriate for that moment in time. 

So there I am, in the middle of nowhere, running down a trail, a huge grin on my face, singing out load to this track. Awesome - it makes you feel truly alive!

As someone ( I forget now) once said "If you want to get fit go for a run, if you want a life changing experience, run a marathon". 

Hope you all have great weeks, see you in seven.

Pura vida, 


Sunday, 8 February 2009

The wisdom of others...

Well, here we are on another blustery Sunday evening. Is it me or are the weeks flying by?

I'll get straight to the point this week - as I would like the quote I will be reciting to say it all. 

Training continues to tick over fairly nicely - with another 12.5 hour week under the belt. Similar story to the last few weeks in that swimming continues to go from strength to strength. Another week of consistently strong swimming. I'm swimming my cruise pace 100s off 1.50 swim & rest, coming home between 1.30 & 1.35. This is real progress and I would like to think there is still more to come - as my body position still needs improving. The Speedo Fastskins continue to impress.  

Just a couple of small runs during the week then todays big run. I hit 19.5 miles with 15 of those miles off-road. I must admit I found this one of my toughest runs, a real mental test as I really didn't feel up for it. My left knee is giving my some grief plus my right hip flexor really stiffened up. The off-road terrain really took its toll on me, but I was pleased to hit 8 min miles when on the road for the last 4.5 miles. My knee is still sore so I'm going to have to watch how this feels over the next few days. With 3 weeks to go to the 30 mile Ultra I won't be taking any unnecessary risks. 

You might remember in last weeks post, I quoted a few February resolutions. Well, I've made progress on these but they are still not embedded. I've fallen short of my 60 hours sleep, due to a couple of poor nights sleep (which left me feeling lethargic towards the end of the week). My daily stretching hasn't kicked in as I would have hoped, but baby steps are being taken. The mixed leave salad has become a daily habit (apart from today) so I'm counting this as the success story of the week.  

Ok, thats all from me as I would like to hand you over to Haruki Murakami. Haruki is the author of the book of the year from last year - in my opinion. The book is called 'What I talk about when I talk about running'. It is a great book for both runners and non-runners alike. 

I won't say anymore about why I like the following quote as I feel that a lot of you will know why it one of my favourites.

"People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But I don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to your fullest within your individual limits: that's the eessence of running, and a metaphor for life - and for me, for writing as well. I believe many runners would agree". 


See you next week, 


Sunday, 1 February 2009

A quiet mind...

G'day folks, thanks tuning into this weeks thrilling episode....

I'll keep it short this week, I know I say that every week and then ramble on but I really need to get this done and then off to bed for some much needed sleep. 

Had another great week so couldn't be happier right now. All of the objectives I set myself for January were met which is always a great feeling. I've set some new objectives for February, three of which are; 

Perform stretches / flexibility exercises for at least 10 minutes every day (thanks for the idea Tom - see 50 weeks blog on left hand side)
Eat a mixed green salad with extra virgin olive oil every day
Get over 60 hours sleep per week - so averaging 9ish hours per night

I've had a strong training week, totaling 12.5 hours. This hasn't been easy, especially on the back of last Saturdays race, so pleased to have kept the consistency up. Highlights of the week continue to be my swim sessions. We hit 4.6k on Tuesday, 3.5k on Thursday (including some killer 10 x 100m sets) and then a good drill session on Saturday. 

After Thursdays session I decided to buy a pair of the Speedo Fastskins, to aid with compression / recovery as my legs are starting to feel the build up to the March Ultra. I wore these Saturday and have to tell you that they are sensational. I really felt the benefit of the compression and the slight buoyancy they gave me. I'll now rotate the fastskins with my Skinfit swim shorts (another great Skinfit product) as my total weekly mileage continues to build. 

I had a sensational massage on Friday night. I only wish I could afford one of these every week, instead of the once a month I currently have. Its these additional, supportive activities which really aid the core training and help keep the consistent trainng possible. Oh, to be a full-time pro....

Saturday saw me hit the mountain bike. I went out in the Forest of Dean with some guys from the tri team, who are decent MTBers. We had a great ride, and a tough workout which I felt the toll of this morning when I woke up. Todays run was not very enjoyable as legs were heavy and the weather freezing. Still, I was pleased to have got out there in the countryside and add some more miles to the bank. 

Just a quick note before I shoot off. Do you remember the quote I recited several weeks ago "Life is complicated, sport is simple"? Well, howies have got the t-shirt I saw this quote on in their winter sale. They've also got some of their legendary merino on offer. I strongly advise you take a look.

Right thats all folks, thats not too long for one of my weekly downloads. I'm off to start my 60 hours of kip!

Have a great week, catch you next Sunday. 

Pura Vida