Month: February 2014

Reflections

Yesterday I was trapped in a cake world eating and viewing. I was also trapped in an entertaining German colleagues world.

I think I was in a grump so apologies if it was doom and gloom in the previous post however it’s fair to say that February has been eating and exercising wise a disaster of sorts. Amongst everyone on twitter doing fantastically well, hitting PB’s in terms of time and distance, walking round like gangsta’s (albeit ginger Scottish ones) and generally hitting targets this has made me feel like…..

blog - unhappy

Thank you for the responses – as ever helpful and insightful and the information which has been forwarded to me in an attempt to combat these issues has been printed off and will be studied over the weekend.

Considering my target for the month was 325 miles and that I haven’t been injured once this is the worst variance to plan I have had.

blog graph

Today I will re-base Marchs forecast and going forward further still, taking into account the various social engagements in-between to ensure I have a better balance going forward and how to smooth over the issues I have had this month.

Quick view is that now I will plan to swim 9 miles, bike 260 and run 99 – with 8 rest days built in. This is still a fairly aggressive target but it has come down from original expectations.

I think I need to start up a weekly weigh in to monitor progress again – I know some find it doesn’t help and can lead to dysfunctional thinking however for me in the past it has helped keep me on the straight and narrow.

Once the plan and changed outlook is set I shall try to follow it and hit the sessions I have set myself – hopefully this will mean I am back to being more positive and generally happier
blog - happy

Confessions

No matter how far I push the feeling into the deepest parts of my mind, it’s always still there.

No matter how long it goes away it always comes back, sometimes with more force and conviction than at other times. It can last an hour, a day, a weekend or like this time almost a month.

I have a constant battle with food. Or more concisely rubbish food, food I know isn’t any good for me.

You can’t train out a diet of rubbish input and despite what I have learnt in the last couple of years and the fact that I know it makes me feel fairly rubbish this month I have eaten my way through a lot of utter rubbish. Treat meals on the back of good news confirmations – both health and job wise – a bottle of beer or two whilst cooking – stealing a biscuit when no one is watching, eating yogurts at work. Quick trips to supermarkets in the evening to acquire ice cream and cakes.

All means that my weight has ballooned somewhat to a level it was 14 months ago, despite doing bits and pieces of training this month.

It’s a vicious circle, I know it is – but knowing something and doing something about it is completely different. The more you eat the more tired you are, the more energy you lack.

Once on the hamster wheel it’s difficult to get off. I have mentioned more than once that I am an all or nothing type of person with food. One biscuit will frequently lead to a packet.

I need to rebase my habits and retrain my brain going forward to think of the bigger picture.

Part of this issue I think is the fact that I haven’t raced since Chester marathon at any distance or event type – the longest gap since I started doing events in Oct 12 and to my simple brain the summer is still a long way off. In fact my first event isn’t till the sport relief weekend in march, which is a lifetime away right now.

Also, as I don’t train with a group or anyone it’s been harder than I thought to keep the motivation levels up, especially during the utter rubbish weather we are having right now. It was good to get out on the bike at the weekend and this definitely helped my mood to have some moving scenery instead of staring at a TV screen. That said I didn’t enjoy the hills, or wind or motorists.

To counteract this lack of motivation I have arranged a cycling date with Joe Ames to drag myself out of this pit of despair I am wallowing around in right now and focus myself on the carnage of events that I will be doing in May / June / July.

This was been very therapeutic to write, so it will probably not read very well, although as it’s lunchtime I will now go in search of cake.

 

I can start being healthy tomorrow, yeah?

Finding Nemo

So on Sunday I met a man from the internet, we put our lyrca pants on and got wet together.

Sordid enough but there were children watching as well.

Got to love swimming haven’t you.

Well turns out, despite it being too early to be in love, I think I might have some mild attraction to it after all. Previously I have been reluctant  to go swimming, too easy to use excuses about time and expense, but honestly I think it’s more borne out of the lack of body confidence I still have and harbours back to painful childhood memories, when shall I say I was a little bigger and there was a little less lyrca to hide behind.

Open water swimming last year was ok, once you’re in there is no one to look at you and after all you have a massive black wetsuit on, which everyone knows makes you look super sexy. In events I did really mind, after all the belly is always covered isn’t it.

I am aware I have work to do on all aspects of triathlon, cycling is easy to work on – just do more of it, better tempo and power, running similarly increased focus on heart rate, running style and getting more quality miles in.

Swimming I had less of an idea about – my old swimming routine was get in thrash up and down for as long as I could cope with – when doing open water it’s a case of attempting to do 9 min 500 metres for 2000 metres – that was my stable gambit. Get in swim as fast as I could get out, feeling happy I hadn’t drowned and also frequently knackered.

So having watched a number of ironman on twitter tweaking strokes, improving efficiency and technique I felt left out – which is why I basically started harassing Dave Akers on twitter (@bigdaveakers), I think he got annoyed with this and offered to put on a swim session if I could get a number of fellow swim bunnies together in one place at one time. This didn’t really progress at a fast enough pace, or he got bored waiting but suggested he come and do a one on one session with me, either that or the lure of free yogurt was too much to resist.

That’s right a masters swim coach, drove 2hrs to meet me and offered well over 2 hrs. of his advice for free (apart from some yogurts and 9bars).

I didn’t know what to expect and to be honest I was nervous on Sunday pre Dave arriving, but within 5 minutes of talking to him over a brew I understood why he makes such a good coach – very easy to talk to, very passionate about swimming, very encouraging and eager to offer advice / guidance and that was all in my kitchen.

Nerves relaxed, we headed off and I introduced him to the wonderful sights of Wrexham on a Sunday afternoon. I think he was happy to get into the water and likewise I was keen to have someone observe me swim – pick apart my stroke and rebuild it.

I won’t go into too much detail about the structure of the session, but it was all very relaxed, very calm with useful pointers throughout. Dave realised I am a simple sole quite quickly so explained everything in layman terms and remained patient when I forgot what I was doing (frequently) or forgot to count (for an accountant I really can’t count whilst swimming)

I started by thundering along in my typical style so he could observe and establish a baseline of my numpty-ness, all didn’t seem so bad – I wasn’t as bad as he was expecting (I took that as a compliment) and we started to tweak things – introduced some sets of 50’s, 100’s and 200 metres blocks with the aiming of lengthening my stroke and reducing the inefficient nature of my swimming style.

I will happily admit I struggled to start with – the problem being that with so much to think about at once I often concentrated on the length of the stroke and not the pull under the water or vice versa.

From start to finish I went down for 28/30 strokes per length to 19/20/21 strokes with a best of 16 (with a massive kick from the wall) the stroke felt a little alien to me, but not so much that I don’t think it’s workable into training going forward. The pluses to all of this is that I didn’t lose too much speed overall in sets of 200metres from my old stroke to my new stroke despite the last timed block being at the end of the session and I was feeling the fact that I had only swam once since September.

So when this is bedded in, which I know will only happen by getting wet at least once a week, I think I should be equal to my old timings if not better, with the benefit of being able to go longer at that pace and get out feeling good and not knackered.

I have never been coached before – at any of the disciplines – at any point so I have no frame of reference to compare Dave with.

However his style fitted perfectly with me – which might be luck – or it might be the fact that he is a good coach. I can’t recommend his services enough, I really can’t – he has even written me a training plan with useful tips on it to keep me in check and offered to rearrange another session for me in a couple of months to check on progress.

One of the nice things, aside from a few recent muppets on twitter, triathlon and triathletes in general are generally a nice bunch of people – people you could imagine going for a pint with (not that we are allowed to drink alcohol) and always happy to offer some advice and tips and hints. As a sport it’s pretty exclusive due to the expensive nature but generally everyone is a joy to be around.

Aside from a mass swim start – then I hate you all and I would quite happily swim over your face if it meant I got to go quicker. 

If anyone needs any help with swimming look up Dave Akers on twitter (@bigdaveakers) or get in touch via his website www.coach-dave.co.uk .

Actually don’t – I want to beat you all in the swim…..