Cold weather and complicated training.

The weekend has come around quickly again, and the days are getting darker… soon the clocks will go back and winter will be arriving, so time to put away short sleeve tops and summer shorts and get out the waterproof jackets and fleeced tights.

This week has been a bit muted, and training has been basic although I have managed to increase enough to feel it in my muscles. I have endeavored to get the run done every day, plus a couple of short bikes, some gym work and one 40-minute swim. My cold along with travel has been the main limiting factor as haven’t felt 100%, but slowly getting back to normal. I have a long flight Sunday so means my training will be cut short, but from next week hopefully can get down and dirty to really kick off.

One thing I have noticed is that without any real effort my runs have all been at around 30 seconds faster pace than I normally would manage. I haven’t done any run longer than an hour with a weekly total around 45km a week since Gurye, so that has kept me reasonably fresh which is probably the reason for the extra speed, but I do like the feeling of flying along. If I am going to qualify for the 70.3 finals in 2018, I will have to be running a half marathon around 4:50- 5:00 minute pace, so its important to be running fast as well as long.

I have had some great conversations with various potential coaches and support this week, and things are shaping up nicely. I see two main problems right now. First is my habit to back off as soon as things get a little complicated. The second is cold weather and dark days.

I have been given a trial schedule with each training session broken down in to multiple parts, requiring change of pace/focus during the session, which is normal for high level triathlon training, but differs from my normal one or two pace approach.  For example, as a general rule each week I will try to get one 30 minute “race-pace“ run on the tread mill and/or one hour of intervals at the track with my run club, but all my other runs will either be LSD (long slow distance), recovery of around 3-5k or the meat and veg 5-10k reasonably paced runs. The plans I have been given are somewhat more complicated and require all sorts of planning and control each and every session. Same goes for my swimming, generally I will try to have one lesson a week, the other swims will just be knocking out the lengths, but the plans call for all sorts of intervals and changes up and down during a session. I find this very intimidating and I start making excuses not to do it. It’s essential I decide how I best approach this problem as I know my training needs to vary focus and intensity but it could derail me totally if I get put off enough I don’t even go out to do anything.

The other problem is the time of year. I am determined to get my training done whatever the gods throw at me, but the more I think about it I realise the problems that training for a Feb race entails. Firstly,  the short days, its damn dark both morning and evening, which immediately makes training that much harder due to problems of both seeing where I am going and being seen by other traffic, especially on the bike. Plus the lack of daylight means that everyone will try to squeeze their daily drive, ride, run, stroll, shop, dog walk, gossip with neighbours etc into shorter time, making the volume of people on the roads and footpaths much more concentrated. The second issue is the weather. Training through the cold can’t be helped so I have been busy buying warm clothing to keep me toasty on the bike. But problems such as pouring rain, snow or my pet hate of ice on the roads, will present obstacles much harder to overcome. I guess that is why there are so many “warm weather training camps” offering early season courses and all the bike teams head to Spain during the winter, this is something I am now seriously considering I may need to do if I am truly hoping to qualify in 2018.

Final point – I am pleased to welcome new readers from Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, UK and the USA recently, it’s nice I am slowly reaching a wider audience, I would be very happy to hear from any of you so please feel free to drop me a line, leave a “like” or sign up to receive updates. I will aim to post to my blog once a week generally, unless there is something important to write about or I just get the urge to put something down. The extra training required, the writing for my book (which I have yet to start), plus the somewhat overlooked need to do some real work, means my time is getting more and more limited, but hope to keep up to date and on track.

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