Saturday, 9 March 2013

It's only going to get worse

  It's been a tiring and successful few days for training. Since Tuesday I have had night shifts so was back to the same woes of cramming training in when I can. However I have began to make my own training plan around my dodgy hours which is a massive feat. The only negative is that I am ALWAYS tired as I am cutting back my hours of sleep in order to get an extra 2 hours of training out of every day. In order to be able to train whilst doing nights I have made a suitable solution. So after getting back from work at 7.30/8am I then go straight to bed until 1.30pm. Normally I would wake up around 3pm and then have 3 hours before heading off to work again. However, this extra 1 and a half hours enabled me on Wednesday to do a spinning session at the gym before eating and going to work. I stepped this up on Thursday were I did a brick session involving 45 minutes on the turbo then immediately after a 45 minute run. This type of session is great for getting used to the jelly legs that occurs once getting off the bike. Although I have never felt this too severely on my shorter distance triathlons it will be a major factor after 55 or 110 miles of cycling. My session on the turbo trainer consisted of 'pyramids'. This starts with a 10minute warm-up followed by a one minute at top intensity, then one minute at normal intensity. I repeated this again with two minutes at top intensity then normal intensity at two minutes. I carried these repetitions on for four minutes and finished with a 10minute spin before getting my running shoes on. On Friday night I went spinning, had a quick dinner at home and got back in the car to meet Chiltern Tri for a swim session.
  My life has become completely obsessed with training. The Ironman is my one and only focus at the moment and I am consumed with it. When I am not training I am either thinking about it, writing about it, working or sleeping. However, I am not as bad as some. When asked today about whether I have a training plan I am sticking to I had to reply not really. I believe this is good for me as there are so many stories about people being dominated by one that they can no longer be flexible. I am becoming absorbed with my training and feel guilty if I miss a session but I have other commitments and work my own training schedule around them so don't want to start obsessed with someone else's idea of a 'perfect' training plan. (I also think I am doing well on my lone ranger sessions as I unlike some people I do push myself to my max). As well as that due to my hours I cannot stick to the majority of plans that are free online as they all relate to the stereotypical 9-5 worker.  
   Anyway, I can for once say I am enjoying training and am beginning to feel the benefits. When running on Thursday I felt strong and took a lot quicker to get into a rhythm. I am finally enjoying running! 
  However there are of course times, like any athlete (even elites), when I just want to stay on the sofa. Someone at work asked me, when they couldn't gain the motivation to do a cardio workout, whether I ever felt like not training (they thought because I enjoy training it came easy). The hardest bit of any training is starting. Getting yourself out the door takes the most motivation and doing just that was tough on Friday night. As I was getting ready to leave I heard people outside heading to the pub. On top of that I have to leave Dan alone on a Friday night when just 2 months ago we would be having a drink together or with others. My response to his sad face was "It's only going to get worse" to which he sadly agreed. I feel bad leaving but know he is supportive of me. I can safely agree that triathlon (particularly an Ironman) and a social life do not go together and I am lucky that I have such a supportive network behind me, especially in Dan.

  Another issue I am struggling with at the moment is nutrition. When I started this blog I said I would be writing about my food intake. However, that intake is lacking. After the half marathon on Sunday I decided I shall be sticking to gels throughout my Ironman as they don't upset my stomach like they can some people and everything else I've tried is too chewy. I did try some jelly cubes from a sports nutrition brand called 'Cliff' but found them too difficult to eat without doing exercise let alone on a bike (as well as that I hate jelly). I found fig rolls too much effort to chew and swallow when cycling and other sports nutrition bars are too dry for me. What I am struggling with, especially over the last 2 weeks on nights is when and what to eat. I get hungry after waking up after a night shift so eat something that will help my training session before work as well as not be too filling, normally a bagel or some crumpets. However, I am aware that this is probably not enough. I then find I am not hungry to eat at 5 before work as well as being too early for Dan to eat dinner. So I cook something and take it with me to eat later. At about 3am, three-quarters of the way into my shift I am starving so have recently grabbed a coffee and a chocolate bar to see me through, not ideal. First off I know that I am not fueling my body enough in preparation for my tough training sessions and am struggling to find enough time to make and eat proper protein and carbohydrate enriched meals and snacks. However this will hopefully be something I will learn and adapt on with time.

  Back to training. On Friday, I got back from swimming around 10.30pm but wasn't particularly tired, neither was Dan so I had some 'me' time and played the Sims on the computer until midnight. (Everyone who knows me will know I have had an obsession with this kiddy game since I was young but hadn't played it for years). By midnight I was shattered, so set my alarm for 8am ready for my run session with Chiltern Tri.
The state of my new trainers after short hills - they had a proper christening!
  I woke up to my alarm this morning (Saturday) after the worst nights sleep in a long time. I wished I could've laid in bed but I couldn't sleep anyway so was quite glad it was time to get up. Dan however heard my alarm and immediately said "yeah right, there is no way I'm getting up to that". Good job the alarm was only for me! I had my porridge and went off running. We did 'short hills' today. This consisted of three hills in Chesham Woods which grouped together are 2kilometres. Each runner chooses to run in whatever order and whatever intensity they want. I did four laps of the three hills equaling 8k. I would write what time I did it here but my Garmin watch died after one lap. I can estimate at about 40 minutes which I would've been happy with considering the horribly muddy conditions and intense hills. After that I had a well needed shower and headed off for coffee in Chesham with the members. I said to Gill it was great as when I run alone I just do endurance and run constantly for as long as possible. Therefore this type of training is great for my VO2 max (the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during exercise).

  Once I was back home I was all geared up for hilly bike ride to Dan's parents. We were invited to spend the evening there with an Indian takeaway and some drinks. I had already decided what I was going to order during my run (I had to think about something!). I have become a woos with spice recently and am not keen on rice unless I make it in my own special way. I decided to have two starters, Chicken Tikka and Prawn Puri as I could estimate the calorie intake.  (I was nearly persuaded to have a calorific and fatty Korma when greeted with the menu). I had decided to go on a bike ride after talking to Gill about training. I had been working out the times that I would complete the half Ironman and come to the conclusion that I won't get my swim down by any dramatic time as I am already at a good pace as I am originally a swimmer. I will never get my half marathon below two hours during the event as I am not a natural runner and that is my peak. Therefore the bike leg is mine (and many others) make it or break it discipline and although I go spinning and go on the turbo trainer, nothing can beat actually go on a ride. (I am now aiming for a sub 7-hour half-Ironman and sub 13-hour Ironman next year). However, my grand ideas of a bike ride were dashed when I tried to change the tyre (alone) and the inner tube valve was broken. Dan's response was "that's what you get for buying cheap inner tubes". So the bike ride hopes were over and I now had another expense. I have no luck on two wheels!

  Anyway, I'm starting to feel a little tipsy from the small amount of red wine I have had so shall stop writing before this post is unreadable. I may have missed my Friday night but shall enjoy tonight! This is the last free weekend I have left until June as after this weekend I am either working or have an event.

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