Sunday, September 16, 2018

Recycle Sunday

Yes, time to fit in a run combined with a trip to the tip. It wasn't a long run, more a leg stretcher but I did pick a loop with a steady climb - which I managed to climb for once. As to the shortness, I think I almost spent as much time at the recycling centre, such was the amount of stuff I was dropping off. Part of the reason for the shortness of run was not wanting to miss a delivery. Although as I type this, I'm still waiting so could have got away with a longer one. Which is a little annoying. I finished off with ten laps of Canary Wharf on Road Grand Tours. The sprint section is a good interval and I managed to reduce my PB a little bit since the last time I road on RGT.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Damp, Very Damp...

So it was the big Bristol Water Sponsored ride for WaterAid - and boy oh boy did we ever some water. Conditions were definitely not what was forecast. It did dry out eventually and we even got a ray of sunshine as we arrived back at head office - after the horse has bolted springs to mind... but to begin with it pretty much rained all the way to Cheddar on the outward leg from Bristol, with a few intermissions. I was soaked to my pants and beyond.

Despite the wetness it was an enjoyable ride, very social, at a leisurely pace, we stayed as group throughout and collectively, togerther with the sponsored walkers, raised upwards of £2600. The ride stats were 82km with 500m ascent. I now have one very very dirty mountain bike to clean...

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Not Feeling Too Bad...

Which is surprising as I was feeling right banjaxed yesterday. My legs aren't sore at all. It's still a rest day today though. I've the work sponsored ride tomorrow and I want to be fresh for it. On that front, I've managed to get the rear derailleur to shift to the smallest gear on the mountain bike. So it's only the largest one that won't shift but I'm not worried about that. Even the weather seems to be holding if not even improving a little from forecast earlier in the week so fingers crossed... 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I'm In Bits...

After today's training. It was good but hard.

I started the day by heading out to the mountains. Bit of a hiccup with the planned route. As I arrived at the Tal y Bont reservoir there was a load of machinery and hubub going on so I aborted the plan and headed on past to the upper Blaen-y-glyn car park. That meant a longer run than planned.

I headed east to the Neuadd reservoir and up to the ridge. Then along the ridge to Corn Du and Pen y Fan before dropping down, taking the route skirting Cribyn and up to the col east of the ex-mountain Fan y Big before following the Beacons Way back to the car park. 16.5km and 750m ascent. By far my longest and hardest run this year and I have to admit I was a little knackered but it didn't end there...

When I got home I had no choice but to hit Zwift for stage 4 of the Tour of Innsbruck. The stages are only available for a single day. I've set myself the goal of completing all five stages and I'm not going to allow myself to fail.

The ride was hard. It was the reverse Lutscher course, 22km and 800m ascent, the climb an average 8% gradient. I took it easy, my average power was 50W down on recent rides but despite that I still got a bit of the shakes towards the end. Completed it though, so job done. Bloody knackered now and just had a bit of cramp in my left calf muscle - ouch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Innsbruck, Stage 3 Complete

I was a bit in between this evening. The bigger race fields are fun and with 500+ riding I was riding in the pack for most of the race. Three laps of the Innsbruckring for 27km total. I ended up pulling on the front a few times, burning my legs out, neither managing to break away nor the pack taking their share. Hence, I purposefully eased back to sit mid pack, cruising at lower power. If I can't break free then I sure as heck ain't riding at the front for kilometre after kilometre. Anyway, I managed a sprint PB on the second lap and still managed a decent average power despite taking it easy in the pack a few times.

All set for another mountain run tomorrow. I'm planning a loop of Tal y Bont; up Craig y Fan, around to Allt Lwyd, down into the valley and back up the other side through the woods to Tor y Foel and back down to the reservoir. Should be about 13km and a slightly worrying 1000m of ascent. The forecast has improved and hopefully by the time I get there the rain will have moved south.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rest Day

Just a quick 30 minute 20k on the the ol' Zwift. Nice and easy does it.

On another issue, I'm riding in the Bristol Water SRS (Southern Resilience Scheme) sponsored walk/ride this coming Friday. For the riders, it's a fifty mile ride out of our head office in Bedminster Down to Cheddar and back again, loosely following our recently laid Southern Resilience Main.

To make it interesting, I'll be riding my knackered, battered mountain bike. The rear cassette won't shift into the largest sprocket nor the smallest no matter how I adjust it and it weighs half a tonne - got to up the challenge factor.... but mainly it's because there's no way on gods earth I'm unhooking my road bike from my smart trainer now I've got it set up perfectly for Zwifting!

If you do feel like sponsoring me, here's the link to the funding page, and if you do please mention me in the message field so they know who you're sponsoring... (thank you)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Back To Training...

...with a Zwift four lap classique this morning, 27km/100m. I've still a little soreness in my quads but they're as near as dammit mended so I went at it pretty hard and it was good racing. I was in a small group of four then three for most of the race. We reeled in multiple riders through the race, riders who'd gone off too hard before hitting the final kilometre. I was caught sleeping as I was undecided as to whether to try and break from there or wait till the sprint. In the end I stayed with one of the two I was riding with before out sprinting him but the other was away and gone.. Each race is different but I was over two minutes quicker than the last time I rode this race. Pleased with that.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

I Can Think Of More Pleasant Ways... spend a Saturday afternoon than sitting in the wind and rain at the top of a mountain for an hour and a half. It's a nasty job but someone's gotta do it or the race (Four Fans) don't go ahead! On the up side I think I'm on for a PB for the number of times I've marshalled at races in a year. Next year I am stepping up and actually running some... and I did at least walk 5km/300m ascent up from the forest car park and back, oh and my legs are still sore. Back on the training tomorrow...

Friday, September 07, 2018

It's That Four Fans Time Of Year

And tomorrow, once again, I shall be atop Fan Llia to marshal check point three - although I'm thinking I might need to leave extra time to get up there as my quads are f*(%ed. I can barely walk! Definitely no training today. Be fine by tomorrow though, I'm sure.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Recovery Tour of Innsbruck, Stage 2

So my quads are destroyed after yesterday's pootle in the mountains. Then I realised I had to ride stage 2 of the Zwift Tour of Innsbruck. The stage is only available today so I had no choice. Okay, I thought, I can potter around at the back of the field. It started off that way, at least, as I happily rode in the last quarter of the field.

Then a second realisation hit - we were on the UCI Worlds Short Course, which has a 7km, cat 3 climb (total race distance 24km, 500m ascent). Oddly I found it hard to take it easy on the climb and ended up going harder than I'd intended. From there the red mist of competition set in.

I got in with a decent group of about ten riders and every time I got dropped I put the power down to catch back up - probably not the best thing for my poor, sore quads. And then in the final 2km I threw the hammer down, broke away from the pack and took the 'pack' win.

The level of effort in the second half is borne out by all the strava PBs. Definitely not ideal recovery and I shall be highly surprised if my legs feel any better tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Getting Reacquainted With Pen y Fan and Cribyn

It's been a while. Can't actually remember the last time I hit the summit of Pen y Fan or Cribyn and totally forgot how long the Pen y Fan ridge up from Cwmgwdi is. Took me bloody ages to make the ascent - or perhaps I'm just god damn slow!

I was feeling it in the legs from the last two nights of  bike training but pushed as hard as I could. There wasn't a huge amount of running on the way up but I 'ran' whenever it got flat enough. The descent was more fun once down off the steep bit of Cribyn. I wasn't quite sure the best way to get from the end of the Cribyn ridge back to Cwmgwdi but the route I chose was pretty good. There was a short, slightly off piste section up from the river crossing to link up to the sheep trod that headed around Allt Ddu but other than that it was alright.

Might be a rest day tomorrow as my left calf muscle is slightly tight and sore now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Not Quite The Recovery It Was Meant To Be...

So I'm intending to head to the mountains tomorrow. Probably the central beacons but we'll see. Anyway, after a good workout yesterday I was intending to take it easy tonight. It was the first stage of the Zwift Tour of Innsbruck but it's not meant to be a race just an incentive to complete the five stages. I thought I could control myself - I thought wrong...

It was the biggest field I've ridden in Zwift, 670+ starters and I was sitting at around 330 at the start of the climb first time around (the Lutscher course takes in the climb twice). I wasn't trying particularly hard - honest, but I was overtaking people. Nice steady top 300 finish I thought....

Okay, 275. I won't be working that hard, that'll be alright. Or maybe 250... and I just kept pushing out the goalpost. It wasn't long before I was thinking, top 200 and that's it and to be fair it was pretty hard work to get there but in the end I finished 187 in the "it's not a race" that was stage 1 of the Tour of Innsbruck.

In all it was 25km and 820m of climb in an hour and six minutes - so a  course PB by seven minutes (9% improvement) - nice easy recovery then... and as proof of how easy I was taking it, I even managed to set a PB on the climb segment - second time around!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Killer Hill Attacks

Just the thing after a day sat in front of the computer.  It really was a bit killer and despite the main section consisting of just ten, 1 minute intervals, never have those ten intervals taken so long... I was anxiously counting the intervals down from about the third one, such was the burn, my heart rate thumping.

To the technicals, the session included ten minutes of warmup. Then there were three, 1 minute intervals at 80% FTP and 110rpm followed by the main event... Ten, 1 minute intervals at 140% FTP and 90rpm with a 2 minute recovery at 80rpm. Easy it was not and I wasn't quite able to sustain the 90rpm throughout - but thankfully I didn't enter the ERG mode death spiral*, managing to keep above 80rpm.

* the ERG mode death spiral is the moment where you can't maintain the cadence at the set power so as your cadence drops the resistance increases to maintain the set power, so you slow more, leading to more resistance and so on, until you quite literally grind to a halt - I've only hit the death spiral once so far...

Sunday, September 02, 2018

That Was Hard Work

After some partying yesterday, I was feeling surprisingly okay but not quite 100% so I decided on a virtual little race anyway. A 36km three lapper and it was a proper race. I was in a group of seven on the first lap. That dropped to four on the second, three riders having got away off the front. By the final lap it was down to just three of us and sadly it was me who got dropped on the final descent. I just wasn't able to put down enough power to keep up as the other two in the group rode away from me. Still, it was a proper good work out. Average power was down a little but then you can't set an increase every day. I worked hard so it's all good.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Up Again...

Another FTP increase. It's now up to 209 from 204. That's an improvement of 21 watts or 11% since the start of the Academy three and a half weeks ago. Happy with that but it was hard fought tonight in the Academy TT race. It was my first TT, albeit a virtual one, and I wasn't quite sure how to play it. In the end it turns out you just pedal as hard as you can and try not to blow up.

My legs were burning from a few minutes in and I didn't have anything left for a sprint at the finish so I think I got it about right. Pretty sure if I'd gone off any harder at the start I'd have crashed and burnt.

The trial was 16km on a flatish course with a few 'hill' blips which hit the speed as can be seen from the analysis graph below. I'm pleased how stable the purple power chart is and even shows a very gentle, almost imperceptible upwards slope - honest guv, if you analyse the raw data it does, really, it does...

Anyway, another good training session completed and you know what? At this work rate, by this time next year, I'll almost be fit again - yes, I've fallen such a long way so it's any equally long climb back...

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Tasty Bit Of Virtual Cheddar...

So I wanted something a little shorter tonight after a cracking race effort last night. To that end, I decided it was time to take on the Gorge, Cheddar Gorge. Only 16km with 330m of climb - doddle.

The ride started with a loop of the virtual Cheddar reservoir before hitting the roads. It wasn't long before I was into the main climb. Short and sharp. It was soon behind me. Then came the longer, gently upward grind to the finish at the virtual main road just past the virtual village of Charterhouse, top of the Mendips(ish). 35 minutes, 210 power average, happy with that. Nice recovery session.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pretty Much PBs Across The Board Tonight...

and it all started by almost taking another rest day. You see, I was planning on doing a Zwift Academy TT race, the one I had put in my calendar - except when I looked to check the start time there was not a single TT event in the schedule! Not sure what happened there as I'm pretty sure there were a couple scheduled when I planned my week. Doh!!

At that point I told myself it was fate telling me to take another rest day and get fully fighting fresh - it was at that exact moment that I slapped myself about the face several times and told myself to get a grip before subsequently rifling through the ride schedules for something else. I found a climb race on the Innsbruck UCI Short Course lap and decided to go for it (24km lap, KOM segment 450m, 7.4km climb).

It was not a big field. Just seven or eight in my age category so it was more of a time trial than a nip and tuck race. That suited me tonight, if I'm honest. After a little bit of nip and tuck in the first few kilometres, it was into the climb and the field was totally strung out. Again, that suited me. I kept in the big ring all the way tonight, in determined mood and ground that hill. I soon realised I was putting down more power than normal and the sight of a distant rider to chase spurred me on wards and upwards.

I passed three riders on the climb before cresting the KOM segment in a PB time of 26:27, having knocked just over three minutes off my previous best. I kept hitting it hard. Legs burning - even on the descent. I was not going to be caught.

In the end I finished with lots of Strava PBs over the entire route and for bonus points, increased my FTP from 195 to 204. (That's 188 to 204 since the start of the Academy). With every passing week, I'm feeling fitter and fitter...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Worn Down...

Struggled to rise from slumber yesterday. Decided on a recovery/rest day instead and today ended up being a full rest day. I set the alarm for an early run before work but it couldn't raise me. Ergo another rest day. Hoping to feel more energised tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Half Marathon Cold Storming...

So the rain did as promised and chucked it down. Trooping in the rain is not conducive to staying warm. Waterproof it is not but I stuck it out as long as I could and I wasn't exactly being rushed off my feet for photos this year. I guess most people pretty much headed away to get warm and dry once they finished their race. I cheered those still finishing as I trudged my way back to the car. And finally, congratulations to all those half marathoners and 10k'ers who made the distance at today's Severn Bridge race.

So anyway, I wasn't sure I was going to train today as I've been feeling tired but after having got chilled to the bone I couldn't get warm. The hot shower didn't do it and there was no way I was turning on the heating in August! So what to do? Why, my final Academy race, of course. Today's offering was the climb. I was intending to try the TT but I guess I can do that later, even though I've already complete the required two.

The circuit was two 6%/7.4km climbs and 24k total. It was not easy going but it did the trick. I'm finally feeling warm again. Pace-wise I got it about right, I was even on the climbs (30:15 and 30:30, which I think is pretty decent consistency) and I enjoyed reeling in five or six riders on the final one before holding off a sprint attack - which almost made me sick - not recommended when in the gym...

Off to the mountains tomorrow if all goes to plan....

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Oncoming Storm

Yep, it looks like it's getting Stormy tomorrow... But for today, after a rest day yesterday, I completed Academy workout number 10, the last one. Just one more ride and a race to do in order to graduate.

It was a pretty tough one. Maybe not quite the toughest but certainly up there. A pyramid session of five minute efforts at 115% FTP and 90% FTP of the form 1min/4min, 2min/3min, 3min/2min, 4min/1min, 3min/2min, 2min/3min and 1min/4min with a 3 minute recovery. It's another rest day tomorrow as the Storm arrives...

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bit Of A Time Trial

I decided to test myself out on the Brierley loop that I ran a few times back in May and June. It all felt better without the need to stop - apart from when the heart rate was hitting the red zone. Felt like I was more running than plodding today. What was telling though, was the heart rate. It was right up at the top end and I think that's telling me something.... REST. I've completed 20 various runs and training sessions during the last 15 days and I think it's just about caught up with me. My resting heart rate is also a little elevated. Oh, and before I forget, I was two minutes quicker on the run which I'm pleased with on the 7.6km loop. 15s per kilometre isn't to be sniffed at...

Anyway, I was intending to follow up the run with a ride but I'm not now. Going to have a couple of rest days tomorrow and Sunday - which fits well with things in the diary. Likely finish the Academy Saturday, workout ten and then perhaps a potter in the hills on Monday - which will be a potter and not a hard effort. That should be enough rest.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Number Nine

Tonight's Zwift Academy workout number nine was decent hard work. My memory fades of the previous ones but I'm pretty sure it was bang on up there with the toughest of the sessions. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and what is tough to someone is easier to another. This definitely felt tough to me.

The session consisted of a warm up followed by three similarly structured hard efforts. A short blast followed by a longer solid effort followed straight into an even harder blast and then another longer hard effort, harder than the first longer effort, before finally getting to the recovery section. The longer hard effort gave a good burn into the last 45-60 seconds each time. Yeah, all in all a pretty hard workout.

Definitely beginning to feel fitter...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Not Last and an FTP Increase...

Pleased with that. Oh, and it was another double day starting with a 5k run before work followed by a Zwift race, one of the Academy races, afterwards.

The GPS went a little wonky on this mornings run, measuring 120m less distance than the same run last week. I guess they aren't as accurate as you think... Despite that, I definitely ran the same route as last week but this time a whopping 47s faster - that ain't a bad increase in a week, especially as I'm still cranking out the training without much rest.

This evening I followed up with my first Academy race, one of two required in order to complete the Academy - and get the gold star, lollipop and stickers. A 33km, 5 lapper on the London Classique lap. I'm at the bottom of the power range for category C so I expect to finish towards the rear of the field but that didn't take away from a great race. With a good field in the C class, 100+, it was proper pack riding and racing. Pulling away, getting reeled back in, getting dropped, making the effort to get back on... felt like a proper virtual race [wink].

I was cranking out more power than I've cranked before over the distance and was rewarded with a solid FTP increase from 188 to 195. That's a pretty damn fine increase if I say so myself. I am feeling pretty buoyed. It's chuff inducing to see the training converting to real improvement. 47s quicker on the run this morning and an FTP increase tonight. Does it get any better? - don't answer that. Seriously, don't...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Eight Follows Seven...

My legs, as hoped, are no longer feeling sore so I decided to crack on with Academy workout eight.  An interesting session that started into some short sharp blasts at the front end in order to try and build a burn in the legs before the core of the session; ten, 1 minute 100% FTP intervals with a 1 minute recovery at 75% of FTP. Like a couple of the previous sessions I could probably have nudged the effort level up which is what I think I'll do for the next session - worst case, I end up nudging it back down again mid session...

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Still Sore But The Show Must Go On..

After an enforced rest day yesterday - probably due one anyway, after nine days straight - it was back to the grindstone today. To be fair, my legs are still sore and I thought there was a risk I might fail the session but this was the last day for Academy workout 7 so I let battle commence.

I found the warm up section alright. Didn't really feel the soreness in my legs as I rode but I certainly felt the early burn. What should have been part of the warm up actually felt like it was part of the effort required for the main section - not ideal. The main section was a ten minute interval at 110% of FTP and I didn't think I had any hope of making that grade but you never can tell and it was a really pleasant surprise to make it - and with a strong finish to boot. If anything I was getting stronger as the interval progressed..

My legs don't feel any more sore for the training and I think I'll be soreness free tomorrow. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sore Legs

So I'm really beginning to start feeling like my mojo is returning. If not for all out running, definitely for getting myself back in shape and I'm getting pretty addicted to working out on the bike. At some point I might even be brave enough to go play in the traffic! - but with the poor standard of driving I witness on a daily basis, I'm probably not that brave... Maybe next year, once I've got myself fit as a butchers chicken, I'll enter one of them proper long distance bike racey things wot proper cycle people do...

My weight is still pretty good, 10st 5lb, and to be fair it's not really fluctuated too much over the last few years - I didn't totally let myself go during the mojoless years - but I'm definitely beginning to feel less flabby. My leg muscles are beginning to feel taught once more, even showing a bit of definition. My strength returns. I might not be ready to break records or even age related pb's but I'm definitely feeling like I'm on way there...

As to today's training, my legs are f*(%ed. Really sore after yesterday but I still managed to complete the third of the four required group rides by way of recovery. An hour at relatively low power output but with my painful legs I kept easing off and falling to the back of the group, almost losing the peloton a couple of times.

Waiting to see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Almost Bonked

Well that was a good day. Managed to get my arse out of bed and over to Abergavenny to 'run' over Sugar Loaf, 11.7k with 560m ascent. I won't say it was pretty and I was slow but I was back out there in the hills, my legs burnt and it felt gooooood.

There was no rest for the wicked though and I needed to ride Workout 6 of the Zwift Academy today to keep to the schedule. Now if I'm honest, a hard bike training session after one has run in the hills for the first time in ages, probably isn't the most sensible training plan - but when has that ever stopped me?

So anyway, the hours training session was a solid warm up followed by four 4 minute intervals at 110% FTP with equal recovery. I could feel myself really beginning to bonk on the last couple. I don't think I had much more in me before I would have ground to a halt. Suffice to say I hit the sugar for an instant hit once the session finished to stop me flaking out.

Not sure what is on the cards for tomorrow. It's meant to be another hill run but I think I need to see how I feel tomorrow. I suspect I might be struggling.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Change Of Plan...

So I've decided not to ride the group ride tonight. It's no biggy as I'll still be ahead of schedule on the training academy and I'm feeling a bit jaded... On the upside, I did manage the lunch run and despite absolutely crashing and burning in the final mile, I still managed to come home 20s seconds quicker than last time.

I should probably take a rest day tomorrow but I'm planning a trip to Sugar Loaf to start my return to the hill proper so going to go do that anyway - unless I feel a bit pants tomorrow morning in which case I'll rethink things. Likely to be a bit of a wet one but it's not like I'll be in the middle of nowhere, it's only Sugar Loaf after all...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

That Was Burst A Blood Vessel Tough

Zwift Academy workout number five was tough. I completed it but by 'eck I was hanging on at the end. After a comfortable warm up phase, building to reps up towards 115% FTP the session started in earnest - god, I hate Ernest. Five, 1 minute reps at 150-170% FTP and despite a six minute recovery between intervals, I was dying in the last 10-15s each time. That difficulty is borne out by a nice new bulge - ooh matron - in my Strava power curve at 40-60s.

It probably wasn't ideal preparation for such a hard session to head out for an early morning 5k before work but when you've the bit between your teeth you gotta go with it. It was a decent run this morning and I'm pleased I'm keeping motivated. My legs feel somewhat broken right now but there's no rest for the wicked, I'm in the office tomorrow and I've scheduled in a lunch run with my colleague. If there's anything left in the tank once I get home, I'm going to try my third academy group ride.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Group Ride Number Two

and there were 307 starters!! More surprising was that half of them didn't shoot off the front in the first five minutes. Pretty much the entire group stayed together for the entire hour. For me, these group rides are perfect recovery rides as the target is 2.2-2.5W/kg. That's 80% FTP which is pretty ideal recovery.

Up tomorrow is workout number five and it looks like a leg burner with some one minute high FTP intervals...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Another Double

Managed to backup up yesterday's bike-run with another one today. Up for the bike was workout 4 of the Zwift Academy and again, I fared better than I thought I would. The anaerobic efforts looked scarier on the plan than in reality but I'm not going to get cocky as workout 5 looks even scarier. The 1 minute 150-160% FTP intervals look tough. After a couple hours recovery I knocked out 5k in a ramped increasing effort. Felt pretty good and it's been a good weekend of training.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Group Ride Recovery and Reps

More at the academy, the hour group ride recovery. That's one of the four mandatory group rides complete - and it wasn't a walk in the park. Not a hard effort but equally not a pootle. Power average 160W. Good recovery.

In the afternoon I hit the treadmill for some 500m 14kph intervals. They felt pretty solid. Probably should have had the mental strength to have completed a couple more reps but alas, I am weak.

Friday, August 10, 2018

That's Three

Zwift Academy workout three complete and it wasn't as difficult as I was expecting. The main core of the session was 12x10s, 6x15s and 3x30s at 160%, 150% and 130% of FTP respectively. For me I wasn't suffering enough at the end of each set. Sure, my legs burnt but the last couple should have really hurt and they didn't. The first two workouts really made me suffer so perhaps for such short blasts I need to up the workout factor. Zwift workouts allow a +/-10% adjustment so perhaps I'll try 105% the next time...

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Academy Workout Number Two

So that's two down, eight to go.. plus four group rides and two races... so many more kilometres to travel before I graduate the academy.

It was a mixedly hard session tonight. Five reps of 5 minute at 85% FTP with equal duration recovery - the easy bit. That was followed by six reps of 1 minute @ 135% FTP with equal duration recovery at 70% FTP - the hard bit. I felt like I wasn't really getting recovered during the final six but as I hit the start, I just about managed to pick things up in time to complete the rep without suffering too badly. The last 15s of each rep was a burn. Didn't feel quite as hard as the first workout but that was probably because I was more recovered. Hopefully I'll be okay for more training tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Legs Knackered

It's had to be the second rest day of the week. I really ripped up my legs on yesterday's run and bike. Workout #2 of the Zwift Academy tomorrow. Pretty sure my legs won't be feeling fresh but I's gots to do it guvnor...

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Difficult Double

My legs were not feeling great (even worse now) but I was in the office and when in the office with ones colleague what runs a bit, one is duty bound to go for the lunch run. Probably not the ideal move as I needed to complete session one of ten of the Zwift Academy training schedule - a 70min intervally/thresholdy/ftpy session - but it would have been rude not to.

So, the run wasn't too bad. Quite a surprise really because my legs felt heavy, the pace seemed slow and I collapsed on the gently uphill, final kilometre but I was a whole 10s quicker than last time out.

Tonight I was home latish but with time running out to complete the first session of the schedule I hit the turbo. The session involved a few short above ftp intervals followed by some longer ones, all with decent recovery before finishing with 4 short, sharp ones off short recovery. It was hard and I was hanging on in the last few but I completed the session. One down nine to go...

Monday, August 06, 2018

So It Turned Into A Rest Day...

My quads are shot and I'm feeling pretty weary. It has been a good few days of really good training but you've got to know when to take a rest. That rest came today which was unfortunate as I had planned a pootle around Sugar Loaf but I didn't think sticking to the plan was sensible so I will save it for another day. Added to that it's the first day of the Zwift Academy training schedule which I've signed up to do to provide continued motivation. Each session stays on the schedule for two or three days so taking the rest day today allows me to complete the first session tomorrow. Session two will be Wednesday through Friday.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

It's Working...

So I've been cranking out plenty of sessions on the turbo but very little running. The bike work feels like it's strengthening my legs but I haven't had much analytical data to back up the theory - until today, as I went for a run. It wasn't a long run. I just wanted to run a route I've run a few times to see where I'm at.

I ran the Longhope short loop, 5.5km with 160m ascent. It felt quicker and I felt a little stronger - the climb still defeated me but overall I felt like I was going better than of late. So it was fingers crossed as I uploaded the data - I was going to be mighty disappointed if I was slower than last time....

Two minutes quicker than the other times I've run the route during the last two years. Result. From this very limited, statistically meaningless data, I feel happy that the bike work is providing good training. So happy in fact, that I hopped into the saddle for a hilly training race, 48k, 900m ascent and subsequently totally ran out of steam but ground it out till the end, exhausted and shaking...

All my training data tells me I'm due a rest day but I've a day off tomorrow and was planning something, so we'll see...

Saturday, August 04, 2018

A Short One....

The virtual UCI Worlds Course Short Lap, that is. 24km, 500m. Again, another ride at the top end of my average power. Each session sees my average power creep a little higher and I'm feeling fitter.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Hour In Innsbruck

There's a new route in town, Innsbruck, and it's a replica of parts the upcoming UCI Road World Champs route. Apparently it's been fairly accurately mapped but I wouldn't know one way or the other. It's good to have another set of routes to add to the mix.

Took part in a four lap race on the flatter section of the route after work. The lap had a short, sharp climb followed by a short sprint towards the end. Despite a decently powerful ride, not totally all out but working hard enough, I was thoroughly whooped by the rest of the field. I wasn't last though! Riding pretty even splits, I managed to catch and pass a struggling rider on the last lap. He'd obviously gone off too fast. Having that rabbit to chase meant I worked a little harder, resulting in my fastest lap of the four. It was another decent hour in the saddle.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Job Done...

Well that's the full set collected. All seven stages of the virtual Tour de Oz complete and it was another pretty good session. I wasn't feeling strong - and I'm definitely having a rest day tomorrow. The field was down to just 15th of us so it was certain to be a solo ride. I guess most people interested in doing the full set had already completed, this being the last day.

Stage three was just shy of 30km and 250m ascent. My average power was within a couple of watts of yesterdays shorter ride so I'm happy with that. I surprised myself by pushing harder than I thought I'd be able to, not having the competition. All in all, another pleasing training session.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Entry Confirmed - Gulp

So that's it. The deal is done. The entry is confirmed (for the OMM). I've heard there are some lovely views to be had in the Black Mountains at the end of October - mainly mist, fog and rain....

So tonight, to keep my dream of completing the Tour de Oz alive, I needed to complete one of the two missed stages. With my legs feeling tired I decided on the shorter of the two missing stages, stage two at just 22km and 200m ascent. To be fair it doesn't really mean much but I've set myself the target and it'll be nice to meet the goal.

I wasn't feeling it at the start and set off pretty pedestrian. After a bit I started to edge the pace up a little. Then after a couple of kilometres in I found myself leading a pair of riders who just sat on me for about 2km without taking any of the work at the front (and yes, drafting, even in the virtual world, is simulated). That irked me a little. I know it's only a virtual little world but even so I wasn't having it. I put the hammer down and kept it down until they were but specks in my rear view mirror [don't actually have a rear view mirror but I never saw them again].

After that I caught up to a sporting Brit and we pretty much shared the work all the way to the end. We each tried to make a few break aways but neither of us managed to get fully clear before being reeled back in and so it came down to the sprint finish..... Which I took by no more than a metre or two. Bloody enjoyable and what I thought was going to be just going through the motions became a proper hard work out.

I'm thinking I may pay for the effort tomorrow but nothing is going to stop me completing the 30km of stage three to complete the tour...

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Furthest One To Date

Well that was a bit killer and I'm definitely heading towards empty - which is not good news as I have the final two make up stages of the Tour de Oz to complete on Monday and Tuesday.

I really drained the tank today. Probably set off a bit hard, caught up trying to keep up with the other riders around me. That was a bit of a mistake. On the plus I got a pb on the Box Hill climb and the London lap but from there each subsequent lap (4 laps in total) and climb was slower than the one before. I was really treading water on the final lap. Suffice to say my power average was well down but it was my longest ride to date at just under 70km and 840m climb, 2hr31.

I almost lost it in the final 9km section after completing the 4 laps. The route seemed to be heading back towards the Box Hill climb again. I turned the air blue with expletives, a very very dark blue. I was pretty livid, scratch that, I was full on livid, as I thought it was making me go up the climb again... Thankfully it turned before the start of the climb and headed back to the classique finish.

I am feeling so very knackered right now...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

What Have I Done?.....

.... I've only gone and got myself roped into entering the OMM in October. With the commitment made, I'm actually feeling quite scared at the thought of spending two days in the middle of the Black Mountains based on my current state. But to be fair to my race partner, it didn't take much roping. The idea of such a hard challenge, relatively so close, should be just the shot in the arm I need to knuckle down. Three months to get myself mountain race fit...

As to today, I took to the bike for a virtual Zwift race and put in a pretty hard effort. On a flat 27km multi-lapper, I hit a good (for me) power average of 185W. Got some good jelly leg on the sprints, especially the final one, across the finish line.

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Light Week In The Heat...

So it's been a light week. I'm feeling worn down by this heat and the disturbed sleep patterns it's brought. I'm normally a morning person, up with - or before - the sparrows, but this week has been a struggle. It was a steady turbo this evening. Not a hugely powerful session but acceptable.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

BKilled It...

on BKool this evening. I decided to re-ride the virtual Mordiford 17km loop and race myself. It's surprisingly motivating to try and break away from your ghost - and break away I did. But once you're out ahead the motivation keeps on coming as you push to prevent the gap closing. I pushed at all stages of the route and was rewarded with a decent ride. Three minutes quicker and among the highest power output averages of my rides to date. I think it was actually the highest but I can't be arsed to check - well, maybe later....

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pleased With That...

So I completed the last stage of the Zwift SIS Tour de Oz, stage 7. Taking on the 48k, 900m Three Sisters Zwift course in 1hr46. My longest 'virtual ride' to date and it was pretty hard going. I can definitely feel it in my legs.

So when I say I completed the last stage, I don't mean I've completed all the stages - yet. I missed stages 2 and 3, as I said before - at least I think I said that before, or maybe I didn't. Who knows? Anyway, I missed those two stages but there are 'make up days' available at the end of the month to ride the missed stages. Not sure how that all works but hopefully it will become clear before the day as I would like to complete the set - and get the unique virtual Tour de Oz kit for the virtual me to wear with pride.

Sad geek alert! Only read on if you are a sad geeky bastard like myself...

Had a bit of a hiccup with the Strava import. I started ridding and then switched across to the pre-ride warmup area - all in my virtual little world, of course - but somehow it recorded the last location of my warmup as the first point in the actual ride, meaning the very first point was recorded at something like 8000km/h! That seemed to upset the elevation data, introducing a funny offset. So I tried to manually correct the import file, deleted the activity and then re-imported the data. That fixed the start/offset issue but cocked up the elevation data - I do not think I ascended 3500m! So I had to delete that and re-import the original data which was luckily available from my Zwift profile - phew, I think all you sad bastards still reading, will agree. (You cannot undelete a Strava activity, which is a bit pants). All sorted in the end though, well, apart from the original offset, wrong start point issue - so not really sorted at all then - but the important thing is that all the stats look correct.

See, I said only read on if you're a sad geeky bastard.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Bit Of Brush Work...

As I swept the Waun Fach fell race this afternoon. If I'm honest I was a little worried I might not be able to keep up but in the end it was fine. I was well within myself. It gives me some hope that despite a fall off in run specific training over the last couple of weeks, that I've managed to maintain the simmer and can kick up to a boil during the next couple of months in time for my comeback...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hors Categorie...

Well that was pretty much agony. Stage 6 Tour de Oz complete and in homage to today's Tour de France, the route was the Alpe du Zwift. 1030m of climb in 10km without any respite. Suffice to say I found it hard going. Moving with so little speed meant the distance ticked down soooooo slowly. Total ride time including the warm up was 1hr41 of that 1hr10 was spent just on the climb! Total ride, including the warm up section, was 27k and 1220m climb. Not sure if I enjoyed it or not! but the achievement of having done it makes up for that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bit Of Box Hill

Didn't sleep a wink last night and subsequently been tired all day. After a rest day yesterday it couldn't be another so I mustered for a 15k Zwift loop over Box Hill - it even has the funny 'zebra markings' on the road like the real thing!

Monday, July 16, 2018

More On The Tour...

but I nearly didn't! I felt a bit zonked after getting home from work. Not really sure why but the drive home was oddly tiring and I decided to call it a rest day - but then I remembered if I didn't do today's stage 5 I wouldn't be able to complete the full tour of seven. I've already missed two stages due to calendar malfunctions but they are re-running the stages over two days at the end of the month so I can catch them then. Can't afford to miss any more though so I decided I'd just go through the motions to avoid missing the stage.

Anyway, it's oddly difficult to take it easy when there's a peloton drawing you in.... and so it was that easy turned into one of my most powerful rides. It was really enjoyable tonight as I sat in with several small groups along the way before really putting the power down in the final 6km. I seemed to find myself at the front of the group with no one else taking a turn so I just pumped it up and kept on pumping. I was expecting to have to ease it back but from somewhere I just seemed to be able to maintain it. Normally I cruise at 170-180W but all of a sudden I was 190-200W for that last 6km. Suffice to say I didn't hear from the group again. In all it was 37km in just over the hour.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Top Turbo

So I did the full big loop today and I was 'climbing' almost non-stop for just over half an hour. Two thirds of that out of the saddle. It was really good but equally, really knackered my quads. I'm really not sure my technique is that of a cyclist though. I just can't seem to do the easy gear, high cadence thing. For me its 40rpm grind, grind, grind. Somehow feels like it's good training for hill running though.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

After The Thunder

I put in a turbo session yesterday before the power went off during the thunder and lightning. A quick blast with a couple of sprints that included a pb.

Today I put in an interval session on the treadmill and a hilly 30 minutes on the turbo. Just can't face getting up early enough to go for a run when its cool outside - I'm up early all week so by the weekend I'm really in need of my beauty sleep... Going to try tomorrow... 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Finally Back To It

Yes, after doing myself in on Monday I finally felt up to getting back to training and it was a pretty solid effort on the turbo. It wasn't my most powerful but it was pretty good never the less and I'm more than glad to be back at it. Even the weather seems to be improving...

And as an added bonus, I finally got to the bottom of my 'dubious' heart monitor readings. I gave the metal connectors (where the device connects to the strap) a good clean and then, after letting dry thoroughly, gave the connectors a good shot of the old faithful WD40 - other types of 'what-ever-the-heck-WD40-does' are available. That seemed to have two results. Firstly the readings overall seemed a little lower and more importantly, seem more stable and spiking less pronounced.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Almost Feeling Recovered...

after this mornings run. It totally wiped me out - and I mean totally. I had to lie down on the sofa and listen to the Tour de France team time trial as it was more than I could cope with to sit up and watch the screen. Definitely evidence that I've still a long journey ahead of me - just maybe not across the Malverns on a scorcher...

Just One Word, Why?

Why did I just do that? I feel wiped out - and I didn't even quite manage the planned 16k! I made it as far as the 'blip' after Pinnacle Hill in the Malvern Hills and with my feet starting to overheat and blister, my will to live fading, I cut my loses and headed back.

In all I covered 13.4k with 2,500 of ascent so it wasn't terrible. It was bloody hot though. Have I ever mentioned I struggle in the heat? Suffice to say there is no Tour De Oz stage 2 today - luckily I can catch up tomorrow.

Right, I'm off to look at options for emigrating to northern Canada....

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Tour De Oz, Stage 1

It was a really enjoyable session on Zwift. With 80+ riders competing I found myself riding in several small groups through the ride. That really added to the interest. Taking the lead then following, then back in the lead, then following made it feel somehow more proper. To spice things up - in a saddo virtual way - on one of the climbs, I tried to  bring a small group 'across the gap' to the group ahead. I was working like a mountain goat and got the group close but ultimately failed... Still, it was a good training effort.

Going to head to the Malverns tomorrow, for a melt in the sun. Aiming to out and back from Hollybush to Upper Wyche and back again. At about 16k and 2,500ft ascent, it'll definitely be a run-walk affair but I need to start putting in longer stuff even if I'm not proper running. I'm totally making it up as I go but I still just can't face trying to really push it in this heat.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Change Of Plans

This heat is doing for my training plans so I decided on a change of tack. If I can't cope with the heat to run - and I can't, total pussy me - then I'll go for a longer, hillier walk instead. I did mingle in a little jog here and there but mainly it was a paced walk. It wasn't a route march but definitely more than just a stroll. I put in some effort...

I managed about 10miles and 2000ft of ascent in 2hr15. Can't imagine the heat those brave fools faced on Fan y Big earlier today. I'm still feeling overheated and I had a fair amount of shade.

Probably try a bit more of the same tomorrow as my legs do actually feel like they've been worked. Also want to factor in a ride as I want to Zwift the 7 stage Tour de Oz event which starts tomorrow.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Beginning To Get On My Nerves Now...

This god damn weather is killing me. Really starting to impact training. I just couldn't contemplate a run today. Even just mooching around in the garden and I was dripping. It's utter madness. Madness I tells yer!

I did however put in a pretty useful turbo session. I did a 9k warm up and then a 27k race in my little virtual world. A three lapper around the Richmond UCI worlds route 2015. With windows open to max and fan on overdrive I was able to keep the temperature bearable.

As to the race, I totally came last but not without an exciting battle for second to last. Each lap he pissed past me on the flat and then I caught back up and overtook on the climbs at the end - until the final lap, that is, from whence he'd managed to edge just too far ahead. I got back in touching distance but once we hit the final 500m flat, I was done for.

It was a good hard session. My quads were hurting on the climbs. I'm praying for rain...

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Not Up To Full Power

I think I hit it too soon after being sat on my arse all day in the office. I decided it was just too hot to head outside after Monday's episode and hit the mill instead. Somehow my legs didn't want to play ball. I started gently but still my legs were tight. They eased up eventually and it turned into intervals for 4k. After that I finished off with a decent 15k on the turbo.

I'm off work now till Tuesday but if I'm honest it's going to be just too hot for me. I'm going to take it as it comes but there is definitely going to be training....

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Taking A Couple Of Days Rest

So I've been feeling tired and decided my Tuesday day of rest should run through Wednesday. I should be back on it tomorrow...

Monday, July 02, 2018

107% Of Maximum...

I didn't even know the ol' ticker could go so high! 189bpm! The heat did for me. I knew it would but having not run a proper run for four days I had to go and do it anyway... I've never been good in the heat and out of shape as I am, running at the hottest part of the day was never likely to reverse that.

So I'd been conscious of keeping hydrated through the day but perhaps even so, I didn't quite drink enough. In the first few minutes of 'running' my heart rate shot up - and that was on a generally flattish section. It hit max on the main climb but after that stabilised. By then it was just a case of getting the run done. Although I didn't ease off and kept going to the end. I ended up twenty seconds faster than last time out so it was better than it could have been.

I think I'm just going to have to bide my time during the hot spell and hope it doesn't knock my plans for a September come back race....

Sunday, July 01, 2018

And The Back Is Even Worse Today

So I haven't as yet managed a proper run this weekend. Not sure that's going to change between now and the end of play but if my back eases up sufficiently I will try a late one.

I'm anxious that I'm missing training just at the point I'm starting to pick up momentum. The new bike training is good but still not a true alternative to running - although it is light years ahead of my old exercise bike. So anyway, I wasn't really even sure how comfortable I'd be on said bike but it turned out not to be too bad. This time I thought I'd try the VirtuGo software. It was a bit rough around the edges and limited on the routes - there are just three - but it was usable. The live stats weren't quite as 'ride focusing' as the other software but overall the session was pretty good - in spite of the back. I rode the Wilunga Hill loop. The cat 3 climb at the end was a right bastard - good training for the quads though.

Just hoping my back feels better by this evening...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Nine Tonne Has Done For Me

So as expected, my back and shoulders are aching after yesterday's evenings exertions spreading 9 tonne of chippings over the shared driveway area - 9 tonnes wasn't enough so there'll be another 4 tonnes arriving next week - doh. Hopefully my back won't ache quite so much after shifting the next lot.

It was a bit jarring to run and although I was itching for it I knew it wasn't really an option. Instead - yes, you guessed it - I hit the turbo and selected a race. 30k with several climbs and a couple of sprints. I was up against ten other riders and, as I'd be warned, they shot off like a loaded gun at the start. I didn't keep up and was dropped pretty quickly. After a couple of kilometres their pace dropped and I was able to keep even pace with them but wasn't able to get back on terms. I did manage to get one place back by the finish so didn't come last. As a bonus though I took a second place on one of the climbs and won both the sprints!

Later in the day I still had pangs of guilt at not having managed a run and had the idea of a hill session on the treadmill where I could keep the jarring to a minimum. I set the treadmill to 5% elevation for 500m and then 10% for five 250m reps. Not totally happy with missing a proper run but I'm hopeful for tomorrow...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Increased FTP

Still feeling tired. The heat is just too much to feel energised. I didn't manage a double but it was a good Zwift bike session never the less. And I even registered an increase in my FTP, up to 181 from 176. (Although I'm not really sure what it is but it's some kind of measure of cycling so indicative of increasing fitness).

I rode the Richmond UCI full course and put in the efforts on the 3 segments (1 sprint, 2 climbs). I think that's what did for the FTP increase. I'm still finding the whole virtual riding/running really incentivising and don't have any issue being motivated for it. Long may it continue. Definitely a run day tomorrow and maybe a little bit of bike if I'm lucky - that's assuming that spreading 9 tonne of gravel later this evening doesn't do me in...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mish-mash Of Intervals

My legs are still a bit heavy but there was no way I missing another session. I decided that getting my legs moving a little faster than normal might help get the blood flowing. It was a pretty good session. The faster 400m reps felt about the right speed verses distance. I followed that into a longer rep and then 600/800m slower intervals to warm myself down. The pegs feel a bit better now. Hopefully I'll feel up to a run and bike tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Still Feeling A Bit Heavy Legged

Despite a rest day yesterday my legs still felt leaden. At work, wandering around site (yes, I've had my induction) carrying out my tasks, my legs felt rubbish - and I can't blame it all on wearing heavy boots. So I decided to try out a Zwift group bike training session tonight and give the running a second rest day. It was quite motivating riding in a big virtual group but I'm somehow not sure about it...

The hour passed quickly and the session was over before I knew it but I'm not sure about the total training benefit. The software sets all the targets and resistance based on previous rides/efforts but it just felt a bit odd. Each interval was quite fatiguing and the required effort to complete enough that I was glad to reach the recovery phase each time but somehow the overall training effort just didn't seem quite as good as riding Bkool and a hilly route, having both hard ups and easy downs to recover.

Still I think there's probably a place for it. Mixing all the different types of sessions is going to help keep things fresh and interesting and a mix of different types is probably a good philosophy. Not every ride or run can be all out can it? - but I certainly want to make sure I do plenty of hard work work and don't just go through the motions.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Bit Random Today...

Started with a short Zwift as my legs felt a bit sore. After that the soreness seemed to have gone so I decided to try out the bike version of Zwift and over ambitiously jumped straight in with a race (after a very short warm up). That was a bit much. It was a two lap race of 30km total but I had to abort after one lap as I was absolutely dying. I had really good power output but it was just too much.

Twenty minutes after that I couldn't face that I'd not completed the session so hopped back on for another twenty minutes of effort. That finished me off. Then later in the day I got a second wind and went for a real run. Just the local 5k loop but it exorcised the guilt of this mornings rubbish run.

I've burnt some calories today and after six days straight, eleven training sessions I think I've earned myself a rest day tomorrow...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

That Was More Like It

No delivery distractions today although I did have a longer lie in than I'd intended. It was meant to be up and at it early but ended up being at it mid morning. Still, I was at it, so that was the important bit.

I decided to run the full Flaxley loop, 9k. It was far from my fastest but the stats show I'm covering the various section of the route faster, little by little. I'm glad I had the cover of the trees for most of the run though because I was roasting by the end.

After the run I was onto the the turbo for a 30 minute blast with a good solid category 4 climb to finish - me off completely. My quads burnt as pedalled with everything I had left. I was only twice as slow as the record time!

I feel the training regime of run and bike is working though. I feel stronger. Nowhere near what I used to be but I'm inching there and I really do think I'm beginning to get the old addiction back. Being a geek and erstwhile anorak I think the computery virtual stuff is really helping fuel the addiction. It's like being a geek and runner/rider all at the same time!

More of the same tomorrow...

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Not Quite What I Had Planned

but it felt like a pretty good training session despite that...

So I was intending to venture into the Forest - but then I remember I had a delivery coming. So I waited in (and did a bit of gardening to fill the gap) but as time edged ever onwards I couldn't face the thought of waiting too long and slipping back into my old ways, namely losing the will to train!

So having waited as long as I dared I hopped on the treadmill - and wouldn't you know it, 2km in and the damn delivery arrived - doh! By then I was committed to the mill and carried on to complete a lap of Zwift's  London “Classique”, 5.7km. Tomorrow it will be a real run as I've definitely not got any deliveries booked...

After that I was straight on the turbo for ten laps and 10k around Canary Wharf and despite feeling knackered I pushed my legs into action to crank out a few "fast" laps.

And by way of a change, here is a chart of my 'fitness' progress. It's heading in the right direction....

Friday, June 22, 2018

Killed It Today...

I went for another crack at the Bkool Tour de Suisse 2018 stage one TT training route. Last time 31:04, this time 27:48 and it was fair to say I was gunning for it. I set up some of the 'ghost riders' from other Bkoolers who'd been a little quicker than my first attempt but I very quickly left them in my wake - I should have been more ambitious and selected some even faster ones.

I really pushed it. My quads burnt on the two main climbs. I just kept grinding it. Legs are fair wobbly now but recovering quickly. It's a run day tomorrow...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Solid Day

So I decided not to wait till after work and mustered for another midday session. A 5k Zwift. More of a steady recovery than a hard session but even so I felt quite a buzz afterwards. I think that helped me really break the back of the software I'm working on as the way forward suddenly came into view with crystal clarity... (no I don't know what I'm babbling on about either!)

So after work I was to the turbo for a solid session of just under the hour. A 25k ride from Cross Ash to Crickhowell - virtually at least. I put it a decent amount of effort, focusing on keeping the power average up. It was a really good session.

Really beginning to feel like I've re-found that which was lost...

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reunited At Last...

Yes, after several years away my colleague and I finally managed to get back out for what was once a weekly appointment - the lunchtime run. We ran the same route I reccied last week. It was good to be back and we're hoping we can resume some level of regularity. Maybe won't happen every week but hopefully a couple of times a month,

As to the run. It was a pretty tired affair despite taking a rest day yesterday. I still felt pretty empty and my legs didn't feel like playing ball. I was about as quick as last week but somehow it didn't feel as strong a run and I really struggled in the last kilometre. To make matters worse I left my watch at home so had to resort to carrying my phone in hand to record the run - can't be not recording the data for later analysis on Strava, Smashrun and Runalyze....

In light of today's tired run I decided to forgo the bike session tonight in the hope I'll be feeling more recharged tomorrow. I'm aiming for a double tomorrow however I feel.

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Better With A Fan...

Although it should have been a rest day as I very quickly found out. Training was really laboured today. I knew I was struggling within the first few minutes. It didn't get any better from there. Add to that I was on the local loop with a decent climb - suffice to say I didn't climb it decently. Pitiful would be an appropriate adjective.

After eventually making it back to base 6.7k later I thought I might as well finish myself off completely with a 20 minute lap of Central Park - and, of course, I wanted to test how the new fan would improve things on the turbo. And it really did. There was almost no dripping! Okay, so I wasn't gunning for it as my legs were shot and I was generally pretty much pedaling on empty but even so the evaporatitive effect was brilliant.

Absolutely a rest day tomorrow. Despite not wanting to miss a day I need to as today's run really was a bit of a waste of effort and I'd have benefited more from a rest day.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Done And Dusted By 10am

So I was up and at it early - early for a Sunday, not early as in early. Giving the running a miss yesterday had done the trick and my calf was no longer feeling sore or tight. Off I headed into Flaxley wood.

I wasn't feeling as sprightly as I thought I would but then I probably haven't been resting as much as I should either. Even with the enforced non-run, I still hit the bike pretty hard yesterday. Anyway, although I wasn't feeling fast I was feeling like I had a decent level of torque and managed to crank out the run steadily without stopping - apart from the stiles, road crossing and the big steep hill at the start - which is going to take quite a while before I have the power to conquer.

After the run I hopped on the bike for a quick 10 laps around Canary Wharf. That takes my tally to 27 training sessions in 24 days.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Think I Over Did It...

Woke up this morning with a sore and tight left calf muscle. I took a few strides outside to see if I could run but it wasn't good and I decided I'd do more damage than good. It's a bit of a spanner in the works. I was planning a 9-10k run which I'm pushing back to tomorrow - fingers crossed.

Being sensible I should probably have taken a rest day but I couldn't help myself and did a thirty minute session on the turbo as my calf muscle didn't seem to be a problem riding. And then I got carried away and pushed hard to beat my previous power average best.

Hopefully the more fitness I get the more robust I'll become - like back in the old days when I was practically indestructible. When nothing could stop me. But then I guess I am a little older now, no bloody wiser, mind, so perhaps I need to put some structure to training to avoid getting any niggles...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Another Double

I managed to keep my internal promise and got my arse out of bed before work again for another quick 5k Zwift on the treadmill. I've been gradually inching up the speeds as the session go by and this was my quickest to date.

So after work I hit the bike for a session in the virtual Black Mountains, up the virtual A4067, past the virtual Cray Reservoir and down to the finish in the virtual village of Defynnog. A virtual 22k with 340m of virtual ascent. After all that I'm virtually knackered.

Beginning to feel the training buzz...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Zwift One After Work...

I probably should have gone into the real world but I didn't. I did train on the treadmill though. A swift 30 minute Zwift interval session. I think I'm getting back in the groove. Sixteen runs in twenty one days and a total of twenty two high effort sessions, bike and run combined stats, over the same period. Tomorrow I'm looking to run before work and then bike afterwards...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Quick Ride In Spain Before Tea

Yes, of course a session on the turbo and Bkool. A slightly easier 20k route tonight as I'm still feeling a bit tired. My sleeping patterns are a bit disturbed due to the humid heat. So I tried one of the video routes tonight and it was pretty entertaining. I'm not sure I'll use the video routes too often but certainly be good to mix things up every once in a while. My wattage was a little down on my best sessions but not terrible. And it weighed in at 35 minutes.

Aiming for a run tomorrow. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lunch As Promised...

Well almost as promised. My colleague got called away so it was left to me to carry the torch - and there was not one doubt in my mind that I'd head on out into the wild blue yonder.

I was trying a new route of about 5.5k on account that the old route would probably kill me - I am not ready to take on Dundry just yet. Anyway, it was an okay run. I set off well but faded. Garmin reports I've gained another point VO2max and it is, never the less, another run in the bag.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Fought Myself Tonight...

not to train! It's not a feeling I've had for a very long time. Tonight I've been itching to get on the exercise but I do feel tired and I know I need a rest so I am resisting. It's been difficult though - which I guess is a good thing, to feel like this. By way of recompense I do have a lunch run lined up for tomorrow with a colleague. We've not run a lunch run together for something like five years so it'll be a momentous occasion if - I mean, when - it happens...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Back In The Real World...

I headed over to Brierley to test myself on the 7.6k route I've run before a few times. I was pretty sure I'd cover the ground a little better this time and so I did. My heart rate wasn't knocking quite so hard on Mr Maximum's door and my pace was increased. I'm still nowhere near where I aim to be but this isn't a quick process. There will need to be much blood, sweat and tears along the way - although to be fair I'm not planning for there to be much blood nor, in fact, many tears but there's sure to be copious amounts of sweat. As borne out by another session on the turbo once I got home.

So my run was just shy of four minutes quicker than last time with a pace increase of over twenty seconds per kilometre. I'm pretty pleased with that improvement in just under a month of training. Onto the bike and my average power was down 10 watts on yesterday's session of a similar 30-35 minutes duration and climb. My legs were heavy and it was damn hard work.

The stats are telling me I'm hitting high fatigue so I think I'm going to take a rest day tomorrow. Overall my fitness stats are improving though. My resting hear rate is back under 60bpm having been much higher this last year or two. My blood pressure is sitting pretty at 110/65 and my VO2max is on the up.

I have been hitting it pretty hard these last two weeks so a day off won't undo all the good work but I'm definitely not going to lose the momentum now. Especially when it's becoming so addictive in my virtual world of digital pixels....

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Gonna Need A Mop

Put in another good training session today. 5k running and then straight onto the turbo for a 30 minute blast. I am very nearly almost back into the habit - and I'm not talking nuns clothing. Thirteen runs in sixteen days.

I have picked up a slight injury though. I think I have gear shifters elbow from leaning too hard on the handle bars changing up and down the gears.

Training continues tomorrow...

Friday, June 08, 2018

And An Even Better One After Work...

Really enjoyed that session in my virtual bike world. So after getting myself out of bed early for a run before work and a productive days work done I finished the set with a really energising session on the bike. I decided to go for it.

Not a hugely long one, 18.4k, but a good one. I targeted improving my average power and managed to achieve it. About a 20W increase on the last session, 162W. Pleased with that. I even managed to drop Ada and Minnie on the final climb as I put the hammer down - my hammer being one of those fisher-price ones. Ada and Minnie, by the way, were a couple of the 'bot' riders and they'd been passing me, falling back, passing again throughout the ride but I kicked their ass at the finish. Really felt like I was in a race. Good, focused fun and not to mention good training.

A Better One

Well that was a bit improved on yesterday's tired run. A little faster with lower heart rate and it takes my recent activity to twelve runs in fifteen days.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Another Tired One After Work

but at least I'm keeping at it. I think I need to look at fuelling mid-afternoon as I felt energy lacking. After the treadmill I tried the bike but just had to call it a fail. I'll be recharged and back to it tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

In The End, A Rest Day

So I was intending to put in a bike session but after not really sleeping much last night I'm feeling knackered. I decided that, after nigh on two weeks of good training, in fact, probably the best training I've strung together for a year or two or three, I'm due a rest day and that's just exactly what I did - apart from a day in the office.

Tomorrow I will be back on it and it might be a run or it might be a test of the final virtual cycling app I'm going to try - after having received my invitation to the beta trial. Virtu-Go. I will see how I feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

A Tired One After Work

Didn't want to slow the momentum but I felt a bit weary by the time I got home this evening. Probably hadn't really fuelled enough through the day but I'm determined not to let this slip. So I got straight on the treadmill for a twenty minute run, 4k. My heart rate was up towards max to indicate a bit of fatigue. Ten in twelve. Thinking bike session tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Eight By Four

I decided to test out an interval session on Zwift today. Wasn't quite sure how it would work out. I thought it would likely be mind numbingly boring but it was actually pretty good. There aren't a huge number of sessions available but on the plus side it forces you to man up, knuckle down and just do it.

So to the session. I thought the 400m recovery off a 400m rep would be too generous - until I was half way through, that is. By then I was beginning to think it almost wasn't enough. Using Zwift for the reps on the treadmill definitely made the reps much less boring than running against the clock or the digital count like I have been doing. Not having to keep count and just speed things up and down when told made it much easier to focus on the running.

Seeing the virtual me close down towards the rep start/stop markers on the screen really helped keep the focus. Really made it feel much more like the focus you get running on a real track where there's physical point to run to. Before I started I honestly thought I'd falter and cut it short but once I was underway all I could think about was getting to the next marker point...

So that brings my recent training to nine runs in eleven days and I'm not feeling too knackered. My VO2max has even increased another point.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Bit Of A Bulls Up!

So I thought I'd gauge how things are going by re-running the short Flaxley loop I ran about a month ago. A loop just over 5k with a gentle 150m of ascent. To begin with, things were going okay. I was still puffing like a bastard, mind, but pretty sure I was going quicker. As I came to exit the forest, into the field, on the fast downward section I came to a full stop, blocked by a bull, cows and a couple of calves - why do they always decide corralling by the footpath stile is a fun thing to do?

Anyway, I took stock of my options, headed back up, carried on further along the main track and then cut through the undergrowth, over the fence and across the field back to the route. Those shenanigans had, however, totally f*(%ed my test but even with that interruption I was still a tiny bit quicker. I shall try again on another day.

So once I got home, I gave myself no rest and got straight on the turbo for a ride in the virtual forest. A 12k loop out of Parkend, past Cannop, up to Broadwell and Coalway and back round to Parkend - except it wasn't as I was sat on my bike in the gym room. At one point a rider from Norway joined me on route but he caught and overtook like I was going in reverse. Obviously no challenge, he completed the climb section of the route and then vanished back into the ether from whence he came...

I've managed a good couple of weeks of training all told. Eight runs in tens days and two significantly more challenging 'rides' than has been afforded by my old exercise bike. My legs are aching a little and my arse is aching a lot - no smutty comments please. Why do they make saddles so damn uncomfortable?

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Virtually Knackered

So after a short tester yesterday I tried a more complete test of my new Kickr 'toy'. I signed up for the Bkool premium trial so I could ride 'a real world route'. I then searched for something in the Brecon Beacons area and found what I thought would be a nice introductory 25k starting just beyond Crickhowell, going through Cwmdu, over the top to Llangorse and finishing in Bwlch. It was rated easy so I thought it would be perfect. I configured a few virtual adversaries to make things more interesting. There are loads of other options like setting real world weather simulation including wind resistance but I left that off for this first attempt and then started

The ride itself felt very realistic in a 'sat on a static bike, in the gym' kind of way. As the route unfolded the resistance of the Kickr responded in kind and I was up and down the gears like violist - I don't even know what that means.

The virtual adversaries added an extra dimension. I started off in last place before hauling myself up to second place before finally being knocked back to third. The virtual riders seemed to adapt to my level and are there to keep you pushing - they certainly pushed me on the final climb. I couldn't hold second but I had a nice lead back to fourth but they were closing in fast. My legs had had it but seeing their 'blip' on the radar narrowing the gap forced me to push through it. There were literally pools of sweat all around me when I finished. I was dripping almost at a constant flow, like someone was pouring water over me - they weren't, I checked! (Definitely going to need to get a mat).

I am an awful long way from fit but I think this kit could really help. At the steepest section the resistance switched to 14% and I was practically stopped. It was so hard work against the resistance of the Kickr that my off the saddle full body weight could hardly move the pedals round. Had I been on a real ride I would have fallen over as I wouldn't have had enough forward momentum - and then I'd have never got restarted.

I think the Bkool software could be pretty addictive. There looks to be plenty of local routes available to ride. My time in the saddle today was and hour and ten but the time just flew by. Didn't feel anything like that long. I've a month to try out all the features before making a decision on signing up but just from the initial foray I think it's likely. Eventually I might even have the fitness to ride in the real world without the risk of falling off! And I'm going to do just that and set myself the target of getting myself fit enough to ride in the real world the routes I'll be riding in the virtual one.