Sunday, December 30, 2018

First Time On Two Legs For A While...

and definitely back to square one. I got the dull ache in the soles of my feet for the first ten minutes and then, as before, it eased off. Last time it took about four or five weeks of 'running' before it stopped occurring  - that's four or five weeks of doing some running, not running for four or five weeks forest gump style... Never really caused me much of an issue or lasting after effects so other than a little discomfort for a few minutes, I'm not really bothered about it.

As to the start of the campaign, I'll likely be heading the four miles over to Brierly for New Years Day 'getting hopelessly lost in the forest' orienteering...

Friday, December 28, 2018

Change Of Tack...

So it looks like the universe is reversing on its previous omen.... With my replacement calendar to hand, I have decided that I might be waiting forever if I wait to be fit before returning to the battle so I'm going to forgo the getting fit bit and return anyway... (and no making fun of the slow, old fart trundling along at the back)

As to today, it was decent effort interval reps on Zwift. I worked up quite a sweat but I've had to down rate the FTP to make the sessions doable. Still not sure if it's me or the kit.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Short, Sharp Christmas Zwift

It still felt a bit hard work vs the power output but better than the last few times. For just a thirty minute blast I got the heart rate up and sweating so I think I'm ready for the mince pies and mulled wine. Bring on the festivities and a merritudinal Christmas day to you all...

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Bit of Brithday Bkool

No Zwifting today.... Did a spot of Bkooling instead. Same setup, different software, same end result. A decent hours effort, starting north west of virtual Monmouth and ending virtually further north and west at Cross Ash. Bkool's main difference is that the routes are gps uploads of real routes. That provides more ride variation. The main reason I rode Bkool instead of Zwift was to determine if my trainer is getting a problem or I'm getting weaker.... Conclusion... I'm getting weaker. My power was nicely higher than my previous rides on Bkool but not as high as over the last month or two on Zwift and it also felt hard effort on the legs. I therefore think Zwift is working fine and that it's just me that's a little bit crapper - but then I am a year older than last month....

Monday, December 17, 2018

30 After Work

Finally managed a stage of the Zwift Tour of London. Stage 3 but I won't be getting the virtual t-shirt this event as I've missed too many stages to catch up. It was a reasonably hard effort for 30km. Once again my power was down while the effort seemed high. Not sure what's up but I'll keep on plugging away... 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Delightful Day Atop A Mountain...

So it was another day of marshalling. The Skirrid Fell Race, summit checkpoint this time, ably abetted in crime with the legend that is JD. Conditions were not pleasant. Strong, cold winds and rain. The top was in the mist and that doesn't aid spotting the race numbers. Despite the conditions we managed to capture most of the numbers and times although the conditions were somewhat against us so there may be a few errors or omissions. [crosses fingers not too many - and don't forget we did our best]. We were up there just about an hour and to say we were very happy to see the sweeper come through so we could pack up and get the hell out of there is an understatement.

Despite really wanting to get back off the hill as fast as possible, we still had time to collect in some of the marker flags on our way back down. On that front, ascending the main, steep descent is less than ideal in walking boots. Boots are good for keeping your feet warm but bloody rubbish at providing any sort of grip. I went down a few times - but most importantly managed to keep hold of the flags as I did, rather than flinging them, slapstick style, all over the mountain.

I was glad to get back to the car to be able to get into some dry clothes. Then it was into the Skirrid Inn for a few pleasantries before heading home.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Grinding To A Halt...

Well that was killer. Being cocky, I started with an easy 5k run on the treadmill before straight into bike mode for the #Zwift Fondo event. I decided on the medium since I'd ridden the short last month I felt I needed to step up but I think I over did it...

All was going well. I was riding in a good group as we worked towards completion of the first climb in the 72km route, with 1350m ascent. I think something then went a little wonky with my smart trainer calibration when I switched back to the big front sprocket. There was a bit of a jolt - probably pushing too hard on the pedal - and after that the resistance seemed to jump up. What should have been a nice downhill recovery ended up being bloody hard work. The resistance felt way higher than it should have.

It wasn't long after the descent, into a section of 10-15km of flattish riding, that I just had to drop back to the small front sprocket - and I've never needed to before - and up through the rear gears. Pretty much rode the second half of route in either the biggest or second biggest of the rear sprockets - that's not normal.

My legs just couldn't maintain things and I got slower and slower, and the reported power got lower and lower. I was really struggling and the final 500m climb took forever. Time standing still - or at least it felt like it. Never have I been more glad to get over the top but even then, the descent wasn't easy and the resistance was still high.

I was on the edge of bonking by the end and starting to shake a little in the last few kilometres but I made it. Still, I feel like I've had a bloody good workout!

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Another Little Potter

A simple ramped 5k. Starting slow and finishing just slightly less slow but no where near the realm of fast. Still no aches and pains so all good. Yesterday was a 40k group ride at medium effort but legs were feeling a bit tired so no ride today. Up tomorrow is the monthly Zwift organised Fondo - nothing to do with cheese. There's a choice of small, medium or large. Last month I rode the small and probably will again (48k). If I do feel energetic the medium is 72k - and there is sod all chance of the large, 112k...

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Doubling Up

A short 5k run followed by 10k in the saddle. I'm finding it hard to get back into the running since 'the event that shall not be named'. This crappy wet weather doesn't exactly help but I don't feel like I'm starting from square one again. The run felt okay. Not at a fast pace but nothing ached or pained so onwards and upwards...

Monday, December 03, 2018

A Very Tired 41km

And I didn't even attempt to keep with the group. From just a few kilometres in I knew I was feeling lacklustre. Power was down. Legs heavy. So it was keep grinding till the finish 41km later. #Zwift

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Solid, Hilly Effort

Forty Three kilometres up and over the main climb in Watopia. A good solid effort. Good average power and just under the 90 minutes to complete. Happy with that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

First Steps...

Since the trauma of the OMM. My knee still aches now and again for no obvious reason but mostly feels okay again so I decided it was time to get back on the horse and strike will the iron was hot - and mix my metaphors.

Just a very easy 5k in the wonderful world of Zwift. A group run with just six other runners and we soon spread out. I set off at a pedestrian pace to test the water and nudged up the pace, little by little, to finish just slightly less than pedestrian. Not a peep from the knee so I'm pretty sure I'm good to go.

I finished off with a very short blast in a different virtual world, the world of VirtuGO. It's not as developed as Zwift but I think it's improved a little since the last time I visited and there were a few more riders than the last time as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Solid 90 Minutes

My third longest but highest average power over that distance, a tad under 60km. It was a group ride with close to 200 riders at between 2.5 and 3.2W/kg but seemed to be more at the 3.2 end of the spectrum than the 2.5. Consequently I found it hard going.

I twice got dropped but managed to claw my way back. I didn't manage it a third time, getting dropped and staying dropped with about 15 minutes to go. I rode in with another rider in a mini peloton of two. I knew I'd worked out by the finish.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thirty Minute Blast

Short and sweet. 6 Laps. 19km. Job done. Another enjoyable race. I do like racing on the short 3k lap. Almost got dropped from the group on lap three but managed to pull back the deficit and rejoin. After that I was working hard and lost out in the final sprint. That said, I was never going to contend the sprint as I was working too hard throughout. That was borne out by the stats. I registered stats pretty much equal to my best so I'm happy with that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tempo with Spikes

Decent work out. I do enjoy the group workouts. Seems to keep it more interesting. As to the workout, it was possibly just on the easy side but not by much.

I had some troubles during the first high power section. Four short 'blips' and due to being on the wrong ring I pretty much hit the event horizon of the spiral of death but just managed to avoid being sucked in... [wondered what I was typing then for a moment...]. The main block of the workout was two sets of three tempo ramp followed by the cool down. Job done.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Recurrence of the Sore Knee...

Somehow I slept funny and woke up in the early hours with painful knee. Wasn't expecting that. The day turned into a rest day which was annoying. But I couldn't not do anything so I put in a reasonable medium duration interval session on the trainer late afternoon. Not what I'd planned but at least it feels like I've done something.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Two Rides

Being both a serious training tool and a sort of game I decided to claim the spotty blue hat for my virtual me in #Zwift. It is utterly pointless but still a target so today I rode two group rides, each 30k and both had about 300m ascent.

The first was something a little different. A ten lap ride with a sprint section each lap which we attacked every third lap. Being in a big group that led to incredibly fast sprint times as compared to normal, 15.2s verses 19.4s putting me 640th of 64000+ on Strava!!

Up next, a couple of hours later, was a more normal group ride but at slightly higher power but nothing silly. That too was fun and I worked up more of sweat than I expected.

With the blue spotty hat earned that leaves a choice for tomorrow. A virtual ride with the great Mark Cavendish or, and this will shock you, orienteering! It's probably going to be the orienteering and it gives me a chance to stretch my legs without feeling embarrassed at how slowly I run - because I can blame it all on the compass... The only choice will be what course? And it'll be a choice of two, the Blue course or the Mr Men string course - the Mr Men string course will probably be more my level at the moment.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Easy Then A Bit Of Effort

Just an easy #Zwift tonight. A group ride except it might possibly have been a race as a few people were going at it. Have to say I didn't pay that much attention to the description. Any way, I took it easy for the majority of the climb, 700m, but gave it a burn up on the final 'blip' to the radio tower. I wasn't intending to burn it up but some guy came past firing on all cylinders and after he got 40-50m ahead I decided he was making himself a pretty good hare and I took off to catch him. Firing out 130% FTP for about a minute on the 16% elevation I reached him and he went again - and so did I. Eventually, he faded and I made the top, plenty ahead. It was a bit of an adrenalin burst and good fun. After that, it was quite literally, all down hill. 32k, 700m. More tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Super Enjoyable Bambino Fondo

I'm not up to riding the 100km or the 72km so it was just the 48km version for me and it was really great fun. There was over 1100 riders on the virtual start line which is the biggest virtual ride I've done so far and meant for riding in small to medium groups the entire ride. It was a ride rather than a race but who are we kidding? We all got at it full on.

Much like yesterday, I set off steady and worked my way up through the field from just inside the top 400 up to the top 270. I even managed to find the energy for the sprint with the active group of riders I was with come the last few kilometres - which I lost on the line, in the same time.

Ride stats, course PB by over 13 minutes with almost 20W higher average power, 1hr 33m 48.4k, 894m ascent. Pleased with that.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Not A Bad Burn Up...

Racing on the Road to Ruins, #Zwift. 30km, 300m. It was a good field and after the initial dust settling phase - the first 2 or 3 kilometres where everyone is putting down far too much power to sustain - I was back in the field. Unlike yesterday, I went off steady and subsequently found myself close to the back. I wasn't too worried. I'd had a good one yesterday so a steadier one would be all right...

Anyway, being quite a big field, I was soon riding in a group of a dozen. Riding together we reeled in rider after rider, working our way clear of the back of the race. I put in the efforts on the climbs to break clear of the group in order to bridge to the next.

By midway I was riding in a small group of five, and we worked well into the second to last climb of any importance. By the time we went over the top of the final climb of any importance the group was down to just two - but sadly, I wasn't in it!

After that, riding solo, it all flattened out with only the odd blip, and a few short down hills - on which I got caught by a couple of riders but managed to hold with them. On the flats it soon became clear they weren't prepared to put in the work. I was on the front most of the time so I eased back from 200W to 140W and still they sat behind!! Okay, if that's the way you want to play it, I thought...

With 3k to go, there was a final 'blip' into the volcano, and I let rip - ooh matron. 300W all the way. Heart rate thumping out of my chest, they could not match it and I got clear. 5m.. 10m.. 20m.. 40m.. and dropped... I was really blowing but knew I had to keep the power down in order to keep that gap. After a minute my heart rate was recovering and they were still nothing but specks in the rear view mirror. I kept pushing hard to the finish just in case.

I finished with a route PB by over four and a half minutes. Good hard race. Sweating like a fat Cypriot in a Turkish bath house - not sure that's a good phrase to use, might start a war or something... Anyway, pleased with that and the knee doesn't hurt at all while I'm on the bike, only when I walk so it's good and bad on that front.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Short and Sweet

My knee is still playing up but the show must go on so it was a short, one lap race on Zwift, 15k. For once I decided to go with the crazy, pedal to the metal start that is Zwift racing. Normally I go steady at the start and pick it up but tonight I decided to go hard - like everyone else. It worked out all  right. I didn't go too well on the climb but not terrible and then working in a small group of two then three we completed the final two thirds of the lap neither gaining or losing position. Average power was towards FTP so I'm pretty happy. Didn't really feel any pain from the knee but still sore now and then. Other than that I think I'm recovered from the trauma that was the OMM.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Chest Ache Is Finally Easing....

and now my bloody knee is playing up again. Grrrhhh. Tonight's Zwift was affected. Meant to be a 40k race but ended up cutting it well short. I wasn't gong too bad but just didn't want to push it until all the niggles have cleared up. The shin splint is all but gone so it's really just the knee. Hoping to be all mended by the weekend.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Decent Effort

Another enjoyable race in the virtual world of Zwift. A three lap chase race of just over 30k. Being a C I chased the D's while trying to keep ahead of the A's and B's. The B's got me on the first lap. The A's on the second but I managed to catch most of the D's across all three laps, with a couple coming into range but whom stayed ahead as I ran out of road. There were a few D riders I was nowhere near catching, the ones putting down B category performance - they, perhaps, need to reconsider their category class. Pretty good average power again so can't grumble.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

So I'm Still Not Fully Recovered...

but I managed a pretty good Zwift in spite of the aches and pains. I opted for a repeat of stage 2 of the Tour of New York and there were 140+ other riders to keep things interesting. Despite it being a ride rather than a race, we weren't kidding anyone as we vied to break away throughout the ride.

I was pleased with how little the shin splint affected me. I could feel it throughout but never got too painful. Even more pleasing was that the chest pain wasn't too bad and didn't really affect my breathing - as born out by the fact I was able to put down some descent power relative to my best performances. I'm beginning to think it's muscular rather than anything worse so hopefully will start to ease soon.

The race, uh, I mean, ride was good fun. Got into several mini pelotons through the ride and each time we worked together - apart from the break away attempts - we caught the next group up the road.

20km at an average power of 212W which is one of my best averages and certainly better than over the last three or four weeks. Happy with that.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Still A Bit Decrepit...

So my muscles feel recovered but I'm still suffering with a shin splint of my right shin and now I've some kind of chesty thing. Hard breathing, coughing and sudden upper body movement are painful - so I'm trying not to do any of that. Kind of makes training difficult. I tried a very easy 10k on Zwift this evening. Didn't really have any training value but mentally it was nice to do something. I think the chesty thing is easing so if the shin splint eases a little I might be able to put in a slightly harder session on Zwift tomorrow. Pretty sure I'm not going to be up to full on effort though.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Must Be Getting Colder...

When your Squeaker - ooh, matron - won't leave your lap having ignored you all summer. Said Squeaker being the ol' Felis catus or cat, to you.

As to the training, I'm not sure if I'll ever train again! My back is feeling better, my leg muscles really aren't bad at all. My shins? Absolutely f*(%ed. I do hope the splints settle asap or I will go stir crazy.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

On Day One I Started To Break...

By the end of day two of the OMM I was broken. I don't think there is a part of me that isn't broken.

Day one went all right according to the results (42 of 147) but in reality I was a bit rubbish and held the team back. I started holding the team back sooner in the 'run' than I expected if I'm honest, around check point 5 (of 12) - damn you Pen y Gadir Fawr, damn you. After that is was sllllooooooowwww going and a case of trying not to add any extra distance or climb by making navigation mistakes.

By check point eight, I was climbing out of the valley on all fours such was the extremeness of my decline. Then the snow came. It was much heavier than I expected. Full on, proper snowing. Heading towards the last few checkpoints, I began to get pain in my left knee.

Day one, 25+k and more ascent than I enjoyed.

The camping wasn't too bad. The temperatures weren't warm but I was extremely glad I took my slightly bulkier, heavier sleeping bag - it actually kept me properly warm all night. A pleasant surprise (some might say, the highlight of my OMM).

At the camp, I discovered I'd taken the skin off my heel - I guess the cold, saved me from feeling it on the run. I also realised my back was a bit the worse for wear from carrying all the kit - perhaps I should have practised carrying a 5kg pack?

And then day two happened and by check point two I had shin splints left and right. Every step was pain. And then tussocks and heather. Endless bloody tussocks and heather. It was very hard to look on the bright side. Time slowed as team after team swept past. Long gone where any hopes of a respectable finish.

Then, as we arrived at the crunch point for check point six, such was my decrepitude, that my partner asked if I wanted to go on, it being as convenient a place as any to head back early. I honestly did not want to traverse more god damn tussocks and the mean spirited descent of several hundred metres followed the return ascent - damn you course planner, but this man ain't for quitting. We were dropping down the field faster than a feather in a vacuum but by god we were going to finish ahead of those who didn't finish at all.

Day two, 20+k and also more ascent than I enjoyed.

We finished 81st of 127 finishers and 34 retired [at the point I write this, so the stats might change a little].

Friday, October 26, 2018

So The Theoretical Became...

a 5,600g reality. To be fair, that isn't far off what I've carried in the past. The main difference is down to the absolutely massive sleeping bag I'm packing. It is going to be f*(%ing freezing and I just don't think my normal bag will cut the mustard. The weight to insulation ratio on my cold weather bag is really good - it's just it's got a really high insulation rating so all the ratios in the world aren't going to make it light. I'm also using dehydrated meals and probably have 500-600 more calories than normal as I think I'm going to need it.

With less than 24 hours to go, I must admit to feeling slightly nervous. I've managed to get some endurance back during the last few months but is it 25+km hike with a 6kg pack, followed by a 20+km hike endurance? I guess by Sunday afternoon I'll have the answer...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


my rucksack for the OMM will weigh 4,395g - in reality it will weigh half a tonne (or at least feel like it).

Sore throat is easing and no other ill feelings so all good with three days to go...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tour of New York - Cancelled

So I was aiming to pootle stage 1 tonight and stage 2 on Thursday, miss stage 3 on the weekend (and do it on catch up) followed by stages 4 and 5 next. Instead I've a sore throat so I'm resting. Other than a sore throat I feel fine so I'm hoping it's nothing but as a precaution, I'm not going to risk things this close to the OMM.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Bit More Run and Bike

Just a ramped 5k run followed by an hour on the bike. The bike session, 35k, was a pretty good work out. I started off in the group - it being a group ride - but couldn't quite hang on. Once out the back it was game over. There's no getting back on the group unless you can sustain massive power for five or ten minutes - I can't, so it became a solo ride.

My initial feelings on the new Zwift routes in Central Park, is that I quite like them. Although there are no long hills, there are lots of steep undulations. There doesn't seem to be any long flat sections either, the undulations come thick and fast. That makes for quite a tough session even when taking it easy. At no point do you get into a rhythm before the next undulation hits. I think it could make for quite good racing though as I think said undulations will really break things up.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Hop, Skip and a Jump...

um, er, I mean a run and a bike. With only a week till the OMM I'm trying not to over do it or get injured so I stayed indoors. Tried a new tactic on the treadmill - and it almost made it fun! So when I say I tried a new tactic what I really mean to say is, I missed the start of a group run and set off 2 minutes behind. As it turns out that gave me a few targets to catch. And as you can see telemetry on those runners close to you it meant I could set my speed in order to catch up. Focusing on catching up meant I wasn't that aware of how far I'd gone or the time. I just lost myself in the task at hand, namely catching up. All of which made for an enjoyable treading on the mill. After that 7.5k, I finished off with 10k on the bike around central park.

Friday, October 19, 2018

New York, New York...

The new place to ride - virtually, at least. Just a quick blast in the new Zwift world tonight. When I say quick, I mean not huge distance. I did go better than the last time out though. At first I thought I was in for another disappointing one but things soon picked up and I felt good on the undulations. Only 20k and I'm not even sure how long it took but I enjoyed it. I think I like the new world map and I'm looking for a race there tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Disappointingly Lacking

Took a rest day yesterday but didn't do me any good this evening - and I only opted for a social Zwift rather than a race. A ride that should have been just about comfortable but instead was utterly pants. I got dropped on the climb. In fact I was at the back from the off and it didn't get any better. Had nothing. Nada. Zip diddly. Where I was feeling buoyed last week I'm feeling like I've sprung and leak and going down fast...

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Shark Tooth

Bike session, short sharp ramps 85% to 135% FTP. Wasn't a long session but pretty hard work and my legs still don't feel fresh. Think I might add an extra set next time just to reach the full burn. Some kind of run is on the cards for tomorrow.

Looking to the OMM, today I decided to give the backup cooking kit a test run - seeing as how I didn't do any actual running. It being pretty darn windy out, I felt it would be a good test and it worked pretty well. I'm somewhat notorious with my previous OMM partners for providing the cooker that was somewhat lacking in the cooking capability - solid fuel. And once again that is the backup option but we are going to be cooking on gas for the main supply. This is just the backup in case we want a few extra hot drinks. Plus I've honed the technique... 500ml to the boil in no less than 14 minutes. Fast it ain't but it did just about get to the boil and the kit weighs next to nothing so ideal as a backup.


(just coming to the boil)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

My Legs Hurt

So it's a rest day as my legs hurt and I feel tired. Not even a gentle Zwift could tempt me tonight. So it's full on feet up, laze on the sofa.

Looking towards the goal, the OMM, it's under three weeks to go and I'm glad I got roped in. The running may have taken a bit of a back seat to the mountain training but I'm feeling pretty good about things. Without the goal of the OMM I think I'd be getting a little faster but no where near mountain fit. Back in June I didn't think I'd be up to 'running' 20+km in the mountains this year and now I feel I'm ready to take on the OMM - although I fully expect to cursing Mr Blackmore come Sunday 28th October and vowing 'never again'....

Anyway, tonight I've been checking my kit. Happy to report it's mostly all in order but I need to get the altimeter working. Nothing a new battery and replacement strap won't fix. I've a mind to risk the strap but it is kind of hanging by a few threads so I guess I better play it safe...

Plus I'm finally going to get a chance to test my 'muncher' - oooh matron, ssshhh, no, stop it. The 'muncher', a titanium spork that I forked out a fortune for on Kickstarter - what was I thinking!! (but did you see what I did there?). It has a mass of just 17 grams, is a knife, a fork, a spoon, a tin opener - not that I'll be taking any tins on the OMM - a bottle opener - likewise - a peeler, fire striker, cord cutter, pry-bar - for really weak things that need to be pried - and a flat head screwdriver plus it looks pretty cool....
So that's the kit checked and the fitness level just about there. Bring on the OMM...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marvellous Malverns...

although I was right about yesterday's training - I was knackered from the off. My legs felt heavy. Pretty much the entire run was a struggle. I was a that close [I'm holding my thumb and index finger about 1mm apart] from not making it all the way to the Worcestershire Beacon. In the second section, the six hills were killing me. Mentally I'd given up and decided I'd get to 8km out and turn back - a ten miler wouldn't be too bad would it?

Anyway, as I struggled over the top of the aptly named Perseverance Hill, the Beacon came into view and I decided giving in wasn't an option. It didn't get any easier but finally I made it to the Worcestershire Beacon - then all I had to do was turn round and run all the way back...

It wasn't my quickest time and my legs are really knackered now. Scratch that, the whole of me is knackered. On the upside though, the weather was fantastic and the views good if a little misty/hazy. Definitely glad I ran and it's another longish one complete, 20km with 1000m ascent. Not long now till the OMM...

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Probably Shouldn't Have

So I've booked another impromptu day off tomorrow. The forecast looks good. Might even be sunny enough to trigger photo-reactivity on my glasses - but then again, maybe not. I'm undecided on exactly where to run but I'm looking at another longish one.

So back to this evening and training. By rights is should have been an easy one but I ended up choosing another race. That said, I almost jacked it in half way round as I was going so badly. It felt like I was working bloody hard but my power was rubbish. I managed to haul myself through the lethargy and stuck at it. Even managed to break free from the small pack on the last hill and remained out there to the finish.

Probably should have stuck to an easy session in light of tomorrow's plan so I'm hoping the effort isn't going to impact my legs too badly - otherwise I'm going to be ruing the decision to go at this evening...

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Bit Of A Muddle

So I started with a run. That ended very quickly as I opened the blister on my heel within a few minutes. Yes, I am namby pamby. On the upside, at least I'd decided on a local run so didn't have far to get back.

Luckily the heel on my cycling shoe is lower than my runners so I couldn't feel it when riding. Cue some Zwifting. A free ride of 16km that started off as an easy ride but ended up like a TT. Then, about an hour after that, I started to get pangs of guilt for not really having done enough training. Cue an afternoon race, 36km on the jungle hilly loop route - and I'm bloody glad I did, it was a right good race.

After the initial few kilometres I was in a small group of six and we worked pretty solidly to get to the loop section. Then into loop, starting straight into a climb, the group broke apart as a few riders went out the front door. I was stuck in a group of three and they just stuck on my tail, taking it easy while I did the work. Grrrhhhh, turning green - they made me angry - I cranked up the power to drop them. That hurt a little but I never saw them again so worth it.

On the second lap I got caught and overtaken on the climb by a different rider. He blew me away but was rubbish on the descent and I caught him towards the end of the lap. Into the final lap and the final climb he started to come back at me. Feeling I could get him on the descent as long as I didn't lose too much on the climb I worked hard, getting close to going into the red but managed not only to keep him close but to keep him behind. By the top he was beaten and as an added bonus I caught and passed a rider from the group that rode away on the first climb. After that it was steady down to the finish. Damn good fun - if painful in places - like a proper workout should be.

Now I'm happy I've done a proper days training...

Saturday, October 06, 2018

That Was Hard Effort

With the miserable weather I obviously turned to Zwift and with no races that took my fancy I selected a training session instead. And the one I chose was tougher than I expected. The main section was two sets of three intervals with each interval being 3 minutes at 110%FTP with 2 minute recovery. The warm up included a few efforts as well.

The intervals were hard going and by the time I hit the last couple my cadence was dropping. I very nearly hit the spiral of death on the penultimate rep but managed to get through it. I redoubled my effort on the final one in order to keep the cadence up.

Definitely knew I'd been through a solid work out. I was sweating like it was going out of fashion. More of something tomorrow...

Friday, October 05, 2018

Rest Day and New Glasses...

So my legs are still sore - wasn't expecting that. Decided to make it a rest day. Tomorrow looks to be a bit wet so almost certainly going to be Zwifting. On the up side - although I'm not sure why this is an upside as it's totally unrelated - I decided to get myself a pair of prescription sports glasses and they arrived today. It's so annoying when the glasses slip when running. Hopefully this will be an end to that misery...

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Sore Quads and an Easy Recovery

Just a twenty minute Zwift. My quads are sore but other than that I survived yesterday's long run pretty well. Couldn't face doing nothing so did an easy leg turner to get the blood flowing and speed up recovery.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Longest Run Of The Year

Pleased with my decision to take the day off and head to the hills. Knocked out my longest and hilliest run of the year (probably the longest for over two years, maybe even three). 23.7km with 1,100m of ascent, beating my previous furthest of 16.5km and 700m from a few weeks ago. Added to that this run was on rougher terrain and I only took an extra hour to complete (3hr25 vs 2hr27). All in all, that equates to a much stronger run. I was fully knackered by the end but the key point was that I was still running.

One thing I'd forgotten though, was just how long the run from Pen y Gadir Fawr to Crug Mawr is. By god that ridge is looonnnggggg. At one point I began to wonder if I was ever going to reach the end... and then it isn't exactly over once you get to there. There's still a bit of running left to get from there back to Llanbedr.

Feels good to finally get a really solid run in my legs and I don't think it was horrendously slow for a training run. A few more good solid runs and I'll be peaking* just in time for the OMM at the end of the month...

* disclaimer, by 'peaking' I mean able to make it round without expiring.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Upping Things A Little

So the forecast looks dry. Maybe a bit foggy on the tops - yes, I'm talking mountains - but generally it doesn't look too bad for October. Inspired by the runners in last Saturday's Black Mountains race I've decided to hit my next long run tomorrow. After all, the clock is ticking for the OMM at the end of the month. Anyway, inspired as I am, I'm going to run the 3/4 BMR - that's three quarters of the Black Mountains race route. It's not going to be easy at about 22km and 1100m ascent but I need to get it done.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Slow To Start...

but I finished strong. Coinciding with the real UCI road world championship, Zwift has been running virtual events all week. I've not been in a fit state to compete until today. To begin with I couldn't get going and began to think I still wasn't in a fit state. My power was way off FTP but I was trying pretty hard so it didn't make sense. Into the climb I was still struggling to generate any power but as the climb progressed I picked up. By the top of the climb I was grinding it out above FTP, heart rate heading towards 170 without dying. In the end made it over the top within a couple of minutes of my best.

The descent went pretty well as well and I was able to keep the power up where normally I struggle to keep it going. I was working my way back through the field. Having hit the start of the climb just inside the top 100 I was up to 67 by the time we exited the hill and finished 63rd of 135. Average power was well up by the end, some 30 points more than I was managing in the first few kilometres so I'm happy for now.

And just because, here are some photos from yesterday from the top of Pen y Gadir Fawr.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Must Be Getting Stronger...

So it was more marshalling duty today. Check point two, Black Mountains fell race. Location, the summit of Pen y Gadir Fawr. That meant a short 3km ascent from the car park in the valley below to get there. What was surprising was that my Strava segment was the third quickest of the six on record for the ascent - and I was only pootling.

And for once the marshalling was in the dry. In fact, it was one of the sunniest days for a while. Not a cloud in the sky. And to top that off, the runners and riders were through the checkpoint in good time. Then it was back down and to the race HQ for cake and then the drive home.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Felt Better Afterwards Than Before...

Well I think that session did me good. I started off feeling meh but finished feeling good. My legs still don't feel totally right but they're getting there.

The session was pretty long, 78 minutes consisting long reps (9 minutes) decreasing to short (1 minute) with a one minute recovery each time. The effort level increased from 87% FTP up to 95%.

Despite feeling bolstered I still feel a long way down on being able to main 100% FTP for an hour. Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Still Feeling The After Effects

My muscles feel almost mended but the tendons? behind my knees feels sore today and my blistered foot wasn't clearing up as quick as I'd like either so I decided to cut the dead skin away to let it breath. That has worked and it's feeling better this evening. All in all still pretty pitiful but I do feel I'm close to being back in one piece. Managed a decent 60 minute virtual group ride. Felt like it was doing me good...

Monday, September 24, 2018

It Was Only A Walk...

...and I think I might be up to training tomorrow! My legs are still pretty bad today. Still quite sore but definitely easing and I'm itching to get back to training. I thought about a session on the bike tonight but it would've been going through the motions for the sake of it rather than being meaningful training. I'm definitely going to be fit for Wednesday's mountain run though - and even the forecast looks decent (famous last words)...

Saturday, September 22, 2018

It Might Only Be A Walk...

...but it has completely broken me. Completely and utterly broken. But my spirit remains strong and I finished with a smile.

It was going pretty well to begin with. Yes, it rained the entire time but it was fun. Fun until about 25km when I could feel my hamstrings starting to go. By 30km they gave up the ghost. From there it got painful. By the end I was struggling to get over the stiles. I made the mistake of sitting down in the village hall at the finish for some sustenance - BIG mistake. I actually struggled to get standing and the 100m walk to the car took about 5 minutes. Getting in the car? I had to sit and lift my legs in. Getting out of the car when I arrived home was even more pitiful. And now I'm not sure I can even ascend the stairs. Luckily I have a downstairs loo so I may very well be sleeping on the sofa tonight...

But I'm glad my work colleague talked me into doing it. When I recover - in about three months - I'll look back to see it was good training. Time on feet an' all that - and it was a bloody long time.

Friday, September 21, 2018

It Might Only Be A Walk...

...but it's quite a long one.... The LDWA Cotswold Challenge. It's 42km with 1500m of ascent. Proceedings are almost certain to be soggy and I'm doing it tomorrow.

Surprisingly I'm still feeling Wednesday's rides in my legs so taking another rest today in order to be strong for tomorrow's walk, which I'm sure will be more tiring than I'm expecting.

Start and Finish in Birdlip, clockwise route

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Grrrrh, Bloody Power Cut

Well I really could have done without that. I was having a good ride on stage 5 of the Tour of Innsbruck. Almost to the top of the second and last climb and bam - power cut. 32km in to the race of 48km and 750m of the 950m ascent complete. All for nothing. At least the ride was captured to Strava so I didn't lose the precious register of miles but by god I was a tad annoyed. All that effort. All that blood, sweat and tears - and there was a lot of sweat - for nothing. Grrrrhhh. And it meant I failed to complete the tour....

But then I decided not to be defeated by the power gods and went for it again in the 4pm race. My legs were knackered from the start and unsurprisingly I was slower the second time around but not by as much as I expected. I was only two minutes down to the top of the first climb. Not sure about the second one seeing as I didn't quite get there the first time but I was probably within four or five minutes and probably only finished a further couple of minutes down on where I would have the first time. At least it was job done. Tour complete. Legs knackered.

The 48km had become 80km, the 950m of ascent, 1700m. Total ride time, 2 hours 59 minutes.

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...