Sunday, October 02, 2022

Rest Day Tomorrow...

Training continued to pick up after a slow start to the week to end on a high note. Thursday was good, and for me, very quick short reps. Friday was a short blast on the bike with good power sustained for the duration. Yesterday was another session on the treadmill, workout number four of the 2020 Zwift academy. I knew I was working. It was hard but I stayed focused and was able to slightly increase the pace for the second set of two. And finally, today was the final workout of this year's Zwift academy on the bike. It was another solid session but maybe didn't quite push me as hard as it should have. A sign I'm still improving? Well, I guess we'll see if that's true after the finish ride, which I'm looking to do midweek.

Oh, and I almost forgot, because I had a bit left after the bike session, I decided on a cheeky treadmill race of 7.4km - that's a new Olympic distance category in case you were wondering - not. I wasn't really racing but it's good to have some rabbits to chase. After a hiccup at the start, namely, the grocery delivery turned up, I set the treadmill to my target pace and started chasing. Little by little I inched the pace up. Inch by inch I ran my rabbits down and managed to complete the last 5k in 26:40 which is over a minute up on my 5k marker of a week or two ago. And for the record, I used my now standard 2% incline to match outside effort more closely (or so they say).

I feel I'm making really good progress. I've still a long way to go but as I complete each session, I feel a little fitter, my pace a little faster, with more endurance and more power on the bike.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Twice In One Day Twice

Had a slight false start to the weeks training. Monday was a rest day after continued good training on the Weekend. Saturday, it was the second academy run session. Hard but fair. Up Sunday, the fourth Zwift academy ride in the morning and, still feeling energetic, a solid incline session on the treadmill late afternoon. Back to the week's slow start, the drive home Tuesday was horrendous. Got caught in two massive queue fests that added 45 minutes to the journey. By the time I got home I couldn't face it, and just chilled.

I made up for it today. I ran yesterday's academy session number three before work and completed the fifth ride after work. Only one more session to go on the bike and then I'll be all set for the finish ride next week. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Going Well

Continuing on from the good work towards the end of last week, I completed Zwift Academy bike workouts 2 and 3. I've found them hard but manageable. Feels like they're doing me good. Around those two rides I made a start on re-running the 2020 Zwift Academy run sessions. I didn't complete the eight workouts back then, not sure why, but they're giving me a good workout here and now.

I can't remember what Tuesday's session was - that's old age for you - but I know it was a decent workout. As was today's session. A mix of alternating 4-minute repetitions and shorter, faster 2-minute reps, with the pace increasing a little for each subsequent pair. I felt good and actually increased the difficulty a few percentage points after the first pair as it felt just a fraction too easy, and I'm after maximum gains. I could probably have gone a tad more, but I knew I'd worked out come the finish, so it was a good session. I can feel that 25-minute 5k edging closer...

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Back On Track

After a couple of weeks of less than excellent training, at least on the running front, I finally put in a decent session on the treadmill. 10 one-minute reps with 45s recovery. I set the pace for the first repetition at the pace I used the last time I did a similar session. It felt easy. Really easy. I increased the pace for each repetition. The final one was 15% faster than the first - and I felt I still had a fair bit more in me but having just come back from injury I wasn't going to be silly...

That is until an hour or two later, when I felt I needed to train a bit more and hopped on the bike for a race on Zwift. I didn't set off too manic but within next to no time I was cranking it out. It was a small field and I found myself riding solo, so it was more of a time trial. I could see I was averaging good power, right up to and a bit beyond my ftp. That was, until a couple of riders caught me. Now I know it's not real but when they reached me, they proceeded to sit on the wheel and didn't take a turn on the front. I know it doesn't matter but it irked me.

I put in a big effort and broke their draft. In Zwift that is when you get away by 5m or more. I eased back a little so as not to die in the saddle and after a few minutes they came back again and sat on the wheel as before. Hitting a short ascent. I went again, and for longer this time. A few minutes later and one of them was back, the other had blown. I went again, harder and longer than before - oh, er, matron. This time he didn't come back.

After a few more minutes I caught up to a bigger group. There was little chance of breaking away from that, so I bided my time, still putting out good power. At the finish, I welcomed in ftp increase splash screen. A 16W/9% improvement. Pleased with that. Won't be long before I reach my previous high...

Friday, September 16, 2022

Finally Managed It....

A run. An actual run. It wasn't fast, my leg was still sore, but it was definitely a run. That was Wednesday. I missed training yesterday and today it was the first of the six Zwift Academy structured training rides. It was a solid session without pushing totally into the red so I'm thinking my current FTP might have increased a few points since my last test. I'll see how the next one goes Sunday or Monday and maybe increase the training bias a few percentage points if I think it needs it. I want to get maximum gains from all this.

Up tomorrow, I'm the recovery driver for the Black Mountains fell race. I get to put the stragglers out of their misery - I mean exfiltrate them back to race HQ - if they're unable to continue or miss the road crossings cut off times. I might head there a little early and have a pootle up to Chwarel Y Fan and back before the runners come through now that the soreness in my left calf has finally subsided. It's taken two weeks. Definitely getting too old for this sh!t - but it ain't going to stop me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Back to the Academy Sooner Than Expected...

With a repeat of the baseline ride - because Zwift f#(%ed the first one up. Apparently, they had various training session group dynamics switched on, meaning real world dynamics simulation wasn't correctly relating speed, power and incline (or some such nonsense). Upshot, it was a complete load of b#!!*(%s in terms of being a baseline to gauge improvement at completion of the academy and I had to ride it again - grrrrrrhhh.

So, with a big slice of deja vu, I rode it all again. With the proper dynamics, chasing people ahead was more realistic this time. That led me to increase my average power for the medium segment by 4W, the 'long' climb segment by a very surprising 15W and an unbelievable... exactly the same power, 467W, for the short sprint.

I'm gonna be Mr Angry if they got anything wrong with tonight's session...

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Zwift Academy 2022 Begins....

It's just as well my left calf muscle is still a little sore, as the Zwift Academy 2022 has begun. If I'm honest I am itching to get proper running again, but the calf is taking sooo long to recover. It's been nine days and counting and although the limp has gone, it's still too sore for proper running - oh the joys of old age! I don't think it will be too long now though. The only partial silver lining, more of a 'white metal' lining really, is that I almost can't feel it when I'm riding, and certainly doesn't interfere with things.

Back to the Academy, and it was the 'baseline' ride tonight, to set out your markers for short, medium and long efforts - almost saw stars completing the short effort. It felt like I'd put in a good solid performance though, based on my recent form. Then, over the next four week, there are six structured workouts to complete, followed by the 'Finish line' ride - to see how much you've improved... Obviously, you put in your own rides here and there as well and I'm going to be getting back on with the running. But, over the next four weeks the focus is going to be the Academy to see how much I can improve.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Bit of a Bad Week So Far...

It's not been great so far. One low key 30-minute upper body cardio session. Yes, my left calf muscle is still tight and sore. Four days on from the 'curious incident of the cramping in the day-time' and it's still not great. I can't even Zwift as it's too sore. All I can muster is some very gentle massage. I can feel my fitness slipping away - and it wasn't exactly great to begin with! Come on leg. Stop being sore...

Friday, September 02, 2022

A Couple of Good Sessions

I've been continuing to add in some upper body workouts to the mix, with another three half hour sessions. Nothing too strenuous but I managed to work up a bit of a sweat each time. Today I ran five 1km reps and I'm pleased with the result. I ran at faster pace than my session of four, two weeks ago. Things continue to move in the right direction and I feel my first, very lowly target of a 25-minute 5km is not too far away.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A Little Blip

So it happened. I missed the long run on the weekend. After an okay run Saturday, everything was either aching or tired come Sunday. I think part of training is knowing when to take a pit stop. Sunday was my pit stop. The legs where still feeling less than fighting fit come Monday so I stuck with the plan's recovery/cross train day and did a bit of Zwifting and a little upper body cardio.

Today the body was feeling more rested, so I cracked back on with the plan. Three sets of four 400m reps with a short 100m recovery and 350m between sets. Got the pacing pretty good. Not too easy but hard enough on the last one of each set. Definitely knew I was working for it tonight. Luckily, it's another rest day tomorrow.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Still Following the Plan

I almost can't believe how well I've stuck to the training plan. I'm very nearly back in the habit - and I'm not talking nuns garments. Up tonight it was longer reps of a kilometre and Tuesday it was shorter, quicker ones. Little by little, week by week, my pace is edging up. Yesterday was an easy Zwift recovery day and up tomorrow is a rest/recovery day - so that'll be more Zwifting then...

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Beginning to Creak

My left achilles is feeling a little sore. Nothing I haven't had before - back when I was proper running. I'm guessing my aging bones are going to need a little more care these days. The balancing act begins...

It's been another decent week of training. I missed one run from the plan, replacing it with yesterday's walk instead, because of said achilles and I wanted to give it a bit of extra rest. That did help as it felt improved today and didn't really bother me during or after my morning run. Also managed a couple of good Zwifts in the saddle on my rest/recovery/cross-train days. So overall, a good week with decent intensity.

Fitness-wise, my 'body battery' finally hit 100%. Hasn't been there for over two years! Sleep scores are into the nineties and my seven day resting heart rate is down to 53. It's all still heading in the right direction.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Ants in My Pants

It was a gentler end to the week running wise, with a decent forty minute run Saturday and a solid hour on the bike Sunday followed by a walk in the heat of the afternoon. Today is officially a rest day according to the plan but I couldn't just chill and, with the slightly more pleasant conditions, decided to take in my short test loop. It's only 2.2km but has a bit of up and down and provides a good indication of how things are going - and they are going well. I managed to run all but the main up and consequently came home in a new fastest time, some 90 seconds quicker than my previous best - then I checked my records and realised I was actually 180 seconds quicker! Very pleased with that and I can feel it won't be long until I can run the entire loop.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Oki Doki So Far This Week

Recapping the week so far, Sunday's 'long' run went well. My legs felt a bit heavy from Saturday's run but that only lasted a few minutes into it. I'm running more and walking less, although the hills, once the strongest part of my game, still kill me - but I'll get there. It was a good run, and I covered the ground five minutes quicker than last time, so progress is still good.

Up Tuesday was fifteen 30s efforts followed by today's five 800m reps. Neither were the fastest but with every session, I feel my powers returning. Oh, and I did an easy Zwift bike on Monday by way of active recovery.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Been a Quieter Week

After my biggest week of training last week, I think it was understandable I was feeling a bit knackered this week. I missed the training plans tempo run on Thursday as I was feeling empty and took a full rest day yesterday so today I decided to sort of do it today instead of the easy run. It was a plain old out and back, slightly downhill on the out so net uphill on the way back, but not by much. I went out too fast and suffered coming back, with the couple of bumps grinding me down to a walk - but only for a few steps, honest. Ended up with my fastest average pace by quite a way so I'm pleased with that. Hopefully, I will be okay for tomorrow's 'long' run. Long really isn't that long at this stage, so I should be okay if I take it gentle.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Continuing with the Training

It was a bit of a laboured run today. I didn't go as well as I was hoping. Then again, I had to move forward tomorrows 1:15hr run to today on account of taking the eBike out into the hills tomorrow instead so I'm not too disappointed. And my average pace was a fraction higher than the last equivalent run so I mustn't grumble.

On other matters, my resting heart rate continues to improve. This week's seven-day average of 55 is the lowest it's been for over two and half years, which likely indicates I've been low on iron for a considerable time. It's a bit of a change in just three months from over 70 to where it is now.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

And That Went So Right...

After getting slightly carried with yesterday's recovery bike session I wasn't sure if I'd pay the price today. Fortunately, my legs were okay, and I completed the scheduled twelve 400m reps without issue. The pace could have been a tad higher, but I don't want to run before I can walk - um, er, is that right? Anyway, I've set my 400m marker and can adjust upwards from here.

So far, so good with the training plan. Only two runs in, but it definitely feels good to have the days training session set out in advance and all I have to do is run it...

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Well That Went a Bit Wrong...

So, the training plan said rest day or cross-train. Obviously, I went for the cross-train option and chose a Zwift race, fully intending to pootle along at the back in the company of the backmarkers. Well, that was the plan. Turns out, I just can't help racing....

Ten minutes in and I put in a short effort to bridge to the next group up the road. Then, after another few minutes, I went again, over to the next group. Steadying the ship for a few minutes I sat back to cruise the rest of the race. Then a few guys went off the front and I just couldn't help myself. I accelerated to bridge and didn't stop moving away. All of a sudden, I found myself putting out 20-30W more than I've managed for quite literally years. They weren't coming back, and I just kept the hammer down.

I picked up four more places on the main climb, making up several minutes on those riders, and went past them like they weren't even pedalling. Over the top, I didn't stop, keeping the effort going to finish.

It was almost a rest day... 15% FTP increase!!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

First Speed Session

So, I've set up a 5k plan to put a bit more focus into the training. Making it up as I've gone along has been good so far, coming from zero fitness but now it's time to add some structure. When I look back at my running, I don't think I've ever really followed a plan as such. I've done lots of different sessions, but it was always very ad-hoc.

Anyway, the plan starts tomorrow and crazily, it starts with a rest day! But it does allow for easy cross training, so I guess I'll be Zwifting. Oh, and I almost forgot, I did my first speed session on the treadmill today. Just dipping my toe in the water.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Still Feeling Keen for It

I continue to be surprised by my continuing motivation to train. I've barely missed a session and when I do I feel guilty. Today my left achilles was feeling tight so I went for a power walk up May Hill. Later, feeling looser, I hit the Zwift for a decent half hour bike session. Yesterday I had a good workout on the treadmill. I used my ramps session with a slight increase to the paces and if I'm honest I could have tweaked it more. It'll definitely be another increase for the next session of ramps.

I'm pleased with how things are going. Maybe by the Autumn I'll be ready to come last in a short fell race...

Thursday, July 21, 2022

About Time...

...For another FTP increase. It is getting harder now though. I didn't start out aiming for it as my legs didn't feel fresh. Five minutes in I found myself peddling above my current FTP, so I just kept cranking it up. Because of the slow start, I wasn't sure I'd actually do it, but I was putting down good power by the end so just kept it going to the half hour mark. With a pre-ride warmup and then hitting the ride at power I'm sure I'd have registered more - but I'll save that for the next attempt. Happy things are still heading in the right direction.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Furthest “Run” So Far

It was a hot one today, but I had set my target for the day and wasn’t diverting. I felt a bit tired yesterday, so I pulled a rest day in preparation for today. Back to today, and after a leisurely morning, I set out to conquer the full Hope-Flaxley Wood Loop, 9k. My plan was to run to the beat of my heart. Above 160 I walked, back to 150 I ran again. I kept to that throughout and it was a pretty good regime. I’ll probably aim to use it again for future runs, at least for a while, and hopefully I’ll see my times and distance run vs walk, improve.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Slightly Sore Legs

As I've not really been up any steep stuff for a while, I had a feeling my legs would be a little sore today. It's mainly the quads so I only went for a short walk, around my usual route. The good thing for me is that the short little up, no more than thirty metres, which used to bring me to a stop a few months back, doesn't anymore.

And looking back to yesterday, here's a pic of the summit of Fan Llia. In the middle you can see one of the world's most unimpressive summit cairns.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Digging Out the Deputy Badge

Yes, it's that Four Fans time of year and once again I will be marshalling my regular spot atop Fan Llia. One day I will be on the other side of the fence running but not this year.

As I've not climbed a hill for a while, I wanted to keep my legs okay for tomorrow, so I chose a bike session tonight, and as expected, with my recent FTP increase, it was a proper workout. It didn't push me over the edge, but I couldn't have done many more reps.

Overall, a good workout. Right, I'm off to find the sun cream...

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Resting Heart Rate

It's been another good week's training. Six sessions of varying intensity, including that pretty hefty FTP increase on Thursday. That knackered my legs a bit for the next few days but nevertheless I've done a few good sessions. I still feel I'm a long way off 'proper running' but I'm still heading in the right direction. I'm closely monitoring the data to make sure I don't overdo things. As long as I can keep making small gains, week on week, I'll be happy. Talking of the data, it shows my resting heart rate, weekly average, as the lowest it's been for two years. I can't really put that all down to the training because I'm still far less fit than I was back then (and I wasn't really that fit then either). What it tells me, is that I've been low on iron for a long time and that most of my current improvement is from actually having some haemoglobin...

Thursday, June 30, 2022

I Took It

My legs felt mostly recovered so, as threatened, I went for it on Zwift. I chose a flattish route with a few bumps. I don't have high cadence so have always tended to grind out more power on the climbs than the flat so the bumps would help keep the power up. After a couple of minutes at the start I felt I knew what power I was going aim for in the half hour ride and just kept at. In the end it turned out two laps of the chosen route and a very pleasing 25% increase in my FTP - I have a feeling the next structured training ride might be a bit more testing than Tuesday's session. Onwards and upwards. It's going to be an easy run day tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

It's Becoming Difficult to Take a Rest Day...

After twelve workouts, at various intensities, in two weeks I decided on a rest day. My legs felt a bit stiff this morning. They've eased but don't feel fully eased this evening. After yesterday's bike session, which didn't seem like it pushed me hard enough, I feel like another FTP increase is ready for the taking. Provided my legs feel fully refreshed tomorrow then I shall be going for it on the Zwift. If they still feel a bit heavy, then it'll be some sort of recovery 'run'. Either way, it's getting hard to pull a rest day. I know, I know, the body needs time off to rebuild the muscle tissue and all that jazz but I'm so keen to keep the momentum going I don't want to miss a day.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

A Full Weeks Training

Overall, it's been a good weeks training. Today's reps felt a bit easier than I thought they would so I need to make sure I set myself targets that will push me. On the plus side, the data is still showing improvement, so things are still heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

And They Were Feeling Fresher Today...

The legs, that is. Yesterday's recovery walk did the trick and that led to today's session with my longest intervals to date. Nine 600's off a 200m recovery. I felt pretty good and at no point did my calves feel tight - which is another first of late. The pace is still not great, but it was my longest session distance to date.

Never has the philosopher Joni Mitchell's proverb, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" felt more profound. For the first time in probably ten years have I really found the motivation to return. I've had many false starts during that time, where I wanted to get fitter without really feeling the same desire that I had twenty years ago, when it all began.

I can't yet predict when I'm going to be ready to stand on that start line, but never will it feel more satisfying when I do...

Monday, June 20, 2022

Legs Still a Bit Tired...

So I've been continuing with the training. Little by little increasing the duration and/or intensity - or both! It's still pitiful but I'm pleased with my progress. My FTP on the bike took another increase a few days ago and my treadmill sessions are seeing more running and less walking - apart from today.

I almost snuck in a rest day as my legs are feeling tired, heavy and a bit sore in places but instead I did a fast walk on the treadmill with a couple of faster 100m's at the end. The final 100m effort was my fastest since finding iron strength....

Today's session didn't put much strain on things so hopefully, my pegs will be feeling a bit better tomorrow - and I feel much the better from having walked fast rather than surfed the sofa. I've not planned tomorrow's training. I'll see how things are before deciding whether to ride the bike or pound the treadmill....

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Legs a Bit Tired

I've been continuing to build the sessions this week with a couple of runs and a ride. I was definitely feeling it in the legs for today's third run of the week. Yesterday I had a decent effort up the Alp du Zwift. I'm nowhere near having the fitness to make the summit but it was a good effort, rewarding me with another FTP increase. Have to see how the legs feel tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Little By Little

I've been sticking with the run/walk repetitions on the treadmill and have started to slowly increase the duration of the run interval. I've also been closely monitoring my 'body battery' to make sure I'm not going at it over zealously. I am keen to crack on but equally aware not to tip the balance and slip backwards. I can see it's going to be a journey of a thousand miles, but I've most definitely taken those first few steps.

I am so looking forward to what will be the magical moment when I'm able to return to fell running - I will be over the moon to come last - because to be last means I will have made it back.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Where's the Spinach?

Things are still headed in the right direction but I'm definitely starting from a very low point. All the data - have I ever said, I love data - is showing improvement. Stress levels are dropping, resting heart rate is dropping (from a somewhat high level), body battery is on the up, sleep quality is improving, and the mysterious cycling FTP has increased for the third time out of four Zwifts. It is all very lowly but I'm so pleased I can see that light at the end of the tunnel - albeit a very long tunnel...

Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Long Long Time....

So I've been out of the running game for a long time. For well over a year I haven't been able to run. Even climbing the stairs was hard work. Turns out the human body needs a bit of haemoglobin to function. After a couple of weeks on vitamin D3, K2 and iron supplementation and I've been able to run a session on the treadmill at pacing beyond what could be classed walking. It has been a long time and it felt bloody great!