Saturday, December 23, 2023

Normal Service Starting to Resume...

So finally, my resting heart rate returned to normal yesterday. I'm still a bit nasally bunged up but otherwise heading back to normal. I wasn't that unwell with COVID. Headache, a bit achy and the mandatory chesty cough but I wasn't going to be silly about it. Better to ride out the storm and come back fighting...

I ran a very gentle 5k on the treadmill yesterday, and my heart rate remained as low as normal - if not even a little lower! Today I headed over to the woods for a tentative first proper run. I took it easy, pacing a slower than normal. Definitely not 100% yet, but it won't be too many days before I am and then I can gauge the fitness hit I took this last week.

A take away from the week, is just how well my Garmin watch predicted the illness - if I'd bother to check it. Its data for stress levels, body battery and resting heart rate perfectly mirrored my bodies battle with the virus - and if I'd been paying attention last Saturday/Sunday I'd have known my immune system was under attack. How those magical algorithms do their thing is beyond me, but do their thing they do. It knew before me that my immune system was under attack.. Must pay closer attention in the future.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Well, I Might Not Be Doing the K Reps this Week After All...

And this explains my elevated resting heart rate since since Saturday despite not actually feeling unwell - until today. And I honestly don't feel too bad. Bit of a headache, bit of a cough and slightly achy. But overall, not too bad and despite the elevated resting heart rate, I almost took a hill segment PB on Zwift yesterday, and I wasn't going eyeballs out. I was even contemplating a crack at the Hope Wood East Side climb segment this evening as I felt so strong but not now. The curse of Covid has finally struck. After avoiding for almost four years (at least that I know of). Normal service will resume once the resting heart rate comes back down.

I have a feeling I am going to go stir crazy waiting to get back running not to mention the physiological feeling that my fitness will ooze away.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Missed a Week

 ... on the blog but not the running. It's been a mix of bike sessions, treadmill sessions and some 9/10k time trial-esque real world runs. I need to hit some kilometre reps this week as it's been over three weeks since my last set, but other than that it's all good on the running front.

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Definitely Gloves Weather

It took slightly longer than expected to get over my unexpectedly knackered legs from last Saturday's Blorenge marshalling - or more accurately the run-jog decent back down. The first part of the week was recovery, followed by a short interval session on the treadmill Thursday.

That led to yesterday's crack at a fast time on the local Longhope-Blaisdon loop, 8½km. I was rewarded with over three minutes off my time from August and only two minutes back from my best (which was 2016 and probably not my absolute best but if it's not on Strava it doesn't exist). I don't think it will be too long before that mark is surpassed.

Today? Well, yesterday was cold but today was colder. Too cold for a pu... - southern softie - like me, so I bottled it and ran a recovery 10k on the treadmill instead.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Nice Trip to the Hills

Yesterday I was on Blorenge fell race duties once again. And what a day for it. It was a cracking weather. Not wanting to miss out on a run I headed over early so I could get out for a little pootle along the canal, and depending on the timing, run as far or not within the time window. Ended up just over 8km at close to 10k race pace. Happy with that.

Then after a bit I headed up to my marshalling spot, counted the runners through and then ran back down. I didn't go berserk on the way down as I was wearing walking boots, but I was more than jogging - and today my quads are sore from the pounding.

The rest of the week has been pretty steady mix of runs and rides and a solid Zwift race (bike) on Friday. It was one of my most competitive although I mucked up the finish and dropped from the front to 29th. I should have blasted into the finish climb as I'm strong on the climbs but instead I went in with the group, who all started hitting the power from the bottom, and I got caught sleeping and it was all over. I managed to claw back a few places, but the horse had bolted. Definitely need to hone my Zwift race craft.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Saved It for the Long Run

The body battery has been a little low this week, so I eased back on the speed work although I still completed the second of the Zwift Academy training sessions on the bike and that was pretty solid. Today was long run Saturday and I extended my distance out to 13½km. A slightly flatter route this week but not without some 200+m of ascent, mostly at the front end. That allowed me to get into a solid rhythm through the middle section where I was pacing around 4:50 pace before feeling the extra distance in the last few kilometres on the run for home. Happy with the run, completed in 1hr10.
I'm aiming to extend the distance little by little over the winter. Interspersed with keeping the speed work going, ready to hit the spring and break some records...

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Continued Focus

Today was long (for me) run day and I covered 11 hilly road kilometres in an hour. Pretty happy with that as it's been another week of focussed training. Early part of the week I ran my fastest set of 6 one-kilometre reps at 4:10 pace, followed midweek by the first of the autumn Zwift academy bike training sessions and yesterday I ran three sets of 5 by 1-minute reps at 3:45 pace off 30s recovery.
What still stuns me, when I think about yesterday's session, is that at my peak, I was able to string 18 of those one-minute reps together - without the recovery for my 5k PB. I can't imagine how that was even possible! But then it was a decade and a half ago and I ain't getting any younger.
With that said, back eighteen months ago when the reboot began, when I couldn't even run a single kilometre without stopping to walk, I didn't imagine I'd be running kilometre reps at 4:10 or even thinking about making my legs move at 3:45 pace. I've come a long way in a relatively short time. It's been a bit of a journey to get here, with a few injuries and niggles along the way and the journey is far from over....

Friday, November 03, 2023

Focused

It has been my best week's training for a while. The achilles is pretty much back to normal. Still ever so slightly tight but five minutes of gentle stretching before the off and I don't even notice it.

I've run a couple of solid treadmill interval sessions and a decent session on the bike, culminating in today's treadmill session where I hit 16kph for the first time - and it felt comfortable! I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I feel my current 5k PB isn't going to be my PB for that much longer, if you get my drift. A few more solid weeks of training and then it'll be a park run.... I feel so good I reckon I might even be ready to don the club vest and complete my return from retirement in some actual club events like the GLCL - when I say ready, I mean in the spring when it's not so cold and wet....


Saturday, October 28, 2023

Caught a Cold

I knew something was up last weekend. My 'body battery'* was showing a distinct lack of recharge after a night's sleep. The sleep itself was pretty sound but I felt tired. That went on for a few days before Tuesday and I awoke - again, the body battery wasn't recharging as it should - to a sore throat. That explained things. My first cold for almost two years.

I think I'm over it now as my battery was more recharged this morning, so I headed out for a decent run in the forest followed by an easy 30minute cool down on the bike. Despite the cold and feeling a bit tired, I did put in some solid training through the week with a better-than-expected work lunch 5k from the office on Wednesday - setting a new course pb by over 90s. Monday, I ran a some of 800 reps at a decent pace and in between those there was some solid Zwifting on the bike.

Looking forward to a few weeks of uninterrupted training....

* The Garmin watch stat.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Happy With That

It was time for another parkrun and I headed over to Gloucester for the Kingsway one. It was nice to catch up with my old chums Sylvia and Graham albeit I didn't have too much time to chat afterwards as I had to swap in the spare tyre on the car as I had a puncture which I can get repaired hopefully.

My achilles was stiff before the off and I put in a gentle 2k warm up, during which I could feel it loosening up and by the start it felt okay but I wasn't intending to push it just in case. I set off well back down the field to force myself to go slowly. My first kilometre was just inside five minutes and it all felt okay. By then the field was thinning out and I decided to increase the pace a little as it was feeling easy and the achilles remained in good shape.

I wasn't looking at my watch during the run. I didn't need to. I wasn't chasing a pb. Today was just about running comfortably and not breaking down. Turns out I was pacing at around 4:35 pace for the last four kilometres but it felt slower as I didn't feel like I was working overly hard. Yes, I was puffing but I was nowhere near the limit. My average heart rate today was 140bpm (peak 155) vs a ballpark 155-160 (peak 170+) when I'm on the limit. Combine the lowish heart rate with the surprise of dipping inside 23 minutes and it means I haven't lost too much fitness during these several weeks of slight injury. Infact, I might even have gained some!

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Steady Week

So, the achilles is still feeling tight but does ease up after twenty minutes. Just walking around the house, I don't feel it at all. I'm doing some stretches and it is definitely no longer in the danger zone. I've managed to put in some decent training without any repercussions. It's a case of having the confidence that it's not suddenly break down again but equally I'm taking a cautious approach. I'm in this for the long run - boom, boom - so not going to blow it now. Slow and steady wins the race....

Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Real Run

It's been a week of building. I can still feel the achilles when I run but it's not painful, just sort of a little tight. I've stuck to the treadmill (interspersed with bike sessions) but increased the intensity bit by bit with a couple of interval sessions. Friday's session saw me almost back to pre-injury speeds and it felt almost easy so I'm happy I've managed to retain fitness through the last few weeks. Today I braved a real run and that too was decent. I took it easy but still managed a time equalling my recent efforts on the loop. Very nearly normal service resumed....

Monday, September 25, 2023

The Aches are Easing

It has been a frustrating few weeks. I've been itching to get back out there but my left achilles is only now just about ready. I've consigned myself to the treadmill, so I don't get caught miles from home, and have to limp back. It's been gentle. No real interval sessions. Just steady, easy pace.
After today's 12½km I think I'm ready to resume full training - although I will ease back into it just to be on the safe side. I'd rather complete a week of slightly lesser training and be 100% next week, than jump right back in, guns blazing, and put myself back to square one.
Oh, the joys of managing injury while hopefully not losing too much fitness or speed...

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Marshalling Duties

So, the weekend before last I was on duty at the Fan Brycheiniog race and today I was marshalling Bal Bach in the Black Mountains race. Weather today was at best unpleasant. I was off for almost a month after Fan B last year, so I was pleased to get up and down safely and in a good time, somewhere in the region of 20 minutes quicker up and 15 down. Happy with the progress. Today was meant to be up to the summit and along the ridge for a bit of a run before the marshalling, but it was wet and horrible, so I only did 5k before calling it quits. 

In between the two marshalling, it's not been great running training as I injured my left achilles last Friday. It was hot in the forest and my right foot blistered midway through a 10k solid pootle, subconsciously leading me to alter my gait and then knacker my achilles. It wasn't proper knackered, just sore. Luckily, it was okay for the Zwifting but that's not the same as running and I felt things ebbing away. Except I had some really good hard efforts of the ol' Zwift, including a few virtual hill-climbs. I like a good grind - ooh matron. Any there's nothing gindier than several k's out of the saddle at 11% in a 10k climb averaging 6%. When I'm on the climb portal I can't help but push it to the limit. Can't wait for the virtual Tourmalet to come around again, to have another crack at that bad boy, having watched the pros go at it on the real thing in the La Vuelta.



Sunday, September 03, 2023

Another Year, Another Fan Brycheiniog

Yes, it was that time of year again (yesterday) where I marshal the summit for the fell race of the same name. Maybe next year I'll find a stand in for my marshalling spot so I can take a crack at the race itself. I don't mind the marshalling though as it's a good training. I 'time trialled' it both up to the summit and back down again to compare my times a year on. 19 minutes quicker up and 17 minutes quicker down. I'll take that. My legs do feel a bit sore today, hence a gentle bike session but it's a vast improvement from last year, where I was on light training duties for three weeks in the aftermath.

Other than the marshalling, it's been a typical week of training. The bike reps have slipped a bit over the last few weeks, so I need to plan in a few structured work outs to continue improvement there. It's also time for another parkrun next weekend to keep that momentum going and I really need to pencil in another race or two but overall, I'm pleased how things are going.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

A Bit Up and Down

The week started okay with a good set of 800's on Tuesday and a solid Duathlon, which was somewhat spoilt by an intermittent drop-out during the run, which cost me a new best 20-minute distance (duathlon) effort. Need to get to the bottom of the interference, as it wasn't exactly intermittent. It was almost exactly every two minutes, which suggests interference from some other device, sending out a beacon or similar. Never had that before, so a bit odd.

Thursday's and Friday's training was a bit of a right off due to an emergency at work that I had to attend. After getting a good night's sleep last night, I was back on it properly today with my best Flaxley Long loop of the reboot. I got further up the long climb than I have before, and I closed in another few seconds on the east side climb segment, beating my best from 2016. Only another ten seconds to go and that one will be mine....


Saturday, August 19, 2023

The First Pound is the Heaviest

Well, actually, the first kilogram. Which is even better. Yes, the first kilogram has left the building. A few more still required to exit stage left but it's a good start.

On to the training and it's been a good week. Speed reps Tuesday followed by the Zwift duathlon league race Wednesday, of which I managed to get transitioned to the treadmill in time this week. Still haven't quite got the running down but I know where I need to focus. The first five minutes I couldn't run for toffee, then I got going but didn't have the courage to increase the speed more rapidly and ended up having far too much left in the tank as the twenty minutes elapsed. I fractionally exceeded my best previous run, but there is much more to come. Next time I must be braver...

Thursday was treadmill tempo hill reps and Friday an easy-ish Zwift bike with a few hard efforts - to set some short climb PBs. Up today was a hilly road run. Not overly long and I'm glad of that. It was so humid, I was dripping. Still managed my best time round the loop and homing in on my best from pre-reboot.

Probably an easy something tomorrow...

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Bit of a Recovery Week

It's been an easier week. It didn't start off that way as I put in a really good set of six 1-kilometre reps off a 200m recovery on Tuesday followed by the Not Zwift Duathlon on Wednesday. I say not Duathlon because after hammering out 35 minutes on the bike - and it was hard work - I didn't managed to get transitioned to the treadmill in time, I was so close but by the time it loaded in, it was past the start time and that was my race over. Was quite disappointed and didn't feel like doing a twenty-minute run to get no points. I'll try again this week. After that it's been a few easier sessions as to be honest I've been feeling a bit jaded. So, I've listened to my body and taken it easy. Full rest day tomorrow and then I'll be refreshed and back on it...

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Top of Leaderboard...

I finally claimed my first Strava Segment of the Running Reboot 2.0 and in fact, my first for what must be over a decade. It was only a local one in Hope Wood, so unlikely to see any super athletes attempting it but you can only target what's been set and that's what I did. 

So, on the back of my Parkrun success Saturday my legs felt okay. It took me a few minutes to loosen up and I didn't set out to attempt it but by the time I got into the woods I thought, hell, let's do this. I learnt from my previous attempt - that and the fact I've worked out how to set up auto-segments on my watch - and started the effort from, well, the start this time. There wasn't much science to it. Just run at as fast a pace as you can that'll get you to the end. I was hurting as the final stretch came into view and emptied the tank, but it was worth it to get the record by 7s. The first of - I'd like to say many - but it'll be more like one or two...

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Not Gonna Lie...

I went for it... but in a controlled manner. Based on my training. All very scientific...

Anyway, despite a strong week's training, I felt I had a decent shot at a new 5k Parkrun time this morning. I was meeting up with one of my running compadres from times gone by for the Monmouth one, which I've not run before. It was a course suited to fast times, with a short lap followed by three big ones and pancake flat. It's safe to say it wasn't the most pleasant conditions but at least I wasn't going to overheat!

I had my pace, locked and loaded,4:30/km, and off I set. I managed to not get carried away at the start (for once) and held a pace around the target. Up a bit here, down a bit there, up a bit, down a bit, everywhere and round a bit but that doesn't paint the true pacing picture as my three big laps (1.5km/lap) were all within 5s of each other, so I'll take that as consistent.

Crossed the line in 22:29. A thirty second improvement on my Mallards Pike time from a couple of months back and a good steppingstone towards a time starting with 21...

It was good to catch up with my old buddy and his wife and hopefully I'll get out and about to do a few more Parkruns further afield. Oh, and I should say it was nice to see the Ashton's. Sue's encouragement at the switchback was most welcome.


Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Early Days in the Zwift Duathlon Series but....

...the signs are promising.

Last season I was sitting somewhere in the top 50 to 55% (age cat) for the Zwift Duathlon races. Can it really be the 'top' so many percent, when you're actually in the bottom half? Anyway, I digress. They've tweaked it a little this season, adding an extra five minutes to the run and taking five minutes from the transition. So now you it's a 35-minute ride, 5 minutes transition and then a 20-minute run. I hammered the bike, claiming a new 35minute power best and then wobble legged my way to my best 20-minute treadmill effort (in the Duathlon series).

Now it is very early days and with just one race out of the six complete (wall almost complete, as there are a few time zones still to complete) but the early, non-statistically important, results are in... I am sitting in the top 22% by age category. I'm confident, even if I drop a little, as the rest of the results come in, that it'll still be a huge improvement on last season. Looking forward to next week's race already...

Monday, July 31, 2023

Bottled It

So last week ended up being my highest mileage run week so far (read, 'of the comeback') and I almost made the month's 7500m ascent (bike) Strava challenge (virtually). I am loving the new Zwift climb portals and thought I might achieve it but fitting that around my primary focus didn't quite pan out, as it turns out.

I was looking to virtually ride the Tourmalet yesterday, to complete the challenge but it's been a heavy week of training and having watched the pro woman climb it in the Tour de France Femme on Saturday, I knew I wasn't man enough for it! and sensibly deferred it for another day.... (Hopefully soon though). So, Sunday ended up being a very tired run and gentle 30minute Zwift. Today has been a rest day, before it all starts again tomorrow, and then up Wednesday is the return of the Zwift Duathlon series where I'm looking to smash some records...

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Moving on Up...

... The Zwift categories. So, I didn't realise I've moved up a Zwift power category. Last year I was down to a D (lowest) from C, where I'd been since I started Zwifting. In all my time as a C, I didn't see any possibility of making it into the B cat. Obviously, I'm scrapping the bottom of the B barrel so guaranteed to be battling it out at the back if I do any races, but do I care? Just getting into the B cat is an achievement I didn't see coming.

The week has been a mix of Zwifting and treadmill intervals followed by a run in the woods today and obviously a Zwift after that, of course. Although I wasn't exactly rested after a solid Zwift Volcano climb PB and a set of intervals on the treadmill yesterday, I decided to have a crack at the hope wood Central Climb Strava segment this morning and took it easy to the start of the segment before hitting the accelerator.

I didn't quite manage the KOM but did at least come away with a PB, beating my time from seven years ago and moved up to equal 4th on the leaderboard, only nine seconds from the top spot. And I slightly ballsed the start, as I didn't quite get where the start of segment was so lost a few seconds there before I increased my effort.

Another run ride day tomorrow to round out the week...



Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Time to Drop Some Pounds...

...and I'm not talking cash. Since last year I have had my appetite back and I've eaten well. Too well and now I am packing... packing way too many extra kilograms. Kilograms that I don't want to be carrying with me when I race. I am (at least) five kilograms over my racing weight. And now I am back out of retirement and racing, that has simply got to go. Operation Portion Control and Operation Stop Snacking are commencing forth-with....

That aside, it has been a surprisingly good week and a bit of training. My legs were shot after the race last Sunday (not the one just gone) and didn't feel too special last Monday (a rest day) but by Tuesday they were only slightly sore, so I cracked on with a semi-gentle Zwift climb portal ride - I say semi-gentle, who am I kidding, I went at the virtual Cote de Domancy hard after watching the pros go at it in the Tour de France. Wednesday, I put in a decent treadmill interval session and Thursday was another virtual climb, the Col du Platzerwasel. I went at that overly ambitious at the bottom but held on over the 7.8km, 600m climb to set a good time but even better, it was long enough a ride to trigger an FTP increase. I knew I was in condition to set new figures; it was just a matter of when. 

Friday was an interval session on the mill, dialled slightly back as my legs were feeling it a tad. It was a semi easy weekend, and I was looking forward to a good run out yesterday, but it rained terrible here and I did a combo steady treadmill and Zwift climb portal and aqueduct KOM, were I set a couple more PBs. Today I decided to have a crack at the local A40 KOM. My legs were not feeling fresh, but I still thought I had a chance. I fell tantalisingly short by just 3seconds, so it is definitely going to be mine. It's a case of when not if. It ended up being a pretty solid 9¹/₂k tempo/threshold run (I never know the difference between those two). Rest day tomorrow.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

I Am Officially Out of Retirement...

Fell running retirement, with the completion of my first fell race since my return. The Waun Fach fell race, 10.6km with in the region of 650m of ascent. I sort of enjoyed it in a suffering sort of way and I was able to run more of it than I thought I would. The steep bits defeated me, but wherever it flattened a little I got running again. I swear I could hear the haunting words, "come on, you can run this bit", drifting in the air... 

I started at the back of the field to prevent me getting carried away on the downhill first kilometre. After that it was into the main climb, probably two thirds of the total ascent is over and done with in the first three and a half kilometres. After that, I tried to push on and during the next section across and up to the Waun Fach summit, I closed in on several runners before picking them off on the flatter section after the summit.

I started the descent down the dragons back almost like my old self but after a kilometre my legs were f*(%ed and I had to steady the reckless descending over the rugged rocks as this ragged rascal ran out of steam. I got down safely though, picked up another couple of places and made it over the line in a time I'm happy with, and a little quicker than I'd targeted.

My legs are proper sore now so it might be a couple of rest days coming up. It'll give me time to plan the next couple of races in my come back...

Friday, July 14, 2023

Made It to the Line on Time

And I made it inside my target time of 50 minutes as well. I didn't go into it off the back of my finest couple of weeks training, what with my dodgy foot an' all, but my marker is down. I am of course talking about my first road race for a long time, yesterday evening's Red Hart Blaisdon 10k. The last time I raced the Blaisdon was back in 2016, and I'm not sure, but that may have been my last road race. There can't be many others I did after that. Seven years ago, I managed a time of 45:36, and I wasn't far off that yesterday, coming home in 47:51. Pleased with that. Gives me something to chip away at but more importantly, my foot held up. It was a little sore on the walk home, but it's been fine today. It still aches slightly, as it did before the race, but nothing to stop me cracking on.

So up tomorrow I'm going to be getting wet marshalling check point two, Fan Llia, at the Four Fans fell race and then Sunday I head to Waun Fach for my first proper fell race for a few years.

Friday, July 07, 2023

Missing the Proper Running....

But I'm almost ready to return to it. And not a minute too soon. I have managed a few sessions on the treadmill this week but it's only really the last one where I've managed to get up to speed and complete the session at full intensity. The left foot is much better but still not 100% so I am being extremely careful. I'd rather the rehab takes a little longer and be clear of it than return too soon and put myself back to square one. That said, I really don't want to cancel this Thursday's Blaisdon 10k (road) but it might end up being a training run rather than a race. I will be a bit gutted though. Then of course there's the weekends fell marshalling and race to look forward to, again, my participation in the race next Sunday is on a knife edge...

So with limited running, the major focus of the weeks training has been Zwift cycling and specifically, climbing. After completing the Ventoux climb for the first-time last Sunday, I've knocked out another 1900m of ascent on various Zwift KOM's and I haven't spared many watts in the process. Every metre of ascent has been on or near the limit. Today's virtual Puy de Dome, another HC graded climb, with its 938m of ascent spread over 12.9km and was as tough as any, with the steepest section coming at the end, weighing in close to 10% for the final 3km. It's been good training though, as I feel strong and my Garmin VO2 score has increased another point, taking it higher than it's been in over a decade.


Sunday, July 02, 2023

Virtually Made it to the Top...

The Ven-Top. Zwift's answer to the epic Mont Ventoux KOM climb. It has a categorisation of HC - which should stand for hard-core but is actually hors cat├ęgorie, which means 'beyond categorisation' - and not at all rude, for those who can't spell. The route is 20.9km long with a gruelling 1534m of climb. It is the hardest climb on Zwift and every Zwifter should complete it at least once. With an average gradient of 7.3% with some sections at between 10-13% for several kilometres at a time. There is almost no respite. It is, quite simply, an absolute bastard.

At around the halfway mark I almost jacked it in as it was so gruellingly hard but got through that bad patch and cracked onwards. It was hard. Very bloody hard. After what seemed an eternity, I got to the virtual summit in 1 hour, 51minutes 33seconds. I've ticked the box but I'm not sure I'm going to ride that again any time soon...

As to the rest of the week, it's been Zwift, Zwift, Zwift, mouse rescue, yet more Zwift and a very gentle 3k on the treadmill today after my efforts up Ven-Top this morning. My foot has not been completely pain free but it is a world away from the pain induced hobbling at the front end of the week. I took it very slowly and built the pace a little bit. I was prepared to hit the stop if I felt any pain. Thankfully it didn't come to that. I had no discomfort.

I'm keeping everything crossed. Hopefully there will be no aftershocks and I can start back with some gentle training and move things forward from there.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Curious Incident of the Mouse in the Nighttime

My foot is feeling much better, but I can still feel the pain point in the midsole area. Unsurprisingly, I have not ventured back to the treadmill yet let alone the outside world - running wise. So, this week, it's been Zwift, Zwift, Zwift and more bike Zwift. A couple of zone 3 rides and two interval sessions. I'm sensing..... more Zwift tomorrow....

Anyway, onto the not so curious incident... It's been a while since I've received a nighttime delivery - and that's a good thing - but this morning, circa sometime when it was still pitch-black outside, I heard a curious squeaking which stirred me from my sleep. After finding my bearings I realised the cat had brought in something. Something live. Something live, which the damn cat had thought a good idea to drop amongst my shoes under the bed. Queue a 'little bit' of swearing followed by chasing the cat out of the bedroom and then attempting to catch the mouse...

I'm pretty pro when it comes to that - I've had a lot of practice. So, with its tail sticking out, the mouse was mine. The little bugger then dug its teeth in. I wasn't going to gift it back to the cat, so I shot down the stairs stark naked and out into the front garden, mouse still clamped soundly onto my finger. The mouse extricated itself from my finger once it sensed freedom. A happy ending. It scampered off and I'm probably going to die of the plague...


Monday, June 26, 2023

I Think I Broke My Foot...

Not really, it just f*(%ing hurts, and I can only hobble. Although that was Saturday, and it is feeling a bit better today.

Having twisted my foot during last week's return to racing, I couldn't run Monday or Tuesday, but it wasn't too painful and by Wednesday I headed to the treadmill to reduce the impacts by way of a tester. There were no repercussions from that, so I thought that was the all clear. Thursday, I headed out for a short blast after work on the Hobbs loop. That went well and I moved up to 2nd in the A40 climb KOM rankings on Strava - that is now officially my target for claiming my first KOM for over a decade....

Then it all went a bit wrong Saturday. I was going okay despite being hellishly hot. I improved my time on the central Flaxley climb KOM - I'm only 18s short of my all-time best from nine years ago - so I'm going to be taking that down imminently. Then, about 4-5km in, my foot went again. I slowed and got home but the foot was knackered. As I said, it is feeling better today, and it doesn't seem to affect me on the bike so it's going to be a week of Zwifting and then some gentle treadmilling into the weekend.

Up today was a pretty solid 30-minute tempo on the Zwift with Mathieu van der Poel. More bike tomorrow and then some more Wednesday and then.... some more Thursday....

Sunday, June 18, 2023

First Race Complete

So, there it is. My first race of the comeback is officially complete - and I've the T-shirt to prove it. As I sit and type this, I am thoroughly knackered, and I've twisted my left foot so I'm expecting that to hurt tomorrow. Who knew a simple 10k could take such a toll? I guess with 220m of ascent, rutted ground and some lumps and bumps along the way, it wasn't your typical 10k. It was also very hot and muggy. Which was less than ideal for me. I've never run well in the heat. I had a run out midweek in the heat and did not enjoy it but despite that, I was still really looking forward to it...

My aims for the race were simple, make the top 50% and clock inside 55 minutes. I was confident of the first count but less so on the second, on account of that damn humid, muggy heat. Anyway, I spent last night (well, twenty minutes of it) looking over the route, to work out my tactics. With a steepish lumpy (descent) start and then some steady climb in the second half I decided my best tactic was to go hard and hang on. I knew I'd wilt in the heat, so if I went off steady, I'd never make anything back. So that was the tactics set.

I stuck to the plan. Murdered myself in the first half to get some time in the bag and then hung on as best I could. It was not pretty but I did make it across the line with both goals met. I actually made the top 25% which was a surprise and I clocked 54:15. My next race is a flattish road 10k in a few weeks which will be far more conducive to running at an even pace - or trying to...

The race was the Magic Roundabout 10k, organised by Hay Hotfooters. So big thanks to them for putting such a well organised, marked and marshalled race - if you could arrange for it to be a little cooler next time though, that would be great.


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Not Long Now...

Just a week away from my first actual race since the return began. I think I'm ready and my aim is pretty basic; finish in the top 50%. It's a far cry from the top 10% of olden days, but you've got to start small...

Anyway, it's been another decent week of training. Zwift intervals on the bike. A set of intervals on the treadmill and a long run - although it was not quite as long as it should have been on account of taking a wrong turn and missing 2km. Despite that, it was a good run. With every passing run, I feel I'm getting my old climbing legs. There is still some way to go but I'm getting there.

That was yesterday, and today I ran a recovery 8km and my goodness was it ever hot. Finished with a 20-minute cool down on the bike. It'll be another run and bike tomorrow and then it's time to taper into next Sunday's Magic Roundabout - where hopefully Zebedee won't overtake me...

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Starting to Register Some Gains on Strava Segments

I ran some short treadmill reps Friday at a pretty good pace, but I had my eye on Saturday's long run so didn't do too many. Talking of the long run, it was a tad under 15km and the hilliest so far at 450m of ascent. I stayed local as it's hilly enough round here to get some good ascent numbers. Not mountain ascent numbers but it's still pretty solid.

I've missed a few weeks of the long run and I felt pretty knackered in the last the last few kilometres, but I didn't have any aches today, so I still feel on track. I'm not saying I felt fresh, mind. Today's 5k Hobbs Quary loop with it 150m of ascent was hard work. My legs didn't have any power but having said that, I still ran that ascent the fastest I have since 2014 so I mustn't grumble.

Fitted a couple of short Zwift's after yesterdaay's and today's runs by way of a bit of active recovery. Definitely a rest day tomorrow though, as my quads are shot but it was a good week of training which saw me get a couple of honourable mentions on the Strava segment rankings. I've got my sights set on those local segments....


Thursday, June 01, 2023

Entered Another Race and I've Not Even Run the First One Yet!

So, I'm up to three races booked in and I'm yet to run the first one yet. Although it is getting closer. As to today's entry, it seemed rude not to as it is practically on my doorstep. Not 3km away. However, I have realised I now have three activities in four days in July. The newly entered 10k road race is on a Thursday, marshalling on Fan Llia Saturday and Waun Fach Sunday. Going to be knackered come the Monday...

Other news, it was the 2nd work lunch run yesterday. I used the facility on a Garmin watch to run against a previous activity with the intension of pacing things the same, to stop us getting competitive. I shall definitely use it more in the future. It worked a treat, as we covered the 5.4k route spot on pace, just 1.5s quicker. It was an improvement though, as it felt much easier. That's 'easier', not easy. We'll probably have to have a crack at smashing it at some point in a month or two...

 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

About Average

It was a couple of solid sessions at the front end of the week. Minute reps on the treadmill, fastest pace I've managed so far, towards 3:30min/km pace followed by the final Zwift spring group session on the bike on Wednesday. Yesterday I ran the short Flaxley loop in a new fastest time followed by a twenty-minute Zwift recovery - although I did set a pb on the Leg Snapper climb segment. Couldn't help myself. Today I went for the long Flaxley loop. I felt tired but still had a solid run. I was a few seconds down on my fastest time, but happy with the result under the circumstances. It'll be a gentle Zwift tomorrow - no segment PBs... and then hopefully all fresh for a longer run Monday.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

One Year On...

It seemed only right to mark one year since I was able to start running again with a celebratory outing to the Mallards Pike Parkrun. In my training notes for the session on this day last year, I noted it as being "the first 'run' for a very long time that was faster than walking pace"... Although looking at the stats, it wasn't faster by much...

Back then, I covered some 3km in just under 28 minutes. Roll it on one year and I can cover that same 3km in under half the time! And I've clocked up over 400 training sessions. That's averaging more than one a day. What a difference a year makes - and some vitamin D3. I have not felt so energised, so well for a decade....

Bringing things forward to today and I nearly decided not to run. My legs are still a bit achy here and there from that night out at Skirrid. I've put in a couple of decent training sessions, but everything aches a little. In the end, I gave myself a quick slap and got on with it. You can't run fast every time.

Turned out not to be as slow as I was expecting though. I ran hard but knowing I couldn't pb this time, I didn't really push. Turns out that was a schoolboy error as I was actually a few seconds up on pb pace to halfway, but it felt slow. Now I didn't exactly jog the downhill, but I didn't push into the hurt zone, like I have the previous times. In the end I was only 7s back. Now I'm not saying I could have made all that up, because 7s is more than it sounds in a 5k, but if I'd realised there was any chance, I'd have absolutely pushed into the hurt...

So, it's one year complete for Running Reboot 2.0 and I'm pleased with how far I've come. I've exceeded my expectations so now it's onwards into year two... Oh yeah, and while I remember, I've now handed in my entry for my first actual, real fell race. It's in July.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Almost Felt Like Fell Running...

It's been both a good week and a bad week of training. The week started on track with a solid Zwift and treadmill session, shorter reps on both fronts. Thursday was the highlight though. I marshalled the summit of Skirrid in the night race of same name. I had a good bit of kit in my rucksack weighing me down but decided to run the route out and up to the summit.

As the racers approached up the steep climb the mist descended, reducing the visibility still further with the sun now descended below the horizon. I was pleased with my run as I wouldn't have been last if I'd been racing. Once the runners went through, I packed up my kit and ran the descent. I couldn't see much in the mist, my glasses almost totally fogged but after descending a bit, it cleared, and I picked up the pace. I started to push, and it felt good. I was bloody roasting by the end, mind, because I hadn't taken off enough layers.

Anyway, that was where the week's training turned bad. Who'd have thought just over 2km of running could pound your legs so badly? It's Sunday now, and my quads are still sore. I managed a very gentle hour on the bike yesterday and a gentle 5k on the treadmill today but I'm hoping my legs feel better tomorrow. Thursday's pounding was worth it. It was good prep for what's to come in the summer.

Monday, May 08, 2023

I've Only Gone and Done It!...

... Entered a proper race wot you have to pay to enter with real money! None of this freebie 'not really a race but it is kind of' Parkrun - and I'm not knocking Parkrun because Parkrun is possibly the greatest invention to have ever happened to running. It's somehow different when you have to hand over hard cash though!

I've got 40 days to hone my 10k pace. It won't quite be back to the fells, but I'll at least be able to see the mountains not far distant... 


Saturday, May 06, 2023

An Average Week

It has been a decidedly indoorsy week of training. Just when you think we're heading towards summer, the gods of the seasons kicks you squarely in the nuts. It has been decent training though. I added on an extra kilometre to my race prep reps on Tuesday and a fraction more speed. That was after a double header recovery day Monday. Wednesday was an easy bike session with a couple of efforts. Thursday, I felt a bit tired, so I gave it a miss and Friday was another double header. A solid workout on the bike, third of the Zwift Spring training sessions and an easy 5k on the treadmill. Finally, up today, sub-optimal weather led me to stay indoors for 6.5k on the treadmill followed by a 30minute session on the bike, medium-to-high effort. Going to have to do that long run tomorrow...

Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Boys Were Back in Town on Wednesday

For the first ICA Team (work) lunch run for over five years! A decade ago, it was once a week, we're just hoping for once a month. It felt good and it wasn't too shabby a time, quickest on the route by over a minute.

Monday was a treadmill session, 400's. Tuesday was the second of the Zwift spring training sessions. We've covered Wednesday. Thursday was more on the bike, more of a recovery than anything else and Friday was an easy treadmill jog ahead of today's hard tempo run. It was probably edging towards threshold really. 11k in the heart of the forest, just outside 5min kilometre pace. I went at it hard. Even managed to get close to a few segment times from 2013 - that was a surprise as I'm still nowhere near where I was back in 2013. Still, it bodes well that things are still heading in the right direction...

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Back to the Park for a PB

I've decided I'm going to try and do a Parkrun once a month or there abouts. It should keep me sharp and help gauge how my trainings going. With that in mind, I set off in the fog this morning. Destination, Mallards Pike.

After a relatively high training load this week, I wasn't expecting to go super quick. My legs didn't feel great. I was hoping I could get somewhere near last month's comeback time, but I wasn't going to beat myself up if I missed it by a margin as I've put in some solid work this week.

Anyway, with that said, I did cheekily set my pace target ten seconds up on last months' time. Well, it never hurts to be optimistic... And as it turned out that that optimism was well placed, as I smashed through the 23-minute barrier by a full one second. Twenty seconds improved from last month. Happy and more than a little suprised with that. Back of the net.

Recapping the week's training for the record. Tuesday, I ran a random mix of 500, 600 and 700m reps. A solid session. Wednesday was just a Zwift ride. There was no plan, but when I was underway, on a randomly picked route, I realised it was a 3km climb and I decided to hammer it. I was out the saddle for two thirds and was rewarded with a PB. Not actually by many seconds because my previous time was in an event with the pelotons draft. My power average this time, was way higher. Thursday ended up being a treadmill hill session and Friday was the first stage of the Zwift spring training (bike). A surprisingly hard session. Rest day tomorrow...

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Decent Week

So, the away day didn't happen Monday. I couldn't face a long run; my legs weren't feeling fresh enough. Instead, I ran the short village loop, and I was right not to do the long run. I set off at a fair whack but was hanging on by the end. It was my fastest time on the loop and a good time to bring down the curtain on five back-to-back days of running and my highest weekly mileage so far (and I'm not including this run). 

The rest of the week has been decent. A mix of runs and Zwift. I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday's race prep reps. I pushed up the pace to 4:25 for the kilometre reps and 4:00 for the 5 off 30s reps. Three sets in total. It was the fastest I've run that session and I wasn't anywhere near falling off the back, so the next one will be a little faster, but probably I'll add another set.

I enjoyed yesterday's longish run. I didn't push it hard, but it was, as is normal for round here, hilly so it wasn't a walk in the park. And when the sun came out, it was, overall, very pleasant. Today was an easy 5k on the treadmill as my legs didn't feel overly fresh and the spring of the treadmill reduces the impact.

Saturday, April 08, 2023

A Pair of Nines

After last week's pair of sixes, I upped the ante with back-to-back 9k's. I do wish it was a little less hilly round here though. Just once I'd like a nice flat pootle. Both Friday's run and todays were at a decent pace for a hilly run, and I wasn't fresh on either day as I'd fitted in an interval session on the Treadmill Thursday. Up at the front of the week was a bike session and an easy jog. So, it's been another good week of training. May slip in a rest day tomorrow and then possibly an away day somewhere Monday.

Monday, April 03, 2023

Something A Little Different

Different but not exactly earth shattering. I didn't do a long run last week. After my longest long run the weekend before, this weekend, because it was peeing down, I decided to cut back on the long run and head out for a couple of 5-6k runs outside - that's it was p!$$ing down didn't at all influence my decision....

It was the first time I've run non-treadmill consecutive days and I was feeling it Sunday afternoon. But I need to toughen up a bit and shift more of my runs from the treadmill. Maybe to 50:50 run to treadmill or even higher. The treadmill is good for avoiding injury though and is a boon for the intervals, but I definitely need to toughen up a bit - without getting injured, of course, so it'll be careful transition.

Today I ran a 40-minute recovery treadmill session. Nice and gentle as my legs felt terrible in the first couple of k's and I almost stopped but I persevered and by the end I was actually feeling really good. That is the one thing or rather, one of things I'm finding in my old age, that everything takes much longer to get going....

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Back On It

So, with my lighter week out of the way, it was time to get back to the grindstone. I started the week with a gentle treadmill and bike session. Into Wednesday and I ran a favourite of mine. The 'race prep' treadmill session at 2% incline. Three sets, consisting of a 4-minute effort at 105% race pace, 90s recovery at 65% and five 30s/30s efforts at 110%. It felt hard but there's definitely more to come. I think it'll be four sets next time out on that one.

Thursday was a short but killer bike session. It didn't sound killer, but I didn't read the stats. It started with a three-minute interval at 120% ftp followed by eight 1min/1min efforts at 110%. I almost died on that first interval. I had to set a new 3-minute power pb in order to complete it! The eight reps were hard but nothing like that first one.

On Friday I took a rest day in preparation for today's longest long run so far, weighing in at 14.6km and 300m of ascent, mostly on the road. With the recent rain the woods round here are operation bog-fest, so I avoided that. Finished off with a gentle 25 minutes on the bike. It'll be an easy jog and easy bike tomorrow to round out the week. It won't be too long till I break the 20km barrier....

Monday, March 20, 2023

Slightly Quieter on the Western Front

After completing my comeback last weekend, last week's training was lower intensity as my thoughts now turn to the next goal. Obviously, I'm looking to keep nudging the 5k time downwards. In theory, having done some calculations based on my all-time PB a sprinkle of age grading and other such b*!!*(%s, it should be possible to approach 20 minutes.... but I think that's too ambitious. Old father time is continuing to march on, and by the time I'm trained to get there, the age-grading will have moved the target. So instead of setting the myself the potentially impossible, my goal on the 5k front is to keep knocking out some 5k specific training and see where it takes me. I'm also going to start looking at the 10k. Forty-five minutes by sometime in the Autumn? And of course, there's the holy grail of getting back to the mountains. I'm thinking June for that....

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Felt a Bit Flat....

After smashing my target last Saturday. A target I wasn't sure I could actually reach. If I'm honest, back in May when the mission started, I didn't really believe I could achieve it. It felt impossible but as the months progressed it seemed more possible, but I still didn't really believe.

The moment I knew. The moment I really knew, was New Year's Day. After an autumn and early winter spent exclusively on the treadmill, I ventured back out into the real the world. It was a run in Sidmouth. An unexpectedly hilly run. An unexpectedly hilly run that I managed to run in its entirety. No stopping. It was at that moment I knew I was back. I knew I still had work to do but I knew the target was going to be hit. 

So, after all that. The culmination of ten months of training. Ten months of blood, sweat and tears - without any actual blood or tears - I felt a little flat Sunday...... for all of about a day! By Monday, having taken it easy Sunday, I was back on it with an interval session on..... yes, you guessed it, the treadmill - well, somethings aren't going to change....

Twenty-minute 5k here I come - and you can take that to the bank....

Saturday, March 11, 2023

And Now It's Official

It was the day of the parkrun 5k. My race marshalling duties had been cancelled due to the snowy conditions in the mountains, so I had no excuse. I chose the Mallards Pike parkrun and I can't believe I felt so nervous. I was definitely feeling the pressure. I was feeling a ton psychosomatic niggles. My left calf felt tight. The soles of my feet felt achy. On the warmup jog over to the start I felt I was getting a stitch. It felt like it was all going Pete Tong. I knew it was all in my mind but that didn't stop me feeling the symptoms.

As the start approached, I tried to calm my nerves. I shook out my ever-tightening muscles to loosen up and tried to think happy thoughts. I had an ambitious time of 23:30 in mind. That didn't help to reduce the pressure. 4:42 pace. All I could do was believe in the training...

Without further ado, we were off. I'd forgotten how much of an incline the first half is. It's not fell running steep, but it is definitely 'adjust the pace' steep. I didn't and my 4:43 first kilometre was too fast. On the upside all the psychosomatic niggles had evaporated so I was glad of that, at least.

My second and third kilometre splits were not good, 5:06 and 5:01. I was beginning to panic. They were uphill but that didn't stop my demons. I had a lot of time to make up and despite knowing it was all downhill, I was on the ropes and taking a pounding.

I battled on. I wasn't losing without a fight and thankfully kilometre number four took me somewhere towards redemption in 4:19. I was blowing. Heart rate was 170. A few runners came tearing past, but I hung in there for a final 4:18 and crossed the line in 23:19 so it all worked out all right in the end but by 'eck I thought I'd blown it there for a while.

Onwards and upwards from here....

Thursday, March 02, 2023

I Have Returned

I didn't set out targeting it tonight. In fact, I wasn't feeling it after a long day at work with an early start and almost didn't get out at all. The old me wouldn't have. The new me, did. I decided to jog the local loop, which weighs in just under 6k.

At the first timing point - even on a jog, you've still got to gauge things - despite feeling slow, I was 12s up. A fluke. I pootled on. At the second point I was 25s up. It was there I knew I couldn't let the opportunity at a quick time slip. At the turn around I was 38s seconds up. Hitting the last timing point I was a minute and 14s up. I finished the 5.8km in 27:40. A new loop pb by 1 minute and 21s. More importantly the average pace for the loop was 4:47km/min which is comfortably inside 25min 5k pace.

So I know it's not an official time (although it is on Strava!) but technically I ran 5k inside 25minutes. The official time has to wait a few more weeks but in reality, I covered the first 5km of tonight's run in about 23:55 so I know I've done it.

When I started the comeback 10 months ago, I was so pathetic I honestly didn't know if I had it in me. I was so slow. I couldn't run continuously for more than a couple of minutes. It seemed an impossible goal. But tonight, the culmination of 10 months hard work has seen me hit my goal.

This is only the beginning, though. Obviously, I'll need to clock an official 5k time but from here the real hard work starts...

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Setting the Bar Too Low

Monday was, once again, my official rest day. Tuesday, I completed the final Zwift Academy run training session, number seven. I felt a little tired so I plumped for the 30-minute version, and it was comfortable, even at 3% incline, so maybe I should have manned up - not that it's legal to say that anymore - for the long version.

Up Today was the penultimate Zwift Duathlon bike/run of the season. My bike was a little down on normal. I couldn't seem to get into a rhythm. I've set my trainer difficulty a little higher to more accurately map to 'real life' and somehow the flat sections didn't bring the respite I was expecting after the climbs. Anyway, I was on my game for the run. Well, almost. Yet again, I didn't have the belief at the start and set my bar too low. With kilometre splits of 5:21, 4:54 and a final 4:31 I could have gone further with a more confident start. I did clock my furthest distance to date in the fifteen minutes, but it could have been so much more especially as my heart rate was 7% less in zone 4 than last time. I definitely should have gone out harder. I've one more shot this season...

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Took the Weekend Off...

....from a long run - but I did get out for a couple of hilly 5-6k'ers. The reason? My legs weren't feeling it after some hard training Tuesday to Friday. Tuesday's 55-minute Zwift Academy treadmill session number five was killer. I had the treadmill on 3% and that made it bloody tough. I didn't go all in on in Wednesday's Duathlon and Thursday was a 30-minute recovery Zwift ride. Friday was another hard treadmill session, the sixth ZA workout and by yesterday my legs were feeling less than fresh. Being the weekend, I couldn't not do some running, but I did the sensible thing and dialled things back and went out for a couple of short runs yesterday and today. It was the right call as my legs were heavy, but I feel better for having got out there to keep myself in the habit. I did also do an easy 30-minute Zwift yesterday. I say easy - and it was - but I took in the volcano climb and didn't push but was still within a few seconds of my all-out effort during last October's Zwift Academy final ride. I've made a note to go back and smash a PB up there at some point in the next month or two...

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Starting to Build the Long Run

So, catching up on the week. Sunday, I headed out for a cheeky 5k. Completing back-to-back runs away from the treadmill for the first time and my legs held up well. Not only that, it was on the back of a 40-minute bike session of twenty 30s repeats on Zwift. Up Monday was operation feet up followed by the third Zwift Academy Run session Tuesday. Nine hill repeats 8-12% incline with a final 10-15% incline to finish. Twas a good session.

An even better session came Wednesday in the form of the third Zwift duathlon of the season. I wasn't sure how it would go. In the end I decided to go all in, ride hard and hang on and it turned out to be a corker. My best 35-minute power average ever and by more than +5W, and +11W on my best duathlon on Zwift. The run wasn't bad either, exactly equalling my previous duathlon best but I actually took it easy as I knew I'd given it some on the ride. Slightly disappointed with myself that I didn't hammer the run as well. Next time....

Thursday was a half hour interval session on the treadmill and Friday was a 30-minute zone 4 Zwift ride. Today was, of course, long run Saturday and my longest to date. 12km with 350m of ascent. Extending the run means extending the ascent round here as there's nowhere that's flat except for loops of the village - but that's definitely not something for a long run. Anyway, I guess it makes you stronger, and with every week that passes, I am feeling stronger and fitter. It's not long now till the return...

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Nice Day for a Run

After last week's heavy workload those two rest days became a thing. Sunday, I went for a walk through the woods. Monday was a full on lazy one.

Up Tuesday I completed the first of the Zwift Academy run sessions at lunch time. A variable incline treadmill session, 3-8%. Rounded out the day with a twenty-five-minute zone 3 Zwift. Wednesday was round two of the Zwift Duathlon series. They spiced it up this week, dropping the ride from 35 to 30 minutes and upping the run from 15 to 20 minutes. Interestingly my ratio of points, time normalised, shifted towards the run.... 

I felt a bit fatigued Thursday so I decided on another rest day - three in five days, can't be letting that become a habit. Friday, things were back to normal, and I completed the second ZA run session. Four 30s faster repeats followed by four 5-minute intervals of ramped pace. As normal I set the treadmill to 2% to make the effort more like being outside. It was solid but I may repeat the session with the effort increased a few percent.

Today, of course, was my now familiar long run - well, long for me. A solid run through Flaxley woods but taking the Velthouse Lane return to mix things up. It's a similar amount of ascent to the long loop, at 235m, but has three kilometres back on the road. My leg felt heavy in the first kilometre, and I was regretting yesterday's session, but I soon got into it and in the end my pace was a fraction higher than my last trip around Flaxley woods, so I'm happy with that. I rounded out the day with 30-minutes zone 3 on the Zwift.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Weary but at Least it Wasn't a Massacre

I knew from the off it was going to be a struggle today. Across the first couple of fields my legs were dead and heavy. It felt like I was wearing a pair of lead shoes. I stuck to the planned route, though, but dialled back any expectation of a quick run. I guess that's not a bad thing as I was adding about 2km from last week's run and my training load of the last few weeks has been high.

As to today's route, I decided it was time to return to May Hill. Maybe not the greatest idea considering how my legs felt and I subsequently struggled on the way up via the road route. If I'm honest it was a bit demoralising as things have been going so well. I'm getting to expect every run to be great. I got over that disappointment quickly and before long I was back enjoying it on my way to the top of May Hill. Suddenly there was a ton of runners coming at me. If I hadn't kept to the side, it could have been a massacre... One day I will race the Massacre again, maybe next year.

At the finished I'd clocked up 10.5km. My longest run so far and I suppose the pace wasn't terrible considering the climb. I completed the day with half an hour zone 2-3 Zwifting.

Recapping the week. I started with a rest day followed by an easier ride Tuesday, that I didn't get carried away on. Up Wednesday - and I was really looking forward to it - was the first of five races in season 7 of the Zwift Duathlon series. I went through a proper warm up but still felt a bit lack lustre for the first five or ten minutes but after that I started to pick up and by the end I was powering. Overall, I was a little down on my Duathlon ride best from the last season, but only by a couple of watts average. Onto the run and I set a good pace but not all out as I was mindful of my planned session the following day. After the first race I'm 10 points ahead of the first race last season, so I'm happy with that as I definitely had more to give on the run - saving that for the next one...

Thursday, I completed a set of eleven 1-minute efforts off 45s recovery at 2% incline during the penultimate Tour de Zwift stage (7). Friday, I doubled up to complete the final stages (8) of the tour. A 5.6km, 2% inclined run, at a decent pace followed by a solid twenty-minute effort on the bike. And that's it, we're all caught up. Tomorrow feels like it should be a rest day and maybe Monday too...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A PB?

My training since the start of the year has been pretty heavy. It's entirely possible that I'm putting in more sessions now than I did in my heyday. Definitely not more in terms of total volume, but in terms of the number of sessions, I think I'm doing more now than I ever did! And of course, it's split between running and riding these days, but considering for the last few years - and if I'm honest, much of the last decade - if I managed one run in a week it was a big week.

Today, I hit 30 sessions this month and there will definitely be another couple to round out the month. A PB by my reckoning. I'm managing to stay injury free, if I exclude the legs feeling a little heavy or sore here and there, so I don't feel I'm overreaching.

This week I completed a set of kilometre reps on the treadmill along with my Thursday run - a little slower than last week. I worked hard but I was 13s slower. I must temper my expectation. I mustn't expect to go quicker every week - and I have been training pretty hard, after all. On a brighter note, today I improved my time for the Long Flaxley loop and there'll be a gentle recovery treadmill session tomorrow.

In between the runs - that came out wrong - and so did that! - I've completed a number of Zwift rides. They've been mostly solid efforts, not all out but I've definitely not been pootling. The only negative is that I can't help myself on the scheduled easy recovery rides. They always seem to end up being nothing like recovery.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

I'm Stopping Counting Now...

Another run complete, far from the safety of the treadmill. It's getting beyond silly. What's next, entering a race? No, this is all getting too crazy.

Anyway, it was a solid run in chilly conditions today. It was very scenic, with a kind of snowy-frost covering the forest tracks of the longer sibling of last week's Saturday run, the aptly named Flaxley CCW Long Loop (9k) - well, that's what I call it. Technically it's Flaxley woods and Hope wood but that's not as catchy.

It's not really fair to compare today's run to my last outings as I wasn't capable of running the hills back then, so I'll call this my marker for future attempts. That said, I was reduced to a short section of walking on the long grind back up. It starts steep and flattens out and I was reduced to a short walk towards the end of the steeper bit. I marked where I got to though, so I'll get further up on the next attempt.

Yesterday was a 45-minute tempo-ish ride on Zwift and tomorrow is an easy jog recovery and a steady 45-60 ride.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

I actually Still Own a Strava Segment!

Yes, I know, crazy! While out on my third - yes, third, real run of the year on Saturday, I put down a marker on my Flaxley short loop. It was while studying the data I realised I still own the downhill out of the woods. I've been stripped of everything else but I still have that one. That said, I'm getting my Flaxley segments back - and you can take that to the bank.

Moving forward to today, I got out for my fourth real run of the year. What is going on! I repeated last week's route and set off looking to go a little quicker. And a little quicker I did - by about a minute. Pleased with that. Not a bad improvement in a week and I very nearly broke the 5:00 minute kilometre pace barrier, clocking an average 5:01.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Continuing a Pace...

Since my last update I've completed some good training. The Christmas ease down is most definitely fading in the rear-view mirror. It's been a mix of treadmill sessions, easy Zwift recovery rides and some full-on Zwift races. I'm hitting new levels on the power curve both on foot and in the saddle.

Highlight of the year so far - if you can have a highlight just 13 days in - has been my second real world run yesterday. It was only 6k. I wasn't trying to go fast. Just running. Not paying any attention to my watch, so it was a nice surprise to see such a decent pace. Not far off my comeback target 5k pace. Without being too cocky, I'm pretty confident sub 25-minutes is there for the taking when I decide to pull the trigger...

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

A Good Start to the Year

So it's been a while since my last post, and it's been a mix of the promised easier training with a few harder efforts thrown into the mix. From here the rest is over and it's time to get back into it. That started with a really good run on New Year's day and not only that it was a real-life run, not the usual treadmill affair. It was a hilly route, which I wasn't expecting, as I plotted it without paying much attention to the contours, but I ran it all and felt pretty strong. It was a far cry from my runs in the summer where I couldn't manage more than a few metres climbing before being reduced to a walk.

Having said I was staring back into the solid training, the last couple of days haven't been due to sore legs from Sunday's run. The legs are recovered today - or at least I thought they were and I went at it a little too hard on the Zwift. I tried to go with the fast, power start and soon realised I wasn't ready for it. I put out good power for twenty-five minutes though but knew I couldn't sustain it.

Off now, to programme in the next week of training...