Sunday, January 28, 2024

Getting Hilly Nowhere Near Caerphilly

Up yesterday was my first run for a while on what I call the Longhope three peaks, on account of it having, yes, you guessed it, three peaks. May Hill, Brights Hill and Huntley Hill. The biggest climb, from the A40 to the trig on May Hill, is about as close to a fell running hill as you can get in the forest (but it's not really that close). I wasn't far off my time from 2015. I think I can break that later in the year as I was slipping around in the mud on parts of the climb.

Things got slower in the last third on the second and third climbs as it got boggier and boggier. I almost went down on my arse a couple of times but managed to 'ski' myself upright. Anyway, it was a solid 10.5km with a surprisingly decent amount of ascent at 410m, in a time only a few minutes down on my best from 2015 and most of that lost time was down to the mud-fest. Definitely a route I'm going to see more of - but maybe once things start to dry up a little later in the spring.

Up today was another stage of the Tour de Zwift and I didn't go all in, although I put in hard efforts, above FTP, in patches. A sort of fartlek session but on a bike. By the end, a 4km climb to the finish, my legs were cooked.

My training earlier in the week saw me complete a reasonably steadily ramped tempo 5+k on the treadmill (2%incline) Tuesday. Followed by a hard effort on the Zwift (bike) Wednesday, Stage 5 of the Tour de Zwift. The route was a simulation of part of the 2018 world champs in Innsbruck, and a cat. 2 climb. I took it easy till the climb then hammered it. I started to cramp slightly into the final km but managed to keep pushing and get over the top in a new time of 25:16, over a minute inside my previous best effort. I pulled a rest day Thursday as my legs were suffering a bit from the previous days cramping and Friday my legs felt like they needed a fraction more recovery so it was just a lower than tempo 5k on the treadmill, 3% incline. Rest day tomorrow and then back on it.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Getting Hilly Near Caerphilly

An easier week of training with today's race in mind. Up Tuesday was the 3rd stage of the Tour de Zwift on the treadmill where I ran intervals 300-400m on, 150m off with a final hard effort kilometre to the line. Wednesday was stage 3 on the bike and below FTP in the first half, and above FTP in the second. Took a rest day Thursday before an easy stage 4 (bike) in the tour yesterday - although I did go all in on the sprint segment on each lap (3 in total), and I mean all in! It was only 300-400m. Not everyone sprints so it doesn't really count, but I topped the leader board and set myself some new all-time 15s power numbers.

Up today was, of course, the Craig yr Allt Winter fell race over near Caerphilly. 6.4km with 350m ascent. Conditions were pretty good. It didn't rain and it was way hotter than of late, a balmy 3°C. I surprised myself how well I went up the ascents, especially the first. I was able to run most of the way to the top with only a couple of teensy-weensy walk breaks - and I do mean teensy-weensy. Now the third climb... well that was a bit different as by then I was bloody knackered, although I did force myself to run whenever the gradient eased a little. "come on, we can run this bit.....".

I finished just over three minutes quicker than the only other time I've run this race, five years ago, so I'm happy with the result. Can't grumble at 30 seconds faster per kilometre.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Decent Week of Training

It's been a lower intensity week of training but not without some strong sessions. The highlight was Tuesday's kilometre reps. They were substantially inside my current 5k pb pace but there is room to go faster still. Wednesday, I rode the second stage of the tour de Zwift. A two lapper, I sat back on the first to sit towards the back and then hit out above FTP as a time trial to see how many places I could gain. A thoroughly hard effort. There's been a few other runs and rides with the other notable session being today's climb portal ride. I was feeling yesterday's run in my legs but still managed to get within a minute of my best on the 630m of elevation simulated 9km climb up Bealach na Ba.

It's now under a week to my first race of the year...

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Back on Track

After that touch of Covid two weeks ago, I spent last week building back up slowly. I felt absolutely fine and my vital statistics were all back to normal barring being a bit phlegmy in the mornings. This week normal service has resumed. I started the week with a 10k run (not a race) on New Years day down in hilly Sidmouth in a not too shabby 50 minutes - not bad considering my PB is currently only just inside 48 minutes. The highlight was the 50m long puddle with the water above my knees - more of a low-light if I'm honest.

Up Tuesday was a medium effort bike session followed by kilometre reps inside 5k pace Wednesday. Up tonight was a double header of the Tour de Zwift. A decent 5.6km treadmill in 4:45 pace followed by a solid effort on the bike (claiming 5 segment |PBs in the process) to complete Stage 1 in both categories.

Looking forward, as one does at the dawn of a new year, I'm intending to race a bit more than last. Kicking that off, I've got my first race entered in the calendar for January the 20th. I'm also aiming to run most - which will almost certainly end up being some, if not just one or two - of GLCL road races. Plus I'm aiming to do a few of the Chepstow champs races...