Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Breathing...The source and solution of my problems running

There is something romantic about running. I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Maybe it's the simplicity of being self propelled without the need for the volume of equipment needed to cycle (Bike, shoes, shorts etc) or swim (erm...a pool.)

Once you get into the rhythm of it there is a beauty to the way the world looks. the surrounding terrain becomes something to be covered, climbed or circumvented. Breathing becomes regular, almost metronomic as your feet spin and bounce you along the floor.

I've been reading a lot about breathing cycles. Some of you will be familiar with the way in which breathing cycles work in swimming. To avoid a training imbalance whilst doing front crawl I breath on the third stroke. This means I breath on a different side each time. Short deep breath, breath out for two strokes and in the other side.

With the way the body is constructed, the core (strength and stability) is more important than I ever imagined. Swimming appears to happen almost entirely from the core. When running the foot stabilises but the core holds the torso and head balanced.  When you are fully exhaled the core is relaxed. I found that as I counted my breaths I always ended up completely exhaled as my left foot hit the floor. This is the less stable ankle that caused me all the trouble a year ago.Somehow I need to do what I have managed in swimming and get my exhalation on different sides.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bank holiday weekend

So this weekend is the last of the summer. Last year we did Bike to Bestival, which was done in glorious weather, extending the summer. Not this year though. 

I got a swim in on Saturday morning and I'm about to go out for an evening jog/run-walk thingy. It doesn't seem to have got in the way. 

On Saturday evening Rob and Aline had a party at their new house. I was called 'funky' then rob wore a dead fox on his head. We then went to a late bar under one of the pubs in stokey. Ale, lager and white wine. 

Sunday ruined. Thai food. Excellent Thai food. 

Today we did the traditional bank holiday ritual of the blue box of death (ikea). We bought lots of yellow furniture. 

A late buffet lunch at Neasdon temple followed. Really don't know how they managed to make food taste that good. Chilli paneer, dall, saag aloo, rice, pickled, samosa and some deep dried pea cakes. Mmm. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

First week of triathlon training

Since I last totted up the distances on the bike, I have added a little over 360km to my total from April. That's over 1,000km. When you look all a lot of enthusiastic cyclists though, they often rack up well in excess of 100km a week. 

I had decided a few weeks ago that my next challenge would be a triathlon. I didn't know that much about them so I've been doing a spot of online research. 

It didn't start that well as the day I had picked for my first run was also a day I'd agreed to go to the pub. I've re-jigged my schedule however and am back on track. Due to the injury I picked up this time last year running I am taking it very easy. I am running one, walking one ( minutes that is). 

Yesterday I did my first 'brick' session. This involves doing one activity and then moving onto a short session on the next sequential activity. So I cycled both ways yesterday and after carrying my bike up the stairs I changed my shorts and set out for a gentle run. 

It's bloody tiring is what it is. However if I am going to do this I need to do at least one session a week where I do this. During the winter I hope to do a 'gym triathlon' as part of my training. 

All three sessions back to back. In a tri outfit. In a gym. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

What the future holds

I really regret not doing the ride London event at the weekend. I got it confused with another event going on this summer and decided not to do it. The idea of having to complete 100 miles in 9 hours or less would have seemed daunting as little as a few weeks ago, however after the Dun Run I am beginning to think it might be doable.The course is realtively flat with a couple of corkers by way of hills which should lead to relatively fast times.

The next event will be next year and I don;t have a spare weekend to travel to and complete one of the remaining sportives of the year.

So I've been looking into the idea of a triathlon as my next big challenge. Only a sprint distance, but I think the combination of a short run and swim being added to a cycling distance I can probably go flat out at might be a good training goal.

These are the distances for a sprint triathlon and the times I've already done them in

30 lengths - 30 min
20km bike - 1 hr
5 km run - 30min

Now when I say that the 30 lengths is in a pool with stops and turns and the run wasn't a race I reckon if I get my fitness up I can shave quite a bit off of that time. I know it doesn't work like that but I already know I can keep going on the bike, so what about other sports?

The last time I tried to run I eneded up with my leg in a cast and peroneal tendonitis. I intend to build up slowly this time.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Dun Run Part three

Riding through the dark for hour after hour is a peculiar sensation. At times you start to think that you should be in bed. A little drifting off takes place.

For about half an hour I thought I was silently following Dave, before realising that the pattern of lights was wrong. As I pulled up a little closer I realised that this bike had a set of panniers and not the Super C Audax bag David has been using of late.

Realising he couldn't be behind me I put my foot down and overtook the next twenty or so riders over the next couple of miles. I pulled up alongside him relieved not to have lost the only rider in our group to have completed this ride or knew where we were going.

"Where's Warren?" he said
"I'm right behind you"

Warren had been riding on my wheel when I took off and just thought I fancied going a bit quicker so had tagged along.

The strangest sight of the night could have been awarded to many (Many) things, but I think it has to go to a half hour traffic jam around some roadworks. We queued for ages to cross a makeshift pedestrian bridge over the roadworks only pausing to consider whether it was designed for 50 riders and bikes ata a time afterwards.

From here on in I made sure I could see either David or Warren's lights. They are always a bit quicker than me plus as I have no sense of direction I figured it's for the best.

We stopped at the official food stop to consume further nourishment. This was down a quiet residential road at a community centre. A couple of hundred riders eating quietly in the car park.

Once past the 100km point the night seemed to just rush by...

As the sun came up we hit a bank of fog, which decreased visibility to almost zero. Fog turned to light rain which made grip, baking and visibility (I had no glasses on) considerations.

We stopped by a lake, where locked toilets and the lack of bacon alternatives made us press on for a rumour of a tea stop half an hour further on. An hour later (or maybe half an hour for Froome) we came across a house selling veggie or meat sausages in a bun and tea. I could've wept.

We stopped

By now it was morning and riders coming back the the other way started to become more common. Our estimated finish time was getting progressively later.

People were now out on the streets to cheer us along in their quietest 7 O'clock in the morning voices. The miles ticked by and we finally saw signs to Dunwich about 20 miles further on. I can't say I wasn't relieved.

We tagged along with a guy on a fixie who had lost his friends for a bit before losong him on a hill. The miles flew by in the fog and damp.

We arrived in Dunwich at 09:27 a whole 13:10:57 after we set off . Admittedly we spent a lot more time off of the bikes than  I expected to and there was a wind but that was an extraordinarily large amount of time to take to do the distance.

Warren headed straight back on the bus, whilst David and I partook of breakfast in the peculiar little cafe on the beach. All thoughts of a swim and a change of clothes were out of the window.

Claire and her friends who'd been at Lattitude dropped in for a post-breakfast pint before we got the coach home.

All credit to Southwark Cyclists. There was a lorry space and a coach space for me and I got back to London (having to eat my emergency falafel en-route) without much in the way of a hitch at all.

"Will I do it again?"

Yes I think I will, but for now there was still the ride home