Given I started writing first thing this morning and only got as far as a title perhaps it’s not the best choice? It balances out the last post though. I’ve gone from a sluggish struggle to get myself going to settling into a routine. Routine is key after all. Once in place it’s much easier to stick to the training plan. Not that it’s perfect, but it’s doing the job and I feel I’m back on track for a good race.
Signs are there! Some very solid rides in the past week. Not just the odd one, but backed up with more of the same the following day. I’ve managed to do some very focussed work which I’m very pleased with. Race pace up and down Tuart Drive is good for confidence and once warmed up it felt pretty good. Even with short sprint bursts to get past the bloody Magpie on Tuart Drive roundabout!
All those concerns about tight ITBs are vanishing as my run comes back together. Not quite there and I backed off a little with the hammering I’m taking on the bike. Session like today’s endurance run finished with over half an hour at above race pace though. Not only that it felt good to work that hard! Ok up until I stopped! Felt pretty shattered after that, but nothing a couple of hours napping on the sofa couldn’t fix.
I’m even pretty happy in the water. I may not be at my fastest yet, but for a change I have direction and know what to do. A couple of trips a week up to the 50m pool in Bunbury gives me an opportunity to do proper threshold work. Really this has been missing from my training. There’d be a small amount each week, but nowhere near enough. Not anymore, hard sets are becoming a frequent feature of my swims. Thanks to the Wetronome I’m even able to motivate myself despite swimming alone.
Here’s the interesting thing with all these positives. I still feel a bit like I’m slacking off and taking things too easy! When I look at my WKO+ files though the reality is this week and last week were actually largely on track. Partly it’s a habit of inflating the quality of historical training. Convinced previous build ups have gone much better and this time it’s going wrong. Ambitious goals come with increased nerves and it takes a little more to keep confidence up.
Another factor is the higher quality of many of my sessions. Duration is lower, but the work done has been significant. It wasn’t entirely deliberate, but it’s a very positive change. Some of this came from riding with the local group. They don’t ride too far, but they like to hurt each other out there! My sessions with them throw in much higher intensity efforts. Then I’ve thrown in more interval work on my own. Trying to be more focussed on developing the power I race at.
I think I may have mentioned the Justin Daerr articles on Xtri before? I’m not going to check, far too lazy for that! They’re worth a read as an insight in the transformation from a typical age grouper to a Pro Ironman. I consider myself to be roughly on the second stage of his transformation. His example bike training is very relevant for me. I don’t lack in endurance and I have a good ability to ride hard at low heart rates. I want to take it up a level though and that means a lot more work on the bike. Plenty of riding still, but more focus in my sessions.
A week of increased quality work has seen slightly lower hours than I typically do. Surprisingly not by all that much though. It’s also seen a lot more fatigue and tiredness. Not helped much by an erratic approach to sleep at the moment. Need to get that sorted especially when you tend to start so early here. Fortunately the sofa here is pretty good for napping on.
That drop off in overall hours leads to my perception that I’m not doing enough. I don’t feel as busy as back in the UK. If I look at the TSS (Training Stress Score) for the week in WKO+ it’s actually right up there with a typical week. So a slight change in training approach has skewed my perception, but the reality is I’m working well. Nothing to worry about for race day!
Looking forward to the next race (and I already am). I know with a lot more time to prepare for the build up to Ironman New Zealand I can work at this approach. It’s a balance of volume and intensity. Increasing my ability to tolerate hard work within a large training week. Then working at increasing how hard that work is. Slowly uping the game. Just as I worked to tolerate increased training volumes now I’m working to tolerate harder work in that volume.
Well this ended up far more focussed on training than planned! I’ll post again soon about when roads aren’t roads, the I spy of road kill, odd signs and vicious local wildlife. Momentum is building. As are the positive feelings about the race. This could go well.