Swim, Bike, Run, Eat, REST, Repeat

I’m well and truly back into the cycle of training. My days are a matter of getting through a series of session and trying to eat a bit of food between them. It’s sort of working. Sort of…

Weekly hours are high as is the training load. I’m spending more time in the pool than I have in an age and enjoying it. Better I’ve noticed the times creeping down a little for my hundreds. Good signs for sure. In fact were I just thinking about swimming I’d be feeling great about how things are going.

It’s become normal to turn up at the pool and knock out four to six kilometres. I’ve learnt most importantly to always have a plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail and all that. If I get in the water without an aim you can be sure the session will be easy and monotonous. Set myself a target or challenge then time flies by and so far I’ve mostly been hitting my goals.

On (mostly) dry land things are a little bit more interesting. Perhaps you detected an element of uncertainty in my previous posts? It’s there, lurking in the back of my mind and raising questions as the weeks progress. Combine that with vagueness about my Taupo goals and at times motivation can be a little off. Not seriously, but enough to make me wonder if I’m doing the right thing?

Perhaps I’m exaggerating… Running is coming along. The past couple of weeks I’ve been logging good mileage and it’s starting to feel right. Compared to after Kona and through Ironman Western Australia it’s great. I can go out and cruise along at just a little below my Ironman pace anytime I want and it doesn’t seem to have much impact on my legs.

Plenty of longer runs have become staple with at least two over two hours every week. I’ve yet to completely settle back into a daily run routine, often finding it all too tempting to skip out on a short run when I’m tired. I know I could get through it, but that little bit of mental weakness stops me making myself do it.

On the bike I’ve been riding comfortably. Comfortably isn’t really the word you want to hear to describe your training though! I can easily hold steady paces for hours on end. When the road turns up I am climbing more aggressively than before. Throw a headwind in my face (which isn’t a rarity round these parts) and I’ll push. Put my long rides all together though and they feel a little slack.

Resting is where I really fail. Simply going by hours of sleep I can see I’m not putting the work in. I’m trying to train hard, trying to control my diet and return to race weight (it’s working), but failing to put in the sleep I need to get through it all.

It’s a silly, rookie error and one I plan to rectify in the following weeks. Experiences such as Epic Camp or in the Pyrenees show that if I’m sleeping well I can get through a lot of work. I’m training hard. Harder than normal, but not to the level of those camps.

This weekend was a sharp indicator of how significantly I’m failing. After a restless night on Friday I dragged myself for a 6K set at the pool on Saturday. Remember how I mentioned the importance of a plan? I got in the pool with low motivation and no real session to do. Somehow I splashed through a lethargic and unsatisfying two hours.

I’d promised myself a treat for a hard week of training. A little bit of sugar and carbs wouldn’t hurt especially with a two hour run on the schedule. Fatigue, hunger and the motivational dip were enough to expand the size of the treats. Paleo man had discovered the cake shop!

By the time I got home I felt far too out of it to even contemplate a long run. I did the next best thing and planned all my training in WKO+. Trying to work out my fitness and taper for Taupo! If you can’t do the practical the theory is the next best thing after all.

The smart move would have been an early night. I crashed out late and slept heavily. My alarm went off at six to get me up for a ride with Laurence Pidcock another Brit in Wellington. I felt terrible. Terrible enough I didn’t question sending a text to say I’d not be making it. Then I hit the sack for another couple of hours.

What a difference two more hours made! I actually felt a bit more normal. I wasn’t massively enthused by my previous training plans so substituted a ninety minute run out towards Pencarrow Lighthouse. I kept the pace easy and felt good. Good enough that I knew I could do more if I wanted. The aim was to hold back though, conserve a little and be fresher on Monday.

As I said I’ve been bad at rest. Change is needed. I can make my plans, but if I’m not recovering enough to execute them they’re worthless. The key objective for the next three weeks is to rest enough that I can flawlessly execute my final preparation for Taupo. With luck I’ll wake up Monday ready to go and able to start putting out the performances I know I’m capable of.