Saturday, 29 January 2011

Looking up

Things have started to improve this month. While I'm still far from back on good form, I have undoubtedly started training again. Admittedly this entire month has had less hours training than a previous heavy week.. but its improving. Ive built up at a safe and semi-conservative pace. Ive pushed myself, but not too much, and I'm starting to see results. Ive shed some of the excess weight I picked up along the way and I'm abe to run and cycle (on the turbo) and enjoy it again. The first few runs this month were horrible. Truly unenjoyable and unpleasant. This week I managed a 5 mile run and enjoyed it. Then 2 days later did a 6 miler and enjoyed that too. Longest runs for 3 months, and the most enjoyable. Hopefully next week I'll be back to running an hour solid.

I'm also considering trying to go out on the bike on the road again. Possibly this Sunday morning. I'm nervous to do so, but Ive gotta shake off the fear and do it. Actually, in honesty, its not even fear. Its a complete lack of desire tempered with a touch of dread. I'm just hopeful that 2 Min's out on the road and my love of cycling will overpower it all and my problems will be solved. Fingers crossed for that.

Haven't considered swimming yet. Got a new tattoo a week a go so need to let that settle in for a few weeks before I can swim. I cant imagine how weird swimming is going to be. I'm hoping it will be OK though. Again, fingers crossed!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Turbo

I'm currently sitting on a train to Dublin, and this seems to be as good a time as any to write a quick blog update.

I was just following a conversation on Twitter there about turbo sessions, and found myself thinking, as I have on many occasions before, am I the only person in the world that actually likes using a turbo trainer?

I often hear people berate the trainer. It seems to be hated almost as much as the dreaded treadmill, or dreadmill as I personally call it.

I like the trainer. I do. Last night, for example. After we got the kids to bed, Steph and a friend of hers had gone out to a Zumba class, but got stuck in traffic, so they came home and decided to play the Dance Central game on the Xbox as a replacement. So guilt free I retired to the front room to hit the trainer. With the kids asleep and Steph busy, I didn't have to worry or feel guilty that I should be doing something else. The only worry was the downstairs neighbour, who has on one occasion, complained about the noise of the trainer. But it was only 8pm... so even that worry was appeased.

I turned on the fan, dimmed the lights, queued up a few tracks on the ipod and jumped on the bike for some intervals and had a good solid hour workout. Which I fully enjoyed.

Why do I enjoy it so much? Well... at 8pm at night in Belfast at this time of year, its dark. Cycling in the dark is OK.. but its not the safest thing in the world. Its also cold, so requires about 4 hours of getting ready to actually go outside. Finally.. and most importantly.. I can do completely focused training sessions. Last nights was intervals to build speed and power. When I cycle out on the road, I'm not really very good at this. I just happily cycle along and enjoy it.

Now at the moment, I'm not cycling on the road anyway. I still don't really have the strength or flexibility in my wrist, and I don't have the confidence either. This is not the issue though, last night was just a prime example of how enjoyable using the turbo can be. I got a really good hours training session in. My legs feel it this morning much more than an hour on the road would achieve.

Weirdly, the total opposite is true for running. I cannot run on a treadmill. Well, obviously technically I can, I just hate it. Id much rather be outside, regardless of the weather. Rain, wind, snow, whatever. I guess the turbo haters just feel the same way

Now, apart from the fact Id rather be outside.. I also have a bit of a rationale for this loving the turbo and hating the dreadmill thing. I think running outside makes you a much better runner. The wind, hills, fluctuations in the terrain etc are all good for the leg strength and stability in a way that running on a treadmill just wont achieve. Conversely.. If you use it right, I think the turbo can provide very significant gains for cycling. There are no downhills on the trainer. Provided you are using the right resistance and gearing, using the trainer should not be like cycling on the flat. Even a steady state spin should be a like a constant gradual incline. My average speed on the trainer is by default several mph slower than it is on the road.

Fair enough you can set a gradient on the treadmill, but its not the same. Maybe its just personal preference. If you love the treadmill, feel free to comment or drop me a mail !

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Back on track? Meh.

Another month has passed since last update.
Ive had to do a lot of thinking over the last few weeks.
Not doing any training for about 3 months now has resulted in me losing lot of fitness. Ive had to evaluate my plans for this year. 2011 was meant to be the year of my first Ironman. Ive had to reconsider this, I was struggling with this a lot and was very grateful to Phil Lavoie with whom I had a great chat over the whole issue. Phil is a phenomenal athlete who has clocked up some incredible times in the IM's that he has done.
My basic issue is that I don't really want my first Ironman to be a horrible experience. I don't want to be desperately trying to beat the cutoff and I don't want my first to be my last. In short, I don't want to go into the race not sure if I can finish.

So my plan this year is now to complete a few half Iron distances and get faster at them. The day I made this decision I signed up for the Galway 70.3 event. The first WTC event in Ireland.

Trying to get back to training has been a lot harder than I anticipated. While my wrist is recovering and is still pretty sore. My range of motion is terrible and i cant support any weight with my right arm. Ive put on a lot of weight and can feel it. being off over Christmas, eating too much and drinking a lot (partially for pain relief!) really didn't help.

I went for a 3 mile run last week and my legs hurt for days afterwards. I got some new shoes at the weekend and went for a 4 mile this week. In short.. it sucked. I hated every minute of it.

This saddened me greatly as I love to run, I really love it. I'm sure the love will come back, hopefully sooner rather than later.

As for cycling.. well, I spoke to the consultant about this last week and he said that if I really wanted too I could try and go out on the bike again but to be very careful due to the restricted range of motion and lack of strength. The truth is though, I dont want to. The accident has thrown me quite a lot psychologically and going back out on the road is kinda scary. I'll get over it, but I'm not even going to try until i get a bit more strength and flexibility in the arm.

I have, however, been back on the trainer and just finished my first hard trainer workout with intervals and some high intensity effort levels... and I feel pretty good.

Ive got some plans in mind for racing this year.. and over the next few weeks I will see how I feel and how the trainig goes and see how achievable they are. Hopefully now that I am back training again, I will be back to blogging a bit more often.