Isn’t it strange when you sign up for a race months in advance yet it almost seems like just a few weeks have passed when the race comes around!
It’s been a while since my last training post and I’ve posted once about my training since I did the Stirling Marathon in April and that was when I was getting back into it again. A lot has happened since then but somehow I thought it best to get my head down and get my fitness up to standard again for the Edinburgh Ironman 70.3 on 1st July. I had decided that once I’d got Stirling out the way, I would start to focus more on the swimming and cycling aspects as I had also entered the Lochore Triathlon Standard Distance 3 weeks out from the big race and thought it would be good preparation.
On Yer Bike
I started with a few short distance rides to work and back then gradually got in some bigger rides. I jumped up from 15 miles as my longest ride to 41.89 miles in the space of 3 days then did 55 miles the following week. I knew I needed to get up to speed and so the 55 mile route took in 3 hills around Perth and did 3 laps of roughly 17/18 miles. I’ve got a PT client who stays 8 miles outside Perth and so when I went to visit her, I left the car behind and cycled there and back. I felt like I was adapting to the bigger distances pretty quickly. I suppose I wasn’t starting from scratch and was building from my marathon fitness.
The biggest ride came when we signed up to the Chariots of Fire 5k beach race at St. Andrews. I decided that it would be good training to cycle the 38 miles each way with the run sandwiched in between. The ride out was pretty good, set off early and took 2hrs 30 mins to get there. When I arrived, I collected the race number, changed into my running shoes and put my bag in Allison’s car during the race. She ran too but made the sensible decision to drive there. It’s not often I go to these lengths to run a 5km race but it was revealed that every runner would receive a medal, a bottle of beer from Eden Mill (their gin is amazing too!) and a fudge doughnut from Fisher & Donaldson. If you’ve ever tried a Fisher & Donaldson fudge doughnut, you’ll understand the reason for travelling that far for a short distance run!
The beach run celebrated the famous scene from Chariots of Fire however, on this occasion the marshal put the turnaround marker in the wrong position and every ran 2.1 miles instead of 3.1 miles. Many were irritated by it but I just thought of getting my fudge doughnut sooner! I ate my go-faster fudge doughnut and began my journey home again. I got across the bridge to Dundee and was heading back out of Dundee when disaster struck. I got a flat tyre. It was ok, I thought, as I had one of those canisters with foam that would patch it up until I got home but things got worse when I hadn’t secure it properly and all the foam fizzed out and onto the ground. I still had a flat tyre. I tried my best to soldier on but as the wheel kept sliding, I stopped, called Allison (who was just home) and asked her to come and pick me up. I was more frustrated as I had done 25 miles on the way back and felt good to finish the 38.
Next up was the Triathlon but as I had been carrying a calf issue that was good for 2 miles, I took the decision not to take part if I wasn’t able to perform at my best. Instead of even doing a ride or run from home, I had a lie-in and took the day off. Sometimes all your body needs to do is rest.
My swimming (or drowning avoidance sessions) have been pretty hap-hazard and one of these things where you keep putting off something that you’re not good at. That’s swimming for me. I taught myself how to do the crawl in the build up to last year’s event and while I have got back into it, I haven’t progressed much. After not doing the Triathlon, I started to focus solely on doing breaststroke as that’s the stroke I found easier to do last year and will do so next week. My swim sessions since then have been pretty good with quite a few 1500m ones and a 2500m one yesterday.
I think to do events like this, you need a proper balance in your training so you’re getting good sessions in all 3 disciplines. Weirdly, I’ve made great progress in both cycling AND swimming but feel less prepared in my running! I feel I’m more confident going into the race than I did last year as my swimming is still rubbish but I know I can do it and don’t feel any pressure. I haven’t thought about target times for each discipline but that might be something I think about closer to the time or just do the race and compare times afterwards. After all, I have always performed better when I haven’t set target times in races and feel more relaxed and comfortable.
What are you training for just now? Do you ever get the feeling of being under-prepared but when you look at your training, you’ve done everything right and are performing better than you did when you trained harder for a race?