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Monday, 19 January 2015

Winter Is Coming..........

They say summer bodies are made in winter, I guess its the same for any sport or discipline you do! All the hard work is done in the winter.

I'll never forget the winters of my youth when I was competing in Athletics and how much I hated them!  The coach would come in and explain the 3-4 month packages and I can still feel the heartache of reading the schedule.  Little did I know that these sessions would be so important to the season ahead.

Beautiful Wiltshire Countryside
I think that the years of athletics and winter training as a youngster prepared me mentally this year for a winter of hard work.  Knowing that if i put the effort in now then the season should be easier.

So, my last event of 2014 was the 80 Mile Evans Ride It, which led to me taking
a week off afterwards as it was the hardest thing Ive ever done on a bike! Winter training began on 3 Nov, I had already decided that due to the first event of 2015 being the Longleat Half Marathon I was going to focus on running up to Christmas.  My first run was a 'steady' 40 min run in which I covered 4.25 miles.  Benchmark set! Winter Training had begun.

The weather had been kind, nothing like last year.   It was mostly dry and not particularly cold either.  Nice weather to be running in.  Running the same time the next day I covered exactly the same distance.  At least I was being consistent!

Just before Winter training began I had joined the local triathlon club, Stonehenge Triathlon and Road Racing Club.  I thought that being part of a club/team would push me harder.  The club had organised a swim session at the local pool every Thursday night.  So I went along.  Now I'm a fairly strong swimmer, doing a lot again as a kid.  I can swim the breaststroke faster than some can swim freestyle, however I needed to be able to improve my freestyle in preparation for the triathlons.

It went well, properly structured drills and training! Loved it! Needed it!  I knew joining the club was a good idea!

The running continued on to the end of the week with some Fartlek training and hill reps.  Covering just over 3 miles on each session I was starting to feel good and getting to grips with it all.

On the following Monday I decided to set another benchmark, 5km time.  This would be important as the triathlons I'm taking part in are all 5km runs. I laced up and headed out!  Now a year ago I couldn't walk 5km let alone run it so this was my marker for the winter.  28.34mins later the run was done.  I'd set a PB and was pleased as could be that it was under 30mins.  With an average pace of 8.54mins i had something to work with now.

I was pleased with that and knew that I was ready now to really push hard over winter and get faster and fitter.

Over the next few weeks I just got on with it, laced up and went out.  Hill Reps, Fartlek, Intervals week in week out.  Getting the miles into my legs and lungs.  Times weren't really in my mind at this time just doing the sessions and seeing how I felt at the end of each one.  To be honest after every session I felt better and better.  Using a foam roller after every third run and stretching after every session really helped my recovery.  I ran my longest run (8 miles) in just over 1hr10mins which I was over the moon with.  Things were really starting to look good running wise.

The swimming continued too although I only managed one more session before the Christmas break but I was getting better there too.  I couldn't believe how well things were going!

I had a couple of bouts of cold over the Christmas period which stopped the runs for a few days but they say that recovery is as important as training! This was so so true.

A club ride on Christmas Eve and a 6 mile run on New Years Day were the highlights of the Christmas period having eaten my body weight in Christmas goodies these two sessions were vital.
Christmas Eve Club Ride (I'm in the Sky jersey)

Slogging it out on the Turbo Trainer 

Just after Christmas I treated myself to a turbo trainer, an absolute must for any cyclist/triathlete who, like me, cant always get out on the bike during the day.  Being able to get miles on the bike without risking life and limb on the dark narrow country roads of Wiltshire is amazing!  So far Ive done 4 sessions on the turbo, the first ended after 7 miles following a mechanical issue.  The second session was a 11 mile Time Trial test ride, the third another 10 mile sprint and just last week a 20 mile session.  Now nobody told me exactly how much pain 20 miles on a turbo trainer causes so let me tell you a secret, I couldn't walk! No joke! I had to lay on the floor in the living room for 20 minutes even then I had to physically drag myself upstairs for a shower.  5 days off!!! Not able to train for 5 days as my upper hamstrings were ruined (and I had another cold)!  But it will all be worth it they say!

Prior to all the dramas with the turbo and my legs I ran another 5km test run.  Id done a couple of runs before the test but nothing to strenuous. So after work on a Tuesday evening i got the trainers on and went all out to set a new 5km time.  I set out fast and managed to stay on pace for a good 3km.  The last 2km was really tough though.  Two sharp hills, one short and steep, one long and steeper! However I kept the legs going on and on and on, I got to the end and my Garmin bleeped to tell me the run was done!  Time??? 24.33mins!! Id done it in fact Id smashed it 4 minutes off! I was delighted. 4 MINUTES! 2 years ago my 5km run was just over 40 minutes now I was blasting a 24 min run! I am living proof that the fat lad can become the fit lad.  With a little bit of determination, a lot of dedication and bucket loads of hard work any one can become better!
Shiny new shoes to break some PB's

Over the weeks the times kept dropping.  I had a 40min route that I used as a 4.2 mile run as my steady state run!  Last week the same route became a 36 min run and just tonight the same route again became a 33 min route.  If you keep at it the times drop!

Winter training continues and next month sees the start of the gym phase.  Strength building the legs and the core to help in the pool and the bike.  So the schedule is only getting busy in the run up to March.
The continued support of High 5 Sports Nutrition who's energy gels, hydration tabs and recovery drinks have been vital to the ongoing success of training (thanks Jodie).
Also a massive thanks to Bulk Powders for their continued support and expert advice from Simon.  There supplements have been an integral part of the training package and the nutritional part of the training.

Also I would like to mention a new member of the support family, TriathlonBox! I was contacted by John-Paul who is the inventor and creator of an amazing bit of kit that all triathletes need to get involved with.  A structured system that makes all transition phases easier and more efficient due to the lay out of the box! I'm looking forward to working with John-Paul in the future.  Please would you all take a minute to visit and follow John-Paul on Twitter @Triathlonbox
As the New Year is well and truly in full swing now I've set a few goals.

1) A 22 minute 5km.
2) A 45 minute 10km.
3) Finish my first triathlon!
4) Finish the Durrington Triathlon in less than 1hr20mins.
5) Complete the New Forest 100 in sub 6 hours

A new Tri-Suit to smash some PB's in
and finally - Enjoy Myself!

I suppose you all know by now why I'm doing all of this to myself, yes for personal pride and goals but mostly to raise awareness and as much money as possible for the MS Society.  So if you would all take another minute out of your day to visit to donate.

Or you can text KOMS99 plus your donation to 70070.  Even if its only £1 it means a lot and will go a long way to making my target. If everyone who has viewed my blog to date had donated just £1 then i would already be over half way to my target.
So please I know its January and its the hardest month of the year but it is only £1.
Text KOMS99 £1 to 70070!

Thanks for having a read and thanks in advance for your donations!

Keep your eyes out for the next blog which will be before the Longleat Half.

Thanks again


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