Onward and Upward

Frozen Neckar - courtesy of KT

Today brings me to the end of the fifth week of my ten-week schedule for building a solid cardiovascular base. The time has gone quickly and it’s hard to believe that I’m now half way through this phase of my training. This was a good week–after a reduced week last week, the amount of time I’m spending on the bike and run went sharply up again, but my body seems to have handled it well and I haven’t been too tired after workouts–that is to say that I’m tired immediately after the session, but then I feel recovered to get on with my day before too long (although I have been sleeping very soundly at nights!). Not every training session has been perfect, but I continue to feel overall that I’m making progress.

My weeks are scheduled for the most part so that I have one long workout in each discipline in the first half of the week and then one shorter session in each discipline in the latter half of the week. Today was my short run, so I decided to do some work on hills by going up the Philosophenweg (as my longer run this week was on a flat track). The weather this week has continued to be chilly (minus 13 Celsius again this morning), which has been sending me indoors on the bike, but for the most part I enjoy running on a cold day with sun (as long as the wind isn’t up too much). Today was really perfect, with sun and very little wind. There’s no doubt that getting up the incline to the Philosophenweg left me breathing hard, but once at the top the view of the icy Neckar in the sun was a real treat, which then turned into a run through the forest. The frozen Neckar and the hill of the Philosophenweg can be seen in the picture above, courtesy of KT (who is far more of a photographer than I’ll ever be).

In other exciting news, I met today with Erica Hemmy, a swim coach from the Katja Schumacher Triathlon Akademie. Katja Schumacher is a world-class athlete and she and her team coach some very successful triathletes, but they also coach athletes of all levels (even as low as mine!). They offer a variety of services, including personalized training plans and individual coaching. Individual coaching is too much for me, but for a very reasonable price I can train in one technique session a week with them for the rest of my six months in Germany. They offer one bike, one swim, and one run session every week, and I’ll alternate between disciplines week by week depending upon what I feel needs most technique work (most probably more often the bike and the swim). I’m excited about this, as it’s a cost-effective way to get some top-class training and to meet other triathletes training in the area. I really love training on my own, but it will also be good to get some motivation by training one session per week with others. This week I’ll be with them for an indoor cycling session on Thursday and will report on how it goes.


About philosophersrun

Not actually a philosopher.
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7 Responses to Onward and Upward

  1. Kim says:

    Did you run up the steep part on the road? That is a crazy hill. I am super jealous-er, I mean excited for you–getting to train with Olympians! I am living the coaching I am getting in my tri group. It makes such a difference.

    • I went up the switchback that begins just around the corner from the really sharp climb we walked up when you were here (I’m not quite that crazy yet!) – it has some steep sections too, but also a bit of reprieve half way to make it manageable. Back in December when I was in much worse shape I did actually attempt that really steep hill in some short 5km runs, but both times I only made it three quarters of the way, walked to the top, and started running again. Maybe I’ll give it a go again on a short run in a month’s time or so, but I want a lot more hill experience before then! I was looking yesterday for fun at the half-marathon route here in May, which has two climbs, first up the Philosophenweg and then up towards the Schloss on the other side of the river – a tough race without a doubt! I don’t know if I’ll actually enter that race, as we might be away around then, but I thought I might give the route a go on my longer 105 minute run in a few weeks time. We’ll see how I’m feeling.

  2. Meardaba says:

    Hey, if I switch to swimming instead of running (I can’t find the time to run at a gym and it’s too icy to run outside in Edmonton), do you know if I’ll get the same cardio workout and still be able to run 10k in March? (‘Cause otherwise…I’m so hooped.)

    • Hey Meara. You will definitely get a good cardio workout from swimming, which could only be beneficial for your fitness. Swimming is also a nice way to increase your cardiovascular training with little to no impact on your body – on my swimming days I can work hard but still give my legs a rest after a pounding on the road or bike. What you won’t, however, develop with swimming alone is the leg musculature and technique specific to running. In your case, as weather is the issue rather than injury, I would still recommend running indoors on a treadmill 2-3 times per week (increase the incline of the treadmill to 1 or 2 to simulate more accurately running outside) combined maybe with some swimming if it’s less time consuming to get to the pool. Another option would be to try some occasional deep water running with a flotation belt, although you’ll still want to be running on the treadmill. Most importantly, if you haven’t been running regularly recently, make sure you build slowly at first, to give your body time to adjust and get used to running longer distances (and every fourth week decrease your times/distances to give your body a recovery week). Here is an example of a mileage build-up programme: this is a longer programme for marathon training, but it will give you a sense of how you should build up gradually so as to reduce the risk of injury. It would be a good idea to make a plan leading up to the date of your race (including a taper in the days leading up to the race). I’ve also found that having a plan makes the time commitment seem more manageable. That’s a bit long winded (sorry), but I hope it helps somewhat.

      • Meardaba says:

        Thanks to you both! I’ll try those things – I am going to start it all up tomorrow in Victoria. Do some intervals for 5k, then shorter run on Monday etc. Build myself up from what I’m capable of at the moment (which is run 5 k in 45 mins) so I can finish the 10 without hurting myself. 🙂 Have either of you tried AquaFit? It can be a serious workout AND lots of fun.

    • 42kim says:

      Try water running with a float belt. i did that to maintain my cardio when I was injured. Swimming used a different muscle group that running,but water running is exactly the same without the pounding!

      • Kim (as always) brings wisdom to the situation! I agree that deep-water running with a belt is a great option, especially when injured, but also as part of a regular winter routine. Once you get the technique down (which takes a couple of goes – I think the first time I tried it, without a belt, I looked a bit like an uncoordinated octopus on speed, minus four limbs of course) it can be a serious workout and the resistance in the water (so I’ve read) may have particular benefits for developing strength and speed. I did it a couple of times in January when my knee was a bit tender and was breathing hard at the end – the studies I’ve read say that VO2Max is maintained and developed comparably to those doing land training. But as you’re not injured, I still think it would be good to get onto the treadmill for some workouts if possible (even if just once and a while), as apart from cardio you want to develop a feel for your land technique and get your body a bit used to the impact of land running before jumping into the race.

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