This afternoon’s training session marked the end of the highest volume week in my initial base training programme. Next week I’ll be transitioning to a new phase of training, about which I’ll write more in an upcoming post. The longer workouts this week required a significant time commitment (especially as the light doesn’t yet allow for very early morning or evening rides on the bike), concerning which KT has been incredibly supportive (even through a bout of teething with NP). As I mentioned earlier in the week, I aimed to bring strong concentration to all of my training sessions this week, and overall I feel I’ve been successful in this.
After my long bike this week on Tuesday (for which see last post), Wednesday was a technique intensive day. Over the lunch hour I did a run technique analysis with Katja Schumacher, who introduced me properly to the natural running technique. She is an excellent coach and, although it will take time to make changes, and then make those changes habit, this session has me moving in the right direction. In the evening that same day I headed out to the pool for a swim technique session with Erica Hemmy, an experienced swim coach. She surprisingly (as I have always thought it terrible) informed me that I have a very strong kick, but also pointed out a number of ways in which I need to improve the efficiency of my stroke–I’ll be working a lot more technique drills into my swimming sessions in future. Most people recognize that technique is incredibly important for swimming, but it’s certainly also the case with running–in both cases, greater efficiency allows one to put energy and power to better use, and better technique in running can also greatly reduce impact and the potential for injury. I’m going to be continuing to work hard on technique in the coming weeks.
On Thursday I had my long run, which was just over the half marathon distance (21.25kms in 1 hour 45 minutes). I had slept terribly the night before and there were some hard sections on the run where I didn’t feel great (due in part to a strong headwind and rain for 10kms back up the other side of the river), but, despite being slower than I wanted, it was a positive training session. Friday was my day off, and Saturday I also stayed off the roads and did a short strength/stretching session. I had two down days this week because today I combined my short bike and run (for the first time) for what is often called a brick training session: the run right off the bike.
Running off the bike has its challenges: after sitting and using the quads on the bike, the hip flexors are tight and the glutes have not been used. It takes time, therefore, for your body to settle into the new activity and feel comfortable. For me today, the bike went really well. My legs felt strong, I was moving at a reasonable pace (1 hour and 3 minutes, 31.8kms, including several traffic stops), and I finished the hour on the bike with a lot left in the tank. When I got off the bike at my flat, I quickly transitioned downstairs before heading straight back out on the run (this transition took about 3 minutes): apart from the equipment change, I also ate half a banana (which did not settle well, incidentally) and took in some water. For the first five minutes, I felt like I was running on two large marshmallows, but my splits for the first 2kms were actually quite good. After about 3kms, my legs felt normal again, but oddly my speed dropped a bit from that point–in the end, the run was a bit slower than I wanted (10kms in 47 minutes and 24 seconds). Overall, however, I’m really very pleased with how this training session went. There’s naturally a lot to improve on, but this combined bike-run session has given me a sense of where I might be in a race, and it’s really good to know that my basic aerobic fitness is now there.
The photo above was taken by KT just after my training session today. I was tired from a hard session and week, but not exhausted (although potentially considering using NP’s new walking toy, visible bottom right, to help me out to the kitchen to get a snack…..). This evening, I’m looking forward to starting Michael Ondaatje’s new book ‘The Cat’s Table’–it’s been sitting tantalizingly on the shelf for a couple of months now, ever since BT brought it with her at Christmas. Other print has thus far taken priority, but when I ran past a shop in Ziegelhausen today that had a prominent advertisement for the book, I took it as an omen.