Now that the weather is improving and there’s some weekend daylight before the rest of the Holmes household awakes, it’s time to get serious with my training.
I took the road bike out for the first time this year early on Saturday morning and completed most of the 20k circuit before it started raining. Everything ran smoothly this time and I didn’t push too hard but finished with a respectful time of 40:48. Next time, with favourable weather conditions and traffic lights, I should break the 40 minute barrier.
We then went over to Hornby for the day and I spent some time playing with a new Garmin Forerunner 305. It uses GPS to measure your distance, elevation and speed together with a wireless heart monitor to give you a full view of your performance. We popped over to Morecambe to give the kids some fresh air along the prom and I was egged on by my mother-in-law to put the equipment through its paces. Although not really dressed for it, (wearing a collared shirt and a raincoat) I zipped off my removeable trouser legs and trotted along by the sea to record an initial 8 minute mile without breaking sweat. I’d been intending to hold off buying one of these gizmos until I moved up to Olympic distance, but Catriona has shown interest in running a 10k Race For Life this summer, double her previous furthest distance, and so with both of us looking to make use of ‘Freddy’ the Forerunner it justified the expense.
We both took Freddy out on Sunday – I ran two 5k laps of Heaton Park trying to hold my heart rate below 150 bpm and Catriona did a 5k run straight afterwards. The machine was becoming addictive. I took it to work on Monday and measured the wild fluctuations in heart rate against the varying gradients my bike and I had to tackle on the ride in and also took it with me for a brisk 2 mile walk at lunchtime and of course recorded the ride home too (which is always a slightly different route to the one going in). I did another slow 5k run last night and Catriona used it for a second 5k today. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to a quick 5k.
The watch is waterproof but not to the extent that it can be taken in the pool, and I’ve been busy on that front too! Monday night I went to Leigh with swimming partner Andy. He’s lost a stone in weight since the end of last year and probably needs to shed the best part of 2 more before our September Great North Swim but his fitness has already improved and whilst I swam pretty much continuously for 50 minutes he probably only did 10 lengths less than me. I finished the session with a quick 10 lengths of frontcrawl and he stayed in my slipstream for the duration before pulling past me on the last length which was as utterly predictable as it was annoying. I already know he’s fast than me but this showed he’s developing the stamina to go with his strength.
I swam 40 lengths this lunchtime at Stretford and have booked a training session at Tri-Central next Wednesday where they will analyse my stroke in the endless pool that BBC 5 Live’s Shelagh Fogerty used earlier this week (@57 mins) in preparation for her Sport Relief swim in the Serpentine. My technique is definately holding me back. I expect to gain strength in the pool over the next few months but without channeling it appropriately I’ll not get the full benefit. I asked if I could try out my wetsuit but the trainer said I need to wear trunks for the 45 minute session or else I’ll over-heat and that a suit would mask some of the failings in my technique anyway. I know my kick is appallingly weak but I’m looking to find ways to swim more efficiently and effectively.
I’m sorting my diet out too. I’m not calorie counting but I’m certainly more aware of them. I’ve been eating half a tray of Tesco Value flapjack each day that I cycle to the office as a second part of my breakfast, and I thought the ride in justified this. However, whilst the ride burns a few hundred calories that quantity of flapjack weighs in at 800! That has stopped immediately with the stash from my desk being returned home for the kids to consume and I’m looking at healthy alternatives to my grazing through the day. I’m hoping to loose a couple of pound this month and next to drop down to my fighting weight for the Triathlon in June in order to ensure peak performance, oh and I’ll want to look good in my tri-suit around the streets of Liverpool too.