Well… where to begin?! Im sitting here in rainy Cheshire watching the Olympics (rugby 7’) and it has dawned on me that in exactly one-month time I will, fingers crossed, be half way through my Rat Race Coast to Coast adventure, Scary thought eh! In my previous blog I said that I would go into slightly more detail this time on what kind of prep I am doing for the race so here goes:
I think I have previously mentioned that this year I am officially on a rest year from racing as my body felt completely broken, what this has ultimately meant is that I have still entered the coast to coast as its my favourite race and been a little bit less disciplined in my training from January – July. Admittedly, this wasn’t the best way to go about it. I was still training but very much just going through the motions. As a result, over the past month I have tried to bring a bit more structure to my training and this is how I have done it. Actually, before I start I need to provide some context, my working day is 9:45-18:15, 5 to 6 days per week, fairly standard stuff however as I’m in a management position (fancy title) that actually means I am out of the house from 8:00- 19:30 every day and am thinking about work and fielding phone calls when I am not there, don’t feel sorry for me, I chose to do the job. I also have a fiancé and two dogs to keep happy so this also eats into my training time, just like everyone else who isn’t a pro, we have things that get in the way, we can’t let these get us down we just have to adjust and work around them. Now that we have the context I will go into a bit more detail:
Due to my physical circumstances (28 years old, 6ft 4 and 15 stone with a tight back and knees/ ankles that aren’t impressed with the years of punishment they have taken) I have had to really manage my body, this is a battle I know many people fight so don’t think you are alone and my dad assures me that this battle will only get more one sided as I get older… can’t wait. As a result of this I have structured my training as follows:
1 long run,
1 long bike
1 short run
1 short bike
1 kayak session per week and then mixed in a swim session and plenty of foam rollering and stretching to aid recovery. The fact that I can foam roll and stretch in front of the telly means that I am not technically training and so doesn’t count against my training time as far as my fiancé is concerned (life hack right there), she just watches with the dogs as I bring myself to tears trying to loosen off my ITB’s (she occasionally snapchats these sessions so her followers can share the experience).
Doing one long run per week has helped to ease the pressure on my joints and the short sharp run means that I haven’t lost too much pace for when I go back to tri next year. My short bike session has normally been completed on a turbo trainer early in the morning, this isn’t ideal but is necessary due to work and time commitments. The long rides have been my favourite part of training and I have loved getting out on the bike whenever I can. Due to the race involving kayaking I have been doing one session per week just to keep my eye in and minimise the risk of me drowning in a Scottish Loch. Finally, the swims have been a real blessing, normally in a lake, they have brought a different element to training and really taken the pressure off.
Going into a bit more detail on the bike and run training, a major factor that I got wrong last year was the fact I didn’t do anywhere near enough hill work (pretty stupid when you consider the race is in the highlands)! So this year I have really tried to incorporate more of this into my training, this has resulted in me finding the biggest hills I can in Cheshire (not very big) and riding or running up them. It’s not ideal prep but is better than nothing. I have also been doing a lot more running around Delamere forest and up old pale which offers some stunning views of the shire and I would highly recommend going up there, either running or walking to simply take it all in.
One thing I need to mention is that whilst I had this plan in place it hasn’t always gone swimmingly well. There have been times where I have gotten in from work or woken up in the morning and been so physically and mentally drained that I have sacked the session off. For me, this has been massively tough to do, in years gone by I have been so obsessive about my training that I would have forced myself to get out and do the session however this year, I really have had to listen to my body more and accept when I need rest. Please don’t think this was easy, a couple of weeks ago I had planned an 80km bike ride on a Sunday however the Saturday was one of the busiest days at work I have had and I woke up at 7:30 on Sunday morning very very tired. I spent 30 mins trying to talk myself into going out however I ultimately gave in and went back to bed. The result was a cracking Sunday off and going back to training on the Monday slightly more refreshed and having a better week of training and work as a result. When asked about this by other people my advice would be this: listen to your body, don’t drag yourself through sessions as you gain nothing but more fatigue however… baring an injury, illness or a race day on the Sunday never, ever miss a Monday, even if you do a 20 minute HIIT session or 3 km run it sets the tone for the week and you will feel better for it.
Next month I will do two blogs, one pre-race with info on my last few weeks of training and some kit review and then a second post-race, hopefully celebrating a successful weekend!
As always, if you have any questions give me a shout in the comments section!
I want to finish this post with a tribute…. This week tragedy struck our close knit family with the passing of my auntie Lizzie. She was an amazing woman who lit up the room and left a lasting impression on everyone she met. She will be sorely missed by everybody who knew her. R.I.P Lizzie xxx.
A decent ride into the East Cheshire hills