Category Archives: Running

A Training Hiatus

I talked about a big day of triathlon training in May, however I have realised that over the next few weeks I will have to take a bit of a break in my training.

I do this swimming (and running and cycling) for ‘fun’. As a way to relax and unwind after work, but also as a way to push myself and get the best out of my [now noticeably aging] body. I do it because I enjoy all the aspects of it – the training, the events and the camaraderie. I do it for me.

However, I have other priorities in life – in particular family and work.

Family stuff is fairly settled at the moment and my son and I have got into some great routines and we [at least I do] enjoy the time we have together. It’s work though that’s going to need my attention over the next few weeks.

I run my own business and I’m lucky that I enjoy it – but it is mentally all-consuming. Recently we’ve won some new and exciting clients and on top of that there’s a big industry event coming up at the end of Feb. Over the next few weeks I need to ensure that I have 100% of my focus available for work every day. So until the end of Feb I’m going to rein in the training a bit.

I still plan to do as much as I can, but to make sure that’s out of fun and enjoyment and not forced or pressured. I’ll be using any exercise and activity as stress relief and enjoyment, rather than as training.

I need to prioritise things in life and for now work HAS to be my priority. I also need to understand how I tick and although I’ve talked about exercise as a stress relief I also know that I just need ‘time off’ to relax and perform at my optimum. I’m not someone that can whizz through life at a hundreds miles an hour, and rush from job to gym every day. I need some down time too. I need to be able to spend time on my own and with my own thoughts to recharge the batteries.

So that it what I need to focus on for the next few weeks – work and then myself to allow me to perform for work at my best level. Exercise will play a part in that, but putting myself under pressure to hit training goals certainly won’t.

Hopefully once this period is out of the way and March rolls around I’ll be able to get back into it

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Cycling, Running, Swimming, Thoughts, Work

Triathlon Training Day

I’ve mentioned it before, but this July I’m doing the Isoman half and so I need to train for it. I’m doing the running and the cycling and the swimming (a bit), but one of the most important things will be putting all that together – learning how just to keep going all day and through the different elements.

So for that reason I want to do a couple of ‘triathlon-lite’ training days. All the elements together, but without the distance or intensity, but just to get the body and mind used to process of it all.

The first of those will be on May 22nd and I’m inviting any that wants to join me for any of the four (yes four) vital elements of a triathlon.

1. Swim

The swim will be the BLDSA Colwick Park event – it’s a 5km event near Nottingham. As it’s a lap course (5 x 1km lap) you don’t need a kayaker to support you – just turn up and swim.Most BLDSA events are skins only, but this one does have a wetsuit category, so you can enter that one if you like.

If you want to do the swim, then you’ll need to be a member of the BLDSA, so sign up via Entry Central here.

2. Cycle

We won’t rush the transition, but once everyone is ready (and warm and dry) we’ll cycle from Colwick back to Southwell. We’ll take a slightly longer route and try and do about 30km. Nottinghamshire is fairly flat, so it shouldn’t be too tough a ride – although there is one big hill we could go up depending how we’re feeling.

3. Run

Once back in Southwell we’ll do a c. 10-15km route around the village. For me this isn’t about pure distance, but about getting a decent run in on the back of the other two elements to see how it feels and how I cope. So I don’t want to kill anyone (me especially), but just get a ‘good’ run done.

4. Refuelling

The most important element of any triathlon surely? Depending how many people there are we will either find a local pub that will fill us up with good pub grub and a pint (or two), or we will come back to my flat and I’ll feed us all with copious amounts of bacon sandwiches and cups of tea.

I’m particularly targeting this at my Team Bear friends. Do any of you fancy coming along and joining in any of the four elements of the day?

But of course, it’s not restricted to Team Bear members. If you fancy any of this let me know and it will be great to see you – please get in touch so that I can estimate numbers and plan it a bit more, but do come along.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cycling, Running, Swimming

Parkrun is just poo pants

I did my first ever Parkrun the other week and was pretty happy with the time I did.

I went again this week and intentionally ran without a watch to just get a feel for things without constantly looking at my pace. I wanted to run strong, but comfortably; to push as hard as I could without killing myself. And of course I wanted to beat my PB.

I set off well, the course was muddy, but generally ok. I recognised a couple of faces from the last run and used them as pace makers. I was running well and it felt like a good time.

So I waited for the results email to come through. And I waited.

And then it came through and I was 10 seconds slower that last time.

I blame the woman in the green top – she beat me by about 200m last time and I got in front of her this time. But she must have run slower.

*Storms off, slams bedroom door, shouts “IT’S NOT FAIR!”*

*Sulks*

*Comes out of bedroom and slumps on the chair, “I don’t care anyway.”*

– – –

On reflection I’m pretty pleased that my ‘natural’ pace is within 10 seconds of my watch-focussed pace. And in all honesty, a dry course would see a quicker time. Plus it still gives me plenty to work on.

Leave a comment

Filed under Running

Parkrun PB

Yay me! I got a PB at parkrun today.

Although I’m actually being a little bit cheeky by saying that – it was actually my first ever parkrun event, so I was bound to get a PB no matter what.

Screenshot 2016-01-16 15.46.11

I’ve admired the concept of parkrun for ages, but not being a runner I didn’t think it was for me. Not only that, but it’s 9am on a Saturday morning and Friday night is my darts night, so…

However, a couple of things have changed this year. Firstly, although I’ll never be a runner I need to run a bit more to train up for the Isoman event. Secondly, my darts nights is now alternate Fridays as my son stays with me on the other weekends and he’s now old enough that I can ask him to wait around for me for 30 minutes while I do parkrun.

So this morning we both set off to Newark (Notts, not New Jersey) and met up with the parkrun volunteers and runners. I was a little bit nervous and flustered setting off – I forgot my running jacket and so had to run round in my base layer only – but as people gathered at the start my nerves soon left me. There was a pre-run briefing and then we were off. The course was a straight line for about 1/4 a mile, then three laps of the circuit and then back down the straight to finish where we started.

I set off a bit too quickly, soon settled into a pace, realised that was a bit too slow, pushed myself on a bit and then ran the final section a bit harder still – to finish with a highly respectable time (for me) of 28:48.

Then it was time for a tea for me, a bacon roll for my son (as thanks for being so wonderful) and to collect my thoughts.

As anyone that has ever done a parkrun knows, the volunteers are great, the course is well marked, the group you run with friendly and welcoming and it is a great start to the weekend. It will now be a regular (fortnightly) part of my training plan and will be the time for me to run a ‘fast’ 5k. The goal now will be to dip under 28 minutes.

3 Comments

Filed under Running

401 marathons

I’m mainly a swimmer nowadays, but I’ve done a couple of marathons back in the day. For a while my ambition was to do five marathons, I thought that that would put me in a fairly select club. Lots of people have done one or two, not many are dedicated enough to have done five. But that’s absolutely nothing compared to someone I’ve just been made aware of:

Screenshot 2016-01-07 19.41.20

Ben is running 401 marathons on 401 consecutive days.

Stop a minute and think about that – that is a marathon day for OVER A YEAR!

He’s doing to raise money for charity and would love your support in any way you can manage. I don’t know how much more I can write about it here – just go to his site and see more and cheer him on: http://www.the401challenge.co.uk/

3 Comments

Filed under Charity, Running

This year’s targets

After completing my distance goal for 2015, I’m going to set some new targets for this year.

Events

Firstly, it has to be around events. The main reason I train is to be able to take part in the events I enjoy and to not only take part, but enjoy them too. The year has two main goals as far as events are concerned:

IsoMan Half

The IsoMan events are designed to equalise the normal triathlon distances, so that you should spend roughly the same time completing each discipline. As a swimmer, this is music to my ears as most triathlons are very heavily geared towards the cycling and running.

The IsoMan event is on July 2nd and I am doing the half distance, which comprises of a 3.5 mile swim, a 30.6 mile bike ride, and then a half marathon (13.1 mile run).

I really enjoyed watching friends complete the Outlaw Half last year in Nottingham, so I fancied another crack at triathlons. My goal is to complete the whole thing in under 6 1/2 hours, but we’ll see.

Windermere

For some reason I only swim Windermere in even numbered years (2012 and 2014 were my previous swims), so it seems only right that I have another go at it this year. It will be a real test of my new stroke and the work I’ve put into that to see if it can keep me going down the length of the lake and to a decent finish. Any time within 30 minutes of the IsoMan finish time and I’d be delighted with that.

Training

My year long goal is hit 2,000kms (doubling the original premise of this blog). I hit my target of 1,600kms last year, so I’m going to stretch it a bit further. However, I’m also going to change the algorithm slightly. At the moment I treble any swimming distance and divide by four any cycling distance. My plan for this year is to roughly follow the IsoMan ‘equalising’ algorithm.

What that means for this year is that the swimming will be multiplied by 3.5, while the cycling will only be divided by 2.5.

While it does mean that my swimming is counted more, I suspect the biggest difference will be in the cycling, as not only will it now count for much more, but with the IsoMan coming up I’ll also be doing a lot more of it.

Other Events

All the other events I’m doing are really (in my mind) classified as training for my two main goal events. I don’t always have as much time for training as I’d like, especially the long training swims, so I’ve entered a number of events that will hopefully help me to build up to my target events.

For the IsoMan I have:

  • Southwell sprint tri – this event is in my local village and is great fun. They run it twice a year and I did the autumn version in 2014, so I have a target time to try and beat.
  • Leeds half marathon – I’ve never done this before, but I know a few people who have entered, so I thought it sounded like a great training event, as well as chance to catch up with friends.

For Windermere I have:

  • Bala weekend – I’m hoping to do both the 3km and 6mile swims on the Saturday and then the 3mile swim on the Sunday.
  • Ullswater / Derwentwater – another weekend of swimming with the BLDSA, with the 7mile Ullswater on the Saturday and the 5.25mile Derwentwater on the Sunday.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

1 Comment

Filed under Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming

Review of the Year

There are lots of these posts going around, so to prove my lack of originality here is mine.

#TieForHelena

Screenshot 2015-12-15 22.02.08

A subject that took over my blog for a few days in December was the #TieForHelena. An online friend of mine (we’ve never actually met in person) and fellow swimmer was attacked near her house because she was wearing a tie. As a community we wanted to support her and hopefully give her the confidence to wear a tie again. Here’s the original post outlining this: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/tieforhelena/

What actually happened was that it seemed to strike a chord with people and it turned out to be quite big. Here’s the summary post I did: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/that-went-well/

2Swim4Life

About to start mile 20 - not happy!

About to start mile 20 – not happy!

There were two main events that were the focus of 2015 for me. The first was back in May and was the 2swim4life event. A simple premise of swimming a mile on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours. I trained hard for it and had great support on the day, here’s the write-up I did: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/2swim4life-summary/. That said, it took me a while to get my focus back again: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/if-found-please-return-to/

Swimming the Channel

Screenshot 2015-08-26 14.08.43One thing that did help me to regain my focus was swimming the channel on behalf of the charity Aspire. This was a channel crossing with a difference as it was to be done in the pool over the course of 12 weeks. I decided to add another element to the challenge and do it in 22 days: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/swimming-the-channel/. I completed it successfully and as you can see I was effusive in my final write-up: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/ive-done-it/.

It’s not too late to sponsor me if you have any spare money lying around after Xmas: https://www.justgiving.com/patrickJPRaspire/

I didn’t do a channel relay this year (although there may be one on the cards for 2016), but I did write some of my thoughts on them for aspiring relay swimmers: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/channel-relay-thoughts/

Bala Disaster

2015 wasn’t all good though. I had my first ever DNF at Bala this year – and to make it worse I wasn’t swimming, but kayaking and had to pull my swimmer out of the water (sorry again Rach): https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/shit-shit-shit-shit-shit/. Fortunately we did get a swim in the following day: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/sunday-was-better/.

Cricket

A picture postcard scene. Photo courtesy of @135notout

A picture postcard scene. Photo courtesy of @135notout

I also tried to play cricket again in 2015, for the first time in over 25 years. As you can see from these posts, it wasn’t a complete success: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/crickets-hard-work/; https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/cricket-hmmm/

Crete

But at the end of the summer, I did treat myself to a swimming trip to Crete. It was a trip organised by the wonderful Swimtrek and I met some great new swimming friends: https://1000kmstowindermere.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/more-on-crete/. I’d definitely recommend one if you’re thinking about it.

Not a bad 2015 all in all. And I still think that 2016 will be even better.

3 Comments

Filed under Charity, Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming

I’ve done it

My plan for 2015 was to complete 1,600kms – and after this morning’s swim I have crossed that threshold.

The distance isn’t the actual distance travelled during my training and events in 2015 as I use an algorithm to try and equal out the three main activities I partake in – swimming, running and cycling. As I’m mainly a swimmer, it didn’t seem fair on me to compare distances with runners for example. Yet nor did it seem fair to just do lots of cycling to boost the numbers. So the 1,600kms distance is a ‘normalised’ running distance for the year as I multiply any swimming distances by three, and divide any cycling distance by four.

So my totals for the year so far (I plan to do another session tomorrow):

Swimming: actual – 408.66kms; adjusted – 1,225.98kms
Running: actual – 270.17kms
Cycling: actual – 447.27kms; adjusted – 111.82kms
Total: actual – 1,126.10kms; adjusted – 1,607.96kms

I’m pretty pleased with that. Well over 1,000 kilometres in actual distance covered and a whole day to spare in hitting the target. But all of this is with a complete lack of motivation in June and July (after the big swim in May), which meant that to complete the target my top three months (in order) were October, December, November.

Update 31/12/15

After today’s session my final totals are: 1,145.8kms actual and 1,620.56kms adjusted.

1 Comment

Filed under Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming

LetJog Update – Nearly There

As I’ve posted about before there is an online support group that has set its members the challenge of completing the distance between Land’s End and John O’Groats in 2015 through their training and events. According to Wikipedia that is a distance of 874 miles (or 1,407kms).

I’m a member of this group and have signed up to this challenge, although I have decided to extend it slightly to 1,600kms – or 1,000 miles. Initially this blog was about me completing 1,000kms of exercise in a year (a target I didn’t hit), but you can see how much fitter I’ve got as my target for 2015 was 60% greater.

There’s actually a fair chance that I’ll hit this target too. I’m currently about 50kms away from John O’Groats, so I should get there before the end of November. Then that gives me December to complete the additional 180kms or so.

There are no rules to the challenge – other than the distance covered – and most of the people in the group are primarily runners, so will have run just about every mile.

I’m primarily a swimmer, but I run and cycle [a bit] too. I didn’t think that I’d manage to swim 1,600kms in a year, but equally I didn’t want to ‘cheat’ and cycle the bulk of the distance, so I follow a simple algorithm:

  • All swimming distance is multiplied by 3
  • All running distance is counted as is
  • All cycling distance is divided by 4

My totals (with adjusted figures) so far are:

  • Swimming – 357.46kms (1,072.38)
  • Running – 195.07kms (195.07)
  • Cycling – 358.77kms (89.69)
  • Total – 911.30kms (1,357.14)

As you can see I’ve travelled almost exactly as far in water as I have on a bike – although the adjusted figures are then somewhat different. It’s also a pretty good total given that once I’d completed the big 24 hour swim in May I did almost nothing in June and July (a combined, adjusted total of 107.99kms). Fortunately I caught up a lot of my missed distance with a big October – an adjusted total of 220.43kms.

I’ll need to be dedicated through December, including into the Xmas period, but I expect to hit the 1,600kms target.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming

Half a man

Sorry, that should actually be half an ironman. At least that’s what I hope I’ll be next year.

Team Bear LogoOnline I mix with a right group of nutters and some of them did the Outlaw half ironman this year – as it’s local to me I went to watch it. And although the swim bit is way too short and there’s far too much cycling and running involved it seemed like a fun event and a challenge that I’d like to take on. But you know… one day… not now.

My priorities are and always will be my swimming goals, but I realise that they are actually quite a long way away and the lack of a more immediate ‘big’ goal has seen me drift since the 2swim4life swim.

It’s not just the recent heat that has made me become a bit listless. I had a bit of a reality check the other day and realised that I needed to have a challenge, to start training again (for my mental wellbeing as much as physical), and lose that bit of weight that has started creeping back on. So I pre-registered for next year’s Outlaw half ironman.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve committed to it, but after more conversations with the aforementioned nutters, it my own mind I have committed.

Of course I have some worries:

– That I am as rubbish at cycling and running as I fear
– That it’ll break me for future swimming
– That I’m just doing this to distract me from my current single status, but it will actually restrict me from ever being not single – you know: “That was a lovely date, when can we do it again?” “Well, I have a gap in my training schedule in 12 weeks time.”
– That real life and work reasons will get in the way and I’ll be undercooked by event time – I’m not sure I have enough time to do all the swim training I want to do
– That it’ll get addictively expensive – have you seen some of those tri bikes?
– That I’ll just be the rubbish fat bloke at the back of the field

I’m pretty sure the nutters will help me with some of these fears. I think a bit more training will help me to overcome some of the others and well, who knows.

So, when the email comes through for registration it looks like I’ll be signing up.

*Gulp*

1 Comment

Filed under Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming