DSC02438

2019 – the next steps.

Hello!

DSC02405It’s been a hot minute since I wrote anything. A lot has happened! World champs, a bit of training, another new bike fit, finalising the race calendar, a change of club, working on my photography business.

While writing this it’s Friday Morning. I’ve just got out the pool after hitting some big PB’s over 100 metres and yesterday I enjoyed my first rest day since we flew back from Spain. It’s amazing how long ago three weeks feels!

I won’t lie, I’ve kept no secrets in saying that I am disappointed with my performance in Spain.

I swam poor, I biked well considering the terrain, and I ran poor. The result, 7th in the AG and 26th in the AG field, you might say is a good one. But when I look to how I’ve been performing in training, I know I am capable of so much more. I won’t pretend I’m a strong cyclist in the hills, we all know I’m not. So to hold my own was a great positive, and there were no back issues! But, I know there’s more in there.

DSC_4107I don’t have any excuses for the run, I just didn’t have the legs on the day, and since then we’ve been working tirelessly to find out why.

I’ve had another bike fit, to see if that allows me to run stronger off the bike, we’ve worked hard in open water and in the pool to look for some cheap gains. And we’ve improved my run. I currently feel like my swim/run is up there with the best it’s ever been, but, that needs to start being translated into the way I race.

Last week was the 2nd biggest training week I’ve ever had, and the few days that followed were no smaller. Running off the bike when the body is exhausted at the end of a long block is the closest we can come to replicating an Ironman run leg. For those of you that want numbers, it was 2529 TSS in 11 days. 230 TSS per day average.

DSC02432For those that don’t understand that, TSS is a training stress score. The stress put on your body from any given session, calculated by some clever algorithms. And 230 for me is the equivalent of a 36km (22.5 mile) run, at 3 hour marathon pace. Or a 5 hour “steady state” bike ride with some intervals. Every day, for 11 days.

So as you can imagine, by day 4 I was smoked.

Day 8 of the block was a 1 hour bike and a 20.5 mile run off the bike, 33km to be exact. I was lucky enough to share it with my parents, them on the bikes, me pounding the pavement. It was thoroughly enjoyable, though my legs didn’t have quite as much fun.

DSC_4815We talked the world away, and with a strong last 30 minutes, I came home almost on the nose of the 3 hour marathon average pace.

Day 9 was another tough day, I woke up with understandably heavy legs to knock out 4.5km in the pool, weights and a 30 minute jog. This really made sure the legs were cooked before day 10. The last of the big runs.

I struggled to even get out of bed in the morning, let alone the thought of a chunky 90 minute bike and 2x5km run off the bike. But none the less I had a good go at the bike, despite my legs feeling completely ruined.

What followed was the first sign since February of the performance I know I can do. The type of spark I’ve been working so hard to find.

DSC02415I bumbled in through the front door from the bike, kit off, change jersey, running shoes on. And I was out. 2x5km “hard”.

The goal time was 19:10 per 5km, a tall order.

It didn’t take long before I was well up into the amber heart rate zones, knocking on the door of the red. Trying desperately to control my breathing on the small “hills” of my local Eaton loop.

“Stay smooth, stay strong”.

452A6279-3The words echoed in my mind. And before I knew it, the first 5km was over. I didn’t check the time, but I knew the pace was solid. And there was absolutely no way my body was going to be doing another.

But none the less, I took the full 3 minutes rest to talk myself into the second, and I was off.

“Stay smooth, stay strong.”

A quick look at my watch and it confirmed what I already knew. The pace was good, but I was hurting for it. Not fully emptying the tank, I knew there was still one day before I could let my body rest, and an injury wouldn’t help anyone at this point in time.

DSC_4786My heavy legs were hammering the silent roads, my panting all that I could hear. 1km…. 2km…. 2.5km… 3km…. 3.1km… I was breaking the distances smaller and smaller, into manageable chunks for myself.

But one thing was for sure, I was running, actually properly running.

I was back and it felt great.

Into the last 1km and I knew I just had to get to the end in one piece, nothing special, nothing magic, just don’t slow down, and don’t hurt yourself. Easy enough?

Job done.

Jog home, report to base.

I slumped on the grass outside the house to check the times.
18:14, 17:38.

DSC02441Wait what?

Far beyond what I thought I was currently capable of, and back to the form I was starting to see early season.

There and then, I’d run the confidence back into my legs. We’re back in business.

Now all this is great, and looks super promising for what’s to come in the next few weeks.

But the harsh reality is that nobody cares about how fast you train or how well you move behind closed doors. So, a week on Sunday, we go again.

DSC_4804At the Challenge Championships, Slovakia. A 70.3 race, where I’m hoping to show what I’m really capable of this year.

Then another go a week later, at Ironman stafford 70.3… and again at Swansea half marathon at the end of the month.

Why?

Because they’re pressure free hit outs. Who cares what happens? Until Ironman Hamburg I certainly don’t!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be there and I’ll be racing hard to really see what I’m capable of. Turning myself inside out. But not for a time, not to win, not to beat people. Just to see how far I can take push my body, and where we’re up to after another solid block.

If at first you don’t succeed – try, try and try again.

2 replies
  1. Clive
    Clive says:

    All the best for Stafford Jack, I loved the race last year. Just be careful of the 1st few hundred meters on the bike, the road from lake to the main road is shocking and drinks bottles bounce out the cages all over the place ………. including mine & I was warned.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply