Monday, March 21, 2011

Week 10 / 20

Half way there!!!

The weather was so much better this week and that makes such a difference. I think that if you have to do your Ironman training in the UK, you should get a headstart in the race to make up for the bad conditions you had to suffer in training. The long rides on Saturday and Sunday were actually a pleasure (once my shoulder had settled down) - not too hot (only needed less than half a litre of water per hour and no sunblock), not too cold (shorts and t-shirt) and lovely clear blue skies. Only got one puncture on the road bike but I managed to (calmly) fix it without any problems.

My shoulder is a lot better thanks to Marta - it's still not perfect, though. I can almost set my watch by it - it starts to hurt about 30 minutes into a ride and then stops again after about an hour. Even though I am coming to expect that the pain will subside, it severely effects my mood and makes the ride seem daunting at first.

I did my long run on Friday on the way to work (2 hours) and I am noticing that I am a lot fitter (which is just as well) but I am getting a bit lazy, I have to say. I am running at about the same speed as I would have done some months ago but my pulse rate is much lower (133bpm versus 147bpm). What I should be doing is running faster but, although the cardiovascular load seems less, the muscular load does not and, after a week of heavy training, my legs feel like lead.

What about swimming? I hardly ever mention it, partly because I do much less of it than the other two sports (it is a relatively small part of the Ironman) and partly because it is what I am worst at. Still, that means that the improvements I am making are all the more dramatic. When I can, I have a private swimming lesson with Luis from the gym at work. The good thing is that he has done the Total Immersion course so at least he knows what I am trying to do and can help me develop a style that includes the best of all worlds, hopefully. There are times when it "clicks" and I feel like I am swimming on top of the water - it is a very rewarding sensation when you get it right, but it is also very demoralising when you are slugging it through the water. At one point I started to worry that I was getting one of those dreaded swimming related injuries like Swimmer's Shoulder - it turned out that that the burning sensation I was feeling in my shoulder came from my beard rubbing against it every time I turned to breathe!

Anyway, all this to say, so far so good. Next week I have the mother of all weeks as far as volume goes. I've decided to take a couple of days holiday to be able to train without getting unduly stressed about it: I have been building up to being able to handle this volume for the last couple of months so I really want to be able to tackle it head on. After next week there will be a relatively light week and then a build towards the Half Ironman in Lisbon at the end of April and, after that, a final build towards the Ironman in Brazil itself. That's not to say it's going to get any easier but I'm hoping that it will be easier to keep motivated.

From my commute: Some of these olive trees are over 1,000 years old!

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