I'm starting to think that I'd like to prepare for this Marathon all by myself. I pretty much know the drill by now. I've made up a detailed plan for the first two weeks and a rough outline of how many ECOs ("training points") I would like to put in every week.
Week 1. Objective ECOs 400, actual ECOs 530
I think that the fact I have had to wear this activity monitor all week for the study I have been participating in has influenced me to do slightly more exercise than I had planned. Nevertheless, I would say that this week represents an average week taken over the whole year (including peaks for competition and troughs for holidays). I also think I did the series of 8 lots of 4 minutes at 17 kph on Wednesday much more conscientiously than usual because I felt as though I was being "watched"!
On Thursday I went to work on my bike and went home via a friend's house. I hadn't seen him since he'd done his Ironman in Klagenfurt so it was an opportunity to hear all the gory details. He did a good time on the bike and on the Marathon but his swim took him nearly an hour longer than he expected. In fact, he only just missed the cutoff by 3 minutes. But the remarkable thing is that he swears that he had no idea at the time: he looked at his watch on leaving the water and thought "Good, an hour and 17 minutes" and it was only later he realised that he had actually taken two hours and 17 minutes and has no idea what happened to that missing hour! My theory is that he was abducted by aliens... Either that, or he slept in and started the Ironman an hour late. It's one thing to take much longer than expected but another thing altogether not to even realise. I can't imagine having to swim for so long and then do the rest of the Ironman. In fact I hadn't seen this particular friend since almost a year before so I took the chance to reclaim my aero helmet that I leant him (he didn't get on with it so he didn't end up using it). The only problem was that I had to ride home on my mountain bike wearing it so I hope nobody spotted me. God knows what a fellow triathlete would have thought.
The strange thing (in a good way) was that I felt so fresh and full of energy on Friday that I decided to do a couple of longer series of 15 minutes running progressively faster from 15.5 kph to 16.5 kph. To have done a third set would have been the difference between an enjoyable workout and a hard workout so I left it at that, and, in any case, I had a one and a half hour run planned for the next day.
The "long run" on Saturday (in quotes because it is not really very long yet, but will build up over the next few weeks) was, as a result, a bit of a struggle. In retrospect it would probably have been wiser not to have run on Friday. After about half an hour a sharp pain in a tendon on the top of my right foot made it very difficult to run and I seriously considered packing it in there and then, just in case I did myself an injury. As I wasn't carrying a phone or much money, it would have been a bit of a hassle to get home any other way than on foot, so I decided to gingerly press on with the run. In the end the pain seemed to go away and it hasn't hurt since but it is something to keep an eye on.
After "cheating" on Friday, Sunday was going to be a genuine rest day. That is until my next door neighbour called round and asked if I fancied going on a short bike ride. I'd spent much of the day wrestling with my triathlon bike, trying to fit the new nose cone arrangement that would allow me to raise the bars by 3 cm but a screw had broken off in such a way that it is virtually impossible to get the stump out. That kind of thing makes me extremely nervous and obsessive so it did me the world of good to get out for a bit and clear my head for a bit.