My idea for this week was to be a sort of anti-taper: not too strenuous but enough to get me back in the swing of training again. I also wanted get a feel for the different intensities on the bike, now that I don't really have anyone or any tests to guide me. If I have had doubts about doing so much low intensity running, I have never really been convinced about training on the bike at such low heart rates, even if they were scientifically measured. If the goal of low intensity training is to train the body to burn more fat than carbohydrate, I feel that I am doing OK on that front after my Marathon experiences recently. On the other hand, if the aim is to ensure that the high quality sessions are performed adequately then I don't think I need to worry: I am training much less than my body is capable of absorbing at the moment. I can't help thinking of what multiple Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington says about this topic: "If you train slow, you race slow". It is the opposite philosophy to that of her male counterpart Mark Allen who famously trained at very low heart rates.
Another challenge this week was to start swimming again. The first session on Monday was torture, even at a slow pace. I felt like it would never end, it was tiring and the guy with a hydrodynamic disadvantage due to an oversized belly in the lane next to me was gliding past me. The second session was much better so I hope that swimming 1,900 m at a reasonable pace will seem a lot less daunting by the time the race comes around.
I did a fair amount of quality work this week. On Tuesday I did 8 lots of 4 minutes running at 3:40 mins/km (16.5 kph) and on Thursday I had the VO2 Max test. On Friday I did some series on the bike. I had planned to do two lots of 6, 5 and 4 minutes at heart rates of 140, 150 and 160 bpm respectively. I ended up hitting heart rates about 10 bpm higher, finishing at well over 170. As I say, I'm still not completely convinced that my thresholds should be lower on the bike than while running, even if the tests say it is so.
On Saturday I ran for an hour on the treadmill, going from 4:30 min/km (13.5 kph) to 4:00 min/km (15 kph) while watching Stitches, an extremely gory comedy / horror film. My wife ended up watching it by accident and was a bit perturbed by her husband's choice of entertainment. It helps me get through the boredom and discomfort of running on the treadmill, what else can I say? On Sunday I did my first "Brick": an hour on the turbo trainer in the aero position followed by 15 minutes running at 4:00 (15 kph) and 15 minutes at 3:45 (16 kph). Incredibly I managed to get a puncture while riding on the turbo trainer! Discounting this unwanted interruption I was able to ride for about 15 minutes at a time in the aero position, taking just a minute break to recover. I'm more confident about being able to tolerate this for 2 and a half hours than I am about the swim at the moment!
(By the way, I was unable to finish watching the film I put on for my brick ride - Excision - not because it was too gory, but because my headphones were giving me an electric shock in my ears due to all the sweat. It is not a very nice sensation, I can assure you!)