That chesty feeling and loads of swallowing I said about on my last blog? It was the onset of an awful, enervating bug. I kept my training up but it knocked spots off me. Wendy had it worse, she’s been off work for four days. Not a cough and cold thing, just a hideous weakness. Nasty. I managed to maintain my running streak, but speed runs have been out of the question. It’s been coming and going so I managed to get some bike training in as well.
I thought I was fully over it yesterday then felt lousy on a 5 mile run.
Today I had a day off booked, it was toasty warm (15C! In February!), the sun was shining, so I decided to run a marathon. Like you do.
I had to take my warm top off after 2 miles and ran the rest in just my sleeveless compression vest. I’m not sure I’m fully right after the bug. I wanted to keep to 7.30 m/m but even in the first few miles I was struggling to keep it at 8. After 16 miles I was really battling to keep going. It took everything I had to finish the 26.2 miles. The last few miles it was a huge achievement to stay under 9 m/m. I was stumbling and had nothing left.
I did it in 3.41:34.
I’m trying not to be negative and therefore belittle people who are slower, but that was so hard and not the time I was expecting.
To be fair, I was basing my expectation on short, fast runs. And I’ve not actually done any long run training this year. A few 10 mile runs and one 18. And I’m possibly not well. But that was long, slow, painful and so, so hard.
Good for mental toughness if nothing else.
While I’m getting my excuses in, can’t forget to mention I only had an energy bar and a banana before I set out. The rest was energy gels on the hoof. Amazing that an 89 calories sugar/ sludge gel can keep you going. 2 of them an hour and you can just keep on keeping on. My watch said I burned 3000 calories on the run. So how do the gels keep you going?
The rest of my day has been a write off. I’ve just moped around in a world of pain, inhaling calories.
I was looking to do a 100+ miles bike ride tomorrow, but that can wait. I’ll do some other jobs on my list, like stripping and fixing my motorbike, then do the ride when I’m rested.
Well, I set out to run a marathon. I ran a marathon. And learned a valuable lesson on the way. It turns out a basic level of fitness and a monumental amount of bloody-minded stubbornness are no substitute for long run training. Who knew?
Right, bed. I’ve so had enough of today.
PS: quick addendum.
I took my fancy pants bike out for a spin. Only a 20 mile ride to Frodsham, (some good, testing hills). It’s the first time I’ve really ridden it. I rode it to the top of the street when I first got it, since then I’ve been riding it on the turbo trainer. It is amazing. It’s so small and light it feels like a toy. Loads of the ride I was 20+mph, downhill I clocked 35+. It just feels fast.
I’ve got the setup sorted on The Sufferfest (the training app for the turbo trainer). I was complaining, after me nearly killing myself to set up my personal bests (4DP, they call the test) the app was giving me too easy rides. I’m good for 200 watts for 5 minutes at a time, it was saying to ride at 100. I was thinking it was all pointless. Then I realised I hadn’t turned the 4DP setting on.
Wow. My legs are screaming, I’m lay over the handlebars gasping for breath and it’s telling me to go faster and stronger.
I can’t keep up with some of the power it’s telling me to put out. Which is perfect. If I can do it already I’m not going to improve.
In retrospect I could kick myself. It’s obvious. 3 triathlons, 3 years, 3 roughly the same times. I was trawling 20 miles a day back and to to work and doing stupid long rides, where is the 3 years improvement?
If you’re riding on your own, especially 100+ mile rides, you push on a bit, but you also pace yourself. You know you have to finish. On the Sufferfest there is no pacing. It’s set to your specs,and designed by Olympic winning team coaches, to push you faster and harder than you think you can bear. I can’t wait for my next (3 monthly) 4DP trial, I reckon I’m going to have massively improved.
Of course, the actual doing of the rides is a sweatfest, lungbusting, nightmare. But as they say in Sufferlandria, “Kicking Your Ass Today So You Can Kick Theirs Tomorrow.”
To complete my good news, the swim:
I had to take a test for the mental toughness training course on Sufferfest, it said to honestly review where you are now, and to decide upon your ultimate goal (your Mount Sufferlandria). I had to admit that my biggest weakness is the swimming,and I avoid it because I’m so bad at it.
I’ve been binge watching youtube triathlete and swimming videos. I actually think I have a plan. As usual I’ve been doing everything exactly wrong. No training drills, long sessions, thrashing up and down the pool, holding my breath, then gasping huge lungfuls of air. All wrong. Sip small amounts of air, start to blow out immediately your face is submerged. Apparently having a lung full of air increases carbon dioxide build up which causes you (me) to panic, desperate for more air. Do short sessions, regularly. Long ones just make you tired and you slip into bad form which you then reinforce by repetition. And do drills. They look and seem stupid, but they are breaking down good form into it’s basic elements to get everything right.
I think I’ve found some foolproof basic training drills. They get you floating right in the water so you don’t sink and cause drag, and get you breathing properly. That’s 90% of the battle won, right there.
Once I’ve mastered those, it’s all about getting my stroke right and that’s it. Just work at it until I’m strong.
To refer once more to The Sufferfest, they were saying that you have to be totally focused on scaling Mt Sufferlandria and set quantifiable weekly and monthly goals.
I’m going to spend March doing 3 or 4 swims a week, for 30 to 45 minutes a session, and crack the floating and breathing drills. Then in April I’m going to join that long distance swimming club.
With my running daily, the Sufferfest on the bike, and a swimming club I am going to hit my goal of an hour off my personal best at this year’s Outlaw triathlon. Which is keeping me well on target for my sub 10 hour Ironman in 2021.
Then I’m going to take up competitive eating or extreme ironing.